News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman
From: Emily Arsenault <Emily.Arsenault @ ag.ny.gov>
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 15, 2011
New York City Press Office / 212-416-8060
Albany Press Office / 518-473-5525
nyag.pressoffice @ ag.ny.gov
A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN WINS FED RULING ON INDIAN POINT, IMPACTING RELICENSING
Indian Point Cannot Ignore Severe Accident Measures & Licenses Cannot Be Renewed Before Review Of Upgrades Completed
Peter Crane / 6545 27th Ave. NW / Seattle, WA 98117 / firstname.lastname@example.org / 206-783-8485 (home), 206-819-2661 (cell)
July 18, 2011
MEMORANDUM FOR: Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko
Commissioner Kristine L. Svinicki
Commissioner George Apostolakis
Commissioner William D. Magwood, IV
'Colossal blunder' on radioactive cattle feed / Govt officials admit responsibility for foul-up that let tainted beef enter nation's food supplySubmitted by webEditor on Thu, 08/25/2011 - 13:53
From the Daily Yomiuri Online:
Officials of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry have admitted they did not consider the possibility of cattle ingesting straw contaminated by radioactive substances emitted from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
"This is nothing less than a colossal blunder by our ministry. It was beyond our expectations that straw would become a source of radioactive contamination," a ministry official said.
A total of 143 beef cattle suspected of being contaminated with radioactive cesium after ingesting straw that was stored outdoors have been shipped from Fukushima Prefecture and distributed to wholesalers, retailers and consumers in various prefectures.
Livestock farmers and others in the meat industry have attacked the government for its failure to prevent the problem.
From the Japan Times:
A further 84 cows shipped from five beef cattle farms in Fukushima Prefecture were fed with hay containing high levels of radioactive cesium, the prefectural government said Saturday.
The cows were shipped between March 28 and July 13 to slaughterhouses in five prefectures — Miyagi, Fukushima, Yamagata, Saitama and Tokyo — and the Fukushima Prefectural Government has asked municipalities to check whether that meat has been distributed.
Fifty-three of the cows were sent to Tokyo, 19 to Fukushima Prefecture, eight to Kawaguchi in Saitama Prefecture, two to Yamagata Prefecture and two to Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture.
- From October 5-9, 2001, “Licensee sirens in Lancaster County were inoperable October 5 through October 9, 2001, due to a radio transmitter being deenergized at the county facility. The transmitter is part of the siren actuation system. This issue is unresolved pending further investigation into the lines of ownership and maintenance of the actuation system.” (IR 50-289/01-07).
- On January 11, 2002 , Siren testing at TMI encountered numerous problems: all sirens failed in York County and one siren failed in Lancaster County. AmerGen attributed to computer malfunctions.
- On March 3, 2002, a siren malfunctioned in York County again. During TMI’s annual test on on January 30, 2002, all 34 sirens in York County, located within ten-miles of the plant, failed to activate.
- On June 25, 2002, “...station emergency preparedness personnel discovered that the emergency planning siren base station at the site, was unable to communicate with the off site sirens, due to external radio frequency noise in the area.” (IR-50-277/02-05; 50-278/02- 05)
- On December 12, 2002, TMI sirens malfunctioned in Cumberland and York counties. In Dauphin County, 28 sirens malfunctioned due to the “inadvertent” discharge of the “space bar” by a computer operator (Refer to June 22, August 15 and October 5-9, 2001 and January 11, March 3 2002, for related problems.)
- On July 28, 2010, the NRC issued a report of an inspection at the Three Mile Island plant for the quarterly period ending June 30.
The NRC said it found no findings of significance. However, it noted that the TMI plant operator identified a violation that was determined to be of very low safety significance. The NRC said it would treat the violation as a non-cited violation.
The issued stemmed from the TMI Emergency Plan and the plant paging system. The report said that plant operator Exelon began testing its on-site speakers in March 2010. A total of 301 out of 405 speakers were tested, and of those tested, 108 had identified deficiencies, the report said. “Contrary to the TMI Emergency Plan, the 108 speakers would not provide immediate warning and instruction to on-site personnel during an emergency,” the report said. “Upon discovery, Exelon issued a standing order to issue blow horns to operations and security staff to notify people in areas that would need to be evacuated during an emergency.“ The report added, “The finding is of very low safety significance because prompt compensatory measures were taken upon discovery.”
- June 23, 2011, Three Mile Island's emergency sirens sounded at 12:15 p.m. Thursday as part of an annual test -- but it didn't work everywhere. The 96 sirens, which cover five counties and are within a 10- mile radius of TMI, were set to sound for three minutes. They sounded everywhere except in Lancaster County.
Officials ran another test, this time just in Lancaster County, at 1:15 p.m. At that time, the sirens did work in Lancaster County. (WGAL)
A Lancaster County EMA official said Lancaster County and another county pressed the siren test button simultaneously and the system did not register the Lancaster County test.
- July 14, 2011, A Three Mile Island warning siren sounded accidentally on Thursday afternoon, according to Dauphin County officials.
The TMI siren at 2nd and Hanover streets in Hummelstown inadvertently sounded at 1:19 p.m. It lasted for fewer than 30 seconds, according to Stephen Libhart, Director of the Dauphin County EMA.
Libhart says Exelon will repair or replace any components of the siren if necessary. (WGAL)
NRC’s Japan Task Force Recommends Changes To Defense In Depth Measures At Nuclear Plants; Cites Station Blackout, Seismic, Flooding And Spent Fuel Pools As Areas For ImprovementSubmitted by webEditor on Wed, 08/10/2011 - 16:06
From the NRC Report:
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Japan Task Force has proposed improvements in areas ranging from loss of power to earthquakes, flooding, spent fuel pools, venting and preparedness, and said a “patchwork of regulatory requirements” developed “piece-by-piece over the decades” should be replaced with a “logical, systematic and coherent regulatory framework” to further bolster reactor safety in the United States.
The report has been given to the five members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, who are responsible for making decisions regarding the Task Force’s recommendations.
While declaring that “a sequence of events like the Fukushima accident is unlikely to occur in the United States” and that plants can be operated safely, the Task Force also recognized that “an accident involving core damage and uncontrolled release of radioactivity to the environment, even one without significant health consequences, is inherently unacceptable.” Thus, the Task Force developed a comprehensive set of 12 recommendations – many with both short and long term elements – to increase safety and redefine what level of protection of public health is regarded as adequate. It also recommended additional study of some issues.
The well-known safety flaws of Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactors have gained significant attention in the wake of the four reactor accidents at Fukushima, but a more insidious danger lurks. In this video nuclear engineers Arnie Gundersen and David Lochbaum discuss how the US regulators and regulatory process have left Americans unprotected. They walk, step-by-step, through the events of the Japanese meltdowns and consider how the knowledge gained from Fukushima applies to the nuclear industry worldwide. They discuss "points of vulnerability" in American plants, some of which have been unaddressed by the NRC for three decades. Finally, they concluded that an accident with the consequences of Fukushima could happen in the US.
With more radioactive Cesium in the Pilgrim Nuclear Plant's spent fuel pool than was released by Fukushima, Chernobyl, and all nuclear bomb testing combined, Gundersen and Lockbaum ask why there is not a single procedure in place to deal with a crisis in the fuel pool? These and more safety questions are discussed in this forum presented by the C-10 Foundation at the Boston Public Library. Special thanks to Herb Moyer for the excellent video and Geoff Sutton for the frame-by-frame graphics of the Unit 3 explosion.
From The Morning Call
The attention of the Capitol's political class is now focused on July 15. That's the day that a special Marcellus Shale study commission, led by Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, is scheduled to vote on recommendations on how to address the local infrastructure and environmental impact of Pennsylvania's booming natural gas industry.
The panel's final report, due to be released a week later on July 22, will presumably answer the one question that's been on the minds of political observers and policy-makers for months: Will the commission, which is top-heavy with industry interests, recommend that lawmakers pass a Marcellus Shale impact fee or severance tax?
Its overall findings — which also are expected to address possible changes to state regulations and local ordinances — will shape the public debate for months to come. But it may be the impact fee question that looms largest.