Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s finding that “Plymouth most exceeded the state’s expectations for all forms of cancer” is very troubling.
Of particular concern is the high number of Leukemia and Multiple Myeloma, given the connection between such diseases and continued exposure to radiation.
Not mentioned is another troubling statistic, continued higher than expected rates of thyroid cancer, also linked to radiation exposure.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I disagree with the decision to deny this petition for rulemaking. Instead, I believe the review of a license renewal application authorizing, if granted, an additional twenty-years of operation, provides the opportune time at which the agency should reevaluate emergency preparedness issues. Currently, the only time the NRC issues a comprehensive affirmative finding that both onsite and offsite emergency plans are in place around a nuclear power plant, and that they can be implemented, is at the time it grants an initial operating license. Although there are regular assessments of these plans through exercises and reviews, we do not periodically reassess that initial reasonable assurance of adequate protection of the public--even if it was made decades ago--unless and until we find a serious deficiency in a biennial exercise. I believe considering emergency preparedness during the license renewal process would provide an opportunity to improve public confidence in the licensees and in all levels of government.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Army Corps of Engineers have revised their interagency agreement regarding environmental reviews for proposed nuclear power plants as well as significant actions at existing plants. The agencies will coordinate early in these reviews to ensure they share all the information necessary for carrying out their respective regulatory duties.
The NRC’s licensing process ensures public health and safety, as well as the environment, are maintained during commercial use of nuclear materials, including nuclear power plants. The NRC takes the lead in meeting the National Environmental Policy Act’s (NEPA) requirements during that process. The Corps protects U.S. waters and wetlands through the provisions of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and the Clean Water Act, and administers permits for such purposes.
Monday, September 22, 2008
There's nothing like a good financial panic to lure Warren Buffett off the sidelines. The billionaire investor and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway sprang into action Thursday with a $4.7 billion plan to acquire Constellation Energy (CEG, Fortune 500), the Baltimore-based energy wholesaler and utility operator whose shares have plunged this week as the company ran short on cash. Under the deal, Constellation - which runs the Baltimore Gas & Electric utility and operates 83 electric generators around the country - will be folded into Berkshire's MidAmerican Energy unit.CNN Money
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., today introduced legislation that he said would help the families of sick nuclear workers in cases where a worker dies before his or her claim for compensation is processed.
"We should not allow an inefficent bureaucracy to run out the clock through a claims process that takes so long that our Cold War heroes are dying before their claims are processed, leaving their families with no compensation," Alexander said in a statement distributed to the news media.
Alexander said the legislative amendment, co-sponsored by seven other senators, would reform the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act. It would address cases where workers or their eligible survivors die during the claims process, which can take years, and leave other family members without a right to collect compensation.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
NRC officials said Joseph S. Shepherd, a contractor for Source Production and Equipment Company (SPEC), which supplies industrial gamma radiography equipment, repeatedly and deliberately provided inaccurate information regarding modifications to, and inspections of, a shipping container for radioactive material. Specifically, Shepherd told the NRC in 2005 that he had authorized modifications to the container, invalidating its status as an NRC-approved package. Shepherd repeatedly told both SPEC and the NRC the container had been properly inspected, but NRC investigators determined the inspections were incomplete or not performed by a qualified inspector.U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
After 9/11, the NRC not only re-drew the line but also re-crafted its rules of engagement with the American public on security policy making. Essentially, the NRC’s post 9/11 rules of engagement preclude the public from meaningful input, and severely limit the public’s access to output from the NRC’s security policy decision-making. It is not only possible but essential to responsibly discuss nuclear plant security policy in public. That fact has been demonstrated repeatedly since 9/11 by open Congressional hearings, many broadcast far and wide by C-SPAN. UCS’s experts have testified at open, public Congressional hearings as have representatives of other public interest groups. Yet the NRC has resisted repeated attempted by UCS to engage the agency in responsible, productive dialogues like those conducted with the Congress. Like Congress has done, the NRC must engage public stakeholders about nuclear plant security policy issues in enough detail so that the public can make informed judgments on the adequacy of NRC’s post-9/11 security measures. We are convinced that this can be achieved without disclosing information that would aid terrorists in carrying out attacks against nuclear facilities.Letter from Union of Concerned Scientists to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (pdf)
When a whistle-blower told the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2007 that guards at the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station were sleeping on the job, the agency told the plant's owner to investigate even though the accusation involved company managers.
Having the plant's owner, Exelon, and its security provider, Wackenhut Corp., investigate themselves was a mistake, according to a report by the NRC's Office of Inspector General. By asking the companies to handle it themselves, the agency's Region 1 office in King of Prussia violated its own rules, the report states.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Advertisements in print and on the air tout Vermont Yankee as "safe, clean, reliable." The nuclear power plant is none of those, argues the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, which Tuesday asked state Attorney General William Sorrell to investigate whether the ads amount to false advertising. "Each aspect of this claim is misleading as it is unsubstantiated and conflicts with relevant science and reports," VPIRG Executive Director Paul Burns said in a letter to Sorrell. Vermont Yankee stands by its advertisements, spokesman Rob Williams said. The ads are targeted at Vermont residents in advance of next year's decisions by the Legislature and Public Service Board about whether the plant may continue operating after 2012.The Burlington Free Press
Federal regulators will delay a decision on renewing Indian Point's operating license an additional four months - until late summer 2010 - to give them more time to evaluate safety and environmental issues at the nuclear plant. "We have said from the beginning that we are committed to a thorough and rigorous review of the Indian Point license renewal application. That has not changed," said Brian Holian, director of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Division of License Renewal. "The fact that we will, when necessary, take additional time to address outstanding issues underscores our determination to give this application our full measure of attention." Advertisement Staffers at the agency want more time to review additional information provided by the plant's owner, Entergy Nuclear; to respond to a record number of contentions opponents filed against the application; and to address generic issues presented by the agency's Office of Inspector General in a recent report on the NRC's license renewal program.The Journal News