Tritium reaches Connecticut River

From the Republican:

Radioactive tritium that is leaking from the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon is now believed to have reached the Connecticut River, and calls are growing for the plant to be closed down while the leak is located and repaired.

The owner of the 38-year-old plant, Louisiana-based Entergy Corp., is seeking to extend the plant's license 20 years beyond the scheduled 2012 expiration. However, in November, radioactive contamination was first detected in monitoring wells on the property, suspected of being from leaks in underground piping at the plant, which is by located alongside the Connecticut River.

Since then, the levels of contamination found in some wells has risen dramatically. The federal safety standard for tritium in drinking water is 20,000 picocuries per liter, but water from one monitoring well measured nearly 2.6 million picocuries per liter.

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Review - Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment

By Rosalie Bertell, Ph.D.

This new publication of the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (Volume 1181), by Alexey Yablokov, Vassily Nesterenko, and Alexey Nesterenko, is the elucidation many of us have been waiting for since the 1986 disaster at the failed nuclear reactor in Ukraine.  Until now we have read about the published reports of limited spotty investigations by western scientists who undertook projects in the affected territories. Even the prestigious IAEA, WHO and UNSCEAR reports have been based on about 300 such western research papers, leaving out the findings of some 30,000 scientific papers prepared by scientists working and living in the stricken territories and suffering the everyday problems of residential contamination with nuclear debris and a contaminated food supply.

Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment is wrtitten by Alexey Yablokov, Vassily Nesterenk and Alexey Nesterenko.  The senior author, Alexey Yablokov was head of the Russian Academy of Science under Gobachev – since then he receives no support.  Vassily Nesterenko, head of the Ukrainian Nuclear establishment at the time of the accident, flew over the burning reactor and took the only measurements.  In August 2009, he died as a result of radiation damage, but earlier, with help from Andrei Sakarov, was able to establish BELRAD to help children of the area.

The three scientists who assembled the information in the book from more than 5000 published articles and research findings, mostly available only within the former Soviet Union or Eastern block countries and not accessible in the West, are prestigious scientists who present objective facts clearly nuanced with little or no polemics. They were not encumbered by a desire to promote or excessively blame a failed technology!

The book was expertly translated into readable English by Janette Sherman, Medical Toxicologist and Adjunct Professor in the Environmental Institute at Western Michigan University.

Professor Dr. of Biology, Dimitro Grodzinsky, Chair of the Department of Biology of the Ukraine National Academy of Sciences, and member of the National Commission wrote the Forward to the book. His statement relative to Western reporting of the accident is illuminating:

“For a long time I have thought that the time has come to put an end to the opposition between technocracy advocates and those who support objective scientific efforts to estimate the negative risks for people exposed to the Chernobyl fallout. The basis for believing that these risks are not minor is very convincing.”

The government of the former Soviet Union previously classified many documents now accessible to the authors. For example, we now know that the number of people hospitalized for acute radiation sickness was more than a hundred times larger than the number recently quoted by the IAEA, WHO and UNSCEAR.  Unmentioned by the technocrats were the problems of “hot particles” of burning uranium that caused nasopharyngeal problems, and the radioactive fallout that resulted in general deterioration of the health of children, wide spread blood and lymph system diseases, reproductive loss, premature and small infant births, chromosomal mutations, congenital and developmental abnormalities, multiple endocrine diseases, mental disorders and cancer.

The authors systematically explain the secrecy conditions imposed by the government, the failure of technocrats to collect data on the number and distribution of all of the radionuclides of major concern, and the restrictions placed on physicians against calling any medical findings radiation related unless the patient had been a certified “acute radiation sickness” patient during the disaster, thus assuring that only 1% of injuries would be so reported..

This book is a “must read” for all of those bureaucrats currently promoting nuclear power as the only “solution” for climate change. Those who seek information on the disaster only from the official documentation provided by the IAEA, WHO and UNSCEAR need to broaden their reading to include the reality check from those scientists who have access to local findings and are simply telling the truth, with no hidden propaganda agenda.

I was impressed by the simple message of the cover of this volume, which shows a number of felled logs with clearly distinguishable colors of wood: before and after Chernobyl. The reader will find that the environment, living plants and animals all suffered ill effects from this experience, as did the human population. It should be a sobering read for all those who have believed the fiction that “low doses of radiation are harmless”, or that a severe nuclear accident is easily contained within the human environment.

Below is the New York Academy of Sciences site for the book. Unfortunately, its selling price is now about $150, which may limit its distribution.

http://www.nyas.org/Publications/Annals/Detail.aspx?cid=f3f3bd16-51ba-4d7b-a086-753f44b3bfc1

NRC nominees won't stand in way of Yucca Mountain shutdown

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Three officials nominated to fill seats on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission indicated this week that they would not stand in the way of a shutdown of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste program.

But one suggested that because it now looks as if radioactive spent fuel will remain at power plants for the foreseeable future, their steel-and-concrete storage canisters should be checked for safety.

"When we first started storing spent fuel at reactor sites, nobody was thinking it was going to be there for 100 years," said William Magwood, a former Department of Energy official. "I think we have to go back and take a look at what we have in place now and assure ourselves it is able to stay in place another 50 years if necessary."

Entergy Rebuked by New York State Attorney General in Enexus Case: Decision Pending

From Vtdigger.org:

The Office of New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo blasted Entergy officials yesterday for more corporate shenanigans from a company already mired in controversy here in Vermont.  According to the NYS OAG’s letter, Entergy waited until just hours before a decision is expected from state regulators in New York to file major new documents in the case concerning their plans to spin-off a handful of their decaying nuclear plants to a shell corporation called Enexus.

The OAG decried the legal maneuver, saying that it would “thoroughly frustrated public review, comment and participation.”  The Attorney General also noted that Entergy’s submission “contained several inaccurate responses” including one that claimed that no solid or hazardous waste has ever been disposed of on site at the company’s Indian Point reactor.

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N.H. Governor calls for Vermont Yankee investigation

From NECN:

Citing concerns over the safety and management of the nuclear plant just on the other side of the Vermont border, New Hampshire governor John Lynch today called on teh Nuclear Regulatory Commission to "thoroughly investigate" the plant before giving it a license extension.

The letter cited the recent discovery of tritium in groundwater near the plant and the recent confirmation of underground pipelines near Vermont Yankee as "revelations (that) lead me to question the credibility of Entergy and its ability to safely manage the plant. They also lead me to conclude that the NRC must undertake an additional and thorough investigation into the Vermont Yankee plant."

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Governor Patrick's Letter to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Concerning VT Yankee

From Massachusetts Governor Patrick:

Because of the proximity of the Vermont Yankee plant to Massachusetts, the concern that tritium may leak into the groundwater, and the possibility that there may also be leaks of radioactive substances at Pilgrim, I ask that you undertake the following immediately:

  • require extensive testing from leaks of tritium and other radioactive substances at both Vermont Yankee and Pilgrim, including testing of potentially impacted drinking water supplies and of the Connecticut River in proximity to Vermont Yankee;
  • stay any further consideration of the approval of the spin-off of the Vermont Yankee and Pilgrim plants from Entergy to Enexus until the leak issues are resolved; and
  • stay any further consideration of the relicensing of both plants until the leak issues are resolved.

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NEC asks NRC to close VY

From the Brattleboro Reformer:

For a number of reasons, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should force Entergy to put into cold shutdown its Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, stated the New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution in a filing to the NRC submitted Tuesday.

Those reasons include the increasing concentrations of tritium in groundwater below the plant, Entergy's failure to know and understand Yankee's design, layout and construction, the inadequacy of Yankee's underground piping aging management plan and the NRC's failure to identify the situation until it became "grossly self revealing."

Therefore, wrote Ray Shadis, NEC's technical consultant, the NRC should force Yankee to go into cold shutdown and depressurize all systems in order to slow or stop the leak.

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Vt. health chief: Tritium may in Connecticut River

From the Republican:

Radioactive tritium that is leaking from the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon is now believed to have reached the Connecticut River, and calls are growing for the plant to be closed down while the leak is located and repaired.

The owner of the 38-year-old plant, Louisiana-based Entergy Corp., is seeking to extend the plant's license 20 years beyond the scheduled 2012 expiration. However, in November, radioactive contamination was first detected in monitoring wells on the property, suspected of being from leaks in underground piping at the plant, which is by located alongside the Connecticut River.

Since then, the levels of contamination found in some wells has risen dramatically. The federal safety standard for tritium in drinking water is 20,000 picocuries per liter, but water from one monitoring well measured nearly 2.6 million picocuries per liter.

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2 wells at Oconee Nuclear Station exceed tritium standards

From GreenvilleOnline.com:

Samples from two adjacent groundwater monitoring wells at Oconee Nuclear Station exceeded state, federal and industry standards for tritium, a radioactive material, Duke Energy said Tuesday.

Elevated levels of tritium were found in two of 54 monitoring wells at the nuclear station on Lake Keowee, but there's no danger to the public, Duke and Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials said.

“The samples were taken from two monitoring wells — not drinking water wells. There is no health risk to the public or plant employees or a violation of EPA standards since this water is not for consumption,” said Dave Baxter, Oconee site vice president.

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Peach Bottom: NRC integrated inspection report 05000277/2009005 and 05000278/2009005

From the NRC:

On December 31, 2009, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) completed an integrated inspection at your Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station (PBAPS), Units 2 and 3. The enclosed integrated inspection report documents the inspection results, which were discussed on January 15, 2010, with Mr. William Maguire and other members of your staff.

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