Saturday, March 26, 3pm

Whitaker Center is pleased to present the nuclear safety program, Ensuring Safety at Three Mile Island at 3pm in Stage Two, Whitaker Center’s Lower Level.

Ralph DeSantis, Communications Manager, Three Mile Island Generating Station, Exelon Nuclear, will discuss the basic operation of Three Mile Island Unit 1 and discuss the numerous safety systems in place. He will explain what Exelon Nuclear, the operator of Three Mile Island, has done over the past several years to further improve the safety and reliability of the plant.

The 30-minute presentation is suitable for all ages and will include an opportunity for the audience to ask questions.Admission is free.

Presenter Background
Mr. DeSantis has more than 25 years of communication experience in the nuclear power industry. In his current role, he is responsible for all external and internal communications at Three Mile Island. Mr. DeSantis holds a Masters of Public Administration degree from Penn State and a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education from Clarion State University.

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From the York Dispatch:

Seizing a timely moment to talk about nuclear energy, Harrisburg's Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts is hosting a presentation Saturday on nuclear safety.

The 30-minute talk features Ralph DeSantis, communications manager for Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Middletown.

DeSantis works for Exelon Nuclear, which operates the plant.

Whitaker Center staff decided to host the event because the tragedy in Japan has sparked national discussion about nuclear safety, said Steve Bishop, vice president of science and Imax programs at Whitaker Center.

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This Special Edition of The Newsletter of TMIA Alert addresses the accident at the Fukushima plant in Japan and the availability of Potassium Iodie pills here in central Pennsylvania.

Download Newsletter PDF

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OUR FIRST EVENT: IN COLLABORATION WITH NO NUKES, PA, WE INVITE YOU TO THE ANNUAL CANDLELIGHT VIGIL AT 3:30 AM ON MARCH 28, 2011 IN MEMORY OF THE 32nd ANNIVERSARY OF THE ACCIDENT AT THREE MILE ISLAND (TMI) AND TO SUPPORT THE PEOPLE OF JAPAN DURING THIS NUCLEAR CRISIS. MEET US AT THE NORTH GATE OF TMI ON ROUTE 441, IN MIDDLETOWN, PA. Visit our website at www.anuff.net or email us at info@anuff.net for more information.

ANUFF! was founded in the wake of the nuclear catastrophe that began unfolding in Japan in March, 2011. Originating in Middletown, PA, the site of the worst commercial nuclear accident in U.S. history at Three Mile Island (TMI), we are a group of scholars with professional activity related to the anti-nuclear movement.

ANUFF! was developed to provide an academic arm to the anti-nuclear movement and to provide an international platform for academicians, students, and other concerned individuals to organize and respond to the growing environmental threats posed by nuclear technology.

Our mission is simple: to provide scholarly expertise to the anti-nuclear movement to connect “first wave” and “second wave” anti-nuclear activists and to promote nuclear literacy in communities. We have expertise in community mobilization, education and outreach, environmental activism, economics campaigning, lobbying, quantitative and qualitative social science research, community-based planning and evaluation, and writing for academic audiences and the popular press.

Our goal is to collaborate with other existing anti-nuclear and environmental organizations to create a unified voice for change to (1) stop the construction of new nuclear power plants in the U.S. and around the world, (2) end the practice of re-licensing old nuclear power plants, (3) work toward a phase-out of nuclear power, and (4) pave the way for a truly “green” energy future.

Join ANUFF! by sending an email to info@anuff.net. Include your name and preferred email address and any areas of expertise or interests you would like to share. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Please distribute widely. We hope to reach out and connect with the entire international community of academics, students, and others who are dedicated to a nuclear free future!

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AGENDA: In addition to the public hearing and its related action items identified below, the business meeting also includes actions or presentations on the following items: 1) the Morrison Cove Water Resources Study; 2) hydrologic conditions in the basin and strategies for stream gages; 3) administrative approval of flowback reuse involving diversions; 4) a demonstration of the Commission’s web-based Water Resource Portal; 5) a preliminary introduction to dockets; 6) administrative    fee    authorization    for    group    transfers    of    approvals;    7) a    Migratory    Fish Restoration and Management Plan for the Susquehanna River Basin; 8) a request to initiate National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Phase of Potential Revision of Low-Flow Regulation at the Cowanesque and Curwensville Lakes; 9) revision of FY-2012 Budget; and 10) ratification/approval of contracts. The Commission will also hear Legal Counsel’s report.

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From the New York Times:

The Japanese electricians who bravely strung wires this week to all six reactor buildings at a stricken nuclear power plant succeeded despite waves of heat and blasts of radioactive steam.

The restoration of electricity at the plant, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, stirred hopes that the crisis was ebbing. But nuclear engineers say some of the most difficult and dangerous tasks are still ahead — and time is not necessarily on the side of the repair teams.

The tasks include manually draining hundreds of gallons of radioactive water and venting radioactive gas from the pumps and piping of the emergency cooling systems, which are located diagonally underneath the overheated reactor vessels. The urgency of halting the spread of radioactive contamination from the site was underlined on Wednesday by the health warning that infants should not drink tap water — even in Tokyo, 140 miles southwest of the stricken plant — which raised alarms about extensive contamination.

"We've got at least 10 days to two weeks of potential drama before you can declare the accident over," said Michael Friedlander, who worked as a nuclear plant operator for 13 years.

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Earlier this week, a top Nuclear Regulatory Commission official said Japan's nuclear crisis does not warrant immediate change in U.S. plants.  Bill Borchardt, the NRC's executive director for operations, noted that officials have "a high degree of confidence" that the 104 nuclear reactors operating in the U.S. are safe.  He asserted that inspectors at each of the plants are ensuring that efforts are in place to guard against safety breaches.  Eric Epstein, co-founder of the citizen-watchdog group Rock the Capital and chairman of TMI Alert, will join our panel discussion.  Epstein has grave concerns about whether American plants are designed to withstand whatever man-made or natural disaster strikes them.  He says our spent-fuel waste is kept in facilities never designed for long-term storage.  Congress has not been able to agree on a permanent site for America's highly radioactive waste.
 

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CONTACT:
EPA Press Office
press@epa.gov
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 22, 2011
 

WASHINGTON – During a detailed analysis of four west coast RadNet air monitor filters, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified trace amounts of radioactive iodine, cesium, and tellurium consistent with the Japanese nuclear incident. These levels are consistent with the levels found by a Department of Energy monitor last week and are to be expected in the coming days.

EPA’s samples were captured by three monitors in California and one in Washington State on Friday, March 18 and sent to EPA scientists for detailed laboratory analysis. The data was reviewed over the weekend and the analysis was completed Monday night.  The radiation levels detected on the filters from California and Washington monitors are hundreds of thousands to millions of times below levels of concern.

In addition, last night preliminary monitor results in Hawaii detected minuscule levels of an isotope that is also consistent with the Japanese nuclear incident. This detection varies from background and historical data in Hawaii. This isotope was detected at our fixed monitor in Hawaii, and it is far below any level of concern for human health.  The sampling filter from this monitor is being sent to our national radiation lab for further analysis. 

In a typical day, Americans receive doses of radiation from natural sources like rocks, bricks and the sun that are about 100,000 times higher than what we have detected coming from Japan. For example, the levels we’re seeing coming from Japan are 100,000 times lower than what you get from taking a roundtrip international flight.

EPA is in the process of conducting detailed filter analyses for fixed monitors located in Oregon.

EPA’s RadNet filter results for San Francisco, Seattle, Riverside and Anaheim, California detected minuscule quantities of iodine isotopes and other radioactive particles that pose no health concern at the detected levels. Below are the results of the detailed filter analysis. All of the radiation levels detected during the detailed filter analysis are hundreds of thousands to millions of times below levels of concern.

All units are in Picocuries per meter cubed.

- Filter results for Anaheim, Calif. found:

  • Cesium-137: 0.0017
  • Tellurium-132: 0.012
  • Iodine-132: 0.0095
  • Iodine-131: 0.046

- Filter results for Riverside, Calif. found:

  • Cesium-137: 0.00024
  • Tellurium-132: 0.0014
  • Iodine-132: 0.0015
  • Iodine-131: 0.011

- Filter results for Seattle, Wash. found:

  • Cesium-137: 0.00045
  • Tellurium-132: 0.0034
  • Iodine-132: 0.0029
  • Iodine-131: 0.013

- Filter results for San Francisco, Calif. found:

  • Cesium-137: 0.0013
  • Tellurium-132: 0.0075
  • Iodine-132: 0.0066
  • Iodine-131: 0.068

EPA’s RadNet system is designed to protect the public by notifying scientists, in near real time, of elevated levels of radiation so they can determine whether protective action is required. In addition, an analysis of the filters in the monitors can identify even the smallest trace amounts of specific radioactive isotopes.

As part of the federal government’s continuing effort to make our activities and science transparent and available to the public, EPA will continue to keep RadNet data available at: http://www.epa.gov/japan2011/
 

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Lawmaker Authored 2002 Law That Requires Potassium Iodide for Residents Living within 20 Miles of Nuclear Plant; Law Ignored by Bush Administration

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass) sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requesting the department’s assistance in urging Presidential Science Advisor Dr. John Holdren to reverse the Bush administration decision to that effectively blocks HHS from distributing potassium iodide – also called KI – to Americans living within a 20 mile radius of a nuclear power plant. Potassium iodide has been found to protect individuals, especially young children, from the cancer-causing releases of radioactive iodine that would occur if a nuclear disaster occurred in the United States. In the wake of the Japan nuclear crisis, earlier this week, Rep. Markey today wrote [LINK] to the president’s science adviser asking him to begin implementing the law.
 
“The essential value of distributing potassium iodide in preparation for a potential nuclear disaster has been abundantly clear for more than 30 years,” wrote Rep. Markey in the letter to Secretary Sebelius “The exercise of Presidential power to distribute KI is now long overdue, leaving many Americans living near these plants needlessly at risk, as sadly evidenced by the disaster in Japan.”
 
A copy of the letter to the HHS can be found HERE.
 
Rep. Markey amended the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness andResponse Act of 2002 to make potassium iodide available to state and local governments to meet the needs of all persons living within a 20-mile radius of a nuclear power plant. However, the Bush administration chose to ignore these provisions and declined to implement them, thereby denying communities access to stockpiles of KI.
 
InDecember 2009, Rep. Markey wrote President Obama urging him to move forwardwith full implementation of the provisions. However, Dr. Holdren’s office wrote Rep. Markey in July of last year upholding the Bush administration’s position. Because of this action, citizens living within the 10 mile radius of nuclear power plants in some states have KI stockpiled for an accident, but others do not and those living out to the 20 mile radius do not receive KI.
 
Rep. Markey, the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee and a senior Democratic member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has served on the Committees that have oversight over the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the nuclear utility industry since 1976.  Following the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, he authored an amendment to establish a moratorium on licensing of new nuclear power plants until the consequences of that accident could be fully understood and participated in the Congressional hearings on the accident. Following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, he chaired the Congressional hearings examining the causes and consequences of the accident.

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