press releases, reports, items of interest to the south shore residents of Lake Ontario etc.
below letter to the Oswego County Legislature, April 9, 2000
Dear Members of the Oswego County Legislature,
We are writing to express our concern that decisions made in Oswego County concerning storage of high level radioactive waste will have an effect on a much larger region. We have many questions and doubts about the wisdom of storing this lethal material for an extended period of time on the shores of an international body of water.
What is the likely duration of storage of these casks?
Have studies been done at this site of lake/aquifer interactions?
If casks are stored in the open for a decade or more what corrosion issues arise. How would they impact ultimate transportation safety issues when casks are finally move?
Is it true that presently spent fuel pool gases are usually collected and allowed to decay to a more manageable state? If gas is vented from casks will it simply enter the atmosphere? If so, how much radiation would each cask release a year?
What amount would the cost of an enclosed structure, equipped with filters be compared with overall revenue of the plant's owners?
Has an impact statement for this site been done and if so, did it consider the potential "secondary" impacts of establishing storage here? If additional radioactive material form other plants were bright here how it would it impact property taxes, economic development etc.
Nuclear plant security has been criticized in the past by groups such as the Union of concerned Scientists. U.S casks are less robust than those used b y some countries and are thus less able to withstand potential terrorist attack. How will plant security attempt to counter the possibility of a strike made from some distance away by a terrorist group?
The decisions you make impact people far beyond your county and city and tax district. We believe the prolonged storage of spent fuel on the shores of Lake Ontario is unwise and should not be allowed.
member Lakeshore Environmental Action
below- press release for Jan 6, 2000 Dec 10 1999 Activists criticize NRC's deregulation effort at Oswego Meeting
As part of an effort
to reach the public the NRC held a meeting in Oswego seeking comments on its
proposed changes in its regulation of nuclear plants. Several skeptics raised
questions about the proposed new program. Tim Judson of the Syracuse Peace
Council and Steve Penn both pointed out that the process of rating plant
performance now suffers from data manipulation and a number of highly
subjective decisions by NRC management as to what violations and safety
concerns merit action or a penalty. There are, for example, large numbers of
"non cited violations" now taking place and Judd says these don't
show up in the plant's published grade of how well it's doing. A violation is a
violation whether its official or not was his position.
A second problem with the effort to cut the regulatory burden on nuclear power plants is that of public access to information. Several people remarked on the difficulty of getting reports on safety and plant performance from the NRC website. The NRC data base uses its own search engine which older computers have insufficient "horsepower" to operate. But as one activist pointed out, many area residents and public libraries located in the rural areas where most nuclear plants are, have either older computers or no access to the internet at all. Deregulation of the public utility industry was also cited as a concern. Several doubtful citizens thought that during this time of changing management, cuts in staff, and increased cost pressures, the NRC should increase its surveillance of nuclear plants. Citing staffing cuts at the Niagara Mohawk plants of 50 % in recent years with more likely in the future, Judson called for the NRC to establish minimum staffing standards for nukes.
Deregulation has also caused a looming shortage of skilled technical contract workers including those who perform safety inspections at plants. Cindy Gagne cited recent budget cuts at the NRC that had resulted in decisions by several of those contract companies to get out of the business of inspecting commercial nukes. With an average 15 to 20 years experience and years of technical training, these skilled workers are essential to safe operation of these plants. Once they are gone how long will it take for the NRC to build up in- house expertise to replace them? asked Gagne (assuming in today's tight market for skilled workers the NRC is even able to hire new entry level technicians.) The NRC moderator's response was that this problem was under study. Gagne also charged that the tight labor market has already caused the NRC to hire non engineering majors for its on site inspector program.
Tim Judd would like the NRC to "raise the bar" on safety. He cited recent releases of radiation at the Cooper plant in Nebraska after an accident of a type that hadn't happened in nearly 20 years. This is a basic design [flaw] issue he explained. If the NRC believes it can reduce regulation because the industry is now smarter and more experienced than 20 years ago, how do we stop this sort of thing from happening? And adding to the problem is the growing pressure to cut costs in a competitive deregulated market place.
Several activists criticized changes in NRC record keeping as part of its deregulatory effort. This they said makes it much harder to look for trends or to compare plant performance over time.
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