• House subcommittees hold NRC hearing, Wednesday, September 9

NRC commissioners will testify Wednesday

Will this hearing be more than a friendly tea party?

Tell the chairmen what you think about the NRC and its blatant disregard for public safety, and that you want Congress to take seriously its oversight role. Faxing puts a letter in their office which they can’t delete, as they can an email. Calling is important, too.

Rep. Ed Whitfield
Washington, DC Office:
United States House of Representatives
2184 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-1701 DC
Phone: 202-225-3115 DC
Fax: 202-225-3547 
https://whitfield.house.gov/contact/email-me
Homepage: http://whitfield.house.gov/
Twitter: @RepEdWhitfield

Rep. John Shimkus
Washington, DC Office:
United States House of Representatives
2217 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5271
Fax: (202) 225-5880

Press Release:

The Subcommittee on Energy and Power, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), and the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), have scheduled a joint hearing for Wednesday, September 9, at 10:00 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Oversight of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”

The hearing will examine NRC’s long-term budget development and resource planning. Additionally, members will examine the proposed rulemaking associated with the Near Term Task Force (NTTF), which was established in response to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident in Japan. The NTTF is tasked with evaluating the incident and developing recommendations for reactors throughout the United States. Ongoing activities related to storage, transportation, and disposal of high-level nuclear waste will be examined as well.

The NRC plays a critical role in protecting public health, safety and the environment, and we at the committee take our oversight responsibility seriously. We look forward to hearing from the four NRC commissioners next week on issues including commission rulemaking, staffing projections and budgetary needs. At the top of the list are the ongoing issues regarding the management and disposal of spent nuclear fuel, especially as it relates to Yucca Mountain,” Chairman Whitfield and Chairman Shimkus said.

The only witnesses at the hearing:
  • Jeff Baran
    Commissioner, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Stephen Burns
    Commissioner, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • William Ostendorff
    Commissioner, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Kristine Svinicki
    Commissioner, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Why weren’t public advocacy organizations invited to testify on what the NRC is doing to harm the public ? Why are NRC commissioners the only invited participants? 

This is the NRC’s paper on Fukushima that is part of its present policy making proceeding .
http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1502/ML15021A530.pdf

THE FACTS: BOTTOM LINE

The available evidence continues to lead the NRC and other Federal, State and local governments to conclude the low levels of radiation leaking into the ocean from Fukushima Daiichi fall well short of posing any U.S. health or environmental risk.

As of March 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found “no evidence that radionuclides from the Fukushima incident are present in the U.S. food supply at levels that would pose a public health concern” [6]. Further, FDA states this is true for both regulated food products imported from Japan and our own domestic food products, including seafood that is caught off the U.S. West Coast [6]. In fact, the FDA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) jointly issued a statement indicating that they “have high confidence in the safety of seafood products in the U.S. marketplace or exported U.S. seafood products” [7].

The EPA utilizes a nationwide system called RadNet to monitor the nation’s air, drinking water, precipitation and pasteurized milk to determine levels of environmental radiation the American public is exposed to. RadNet sample analyses and monitoring results are able to detect increased radiation in the environment. RadNet has “not found any radioactive elements associated with the damaged Japanese reactors since late 2011, and even then, the levels found were very low—always well below any level of public health concern” [8].

In November 2014, WHOI scientists found trace amounts of Fukushima contamination about 100 miles (150 km) due west of Eureka, California [11]. The amount of radioactivity reported in this offshore data is 1,000 times lower than EPA drinking water standards.

Available evidence leads the NRC to conclude the Pacific contamination will not affect U.S. public health.

Because of its long half-life, radioactive Cesium (Cs-137) is the primary isotope of concern from a health perspective for the U.S. West Coast.

Really? Not strontium,  the “bone seeker”, or plutonium,  or any of the other radioactive poisons spilling into the Pacific from Fukushima at the rate of hundreds of tons per day.

No, for the NRC and in the information they provide the public, which also drives their policy-making, these are only “leaks”, like drips from a faucet.

No mention is made of rainwater at UC Berkeley being 181 times higher than EPA drinking water standards at the beginning. No mention is made of US government scientists finding initial levels of xenon gas equivalent to a one megaton atomic blast in the US, or that high levels lasted for weeks. No mention of the continued iodine-131 detections from Fukushima. No mention of the worsening situation with diseased, starving, non-reproducing, or dead marine wildlife up and down the West Coast.

Read more from this scientifically laughable report here:
http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1502/ML15021A530.pdf

This is the same Nuclear Regulatory Commission which told government scientists who wanted to help in the beginning to knock it off, to back off and certainly not to talk to the press.[1]

This is the commission the subcommittees want to have a chat with, but without any experts with critical responses to the NRC’s actions.

They put everyone’s lives at risk.

[1] http://enformable.com/2012/02/nrc-worried-about-us-national-labs-chomping-at-the-bit-to-help-with-fukushima-radiation-analysis-call-lab-directors-and-say-knock-it-off/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Enformable+%28Enformable%29

http://energycommerce.house.gov/press-release/subcommittees-continue-oversight-nuclear-regulatory-commission-0 Press release

http://docs.house.gov/meetings/IF/IF18/20150909/103923/HMTG-114-IF18-20150909-SD002.pdf  Background memo

http://energycommerce.house.gov/hearing/oversight-nuclear-regulatory-commission  Hearing information

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• Fukushima chronology of events

A compilation of all ENE News articles on Fukushima is here, with the linked article titles and dates, from the beginning of the disaster.

From Picasso Dreams:
http://www.picassodreams.com/files/fukushima-pacific-ocean-chronology-pdf.pdf

Scientists are “baffled”, “befuddled”, concerned”, and “curious” about the die-off of the Pacific Ocean.

Almost no one mentions the F word, Fukushima. I put together a list of links from Enenews.com that show a direct correlation between the Fukushima and the die-off, even if scientists refuse to admit it. Every story comes from a major publication. These stories have been out since the beginning of the meltdowns. There is not one scientist studying this who does not have access to this information. Either they chose to look the other way or they are incompetent researchers who don’t really want to know the truth.

There are a thousand links here, all in chronological order. If you are pressed for time, skip to the back and read backwards to see how bad it really is. I put this file together so that when someone says prove it, at least there are 50 plus  pages [there are 61 pages]of links that prove that Fukushima is killing the North Pacific Ocean.

Humans are next.

 

 

• Comments to the NRC on Diablo Canyon relicensing

Comments submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
On Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant re-licensing
Docket Nos. 50-275 and 50-323NRC-2009-0552

Given the earthquake faults, the ongoing radioactive emissions from the plant, and the hacking risk to the plant, as well as PG&E’s deplorable safety record and culture, Diablo Canyon must be immediately shut down and decommissioned. The danger to the ocean, to the West Coast, and the world from nuclear energy has been amply demonstrated with the ongoing disaster at Fukushima.

The NRC allows Diablo Canyon to continue operating despite holding other NPPs to much higher and stricter standards. The Union of Concerned Scientists reported last year that Diablo Canyon does not comply with federal safety standards.[i]

Despite the disclosure this year that PG&E used the wrong accident and earthquake data when building safety equipment, and has failed since 1984 to use updated data, the NRC allows Diablo Canyon to remain open.[ii]

Also disclosed was that PG&E and the NRC altered Diablo Canyon’s operating license so it would conform.

Diablo Canyon discharges huge amounts of tritium, strontium and cesium into the ocean continually. PG&E stated in 2014 that Diablo Canyon regularly discharges more tritium than Fukushima NPP in its melted down state is pouring into the ocean.

That water [in 2012] contained 3,670 curies of tritium, or 136 trillion becquerels, according to the company, almost three-and- a-half times the amount released from the Fukushima plant into the ocean in the period starting May 2011. The plant also discharged cesium-137 and strontium-90, though at lower levels than Fukushima.[iii]

Since it was estimated in June 2014 that 60 PBq of cesium-137 had been released into the ocean from Fukushima[iv], and TEPCO announced that 5 billion Bq of Strontium-90 are released daily into the ocean from Fukushima[v], the questions have to be asked:

  • How much less?
  • Does it really matter how much less when we are dealing with such virulent poisons, poisons that bioaccumulate up the food chain?

Strontium mimics calcium and is known as the bone seeker.

There are unknown normal airborne releases, as well as periodic high releases when the reactors are re-fueled. These releases are averaged over 365 days, rather than given as the figures per release[vi]. The rain-out amounts from Diablo Canyon emissions combined with Fukushima fallout can only be imagined.

This is very serious and ongoing radioactive contamination of the environment.

In addition, there is the hazard from the power plant’s reliance on grid power.

Arne Gundersen:

…the most likely type of a nuclear accident is caused by a loss of offsite power.  That is what happened at Fukushima:  the power system AROUND the plant broke down.  If that happens, not only will the plant not have power, but the street lights won’t work.  According to the NRC, the street lights DO work.  Not only that, but your home lighting won’t work and your radio and TV won’t work.  But according to the NRC, you will be able to contact the outside world by phones or by radio or by television.   But remember the most likely cause of a nuclear accident is loss of offsite power and that has NEVER been part of an emergency plan, assuming that all of that does not work.[vii]

There are increasing attacks to the power grid. PG&E has played a pivotal role in creating the so-called “Smart Grid”, which former CIA director James Woolsey calls a stupid grid because of its vulnerability[viii]. PG&E has also aggressively Installed wireless Smart Meters and encouraged network-connected Smart appliances, creating millions of vectors to the power grid and increasing exponentially the possibilities for hacking[ix].

These factors put the residents of the region in increased jeopardy. A hacked power grid disconnects essential power for keeping reactor cores and fuel pools cool. Without power, the power plant must rely on generators to turn on instantly at full power and sustain operation for as long as needed.

Fukushima’s troubles started before the tsunami. The earthquake cut off electrical power to the plant, and at least some of the generators failed when they were turned on. Journalist Greg Palast in Vulture’s Picnic has a long and detailed section on the vulnerability of generators as backup power.

A page from the notebook of an Emergency Diesel Generator expert, R.D. Jacobs, hired to monitor a test for a nuclear reactor’s back-up cooling system.

This is to record that on my last visit,….I pressed [a company executive] saying that we just did not know what the axial vibration of the crankshaft was doing to the [diesel] units. I was unable to impress him sufficiently.

The diesels were “tested” by turning them on for a few minutes at low power. They worked find. But R.D., a straight shooter, suspected problems. He wanted the motors opened and inspected. He was told by power company management to go to hell.

When we forced the plant builder [in Suffolk County, New York] to test the three Emergency Diesel Generators in emergency conditions, one failed almost immediately (the crankshaft snapped, as R.D.[Jacobs} predicted), then the second, then the third. We named the three diesels “Snap, Crackle, and Pop.”

…I knew that all these diesels were basically designed, or even taken from, cruise ship engine rooms or old locomotives. . I’m not an engineer, but I suspect a motor designed for a leisurely float n Bermuda is not fit for a life-and-death scramble. So, I asked [an industry insider], “They really can’t work at all, the diesels, can they?”

That’s when he introduced me to the phrase “crash start.”

On a ship, he explained, you would take half an hour to warm up the bearings, and then slowly build up to “critical” crankshaft speed, and only then add the “load.” the propeller…

That’s for sailing. But in a nuclear emergency, “the diesels have to go from stationary to taking a full load in less than ten seconds.”

Worse, to avoid having to buy additional diesels, the nuclear operators turbo-charge them, revving them to 4,000 horsepower in ten seconds when they are designed for half that output.

The result: snap, crackle, pop.

I learned that, at Fukushima, at least two of the diesels failed before the tsunami hit. What destroyed those diesels was turning them on. In other words, the diesels are junk, are crap, are not capable of getting up to full power in seconds, then run continuously for days….

”So, you saying emergency diesels can’t work in an emergency?”

“Actually, they’re just not designed for it.”

Vulture’s Picnic, p. 294-297

Scientific American had a very telling graphic with a computer keyboard, a time bomb, and a power plant[x].

I would not visit San Luis Obispo County nor would I live there because of this resident hazard.

The U.S. government is ultimately at fault for promoting these hazardous power plants in the first place. But even with safety regulations in place, the NRC clearly cannot police itself, and it certainly cannot provide even a bare minimum of safety for the nuclear power plants under its jurisdiction and the people who live in the vicinity.

It is lunacy to continue this extremely toxic method for generating electricity, when the current costs to society and the environment from its continuance are so high and go on permanently into the future. Solar is coming online in increasing levels, and Californians’ energy use has been dropping. The cost is too great to allow its continuance one more day.

Shut down Diablo Canyon now.

 

[i] http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/diablo-canyon-report-0381.html

[ii] http://www.foe.org/news/news-releases/2015-03-diablo-pge-secretly-used-wrong-data-for-safety-equipment#sthash.8DQl1ReI.dpuf

[iii] http://www.telegram.com/article/20140203/NEWS/302039780/1052

[iv] http://www.nature.com/srep/2014/140304/srep04276/full/srep04276.html

[v] At press conference 8/25/14 http://www.tepco.co.jp/tepconews/library/archive-j.html

[vi] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk7xzg1T0kk&feature=player_detailpage#t=1574

[vii] http://fairewinds.com/content/white-house-nrc-recommend-50-mile-fukushima-evacuation-yet-insist-us-safe-only-10

[viii] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lF3eywqD-I

[ix] http://www.smartgridnews.com/artman/publish/End_Use_Smart_Homes/Are-smart-homes-a-security-threat-to-electric-power-utilities-5914.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2013/07/26/smart-homes-hack/

http://www.sfgate.com/technology/article/Security-lags-in-protecting-Internet-connected-5153837.php#photo-5734988

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-01/turkish-blackout-shows-world-power-grids-under-threat

“More and more attacks are targeting the industrial control systems that run the production networks of critical infrastructure, stealing data and causing damage,” said David Emm, a principal researcher at Moscow-based security company Kaspersky Lab Inc., which advises governments and businesses.

All power use was previously measured by mechanical meters, which were inspected and read by a utility worker. Now, utilities are turning to smart meters, which communicate live data to customers and the utility company. This opens up the systems to hackers…

“Introducing smart meters means you install access points to the electricity grid in private homes,” said Reinhard Gruenwald, an energy expert at the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag, a scientific institution advising German lawmakers. “You can’t physically protect those. If criminals are smart enough, they may be able to manipulate them.”

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/tech-biz/07/16/14/smart-technology-could-make-utilities-more-vulnerable-hackers

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2011/1206/Cyber-security-Power-grid-grows-more-vulnerable-to-attack-report-finds

Massachusetts Institute for Technology — “Millions of new communicating electronic devices … will introduce attack vectors — paths that attackers can use to gain access to computer systems or other communicating equipment. That increase[s] the risk of intentional and accidental communications disruptions,” including “loss of control over grid devices, loss of communications between grid entities or control centers, or blackouts.”

[x] http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/power-hackers/