TMI Update: Jan 14, 2024


Did you catch "The Meltdown: Three Mile Island" on Netflix?
TMI remains a danger and TMIA is working hard to ensure the safety of our communities and the surrounding areas.
Learn more on this site and support our efforts. Join TMIA. To contact the TMIA office, call 717-233-7897.

    

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: IV-23-011 November 29, 2023
CONTACT: Victor Dricks, 817-200-1128
 
NRC Issues Confirmatory Order to ProTechnics Division of Core Laboratories
 
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a Confirmatory Order to ProTechnics Division of Core Laboratories, documenting mutually agreed upon actions to address regulatory compliance issues identified during a routine inspection at the company’s headquarters in Houston, Texas. ProTechnics uses radioactive materials licensed by the NRC to perform diagnostic studies in oil, gas and geothermal wells.
 
NRC inspectors cited six proposed violations involving the company’s failure to notify and seek NRC approval for the abandonment of a well logging source, to request an extension for a well logging source in temporary storage, to maintain records or calculations demonstrating compliance with federal limits on the disposal of radioisotope tracers in the Gulf of Mexico, and to monitor a group of exposed workers following the loss of their dosimeters, among other proposed violations.
 
The proposed violations are described in detail in NRC’s July 7 inspection report.
 
Before making a final enforcement decision, the NRC provided the company with an opportunity to request a predecisional enforcement conference or seek alternative dispute resolution. ProTechnics requested ADR mediation and met with NRC officials in October to discuss corrective actions. A preliminary settlement agreement was reached at the session, and the issues agreed upon were incorporated into the Confirmatory Order.
 
 
"The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued a final rule and associated regulatory guide providing an alternative avenue for small modular reactors (SMRs) and advanced reactors to satisfy emergency preparedness requirements. The long-anticipated rulemaking allows SMRs and advanced reactor license applicants to develop performance-based emergency preparedness programs instead of using the current prescriptive offsite radiological emergency planning requirements originally designed for large light-water reactors (LWRs)."
 
 

Hello Dear People!

 

We have worked hard to get to this point, and thanks to YOU and everyone who stood up to say No to the Permit to Pollute and hold DTE accountable - there is a public hearing TODAY November 28th at 6pm.



This hearing is our chance to pack the halls and let DTE and the state of Michigan know that the people are watching - that we will show up to protect our Great Lakes and public health! Please show up and give comments if you can!

Register for the Public Hearing TODAY Nov 28th 6pm ET
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has issued a draft permit for the Fermi 2 reactor to use and abuse Lake Erie water.
This proposed permit:
  • Lists pages of dangerous and carcinogenic chemicals Fermi is discharging into Lake Erie, and gives DTE until 2028 to stop this devastating pollution.
  • Gives no limits on thermal pollution, allowing Fermi to continue to heat Lake Erie and contribute to toxic algae blooms.
  • Does not have the EGLE using its authority to adequately test or regulate the radioactive elements (radionuclides) that can pollute drinking water around Fermi 2 and threaten our safety.
 
Anyone interested to le, you can watch the recording here. During the meeting, we got some great training on how to compose a comment for a public hearing, including examples of good vs bad comments, and practicing in front of an audience.
We have the chance to speak out together!
 
 
Here's something to remember: you don't need to be a nuclear expert to speak out against this dirty industry and the impact it has on our communities. We want to honor the wide range of experience, education, and bandwidth of our community showing up. All of us do not need to be experts on the topic. It is completely fine to step forward at the hearing and state: "This is who I am, these are our demands, and this is why this is important to me." What's important is that we are unified in saying NO to the pollution of our Great Lakes.
 
We have resources to make the process of making a public comment as easy as possible, you can find them here:
Public Comment Resources

Again, it is not only fine but encouraged for there to be a variety of levels of experience and education among those of us speaking out. We will all find our place in the broad scope of who is willing to stand for our waters and for public health.

 

The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, November 28th, at 6pm ET. Use the link below to register. We encourage you to indicate that you would like to make a comment in the registration but it is not necessary. You can opt to comment at the meeting, but you will be added to the back of the queue.

 

If you are not able to attend, EGLE will still receive written comments after the hearing and we will follow up with those instructions next week.

Register for the Public Hearing on Nov. 28th

If you are not able to attend, EGLE will still receive written comments on the permit through December 1st. You can submit them here:

Submit Written Comments

Only the PEOPLE will hold DTE accountable and stand to protect our health. We hope that you'll join us!

 

Thank you all so much, here is to a safe and just energy future.

 

Peace and Safety,

 

The CRAFT Team

Donate to Support

Citizen's Resistance At Fermi Two (CRAFT) is an Indigenous-led, grassroots, organization, committed to an accessible, fair, and just energy future for all! CRAFT originally formed after the Christmas Day 1993 incident at the Fermi2 nuclear reactor that dumped 1.5 million gallons of untreated toxic, radioactive water into Lake Erie. We will continue to push for the closing of Fermi2, and for a safer world powered by renewables.

 
 
An equipment issue at the Prairie Island plant near Red Wing hasn’t impacted electric service, but it could lead to higher fuel costs that are passed down to Xcel’s customers on their m…

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/investigations/2023/11/22/radioactive-material-houston-scrap-yard/71669534007/

A radioactive threat found in the middle of America's fourth largest city raises alarm

A Houston Police Department officer driving to work last month felt the buzzing vibration alert of a cell-phone sized device provided by the federal government as part of a grant program.

The buzzing was no phone call. It was a warning, about dangerous levels of radiation, right in the midst of the fourth largest city in America.

And the detector that found it was one of 2,000 carried in Houston – and 56,000 nationwide – aimed at preventing terrorists from slipping a radiation-spewing “dirty bomb” onto American streets.

Now, budget fights in Congress and a House majority seeking major spending cuts mean the office that supplied those detectors is on the chopping block.

During a House Homeland Security Committee hearing last week, representatives questioned the work of – and funding for – huge swaths of the federal security agencies, often focusing on border security.

But testimony that day from Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas brought to light the work of one lesser-known arms of anti-terror work: the agency’s Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction office.

He offered it as an example of where the system worked as intended, supporting a local agency to ward off disaster before it happened.

How 'hot' material ended up in a Houston scrap yard

As the detector buzzed Oct. 16, the Houston officer first suspected a false alarm. He circled his car back around to the same street. It went off again.

The detector, similar to a Geiger counter, was built to pick up gamma radiation. Soon, larger units arrived to help triangulate the radiation’s source.

DHS provides some officers backpack-sized devices. The agency says they can detect material as far as a mile away. It also provides truck-sized devices that can scan for radiation near major events like the Super Bowl and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

 

Houston’s sensors led them to a recycling yard on the city’s northwest side. There, the bomb squad isolated containers the size of paint cans. Officers only needed to wear specialized protective gear when they were closest to the material, past a “turn-back line” alerted by their detectors.

The radiation was not coming from a dirty bomb. It was only harmful within a few feet. But it was real radiation.

The source was Cesium-137, a material used in commercial and industrial settings. It is found in medical radiation therapy devices to treat cancer. As the byproduct of nuclear fission, it’s also found at the scene of nuclear reactor disasters — think Chernobyl.

In Houston, the radiation-emitting canisters had been used as flow gauges at a chemical plant. Instead of being properly stored, they had ended up at the scrap yard.

A crew carefully recovered four radioactive sources and transferred them to a U.S. Department of Energy storage facility near San Antonio.

Texas authorities are investigating the chain of custody of the material to determine how it ended up in the scrap yard and how long it had been there. Owners of the yard, which police have not named, will not face penalties because they cooperated with authorities, said Sgt. James Luplow, a member of the HPD bomb squad.

“This is not a very common occurrence. We routinely encounter radioactive material, but nothing at this level,” Luplow said. “It’s a textbook example of having a lot of people cruising around with these detectors.”

The ongoing threat of radioactive waste

Radioactive material ends up in scrap yards and causes major headaches for workers and those called to dispose of it.

In 1984, a scrap metal sale in Mexico led to one of the largest radiation disasters in U.S. history. About 600 tons of radioactive steel from Juarez ended up in 28 states. In that case, Cobalt-60 pellets caused radiation poisoning where junkyard employees became nauseated, had their fingernails turn black and suffered sterilization.

With a 30-year half-life, cesium isotopes can present a long-lasting threat if not properly disposed of at a storage facility.

Radioactive contamination of scrap materials happens far more frequently than people realize, said Jessica Bufford, a senior program officer at the non-profit global security organization Nuclear Threat Initiative.

“We’re concerned that a determined adversary like a criminal group or terrorists or lone wolf actor could steal a cesium device and use it as part of a dirty bomb to cause panic,” Bufford said. “It could be transported in powder form easily through water or air and spread over a large area.”

The material found in the Houston scrap yard was discarded waste, not a dirty bomb. But authorities say the need for detecting the radiation is the same in either scenario.

“You’d be detecting bombs,” said Luplow, the Houston sergeant. “But we’d much prefer to find it just in the material form, and it’s a lot easier to deal with.”

'No border security, no funding'

The Houston incident first came to light when Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified last week in front of the House panel.

 

Without naming the location, agency or date of the incident, Mayorkas said cryptically: “a local law enforcement officer equipped with some of the equipment we provide to detect radiological and nuclear material was wearing a device that detected abandoned material in a very unsafe location that could have caused tremendous harm to the people in the surrounding community.”

A DHS official referred further questions about details on the incident to Houston police.

The Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction office within DHS, created in 2018, had a five-year sunset clause and will shutter without reauthorization by Congress.

The Biden administration specifically lobbied key committees to save the DHS office and the jobs of roughly 230 employees plus 400 contractors. DHS officials want to see the office permanently funded. With a budget of $400 million a year, the staff works to detect chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.

The office works with 14 “high-risk” urban areas: New York City; Newark and Jersey City; Los Angeles and Long Beach; the Washington, D.C. area; Houston; Chicago; Atlanta; Miami; Denver; Phoenix; San Francisco; Seattle; Boston; and New Orleans.

GOP members of the House Freedom Caucus have blasted the DHS border policy under Mayorkas and have demanded the cuts as leverage for change.

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and 14 other Republicans signed on to a letter seeking no DHS funding until the changes: “No border security, no funding,” he wrote in a letter to colleagues.

Without approval, the office was set to shutter on Dec. 21. The current continuing resolution passed by Congress and signed by President Biden last week punts that deadline to February.

Nick Penzenstadler is a reporter on the USA TODAY investigations team. Contact him at npenz@usatoday.com or @npenzenstadler, or on Signal at (720) 507-5273.

Hello Dear People!

 

A big thank you to everyone who registered and attended our Community Learn-In last night! We had a fantastic turnout, shared good discussion, and are ready for the Public Hearing next Tuesday, November 28th at 6pm ET.

Register for the Public Hearing on Nov. 28th

It's actually something of a miracle that the Michigan Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) has granted us this hearing. In years past, we have been denied any kind of engagement on this permit and concerns around it. Again, THANK YOU to everyone who signed onto our public comment! The voices of the people made this happen. So, let's make good use of this hearing and pack the halls! All comments made at this hearing will go on the record in favor of protecting Lake Erie. Let's keep putting pressure on to Save Our Water and Our Health.

We have a range of resources available to support and educate ahead of the hearing. Check them out:

For those unable to attend and anyone wanting to replay the learn-in, you can watch the recording here. During the meeting, we got some great training on how to compose a comment for a public hearing, including examples of good vs bad comments, and practicing in front of an audience.

Here's something to remember: you don't need to be a nuclear expert to speak out against this dirty industry and the impact it has on our communities. We want to honor the wide range of experience, education, and bandwidth of our community showing up. All of us do not need to be experts on the topic. It is completely fine to step forward at the hearing and state: "This is who I am, these are our demands, and this is why this is important to me." What's important is that we are unified in saying NO to the pollution of our Great Lakes.

On the Resources page of our website, we have some documents shared to help prepare for the hearing. The first document, the Community Learn-In Resource, is one page laying out the building blocks for your comment. This is a great baseline to review if you're new to making statements and it spells out the demands CRAFT is making of Michigan and DTE.

If you would like a deeper dive into the issues at hand, the second and third documents in our resources are the public comments CRAFT submitted to EGLE regarding the offending permit. You can read more about the technical details of the permit if you are interested in engaging in discussions of greater depth.

Public Comment Resources

Again, it is not only fine but encouraged for there to be a variety of levels of experience and education among those of us speaking out. We will all find our place in the broad scope of who is willing to stand for our waters and for public health.

The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, November 28th, at 6pm ET. Use the link below to register. We encourage you to indicate that you would like to make a comment in the registration but it is not necessary. You can opt to comment at the meeting, but you will be added to the back of the queue.

If you are not able to attend, EGLE will still receive written comments after the hearing and we will follow up with those instructions next week.

Register for the Public Hearing on Nov. 28th

If you want to sign up for text reminders about the hearing, follow the link here:

Sign Up for Text Reminders

Only the PEOPLE will hold DTE accountable and stand to protect our health. We hope that you'll join us!

Thank you all so much, here is to a safe and just energy future.

Peace and Safety,

 

The CRAFT Team

Donate to Support

Citizen's Resistance At Fermi Two (CRAFT) is an Indigenous-led, grassroots, organization, committed to an accessible, fair, and just energy future for all! CRAFT originally formed after the Christmas Day 1993 incident at the Fermi2 nuclear reactor that dumped 1.5 million gallons of untreated toxic, radioactive water into Lake Erie. We will continue to push for the closing of Fermi2, and for a safer world powered by renewables.

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/story/2023-11-16/dismantling-the-san-onofre-nuclear-power-plant-is-more-than-60-completed

 

Dismantling the San Onofre nuclear power plant is more than 60% completed

Work in the reactor cavities is about 96 percent done. When finished, the hundreds of thousands of gallons of water will be purified to the level of acceptable drinking water so it can safely be discharged into the ocean.

www.sandiegouniontribune.com

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