TMI -- 10 years after the lawsuits

From the York Daily Record:

Ten years ago a judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to link radiation from the Three Mile Island accident to health problems in test cases of about 2,000 plaintiffs.

Yet some people who co-exist with the operating nuclear plant continue to question whether the partial meltdown on March 28, 1979, released radiation into the environment that has affected their health.

They live in the historical shadow of a plant that suffered a partial meltdown, the worst nuclear accident in United States history.

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Study on nuke plants, cancer planned


Two decades after it last did so, the federal government is taking a new look at whether people who live near nuclear plants have a higher risk of getting cancer.

A 1990 study released by the National Cancer Institute found no increased risk of cancer deaths in counties surrounding 62 nuclear facilities, including Three Mile Island and Peach Bottom.

But the new $5 million three-year study, to be conducted by the private National Academy of Sciences beginning this summer, will be able to take advantage of advanced modeling methods and more detailed records on cancers and take into account a longer cancer latency period.

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New cancer study of areas around U.S. nuclear facilities brings relief in TMI area

From the Patriot News:

Brenda Galinac and her infant son fled to Pittsburgh a day after the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island. Her husband, John, a police officer, went to work, including duty at TMI during President Jimmy Carter’s visit.

The family, who lived a few miles from TMI, was interviewed by health researchers a few months after the accident, and everyone felt fine. But 20 years later, her son was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. Two years after that, her husband developed thyroid cancer. Galinac contacted the researchers, but was told the study was closed.

That’s why she’s excited to learn of a new study that will look at cancer cases surrounding all U.S. nuclear facilities, including TMI in Londonderry Twp.

Galinac, who lives in Wellsboro, said people such as her husband and son, who recovered, must be counted in order to fully understand the health risks of living near nuclear power plants. "I’ve always felt the previous study closed too soon, and maybe the long-term effects of what happened weren’t documented. I don’t think anyone at the time knew how long it might take for the consequences of the accident to develop," said Galinac, 53.

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Next door to nukes

From the York Daily Record

Citing the 20 years since the last comprehensive national study of its kind and information technology advances since then, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is requesting a new study on potential health effects posed by nuclear power plants.

The request was made to the National Academy of Sciences, which will oversee the study.

Findings from a previous study from the National Cancer Institute were published in 1991 and did not find a connection between living next to a plant and cancer-related deaths.

The question of possible health effects comes up frequently from the public, said Neil Sheehan, spokesman for the NRC.

"It's an appropriate time now," he said. "It's been two decades since this kind of national study."

Also, the previous study looked only at data on the county level to look for possible problems, Sheehan said, which might not have been refined enough.

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U.S. DOE says $13 bln needed in nuclear loan help

From Reuters:

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said on Wednesday that the Energy Department would need an additional $13 billion in authority from Congress to provide loan guarantees for building three new nuclear plants.

The department in February awarded $8.3 billion in loan guarantees to help build the first U.S. nuclear power plant in nearly three decades.

Chu told a Senate subcommittee that the $12 billion the department had left in loan guarantee authority would be enough to cover one more nuclear plant project that is seeking government help.

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Peach Bottom: NRC Evaluation of Changes, Tests and Experiments and Permanent Modifications

Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3:  NRC Evaluation of Changes, Tests and Experiments and Permanent Modifications Team Inspection Report 05000277/2010006 and 05000278/2010006


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U.S. DOE pulls doc flagged by TMI-A

From the Press and Journal:

Nearly 20 years before 9/11, federal researchers studied the effects of an airplane crashing into a nuclear reactor. Their 1982 report is considered “sensitive’’ and kept from the public.

But a member of Three Mile Island-Alert, a grassroots watchdog of TMI and nuclear power, discovered the report on two federal websites recently. A microfiche version of the report was offered for sale for $40.

Scott Portz-line, a security consultant for TMI-Alert, notified the Department of Energy and the Department of Homeland Security about the report. The DOE removed it from its website.

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Group will re-visit study on cancer risk for people living near TMI, other nuclear facilities

From the Patriot News:

The National Academy of Sciences, acknowledging that a study 20 years ago was flawed, is organizing an analysis of cancer risk for people living near the nation’s nuclear facilities, including Three Mile Island, site of the nation’s worst nuclear accident in March 1979.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission formally requested the study Monday at a meeting of the academy’s Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board.

The study done in 1990 considered only children who died of cancer near nuclear plants. The intent of the new study is to track those around nuclear plants who contracted the disease but didn’t die. The old study also looked at countywide populations; this next study is to target residents of communities near nuclear plants, such as Royalton and Middletown near TMI.

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Three Mile Island Alert's Questions on the NRC’s Annual Assessment of the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station

The NRC staff completed its performance review on Feb. 16, 2010, for the fourth quarter and all of 2009. In a letter dated March 3, 2010, the NRC said that Susquehanna Units 1 and 2 “operated in a manner that preserved public health and safety and fully met all cornerstone objectives.”

The letter discussed the previously reported matter when a potential chilling effect letter was issued in January 2009 over safety work environment issues. The letter noted that plant owner PPL has taken reasonable actions to improve the safety conscious work environment (SCWE) at the site. “Specifically,” the NRC letter said, “the staff determined that you recognized the issue impacted multiple areas across the site; took appropriate and timely actions to address it; and completed a range of corrective actions which have been implemented and are judged, at this time, to have been effective in addressing the underlying issues.” The NRC said that cross cutting issues do not exist at this time.

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'Into Eternity' Examines Nuclear Waste Dilemma

From NPR:

Nevada's Yucca Mountain is no longer an option for long-term storage of nuclear waste. But construction of a similar project is under way in Finland. In his film Into Eternity, director Michael Madsen questions the feasibility of safely storing waste for hundreds of thousands of years.

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