— Massachusetts: Seawater leak forces 72% power reduction at Pilgrim; NRC said plant has “poor maintenance, poor engineering practices, and equipment reliability problems”

By Michael P. Norton STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
February 7, 2017

A seawater leak at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station has prompted plant operators to sharply reduce energy output there.

Control room operators reduced power to about 50 percent on Monday afternoon, Feb. 6, after there was an indication of a leakage into the Plymouth plant’s condenser.

A power plant spokesman told the News Service on Tuesday morning that the plant is now operating at 28 percent while repair work is undertaken.

Entergy Pilgrim Station spokesman Patrick O’Brien did not have an estimate of how much seawater leaked into the plant’s condenser.

“There is no challenge to worker or public health or safety and no radiologial release occurred as a result of this brief leak,” he said in a statement. “The reduction in power enabled operators to isolate the leakage so workers can make repairs. Restoration of full power will follow the repair.”

Pilgrim experienced a similar seawater intrusion last year, O’Brien said.

After a final planned refueling the plant this year, Pilgrim owner Entergy plans to shut the plant down in 2019.

Critics of the plant point to repeated problems there that have necessitated shutdowns as proof that the plant should close now. Pilgrim officials say the plant is safe and have repeated over the years that the safety of the public and plant staff has not been put at risk.

The coastal power plant closed down for a week in December to repair a steam leak.

The plant was also in the news recently after media outlets obtained an internal Nuclear Regulatory Commission email documenting safety concerns found at the plant during an NRC inspection in December.

[See http://www.beyondnuclear.org/home/2016/12/8/misdirected-nrc-email-reveals-overwhelmed-safety-workforce-a.html  ]

The email detailed “poor maintenance, poor engineering practices, and equipment reliability problems” at the plant, which can produce 680 megawatts of power using its boiling water reactor.

http://pembroke.wickedlocal.com/news/20170207/seawater-leak-forces-reduced-power-at-pilgrim-nuclear-power-plant

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— 22 security guards at Palisades placed on leave for falsifying fire inspection records

Posted on Enformable

July 19, 2016

Officials from the Palisades nuclear power plant in Michigan operated by Entergy have confirmed that 22 workers have been placed on paid leave after it was found that fire inspection records had been falsified.

One of the duties of security officers at some nuclear power plants is to conduct routine checks to ensure that there are no indications of fires.  These fire inspections are part of a commitment made by licensees instead of upgrading or modifying nuclear power plants to remove the threat of fires affecting the performance of critical safety systems.

Val Gent, spokeswoman for the nuclear power plant said, “we cannot tolerate employees stating they completed a task when they didn’t, and we are obligated to fully investigate any such instances.”

Several of the security officers placed on leave have told reporters that they are being treated as scapegoats by plant management, and claim they were never trained to perform the fire inspections.

“Now the company [Entergy] lawyer is asking us questions, saying the NRC will be speaking with us…and that we could be criminally liable,” a suspended security officer told a reporter from WWMT News Channel 3.

The falsification of fire reports was discovered in June when physical documents indicating fire inspections had been performed were found to not match the digital records from security key cards tracking employee movements in the plant.   Entergy began an internal investigation after finding the discrepancy.

In 2013 and 2014, employees at the Entergy-owned Waterford nuclear power plant in Louisiana were also found to have falsified nearly a year’s worth of fire watch logs.w

Source: Detroit Free Press

Source: WWMT

22 security guards at Palisades placed on leave for falsifying fire inspection records

Massachusetts: Nuclear expert questions how long Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station operated without emergency generators

From The Enterprise

Nuclear safety expert seeks data about Pilgrim incident

By Christine Legere
The Cape Cod Times
Posted Jul. 1, 2016

PLYMOUTH – A well-known nuclear safety expert is looking for more information from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regarding a report that both emergency diesel generators at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station had been out of commission at the same time for a short period in April while the reactor was operating at full power.

David Lochbaum, director of the Nuclear Safety Program for the Union of Concerned Scientists, questions how long the plant had been running with no emergency generators, which provide a default power source to safely shut down the reactor, maintain safe shutdown conditions and operate all essential systems if primary and secondary power sources have failed.

The Pilgrim plant can continue to operate for only 24 hours with both generators down, under conditions of its license. If one isn’t back online within that time frame, the reactor must go into cold shutdown, Lochbaum pointed out in his email.

Entergy, Pilgrim’s owner-operator, filed an event report on the April incident with federal regulators on June 9. The report is required because it was “a condition that could have prevented the fulfillment of the safety function of a system needed to shut down the reactor and maintain it in a safe shutdown condition, remove residual heat and mitigate the consequences of an accident,” according to the report.

The document said workers had removed one of the plant’s two diesel generators from service for planned maintenance at 7 p.m. April 11. More than 25 hours after shutting down the generator, a worker noticed water leaking across the floor “at 130 drops a minute” from a pipe coupling on the generator believed to be still operable.

Workers determined the leak was caused by stress corrosion and pronounced the generator inoperable, leaving the plant with no working generators.

Workers fixed the leak and put the diesel generator back in service shortly before noon April 12.

Meanwhile, Mary Lampert, a Duxbury resident and director of Pilgrim Watch, said she believed the situation occurred because of aging equipment and lack of vigilance.

“It’s the same old story: Entergy running the reactor on the cheap – generating not required backup power but trouble for us and themselves,” wrote Lampert in an email.

While Lampert noted Pilgrim workers used to operate on eight-hour shifts, which would have resulted in three checks of the diesel room daily rather than the current two, Patrick O’Brien, speaking for Entergy Corp., said the change to 12-hour shifts occurred in the 1990s, before Entergy bought the plant. O’Brien added that Pilgrim still maintains a full staff of 650 employees.

“The plant’s operations professionals maintain scheduled rounds of all protected equipment when another system is out of service, and the procedures in place ensure the plant maintains safe operations,” O’Brien wrote.

‘‘Proper procedure was followed, and there was no impact on public health or worker safety. At the time, the plant had access to its other back-up power source – the station’s blackout generator – as well as the preferred source, off-site power.”

Follow Christine Legere on Twitter: @chrislegereCCT.

http://www.enterprisenews.com/news/20160701/nuclear-safety-expert-seeks-data-about-pilgrim-incident

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

— Visible plume from NY Fitzgerald nuclear plant

From Activist Post

There’s No Covering Up This One — Visible Pollution Leaking from NY Nuclear Plant

by Matt Agorist
June 28, 2016

US Coast Guard officials have cordoned off a portion of Lake Ontario this week, after aerial spotters found a visible “sheen” that is coming from a nuclear power plant in upstate New York.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary aircrew first noticed the sheen on Sunday. Shortly after, a boat crew from the Oswego station tested the sheen and a “temporary safety zone” was put in place.

The Free Thought Project spoke to the Coast Guard Sector Buffalo Command Center on Tuesday and confirmed that the zone was still closed off, and there is no information as to when it will reopen.

The oil sheen is said to be coming from the vent for the hydrogen seal system of the Fitzpatrick plant is in Scriba, New York, approximately 10 miles northeast of Oswego.

According to the Democrat and ChronicleEntergy Corporation, which operates the plant, found the source of the oil on the roof of a turbine building, said Neil Sheehan, a public affairs officer for the NRC.

“It appears about 20 to 30 gallons that leaked were then drained through the plant’s discharge drain system to the lake,” said NRC public affairs officer Neil Sheehan. “The company has placed oil-absorbent pads on the turbine building roof and has also stopped all circulating water pumps to eliminate any further discharges.”

Despite the miles-long spill coming from their nuclear power plant, Entergy is claiming that the sheen has not impacted the operation of the plant.

It appears that this Fitzpatrick leak is likely the least worrisome of current leaks popping up around the country.

Although the media spotlight is rarely shined upon America’s aging nuclear infrastructure, U.S. nuclear power plants are decaying rapidly, precipitating numerous nuclear environmental disasters across the country.

To give you an idea of the scope of the crisis facing America’s aging nuclear infrastructure, a startling investigation by the Associated Press found radioactive tritium leaking from three-quarters of all commercial nuclear power sites in the United States.

As The Free Thought Project reported last month, a major nuclear disaster is unfolding in Washington state at what is known as the Hanford nuclear site. There have been reports that the Hanford has been leaking massive amounts of radioactive material for over two weeks.

Only a week after 19 workers were sent for medical evaluation after a waste tank they were moving was found to be leaking, 3 more workers have reportedly been injured at the site. The workers reportedly inhaled radioactive fumes – the same issue facing the 19 previously hospitalized workers, according to reports, bringing the total number of workers injured at the site up to 22.

On top of the Hanford disaster, in recent months, a fire at the Bridgeton Landfill is closing in on a nuclear waste dump, according to a Missouri emergency plan recently distributed by St. Louis County officials. The landfill fire has been burning for over five years, and they have been unable to contain it thus far.

There are clouds of smoke that have been billowing from the site, making the air in parts of St. Louis heavily contaminated. In 2013, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster sued Republic Services, the company responsible for the landfill, charging the company with neglecting the site and harming the local environment.

Last year, city officials became concerned that the fire may reach the nearby Lake Landfill, which is littered with decades worth of nuclear waste from government projects and weapons manufacturing. Remnants from the Manhattan Project and the Cold War have been stuffed there for generations. The site has been under the control of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) since 1990, but they failed to make any significant effort to clean up the waste.

In December of last year, the EPA announced that it would install a physical barrier in an effort to isolate the nuclear waste. But the timeline given by the EPA said it could take up to a year to complete. Residents aren’t comforted by that timetable, and think the government, despite years of warning, has done too little to stave off a possible environmental disaster. They are right.

To add to the legitimacy of the residents’ worries about the government’s timeline, the ground has yet to be broken, the fire is still smoldering, and the EPA just finalized, on Thursday, an Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent (Settlement) requiring Bridgeton Landfill, LLC to start work on the isolation barrier system at the West Lake Landfill Superfund Site.

Aside from the threat of the U.S. military’s decades-old nuclear waste erupting into flames in the near future, there are also two nuclear reactors inside the United States, which have been leaking for months.

In Florida, a recent study commissioned by Miami-Dade County concluded that the area’s four-decades-old nuclear power plants at Turkey Point are leaking polluted water into Biscayne Bay.

This has raised alarm among county officials and environmentalists that the plant, which sits on the coastline, is polluting the bay’s surface waters and its fragile ecosystem, reports the NY Times. In the past two years, bay waters near the plant have had a large saltwater plume that is slowly moving toward wells several miles away that supply drinking water to millions of residents in Miami and the Florida Keys.

Samples taken during the study show everything from the deadly radioactive isotope, tritium, to elevated levels of salt, ammonia, and phosphorous. So far, according to the scientists conducting the study, the levels of tritium are too low to harm people. However, in December, and January, the levels were far higher than they should be in nearby ocean water which is a telling sign of a much larger underlying problem.

“We now know exactly where the pollution is coming from, and we have a tracer that shows it’s in the national park,” said Laura Reynolds. Reynolds is an environmental consultant who is working with the Tropical Audubon Society and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, which intend to file the lawsuit, according to the Times. “We are worried about the marine life there and the future of Biscayne Bay.”

Fifteen hundred miles north of the leaking reactors in Florida is the Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York. Since the beginning of this year, there’s been an uncontrollable radioactive flow from the Indian Point nuclear power plant that continues leaking into groundwater, which leads to the Hudson River, raising the specter of a Fukushima-like disaster only 25 miles from New York City.

The Indian Point nuclear plant is located on the Hudson River and serves the electrical needs of an estimated 2 million people. In January, while preparing a reactor for refueling, workers accidentally spilled some contaminated water, containing the radioactive hydrogen isotope tritium, causing a massive radiation spike in groundwater monitoring wells, with one well’s radioactivity increasing by as much as 65,000 percent.

The tritium leak is the ninth in just the past year, four of which were severe enough to shut down the reactors. But the most recent leak, however, according to an assessment by the New York Department of State as part of its Coastal Zone Management Assessment, contains a variety of radioactive elements such as strontium-90, cesium-137, cobalt-60, and nickel-63, and isn’t limited to tritium contamination.

As the utility companies and government agencies continue to downplay the severity of these situations, the residents who live the closest to these spots are already feeling the effects.

According to a recent report, Radiation and Public Health Project researchers compared the state and national cancer data from 1988-92 with three other five-year periods (1993-97, 1998-02, and 2003-07). The results, published in 2009, show the cancer rates going from 11 percent below the national average to 7 percent above in that time span. Unexpected increases were detected in 19 out of 20 major types of cancer. Thyroid cancer registered the biggest increase, going from 13 percent below the national average to 51 percent above.

While the U.S. war machine spends hundreds of billions of dollars per year waging war against humanity, Americans at home are dying from a crumbling nuclear infrastructure. The realization that multiple nuclear disasters are currently unfolding across the country, while the mainstream media remains silent, speaks to the fact that most media is owned by the same benefactors that have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

Matt Agorist is the co-founder of TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared. He is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. .

http://www.activistpost.com/2016/06/visible-pollution-leaking-from-ny-nuclear-plant.html

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

— Radioactive blues: NRC relicensing hearing of Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Station (Mississippi) held 1000 miles away in D.C. May 4

From Mining Awareness
May 2, 2016

To Obama’s statement after B.B. King’s death, almost a year ago, that “there’s going to be one killer blues session in heaven tonight.” one can but reply that there’s going to be a killer of a nuclear accident in Mississippi or somewhere else soon, and that will be a reason for a killer blues session in heaven alright.https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/05/15/bb-king-blues-has-lost-its-king-and-america-has-lost-legend
BB King performs "Merry Christmas Baby" at the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. December 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
BB King on December 9, 2010 in DC. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Obama apparently intends to evac to his father’s birthplace, Kenya, or he wouldn’t have beem running around the world begging to dump foreign nuclear waste upon America, to be buried there, under the guise of “non-proliferation”. Unless, of course, he’s just blinkered, drugged up and/or insane.
Grand Gulf Steam
Grand Gulf Nuclear Reactor near Port Gibson, Mississippi

When a man was found hung last year near Port Gibson Mississippi, the news was heard around the world. When B. B. King passed away last year, it made international news, as had the death of Elvis, also a Mississippian. When accusations were made that B.B. King was poisoned, once again it made news. His visitation and funeral in Mississippi made international news, as well. They are both lucky to have died and miss what’s to come.

But, when the US NRC-Entergy are already legally, and illegally, poisoning land, air and water with deadly radionuclides, and courting a major nuclear disaster in B.B. King’s and Elvis’ home state of Mississippi, not a peep is heard.

The fact that the neighboring Jefferson county, just downriver from Grand Gulf, is the fattest county in a fat country has made world headlines.[1] But, there is no discussion of if this may be due to thyroid damage from radioiodine coming out of Grand Gulf – the largest single nuclear reactor in the US.

When the US NRC-Entergy are playing statistical games which may, at any moment, lead to reactor pressure vessel failure and major nuclear disaster in Mississippi, it doesn’t make news at all, even though it will probably impact much of North America, depending on the luck of the wind direction and rain (or lack thereof). There is no room for the 20 to 40% error allowed by the NRC, when it comes to a potential major nuclear disaster.
https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/us-nrc-sneak-through-alert-comment-deadline-today-at-11-59-et-request-hearing-by-1-june/
https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/us-nrc-safety-abuses-alert-comment-deadline-april-30-at-11-59-eastern-time-request-hearing-by-1-june/
https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/dangerous-maximum-extended-load-line-limit-plus-for-largest-us-nuclear-reactor-urgent-comment-demand-hearing-now/

The US NRC is having a hearing where people could speak in Washington DC, almost 1,000 miles away from the Mississippi nuclear reactor on May 4th.http://meetings.nrc.gov/pmns/mtg To speak, one is supposed to give five days notice. And, yet the official announcement only came out on April 19th, and we didn’t find that people could do presentations until May 1st. We found out about the meeting ca April 26th, but not that people could speak. The “Safety Evaluation Report, Related to the License Renewal of Grand Gulf Nuclear Station, Unit 1, Docket No. 50-416, Entergy Operations, Inc.“, United States Nuclear Regulatory CommissionOffice of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, April 2016 is a daunting 777 pages which makes even less sense than most NRC documents. http://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1609/ML16090A252.pdf As it’s a technical document, one may estimate 4 or more hours per day which might be spent reviewing it over the course of April 4th to May 4th, if it were well-written and comprehensible. But, it’s not. The parts that we read basically say that Entergy failed to do this and that and the US NRC asked them to do this or that and that the US NRC is ok with their follow-up.

But, should we be ok with the follow-up? An educated guess is most likely not. And yet, each topic has related documents, meaning that one would probably need to examine 1000s of pages, meaning more like a dozen hours per day for one month. And, that allows no preparation of a presentation, nor the travel time. If a Ph.D. who is pretty good at reading bureaucratic crap, and who has been reading US NRC crap for two or three years finds it too daunting to deal with, what about other people? Even if one were motivated to work night and day and beg for an audience, the US NRC is lap-dog to the nuclear industry.

The Japanese are neat, orderly, and think of everything. If you think that Fukushima is bad, a nuclear disaster in the US is going to be a never-ending radioactive Katrina, where people are just left to die, as they were in New Orleans. A nuclear disaster in the UK will be worse than their massive flu epidemic, around 16 or 17 years ago, where they had no room for the bodies. History tells us that after a nuclear accident in Europe, the French will probably try to pretend it never happened. Of course, the US will probably try this as well, but the truth will come out – too late for people to take shelter, as with the plutonium flying out from WIPP. Mississippi may actually fare better than most due to low population density, many people still having a farm work ethic and the heavy military-retired military presence in the state. But, you can be certain that the Feds will treat it like New Orleans.

[…]

[1] Claiborne County, home to the Grand Gulf nuclear reactor is 84% African American. Just down river is Jefferson County, the county with “the highest percentage of African Americans of any county in the United States, as well as being the most obese in the nation statistically.” Both are among the poorest counties in the United States.” Jefferson is 85.7% African American. The county seat of Fayette is 97.37% African American. At 37% the State of Mississippi still has the highest percentage of African Americans in the USA.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claiborne_County,_Mississippihttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_County,_Mississippi

Siting Nukes in a Poor Black Town — If A Black President Does It, Is It Still Environmental Racism?” 07/04/2010 05:12 am ET, Updated May 25, 2011
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-dixon/siting-nukes-in-a-poor-bl_b_559103.html

Related from 2004 pointing out that the county failed to get promised and needed infrastructure due to the cost overruns during construction of Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Station. The NIRS found that one evacuation road near the nuclear power station had ben washed out.https://www.wiseinternational.org/nuclear-monitor/616/us-nrc-adopts-jim-crow-policy-nuclear-licensing

Report about tritium at incomplete Grand Gulf Nuclear Reactor next to the operating reactor. It was flushed to the Mississippi River, where people still fish and many communities, including New Orleans, get their drinking water. No one has clarified where this tritium came from and why they believe there won’t be more! The 106,400 picocuries flushed is 3,936.8 becquerels per liter. This is over 5 times the amount of tritium allowed in drinking water in the US and over 50 times the California Public Health goal. How the tritium was in the incomplete building apparently remains a mystery.http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1215/ML12157A182.pdf (Note that in another context we finally found that there is apparently a long-standing pipe problem, which probably led to the tritium discharge and which we need to post about.)

More information on Grand Gulf, which hasn’t made it into the mainstream news either
http://www.stuarthsmith.com/nuclear-plant-workers-dump-large-amount-of-radioactive-tritium-directly-into-mississippi-river/
https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/04/28/us-nrc-impact-of-environmental-conditions-on-nuclear-waste-dry-storage-comment-deadline-may-4-2015/
https://robertsingleton.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/event-reports-fire-at-mississippi-nuke-a-supervisor-on-drugs-at-florida-facility-and-a-mistaken-alert-and-an-arkansas-tv-station-issues-an-inaccurate-emergency-alert/
https://robertsingleton.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/event-reports-fires-in-south-carolina-and-florida-a-lightning-strike-in-mississippi-and-a-reactor-shutdown-in-illinois/
https://robertsingleton.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/event-report-grand-gulf-worker-fired-for-drug-use/
https://robertsingleton.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/drunk-supervisor-at-mississippi-nuke/
A tritium report from Grand Gulf:http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1407/ML14071A249.pdf

Obama was happy to have B.B. King at the White House, but does nothing to protect Mississippians or other Americans from imminent danger – probably because of the funding which he’s gotten from nuclear utility Exelon. Obama’s “push for more nuclear energy came after the nation’s biggest nuclear power company strongly backed his candidacy. Illinois-based Exelon was one of the biggest corporate backers of then-Sen. Obama’s 2008 presidential run. The company’s director, John W. Rogers, served on Obama’s finance committee and bundled $193,598 to the Illinois senator’s campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Rogers also sat on the president’s Inaugural Committee and donated $50,000 to the 2009 Inauguration. ComEd CEO Frank Clark bundled $75,100 in contributions to the Obama presidential campaign. (ComEd is a subsidiary of Exelon.) Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel made millions when he joined an investment bank in Chicago and shepherded through the merger deal between PECO Energy and Unicom that created Exelon.https://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2011/03/23/nuclear-industry-lobbyists-battle-fallout-from-japan-reactor-crisis

He does nothing to stop the poisoning of Tennessee either, probably so Exelon can decommission its nuclear reactors on the cheap by sending the waste to landfills. https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2014/09/28/what-makes-tennessee-so-popular-as-a-nuclear-waste-dump-not-its-great-singers/

Obama had a white mother and an African father from Kenya. He was raised by white grandparents. Thus, he is not African American. African Americans arrived during a 200 year period starting ca 1614 and mostly from west Africa. He does not share the history or culture, except through marriage. But, his wife apparently doesn’t care either.

 

https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/05/02/radioactive-blues-grand-gulf-nuclear-power-station-relicensing-hearing-a-1000-miles-away-in-dc-on-may-4th/

• Knocking on the Devil’s Door: Our Deadly Nuclear Legacy (VIDEO)

Directed by Gary Null

Excerpt:

Greg Palast (57:40 in video)

Hillary Clinton’s “big client was Entergy which now owns the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York, where Senator Clinton was very reluctant to call for the closure of this obvious danger right near New York City.”

“They [Entergy] basically own the Clinton family, and I saw this when I was working an investigation in Britain where Entergy, this little company from Little Rock, Arkansas, bought the entire London electric system because of the connection between Entergy and the Clintons and their influence with the Blair government in Britain. And then Entergy turned around and flipped the London electric company for a billion dollar profit in just a few months.

What does Entergy do for the President and for the first lady at the time? Remember that there was an investigation of her billing records? I never heard anyone say who she was supposedly billing where the billing records were faked. The company was Entergy! Entergy knows if they were deliberately overcharged. And maybe they wanted to be overcharged because it’s a way to pay the Governor [Bill Clinton] by hiring his wife for doing nothing.”

“They knew it, and they could do what they want, and today Entergy is at the forefront of the nuclear industry in the U.S., and at the forefront of buying up plants cheap and then getting extensions on the life of these plants, plants that are almost ready to be shut down, and should be; they use their political power to get an extension on the plant and then they get free money, billions of dollars for extra decades. It’s quite a game.”