Monday, December 1, 2008

Letter/Op-Ed: Zebra Mussel

Dear Editor: We would like to thank the Patriot News for shedding light on a menacing predator that has slipped under the media microscope - the invasion of the zebra mussel. (Stripped Invader, November 30, 2008) Zebra mussels pose a serious ecological and economic threat to power plants on the Susquehanna River, and can invade nuclear generating stations causing biological fouling and impaired plant operations. Three Mile Island Alert (“TMIA) has raised concerns about the potential aquatic and financial damages associated with invasive aquatic species dating back to February 1986 when one celled organisms - believed to be fungus, bacteria and algae-like creatures - were discovered at TMI-2. These creatures obscured the view of the reactor core, and impeded the defueling of the damaged reactor. The latest wave of thermal invasions are not surprise attacks. “In 2002, the first report of zebra mussel populations in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed were reported from Eaton Reservoir in the headwaters of the Chenango River, a major tributary to the Susquehanna River in New York.... reports were received that both zebra mussel adults and juveniles, called veligers, have made their way down to the Susquehanna main stem headwaters” (Pa DEP, Update, July 16, 2004) DEP confirmed that zebra mussel adults and juveniles were found in Goodyear Lake in June 2004. This was first major accumulation of the mini mollusk on the Susquehanna River’s main stem below Canadarago Lake in New York. On June 19, 2007, zebra mussels were discovered in Cowanesque Lake, Tioga County. This marked the first time zebra mussels had been discovered in a Pennsylvania waterway in the Susquehanna River watershed. On August 18, 2008 TMIA submitted “Comments on the Susquehanna River Basin commission’s (“SRBC”) Draft Comprehensive Plan for the Water Resources of the Susquehanna River Basin.” We believe that the SRBC (an interstate compact) is not restricted by the artificial limitations and narrow scope the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has imposed on itself. TMIA recommended that the SRBC compel nuclear generating stations to physically inspect the intake pipes at nuclear generating stations. We also believe that licensees should submit a plan for the SRBC’s approval detailing how nuclear plants will defeat health, safety and structural challenges that arise from water fouling, micro biologically influenced corrosion, biofilm disease causing bacteria such as Legionella and listeria, and the eastward migration of Asiatic clams, zebra mussels and the anticipated arrival of quagga mussels. We encourage the Patriot News to continue to track this invasion which could ultimately impact municipal water and sewage capacity. Sincerely, Eric J. Epstein Chairman, TMI-Alert, Inc. Harrisburg, PA (717)-541-1101 Mr. Epstein is the Chairman of Three Mile Island Alert , Inc.,, a safe-energy organization based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and founded in 1977. TMIA monitors Peach Bottom, Susquehanna, and Three Mile Island nuclear generating stations.

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