Hybrid meetings with public comment in Illinois, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.
Press Release from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Docket ID NRC-2018-0296
March 14, 2023 CONTACT: Scott Burnell, 301-415-8200
NRC Seeks Comment on Proposed Revision to Generic Environmental Impact Statement for Renewing Reactor Licenses
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold four additional hybrid meetings around the country as the agency seeks comment on a proposed rule to update the agency’s license renewal Generic Environmental Impact Statement.
The meetings will be accessible via Microsoft Teams. Those interested in attending online should register ahead of time by clicking on the webinar link in the meeting notices below. The meetings will be from 6-8 p.m. local time at each location, and the staff will host a 30-minute open house prior to each meeting.
The meetings will be: March 28 at the Marriott Chicago Naperville, 1801 N. Naperville Blvd. in Naperville, Illinois; March 30 at the Marriott Dallas/Fort Worth Westlake, 1301 Solana Blvd., Building 3, in Westlake, Texas; April 4 at the Alloy King of Prussia, 301 West DeKalb Pike in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania; and April 6 at the Courtyard by Marriott Atlanta Decatur Downtown/Emory, 130 Clairemont Ave. in Decatur, Georgia.
The proposed rule is in response to a 2022 Commission order that concluded the license renewal GEIS did not analyze the environmental impacts of a subsequent license renewal term (from 60 to 80 years of operation). The proposed rule amends the relevant rule language to account for initial license renewal and one term of subsequent license renewal, redefines the number and scope of the environmental issues that must be addressed during the review of each application for license renewal, and updates related guidance to fully address subsequent renewal.
The GEIS covers environmental topics relevant to all nuclear power plant operators seeking renewed licenses. The document accounts for new or revised environmental impacts, changes in regulations or guidance, and applies what the agency has learned during previous license renewals.
The public meetings are one method for submitting comments before the May 2 deadline. Staff will consider the comments before finalizing the rule and GEIS for Commission consideration.
Comments can also be submitted via regulations.gov under Docket ID NRC-2018-0296, via email to Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov,
or via mail to Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, ATTN: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff.
Scott Rainsford, a former US Coast Guard member, discovered a serious nuclear incident at the PG&E owned nuclear power plant in Humboldt California. This was the first commercial power plant in California and according to Rainsford this incident and release of radioactive material was covered up by PG&E and the US government.
Additional references following transcript.
UNOFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT (based on auto-transcript)
Dec 12, 2020
Steve: This is Steve Zeltzer with Work Week and I’m speaking with Scott Rainsford. And Scott is formerly in the coast guard and safety expert. And he has some information he wanted to talk to us about this morning in relationship to Humboldt nuclear power plant. And that was PG&E’s first nuclear power plant, the first one as a matter of fact in California, and it had some issues which we’ve gone into in the past with Bob Rowan who was a PG&E health and safety inspector at the plant. And he had some issues and he was retaliated against.
And Scott has done some videos and documentaries about what was going on at that plant. So, welcome to Work Week, Scott.
Scott: Well thank you
Steve: So Scott, you were in the Coast Guard in 1978. Why don’t you talk about how you came to become involved with the Humboldt nuclear power plant?
Scott: Prior to coming up to Humboldt County, I was a marine science technician in active duty Coast Guard. And I operated several laboratories on board a high endurance cutter in the coast guard for a number of years. So there was a fair amount of scientific background. So when I came up here to go to Humboldt State University majoring in oceanography and geology — the Coast Guard Reserve up here is mostly a search and rescue port security facility with small boats and helicopter station – they didn’t exactly know what to do with my expertise. So my commanding officer in the Coast Guard Reserve which I transferred from active duty into the reserve, earned a little extra money for my college studies, decided that, “Hey you understand wind and weather tides and currents. Why don’t you visit the major facilities in the area and see if you can update their contingency plan?”
So a meeting was arranged where I went to the reactor, PG&E’s nuclear reactor unit 3, and reviewed what their contingency plan was.
So in late 1977, winter of ’77 – ’78, I went to the reactor. I sat down, I read their contingency plan, and then I asked if they ever had a chance to use it, because I wanted to see how well it had worked.
They brought me out a report marked “confidential” which was written by a man named Shiffer. Now this report was a nuclear operator’s log.
When a reactor is operating,there’s someone in charge called a nuclear operator and he keeps a log with a time annotation and then what happens in every major occurrence during his watch.
Now the operator’s log that I was presented with described an accident that occurred on July 17 1970. And this log was that I was provided was only, say, three pages long or so, typewritten double-spaced, almost triple-spaced, and it describes the following:
There was a loss of outside power. And the reactor at the time was operating at full power which was about 65 megawatts of power. The reactor pressure was 1104 psi. The coolant temperature was 560 degrees Fahrenheit.
And all of a sudden when they lost power, the feed water pumps shut down, which means that there is a loss of coolant and the safety systems started failing one after another after another – a cavalcade of failures and he didn’t, he did not understand why this was happening.
Now July 17, 1970, was a Friday. It also happened to be a training day at the reactor. So there were an excess of trained qualified people there. Listed as the operating, nuclear operator was a man named Leach and while he was operating the reactor, Mr. Shiffer, who was not only a senior nuclear operator, licensed but he was also a licensed nuclear engineer, he was one of PG&E’s best and brightest, Stanford University, chemically-trained, also trained at Vallacito’s research reactor down in the San Francisco East Bay area. So he was highly qualified.
So when this accident started, he took command of the reactor from Mr. Leach, and he started directing people to try and figure out why everything was failing. And things were progressing so fast that he had a hard time keeping up
So a number of electrical monitoring systems had failed, and probably the two most important were a device that keeps a log of the coolant level in the reactor, and another piece of important equipment would be the main pressure sensor which also failed.
So this is what is supposed to happen: when you lose outside power, as I mentioned, the feed water pumpshut down. What happens when that occurs is the reactor is producing a large amount of heat, and without the heat being able to be discharged through the normal power- producing process through a heat exchanger, the heat builds up very fast in the reactor and boils the liquid coolant in the reactor, which causes the pressure to jump very fast.
So what was supposed to happen was in that occurrence, there is a vital piece of equipment called an isolation condenser. Some people call it an emergency condenser, because that’s the primary function of this device. And what it does is it takes this high pressure steam coming from the reactor that’s out of specification, and runs this radioactive steam through this condenser. It’s a large vat partially filled with water with baffles that the steam goes through. The steam is cooled down, condensed back into water, cooling quality water, and that put back into the reactor to keep the core covered. It failed because a condensate return valve failed open. Later the investigation revealed that a gate in that valve had been installed backwards. So without that device in operation, they could not control the pressure in the reactor vessel without losing coolant water that was not being replaced.
One of the backups is pressure relief valves. There were several of them. Each valve that opened releases steam from the reactor at the rate of 400,000 pounds per hour, which equates to 800 gallons per minute. And that steam, the radioactive steam, is piped into a device called a taurus, or pressure suppression pool. It’s a donut-shaped device that’s shown in my video, and it deposits that steam, that radioactive steam, into that container.
So without the emergency condensor functioning, the reactor is losing coolant water in the form of steam at a remarkable rate.
So Mr. Shiffer, who had taken command, figured that he better shut this down, otherwise he’s going to uncover the core, which did happen. And we know that there’s several ways to determine that the core was uncovered. But when he shut these pressure relief valves down, several pipes in the reactor started bursting. For example, a inch-and-a-half in diameter high-strength stainless steel pipe going from the reactor for the purposes of instrumentation came out, that goes out from the reactor into the dry well, there was a four -and-a-half inch rupture in that pipe.
There was a baffle, stainless steel baffle, also in that system, that was affected by the pressure, which also ruptured.
So the plant is starting to come apart. There was, according to witness reports, abstract (abject) panic in the control room.
The control room when they lost power, every emergency indicator alarm sounded. The control room was on battery power, but the batteries did not provide power to much else in the facility. They were mostly to power the control room indicators.
So what’s supposed to happen is whenever the reactor is operating, the one of the other two petroleum-based units, generators, must be working for the sole reason that in case of an emergency, they could supply emergency outside power to the reactor. That unit number two was in operation. The circuit that goes, the emergency circuit that goes from unit two to the reactor unit three failed, because a maintenance crew several months before had left an electrical cable disconnected in the switch yard, and they didn’t know it.
So that backup system failed.
So eventually it came down to a propane generator which worked, did work according to specification, but it only supplied enough power for some of the emergency instruments and enough power to scram the reactor, which means the control rods were inserted all the way into the reactor.
But there’s still a large amount of heat being produced. It’s not a light switch shut off.
So Mr. Shiffer, faced with this loss of outside power, which by the way was caused by another maintenance crew going to a substation called Mitchell Heights, which is oh perhaps four or five miles away, as the crow flies. And at 9:21, this maintenance person was going to do some maintenance on a high tension line, high voltage line at that substation. The maintenance worker failed to verify that this 60,000 volt line was dead, when in actuality, it was live. He tried to open an oil circuit breaker, which is the most competent circuit breaker, before working on that line. He couldn’t operate it, because in the mechanism on the previous day, another maintenance crew had left a block of wood in that mechanism, preventing this next day the maintenance worker from using the oil circuit breaker. So this maintenance person opened an air circuit breaker which is not competent to handle the transient of an operating hot 60,000 volt line. It melted. There was a fireball. That’s what caused the power outage at the reactor. That’s what was delivering the voltage to the nuclear unit.
Faced with all these failing systems, with the situation where you had the the reactor coming apart, ruptured pipes, ruptured stainless steel baffles, rapid loss of coolant to the reactor in the form of steam, Mr Shiffer started calling for help
And I’m reading this at the reactor during this visit.
And his first call was to Vallecitos research reactor where he was trained. And he said, “We’ve got this situation. What do we do?” And I’m condensing this, of course.
And they didn’t know. They referred him to research facilities and in the midwest near Chicago also near, the Dresden facility, a nuclear complex 30 miles outside of Chicago
He asked them, “We’ve got this situation. What do I do?” They did not have an answer.
They recommended that he call the military.
So being in the military, I knew that the experts in the field of nuclear power at that time were the Navy. And indeed many of the nuclear operators at reactors throughout the country were prior Navy nuclear operators. And the experts in the Navy are in Idaho at Bettis Naval Research Center, 30 miles west of Idaho Falls.
So he contacted them. He got a plan, and the report that I was reading, that I held in my hand, did not spell out what this plan was, but it just said that they delivered a plan.
So Mr. Shiffer called Vallecito’s research reactor again and said, “This is what the Navy has recommended I do. “
And Vallecitos said, “You better get permission from the home office at 245 Market Street in San Francisco to proceed with that plan,” because they were very concerned about what this plan entailed.
So Shiffer did that. He called the home office, told them what the plan was, and asked if he had permission to proceed. And in this report, the response from home office said, and I’ve got almost the exact wording, it said, “Do what the military says.”
So after that, in this report, there were a number of readings in the form of numbers, and the first one to my memory was 1220.
It was not labeled, but it could only be one of two things, both with the same result.
One was the pressure.
Now as I said before, the main pressure sensor in the reactor was down because it was on outside power which failed, and it was not supplied emergency power from the propane generator. But they did have a pressure sensor by the turbine board which measures pressure at the turbine in an area away from the reactor. So they were taking pressure readings from this turbine board, and it showed the pressures substantially out of specifications — too high — and which means, it indicated that the emergency condenser had failed.
Also, the other use or potential reading that the 1220 indicates, that’s what the setting was for the pressure relief valves to open. And if the pressure relief valves opened at 1220 psi, that means that the emergency condenser, the isolation condenser, had failed.
So it both indicated the same thing.
So following that was approximately a dozen other readings. Most of them were labeled, and I cannot remember all of them, but immediately after those readings on this report that I held in my hand, Mr. Shiffer called the Humboldt County sheriff’s department activating the contingency plan, which obviously is the reason that they presented this paperwork to me for that day.
So when the contingency plan is activated, it’s only done in an extreme emergency.
There is a legally mandated amount of monitoring must happen to establish the level of radiation released and where it went.
So I asked to see the result of that monitoring, and my request was denied.
So at that point I was probably white as a ghost, and I was not able to take a copy of that nuclear operator’s log because it was marked “confidential”.
So I went back to my Coast Guard unit to report what I had seen to my commanding officer, and as I showed in my video, there were a line ofpeople at the reserve unit that said, “We know. We know. The Coast Guard District will handle it.”
And I protested. I said, “No. This is serious.”
And they said, “We know. The Coast Guard 12th District will handle this. Drop it.”
So I did. So as years went by, I befriended a number of people in the community, and a lot of people that that I knew were coming down with cancer and dying.
And I asked them you know, “Where did you grow up? Where do you live? Where did you go to school?” And a lot of them said, “I grew up by the nuclear power plant.””I went to South Bay Elementary School.”
Now for those that do not know, South Bay Elementary School is just a few hundred yards downwind from the reactor. I say downwind, because it was the prevailing wind pattern during most of the year. So whatever comes out of that reactor goes towards the South Bay Elementary School.
PG&E operated 36 monitoring stations throughout the region. The furthest north is by Humboldt State University about 10 miles away to the north. The furthest south is towards a town called Fortuna. And seven of those 36 monitoring stations have constant air monitors that also revealed the amount of particulates in the air.
And that was one of Bob Rowen’s primary duties was to collect the results of those monitoring stations.
One of the things that got him in trouble was he noticed that one of the seven air monitors was at South Bay Elementary School, and it had been taken down. And he said that he thought it was crazy to reduce the amount of monitoring at that elementary school. And he protested that, and that got him in trouble. And he did not understand why the single most important monitoring station of all the 36 would be reduced.
So I went to that school in later years and looked at what was there and briefed the superintendent — I believe his name was Paul Meyer; Imight be an error, this was years ago. And briefed them that there had been an accident and if he had been informed of this accident.
He said, “No, but I’m on the citizens advisory board or community advisory board – CAB — and I’ll ask PG&E.” So I never did hear another response from him.
So there was an investigation by the Atomic Energy Commission.
What eventually happened, according to records, was they were able to deliver outside power to the reactor from unit two. They found the disconnected cable and delivered power. The feed water pumps came back on. The reactor had returned to normal. Supposedly at the end of what this report said was “no big deal”. However, I found that there was some major inconsistencies and deceptions in this report.
Years later I tried through the process of FOIA’s Freedom of Information Act, to get more information on this incident, and I was thwarted every time.
I went through the university, Humboldt State University journalism department to help compose a FOIA, and they assigned a journalism student to help deliver this FOIA. It was good practice for him as well. And we received about a hundred pages of description of this accident in which you could only read a handful of pages. They were not redacted; they were just so out of focus, there was no possibility of reading what had been delivered.
So I called the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and asked for a redo, and they said, Well, you can file another FOIA, but you need to be aware that there are six or seven reasons that we can deny you this information. And they sent me a letter confirming what they had said.
So that’s just one example of several FOIAs that I later attempted.
So I’m going to take a break here, okay, Steve?
Steve: Okay, we’ve been speaking with Scott Rainsford, and he was with the coast guard and he discovered a nuclear accident at the Humboldt nuclear plant run by PG&E.
Now, Scott, you’ve been talking about the accident that took place and the fact that it was covered up, it was kept secret by PG&E and by the government. And you’ve come forward with this information about it, and you’re concerned that people were actually contaminated as a result of the release during that incident, that accident.
Why has this been kept covered up? And don’t you think that the people of Humboldt, the people of California deserve to know what happened at the Humboldt plant during this accident and shut down
Scott: Very much so. I discovered that through my own research and investigation that the nuclear core, the fuel core, had been uncovered. During this event, a greater reason why Shiffer shut off the pressure relief valves is he discovered that, through all these readings that the military required him to get, that they had uncovered the core.
Now when the core gets uncovered, the fuel cladding that PG&E had installed after the original failed stainless steel cladding fuel rods from before, that Bob Rowen was so concerned with because they immediately started cracking and failing and caused the plant to be recognized as the dirtiest plant in the country at the time, and you’ll see that in a report in Science magazine, June 18, 1971, an article written by Gillette.
So PG&E replaced the stainless steel fuel cladding fuel rods with a much more competent zircaloy-clad fuel rod. That is a much more expensive fuel rod and that’s what the military uses, because under normal operation, those fuel rods are much more competent.
However, they have a flaw, and that’s flaw is in the loss of coolant accident, in other words uncovering the core, the core is, as the liquid water falls below the level of the fuel rods, the fuel rods are now bathed in high temperature steam. Steamcannot cool a fissioning fuel rod. They overheat, and at a certain temperature, a chemical reaction occurs. It’s an exothermic redux reaction, for you chemists out there. And so they create their own heat, adding to the problem. The chemical reaction produces ZrO2. In other words, the zirconium is oxidized, and it produces hydrogen gas at an extremely fast rate. Empirically, under empirical conditions, hydrogen gas is explosive at 18 per cent by volume in an oxygenated environment. Under reactor conditions, it has been found that it’s explosive at roughly 14 per cent by volume. So it happens fast.
So when they uncovered the core, and the pressure relief valves were opened, hydrogen gas and this steam and the breakdown of the zircaloy- clad fuel rods which crack and blister under those conditions, all that volume of gas was going into the pressure suppression pool, otherwise known as a taurus. If that concentration goes up to 14 per cent, it’s gonna explode. That’s what caused Fukushima reactors to explode. The same thing. The fuel at Fukushima was uncovered. It was a high temperature steam environment. The chemical reaction occurred. It produced a large amount of hydrogen gas. It built up to 14 to 18 percent, and exploded. You can see it on the internet.
So that’s another reason why Shiffer shut off those pressure relief valves.
So what do you do with this pressure, that’s building up that’s causing the reactor to come apart?
They had to get rid of the pressure and this hydrogen gas.
So, they could release it to the environment, but they didn’t want to do that because it was extremely contaminated because of the breakdown of the fuel rods. When the fuel rods break down with the cracks and blisters, it gives direct access of the environment to those fuel pellets inside the fuel rod. So it’s heavily contaminated.
So what they decided to do, and what’s in this report of the accident, is they created a pathway from the reactor into the refueling building.
Now before they did this, they sent an emergency evacuation alarm to the refueling building to get everyone out, because people worked there. And so they sent the alarm electronically originally, but they weren’t sure in electrical chaos that it had worked. So they sent a man named Leroy Marsh who was trained to be and get a license for an assistant control operator. They sent him into the reactor with a half respirator and a device called a cutie pie which is a radiation monitoring device.
He enters the building. There’s no alarm, emergency evacuation alarm, on the outside of the building but there is on the inside. So he goes inside, and he observes a number of things.
One, and this is all in his testimony by the way in the investigative report, he goes in the building and he verifies that everyone was out, but the emergency evacuation alarm was not sounding.
Also he verified that the constant air monitor that monitors radiation levels inside the refueling building was not working.
He also verified that the fans that were used to create a negative pressure system in the refueling building were not working because they were on outside power which had failed.
So to explain to the listeners what this negative pressure system is for: under normal operation, powerful fans take the air inside the refueling building and send it through the gaseous waste stack. Some people would say it’s a smoke stack, but that’s where radioactive gases at a normal level under normal operation, that’s how it escapes. It’s like their smokestack to the factory. And that’s regulated. And in the process of going up that gaseous waste stack, there is charcoal filtration system. The fans push the air from the refueling building through these charcoal filtration systems, and this is an attempt to reduce any radioactive particles that are emitted from the plant.
So with that system down, the pressure inside the refueling building would rapidly equalize with the pressure outside the building.
So when they decided to dump the reactor pressure and the building-up of the hydrogen gas from the reactor during this accident into the refueling building, it increases the pressure inside the refueling building, so it’s gonna tend to leak.
Now normally when you go into the refueling building, there’s a double set of doors. There’s a room where people can change into protective clothing after they go through a door, a usual metal door similar to a naval ship, and then they go, after they’ve changed, they go through another door to get into the refueling building. So there’s a layer of protection there.
But there’s also a large set of doors big enough to allow a railroad train car to come in, because usually once a year, a railroad, a special railroad car comes to the reactor to pick up spent fuel pool that needs to be reprocessed. So a powerful crane picks up this large container from the railroad car and lifts it, and this container is submerged where the spent fuel rods are, the rods are transferred, and then the transfer cask is re-attached to the railroad car, and off it goes to reprocessing. And so there’s very, very large doors to do that. So this hydrogen gas can leak there also.
Steve: And we’re again speaking with Scott Rainsford. Now Scott, one of the issues that you’ve addressed is that there are rising sea levels which may threaten the radioactive material that’s still on the Humboldt site and also these canisters of radioactive material. Do you have any concerns about these decommissioned nuclear plants now, today, and not only in Humboldt but also San Luis Obispo and Diablo Canyon, San Onofre and Diablo Canyon when it becomes decommissioned .
Scott: On August 26th of last year, 2019, there was a Nuclear Regulatory Commission meeting in Eureka, California. I spoke at that meeting. A number of people spoke at the meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to get a collection of people who were citizens or community advisory board members to pass on to these other reactors who were being, that were being decommissioned, the best practices, to relay information to the community and give PG&E feedback from the community about what the community wanted.
One of the speakers, and it’s on videotape that you can get, was an expert in sea level rise of California. The name escaped me at the moment. But this PhD level person got up and said that sea level rise is happening twice as fast in northern California as elsewhere, and that is because this is a subduction zone, a geological subduction zone. So this area along the coast is sinking about the same rate the sea level rise is rising. So this expert said that in so many years where the six casks, where high-level special nuclear material is contained will be an island in so many years.
Hold on, I’m getting a dry throat here.
Steve: That’s okay.
Scott: So at that meeting, I said, we were only allowed so many minutes, I relayed what happened here: six casks, each one weighing 85 tons,and they’re created, the casks are made by a company called Holtec. Five of the six carry special nuclear material, meaning the spent fuel which are deadly poisonous. They’re very hot. They’re very radioactive. They have, they will be that way for generations. And the sixth cask holds the high-level remnants of the reactor, and since they were larger than the fuel rods — the five casks holding the fuel rods have two lids: a welded steel lid stainless steel and then a concrete lid. The sixth cask here in Humboldt County only has one lid. It has a concrete lid, but the steel welded cap is not there because of the size of the reactor remnants. So that is a big concern.
It’s in a tsunami zone. It’s being threatened by bluff erosion. There’s only, like, 115 feet of bluff remaining where those Holtec casks are placed. That bluff has receded 1480 feet from, I believe, it was 18, well, in 60 years it receded 1480 feet. So basically it was like being 20 and 30 feet per year.
So the point was that those casks cannot stay there. And a man named Steve Madrone who is Fifth District Supervisor of our county spoke about that in that presentation on August 26, 2019, saying that it’s ridiculous to have those casks stored there.
People bad-mouthed Fukushima because they did not build a protective wall high enough to fight off a tsunami that was expected to overrun their protective wall. You know, how could they be so negligent? Here we’ve got these Holtec casks, 500 times worth, in a tsunami zone, on an earthquake fault, with the receding bluff. And the situation is getting just nothing but worse.
It’s insanity. So one member of the audience called it, these casks, Chernobyl in a can.
So it’s ridiculous. When I was at that reactor reading the nuclear operators’ log in the winter of 1977-78 ,and I saw this accident had occurred, I asked to see the results of the monitoring, and that request was denied.
So I looked at the investigation that the AEC had conducted which I eventually was able to get through the Union of Concerned Scientists. It’s about a 160-page report, and in that report it says on page 38 that, and you’ll see in my video that the first yellow highlighted section was a statement by Edward Weeks, the plant engineer of the nuclear reactor Unit Number Three. And he said that radiation was being released subsequent to this accident at the rate of 24,500 micro curies per second, which was below the allowed level legally at the time. However, there were spikes in this gaseous waste stack monitoring systems. They said about a decade in size, which means by a factor of 10, which would place the readings of quarter of a million microcuries per second coming out of the gaseous waste stack to the public.
Ed Weeks said that he believed that was just due to electrical transients because of the electrical problems in the reactor during this accident. I reject that explanation because it’s the examination of the inspectors of AEC found that the devices which measure radiation escaping from that gaseous waste stack were on emergency power provided by the propane generator, but the fans necessary to pull the sample through those devices were on outside power and when they lost outside powers, the fans stopped.So the fan blades would create a barrier of the sample to go into these monitoring machines. So I believe that the transient readings of a quarter of a million microcuries per second going up that stack were real, and that level is many times the allowed limit.
Now what people need to understand is after this investigation was done, the results of the investigation were presented to United States Congress Congressional Committee called the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, a committee that was established in 1946 and existed until it was abolished in 1977 by the United States Supreme Court because this committee had powers that no committee in the history of this nation before, during, or after today
had ever had. They had veto power over any law that was provided or presented in the remainder of Congress, and the only check and balance they had was they were supposed to review any decision they made to the President of the United States. In 1970, that was
President Nixon, and you see in my video that the chairman of that committee was a man named Chester Hollyfield, nicknamed Chet Hollyfield, a Democrat federal representative from Southern California. The vice chair was John O. Pastore, a U.S. senator from Rhode Island. The committee had 18 members – nine senators and nine federal state representatives.
So they made a decision very clear to cover up what happened at this accident, and the documents clearly show that there was a cover-up. It was a very, very bad cover-up.
So all of it can be demonstrated. So the problem is, you lie for a reason. I believe that reason is the community was heavily contaminated.
Mike Manetas, a college professor at Humboldt State University, was asked to try and figure out why there was a big cancer outbreak in the town of Ferndale which is downwind of the plant. That was in 1985. And they found that there was a latency period between certain levels of ionized radiation exposure and the development of cancer, and it was determined to be 15 to 25 years. So if there was a big outbreak in Ferndale, California, in 1985 and 1990, if you add 15 to 25 years to this accident in 1970, you come up with 1985 to 1990.
So the powers that be in this industry withheld from me when I was at the reactor reading this nuclear operator’s log, they denied the monitoring results, the information providing the monitoring results. I’m convinced that they’re denying the level of the radiation exposure to the community.
Steve: I want to thank you for talking about this issue of health and safety, the unknown shutdown and dangerous accident at the Humboldt nuclear power plant run by PG&E and the coming dangers of rising tide and the possibility of further contamination and the lack of real protection of nuclear facilities on the coast of California, not just at Humboldt nuclear power plant which has been decommissioned, but San Onofre nuclear power plant and Diablo canyon nuclear power plant which will also be decommissioned.
CALIFORNIA GROUPS TO PG&E: YOU CAN’T CUT CORNERS ON DIABLO CANYON EXTENSION
Following Successful Petition For NRC To Deny Request to Resume Diablo Canyon Renewal Application, Environmental Groups File New Response Asserting PG&E Request for Exemption to Operate Past 40-Year Lifespan Must be Denied.
SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA – FEBRUARY 13, 2023 – On January 24, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) denied a formal request by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to resume reviewing a 2009 license renewal application to extend the operating life of Diablo Canyon’s twin nuclear reactors, which the company withdrew in 2018. In conjunction, Petitioners San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (SLOMFP), Friends of the Earth (FoE), and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) today filed a new petition demanding that the NRC finish its legal obligation to keep Diablo Canyon on schedule to close its twin units in 2024 and 2025 and repudiate PG&E’s recent request for exemption from the “Timely Renewal Rule.”
According to the petitioners, PG&E has no lawful path to continued uninterrupted operation of the Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors after its operating licenses expire in November 2024 (Unit 1) and August 2025 (Unit 2). Granting an exemption from this rule would force the NRC to cram the three-year safety and environmental review process and offer a public hearing into a mere ten months. The catalog of issues the NRC staff must review is so extensive that to cram a complex government review into the short ten-month period between the submission of the license renewal application and the expiration of the Unit 1 license would be difficult if not impossible. Completion of the NRC’s review process, including public hearings, is essential to assure that continued operation of the reactors will be safe for the public and the environment.
Diane Curran, legal counsel for Mothers for Peace, said: “There is absolutely no precedent for the exemption requested by PG&E. The NRC has never allowed a reactor to operate past its license expiration dates without thoroughly assessing the safety and environmental risks. And it must do so in this case too.”
Further, Curran observed that “it would be irrational and irresponsible for the NRC to permit PG&E to operate aging and deteriorating reactors encumbered by aging equipment risks, seismic risks and environmental impacts without a thorough environmental and safety review.”
“NRC’s recent decision to reject PG&E’s request to renew its outdated, withdrawn license renewal application gave us hope that the law is being properly and thoroughly applied to this risky decision,” said Hallie Templeton, Legal Director for Friends of the Earth. “An operating permit extension for any nuclear power plant has major implications for people and the planet. With Diablo Canyon receiving only minimal – if any – safety updates in decades, PG&E’s push to reduce the NRC’s review from several years to several months creates an especially deadly equation. Today’s filing clearly outlines why NRC must proceed with the utmost care and caution, as mandated by a federal law.”
Caroline Leary, an attorney for EWG, said: “PG&E argued to the NRC that its request for an exemption from federal regulations was necessitated by the California Legislature’s vote in favor of extending Diablo’s operation. But nothing in S.B. 846, the law passed by the Legislature, calls upon NRC to relax its safety or environmental regulations for the purpose of extending Diablo Canyon’s operation. In fact, the law relies on the NRC to ensure that if Diablo Canyon continues to operate, it will not put the public or the environment at risk.”
Just as the NRC stood its ground and upheld its own policies by denying PG&E’s request to resurrect its 2009 license renewal application, it should also deny PG&E’s request for an exemption of the timely renewal rule.
The NRC’s January 24 decision  affirmed recent arguments in the earlier petition by San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (SLOMFP), Friends of the Earth (FoE), and Environmental Working Group (EWG) that resuming review of PG&E’s withdrawn license renewal application would be unlawful. The organizations demanded successfully that the NRC deny PG&E’s October 31, 2022, request to resume review of the application.
The decision prevents PG&E from circumnavigating NRC regulations that require the company to file a new and up-to-date license renewal application, which would take 3-5 years. PG&E previously admitted that the application was severely outdated and could not be updated or completed until late 2023 – a year before the Unit 1 license term expires. It now appears that PG&E may have to close Diablo Canyon when its licenses expire in the fall 2024 (Unit 1) and spring 2025 (Unit 2) and keep them closed unless and until the NRC approves a new license renewal application.
The story of Humboldt Bay Nuclear Plant is an expose of PG&E and an expose of nuclear regulation. It’s happening now. Its dangers and warnings are critical for the public to heed.
Shut It Down Now! Former Humboldt PG&E IBEW 1245 Nuclear Plant Technician Bob Rowen On Nuclear Power
Bob Rowen was a Humboldt PG&E IBEW 1245 nuclear control technician at the power plant. He talks about being a control technician at the plant and what happened when he began to stand up for health and safety as a whistleblower. His fight to protect the workers and the community cost him his job when he raised health and safety concerns and he along with another nuclear control technician Forrest Williams were retaliated against and illegally terminated. He also recounts an effort to set up a criminal conspiracy frame-up by PG&E to charge him with planning to blow up the plant and a false document was sent to the FBI to blacklist him throughout the country to prevent him from working in any other nuclear plant in the US. He also reports on the role of his union IBEW 1245 and the media when a reporter from NBC Donald Widener tried to cover the story and was retaliated against by PG&E in actions that destroyed his career. He also discusses the case of PG&E Diablo Canyon nuclear plant whistleblower Neil Aiken. Aiken went to PG&E’s Board of Directors with his concerns over safety and was also targeted and fired. This interview was done on January 26, 2015. Rowen has written a book about his struggle called My Humboldt Diary: A True Story of Betrayal of the Public Trust, Nuclear Power at Humboldt Bay. For more information http://www.myhumboldtdiary.com
My name is Bob Rowen. I became a nuclear control technician at the Humboldt Bay nuclear power plant in Eureka. The plant went online in 1963, in August of 63, and I showed up in March of 1964.
My first job at the plant was apprentice instrument repairman, but within six months I entered the nuclear control technician training program. journeymanprogram in the PG&E system, I became a nuclear control technician.
I thought that I had found a career of a lifetime. When I got out of the Marines and went to work there and thought I was on the ground floor of a program that in an industry that was going to be second to none, but as I got into it, I found that it was not what it was all cracked up to be.
How long was the training program?
42 months. It was a very rigorous training program that requires a lot of hours on the weekends and at night learning all the things that we had to learn as well as classroom work during the day.
And so what happened when you started working there?
Well I I became involved in and developed a special interest in radiation protection.
The nuclear control technician program in those days consisted of actually three elements: nuclear instrumentation, radiation protection, and radio chemistry. What I was particularly concerned about the radiation protection aspect of the job, and so when I started studying all of the training materials that PG&E had provided, I found that they were not in agreement with what I had learned in the military.
I was a Marine Pathfinder and I trained in ABC warfare – atomic, biological, and chemical warfare. And the atomic part of that talked about the kinds of hazards associated with radiation that did not agree one bit with what PG&E was providing us. So I started asking some embarrassing questions. At first they weren’t necessarily challenging plant management but their responses led me to a confrontation with the management because I felt that I was being lied to
At one point, yes, because I believed in corporate America and I believed in the government. I thought the AEC would do everything that they were charged with in terms of their responsibilities of protecting employees and the general public. But it turns out that that wasn’t the case at all.
So you began asking questions And what happened?
Well, eventually I was told that if I was looking for trouble, I was going to find it. The plant engineer made that very clear to me and I told him, my response was, I’m not going to be bullied. I still had a lot of Marine in me in my mid-20s, and I just said, I’m not going to kowtow to you. I won’t do that.
Eventually I found myself faced with having to, well, for example I was ordered to sign false shipping documents. The spent-fuel shipping cask — and it’s a long story; it’s in my book; it spells out exactly what took place — but the shipping cask ended up with several? contaminations exceeding DOT regs, and the release papers that had my name pre-typed on as a nuclear control technician, and I said I’m not signing those papers because they’re false. And I was ordered to do it. So I signed them under protest. And then I put it in the radiation control log exactly what had taken place, and I had another serious set-to with the plant engineer. And that’s just one example of many things that happen.
PG&E reports nuclear reactor welding leak at Diablo Canyon facility
EWG: Critical questions about coolant system damage go unanswered
SAN FRANCISCO – Pacific Gas & Electric found damage to part of a reactor cooling system at the aging Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in California, but it hasn’t yet answered key questions about the extent of the problem.
PG&E is the owner of the state’s last remaining nuclear power plant, and found the fault with the reactor coolant system during a routine inspection in October. PG&E detailed the damage in a report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, or NRC, in December.
The power company says the system had a crack in the welding of the wall of Diablo Canyon’s Unit 2 reactor, which was shut down for refueling. PG&E says the presumed cause was fatigue, which was caused by vibrations at the facility indicating a weld defect. The utility says the damage meant the unit fell short of NRC operating requirements.
PG&E says it repaired the leak, and the public and plant workers were never at risk. But the utility’s filing with the commission raises several questions, including:
When was the affected weld last inspected?
When does PG&E believe the crack in the weld formed?
Why had the weld flaw not been identified?
What was the size of the leak when it occurred?
“The communities near Diablo Canyon deserve to know the full details of the incident, how it happened, why it wasn’t discovered earlier and how long it took for PG&E to identify the damage to the reactor coolant system,” said Environmental Working Group President and California resident Ken Cook.
“The main reason for shuttering this aging facility is the potential threat it poses to the public – and PG&E’s overall safety record across its vast service area in the state is among the worst of any power company in the country,” Cook said.
Diablo Canyon’s latest problem highlights ongoing concerns about the stability of the facility and shows why EWG and others are pushing to shut the plant down.
Yet state and federal officials are trying to keep the aging facility operating beyond 2025, when it’s slated to shutter under the terms of a settlement carefully negotiated between PG&E, California and environmentalists.
Last September, at the urging of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the state legislature approved Senate Bill 846, a law that will keep the plant operating for five more years, until 2030. It will also give PG&E a $1.4 billion loan to cover costs during that extra time.
In November, the Biden administration announced it will give PG&E more than $1 billion in federal funding to keep the plant operating past its scheduled 2025 closure date.
PG&E has also petitioned the NRC to fast-track its October 31 request to extend the license of the twin Diablo Canyon reactors. Four environmental organizations, led by San Luis Obispo-based Mothers for Peace, or SLOMFP, have sent letters to the NRC warning it would violate federal law if it accepts the proposal. The other groups that signed the letters are EWG, Friends of the Earth and Committee to Bridge the Gap.
“PG&E cannot have it both ways,” claimed SLOMFP Board President Jane Swanson. “PG&E stopped preparing the reactors for continued operation in 2016 and voided their license renewal. The company has spent the past six years preparing to mothball the reactors and has saved money by not investing in future operations. It is too late to get a license renewal before the plant must shut down.”
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy, and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.
On December 6, 2022, in their second letter to the Commissioners of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) within the space of three weeks, four environmental organizations once again put the NRC on notice that the agency would violate federal law if it accepted Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E’s) October 31 proposal to resurrect and fast-track its review of PG&E’s long-abandoned 2009 license renewal application for the twin Diablo Canyon reactors. San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (SLOFMP), Friends of the Earth (FOE), Environmental Working Group (EWG), and Committee to Bridge the Gap (CBG) warned that PG&E’s proposal runs afoul of the NRC’s safety requirements and procedures and would violate the federal National Environmental Policy Act.
The NRC terminated the Diablo Canyon license renewal proceeding in 2018 when PG&E decided to close the reactors in 2024 and 2025. “PG&E cannot have it both ways,” claimed SLOMFP Board President Jane Swanson. “PG&E stopped preparing the reactors for continued operation in 2016 and asked the NRC to terminate the license renewal proceeding. The company has spent the past six years preparing to mothball the reactors and has saved money by not investing in future operations. They can’t reverse course and revive a license renewal application that was declared dead years ago at their own request.”
Last September, the California Legislature passed SB 846 to provide PG&E with economic incentives to request a five-year extension of Diablo Canyon’s license from the NRC. “With years of extended operations on the table for this outdated and potentially deadly nuclear facility, it is crucial that we cut zero corners,” said FOE Legal Director Hallie Templeton. “The California legislature has not provided PG&E carte blanche to seek exemptions and streamline relicensing. If it intends to continue operating Diablo, PG&E should be required to file an entirely new and up-to-date license renewal application, which the NRC must thoroughly analyze by the full letter of the law before reaching a decision.”
The organizations also noted that PG&E had no legal basis for its request to exempt it from important federal regulations requiring an environmental analysis before the NRC can allow the reactors to operate beyond their current license terms.
“The last time the NRC did an environmental review for operation of the Diablo Canyon reactors was 1993,” said Ken Cook, EWG’s President and Co-founder. “Given the potentially extreme impacts and risks of continuing to operate Diablo Canyon, it would be both illegal and sheer folly to proceed with extended operation in the absence of a thorough and up-to-date Environmental Impact Statement.”
Dan Hirsch, spokesperson for CBG, commented, “PG&E’s request to be exempted from regulatory requirements for Diablo Canyon is very dangerous. If the requested exemption were granted, Diablo could keep running, potentially for many years, while the critical issues of whether it is safe to do so are not yet resolved. This creates the potential for an accident and massive radiation release to occur after license expiration and before a renewal decision could be made on those vital safety issues. It is the proverbial nuclear version of shooting first and asking questions later.”
These groups, which submitted their first letter to the NRC on November 17, pledged to continue their efforts to ensure that any license renewal application filed with the NRC by PG&E is reviewed with all the rigor required by federal safety and environmental laws.
From Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility – PEER
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 21, 2020 Contact: Jeff Ruch (510) 213-7028; Kirsten Stade firstname.lastname@example.org
Deregulation of Rad Waste Disposal Plows Ahead
Decommissioned Reactors OK-ed for Landfills in Big Gift to Nuclear Industry
Washington, DC —The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is finalizing a year-long drive to functionally deregulate disposal of massive amounts of radioactive waste. NRC’s plan would allow commercial nuclear reactors to dump virtually all their radioactive waste, except spent fuel, in local garbage landfills, which are designed for household trash not rad-waste, according to comments filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
Today marks the end of public comments for an NRC “interpretative rulemaking” that would, in effect, abrogate longstanding requirements that virtually all such waste must be disposed of in licensed radioactive waste sites meeting detailed safety standards and subject to NRC inspection and enforcement. Instead, NRC would grant generic exemptions for unlicensed waste handlers.
NRC declares its “intent” that these newly exempt disposal sites would be limited to “very low-level radioactive wastes” – a term undefined by statute – which NRC considers to be “below 25 millirem per year.” Yet, NRC’s definition would allow public exposure to the equivalent to more than 900 chest X-rays over a lifetime, create a cancer risk twenty times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s acceptable risk range, thousands of times the risk goal for Superfund sites, or enough radiation to cause every 500th person exposed to get cancer.
“Once an exempt entity accepts radioactive waste, it enters a regulatory black hole, with no one accountable for it,” stated PEER Pacific Director Jeff Ruch, pointing out that NRC’s plan eliminates the need for radiation monitoring, health physics personnel, design standards, and NRC inspections – all now required of licensed operators. “Unlicensed radioactive waste dumps could operate in ways that endanger communities free from any NRC oversight.”
NRC’s cryptic justification merely indicates that the plan “would provide an efficient means by which the NRC may issue specific exemptions for disposal” but ignores impacts that would –
Transform many municipal dumps into radioactive repositories, with no safeguards for workers, nearby residents, or adjoining water tables;
Allow unlicensed radioactive waste dumps to expose the public to 2.5 times higher levels of radiation than the NRC now allows for licensed low-level radioactive waste sites, thus creating a strong incentive to send all the radioactive waste to unlicensed dumps; and
Eliminate the public’s ability to find out radioactive waste is being dumped near them.
At present, the U.S. has 104 commercial nuclear power plants, many of which are beginning, or will soon start, the decommissioning process. Removing the need for licensed sites to handle the staggering amounts of debris from old reactors would be a major cost savings for that industry.
“NRC’s deregulation will make it nearly impossible to trace recycled radioactive waste flowing through the stream of American commerce,” added Ruch, noting that it may also create a market for the U.S. to import radioactive waste for cheaper disposal. “This plan would plunge the U.S. into the wild, wild West of radioactive waste disposal, on a par with a Third World nation.”
Terrified Atomic Workers Warn That the COVID-19 Pandemic May Threaten Nuclear Reactor Disaster
April 9, 2020
By Harvey Wasserman
The COVID Pandemic has thrown America’s atomic reactor industry into lethal chaos, making a major disaster even more likely. Reports from “terrified” workers at a Pennsylvania reactor indicate vital precautions needed to protect them may not even be possible.
Nationwide, with falling demand and soaring prices for nuke-generated electricity, the Pandemic casts a dark shadow over reactor operations and whether frightened neighbors will allow them to be refueled and repaired.
America’s 96 remaining atomic reactors are run by a coveted pool of skilled technicians who manage the control rooms, conduct repairs, load/unload nuclear fuel.
Because few young students have been entering the field, the corps of about 100,000 licensed technicians has been—-like the reactors themselves—-rapidly aging while declining in numbers. Work has stopped at the last two US reactors under construction (at Vogtle, Georgia) due to the Pandemic’s impact, which includes a shrinking supply of healthy workers.
Every reactor control room requires five operators at all times. But the physical space is limited there and in plant hot spots that need frequent, often demanding repairs. Social distancing is virtually impossible. Long shifts in confined spaces undermine operator safety and performance.
Of critical importance: every 18-24 months each reactor must shut for refueling and repairs. Itinerant crews of 1000 to 1500 technicians travel to 58 sites in 29 states, usually staying 30-60 days. They often board with local families, or in RVs, hotels, or Air B&Bs.
Some 54 reactors have been scheduled for refuel/repairs in 2020. But there is no official, organized program to test the workers for the Coronavirus as they move around the country.
As the Pandemic thins the workforce, older operators are being called out of retirement. The Trump-run Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently certified 16-hour work days, 86-hour work weeks and up to 14 consecutive days with 12-hour shifts.
Long-time nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen warns of fatigued operators falling asleep on the job. He recalls at least one exhausted worker falling into the highly radioactive pool surrounding the high-level fuel rods. Operator fatigue also helped cause the 1979 melt-down that destroyed Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island Unit Two.
The industry is now using the Coronavirus Pandemic to rush through a wide range of deregulationdemands. Among them is a move to allow radioactive waste to be dumped into municipal landfills.
The NRC may also certify skipping vital repairs, escalating the likelihood of major breakdowns and melt-downs. Nearly all US reactors were designed and built in the pre-digital age, more than 30 years ago. Most are in advanced decay. Atomic expert David Lochbaum, formerly with the NRC, warns that failure risks from longer work hours and deferred repairs could be extremely significant, and could vary from reactor to reactor depending on their age and condition.
The industry has also been required to maintain credible public health response plans should those reactors blow. But Pandemic-stricken US hospitals now have zero spare capacity, multiplying the possible human fallout from an increasingly likely disaster.
Industry-wide the Pandemic has brought working conditions to the brink of collapse. At Pennsylvania’s Limerick Generating Station, workers say they are “terrified” that the plant has become a “breeding ground…a complete cesspool” for the Coronavirus. “I’m in a constant state of paranoia,” one technician told Carl Hessler, Jr., of MontcoCourtNews.
Others say social distancing is non-existent, with “no less than 100 people in the training room” and “people literally sitting on top of each other…sitting at every computer elbow to elbow.” Shift change rooms, Hessler was told, can be “standing room only.” At least two Limerick workers are confirmed to have carried the virus. COVID rates in the county are soaring.
Nuclear engineer Gundersen warns that limited control room floorspace and cramped conditions for maintenance can make social distancing impossible. “Some component repairs can involve five workers working right next to each other,” he says.
Because reactor-driven electricity is not vital amidst this pandemic downturn, the demand for atomic workers to “stay home” is certain to escalate. “I am concerned with Exelon & Limerick Nuclear Generating Station’s handling of the scheduled refueling—which has required bringing in workers from across the country during this pandemic,” says US Rep. Madeleine Dean in a statement likely to be repeated at reactor sites around the US.
“The potential increase of COVID-19 cases from 1,400 new workers not observing social distancing is staggering,” says epidemiologist Joseph Mangano of the Radiation and Health Project. “The Limerick plant should be shut until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.”
Indian Point Unit One, north of New York City, will shut permanently on April 28. Iowa’s Duane Arnold will close in December.
But Ground Zero may be Pacific Gas & Electric’s two 35-year-old reactors at Diablo Canyon. PG&E is bankrupt for the second time in two decades, and recently pleaded guilty to 85 felonies from the fires its faulty wires sent raging through northern California, killing 84 people. In 2010 a faulty PG&E gas line exploded in San Bruno, killing eight people.
Surrounded by earthquake faults, Diablo’s construction prompted more than 10,000 civil disobedience arrests, the most at any US reactor. PG&E now admits its two Diablo nukes will lose more than $1.2 billion this year, more than $3.44 million/day.
Amidst its bitterly contested bankruptcy, PG&E may be taken over by the state. But more than a thousand workers are slated in early October to refuel and repair Unit One, which the NRC says is dangerously embrittled.
Whether local residents concerned about both a nuclear accident and the spread of the Coronavirus will let them into the county remains to be seen. So is whether they’ll be still operating by then.
With the future of the nuclear industry at stake—-along with the possibility of more reactor mishaps—-the whole world will be watching.
Harvey Wasserman’s Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth is at www.solartopia.org, along with The People’s Spiral of US History. His California Solartopia Show is broadcast at KPFK/Pacifica 90.7fm Los Angeles; his Green Power & Wellness Show is podcast at prn.fm. For a full one-hour expert podcast discussion of the impact of the Cornoavirus on nuke power, click here.
The NRC states Edison must stop loading canisters until this issue is resolved. However, there is no method to inspect or repair cracking canisters and the NRC knows this.
Attend November 29th SONGS Community Engagement Panel meeting. Tell the NRC and Edison: The Holtec thin canister system is a lemon and must be replaced. Demand they replace all thin-wall canisters with proven thick-wall casks before it’s too late. Ratepayers didn’t pay for lemons.
QLN Conference Center, 1938 Avenida Del Oro, Oceanside, CA 92056
Waste Control Specialists (WCS) in West Texas has applied to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a license to construct and operate a “centralized interim storage facility” for 40,000 metric tons of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel, more than half of what exists in the U.S.
The “host” county, Andrews, has a large Latin American population, as well as many low income residents; so too does Eunice, New Mexico, just four miles from WCS across the state border.
This de facto permanent parking lot dump would launch 4,000 high-risk Mobile Chernobyl train car shipments, traveling through most states (see map, right; click here for a larger version).
The region around WCS has a high proportion of low income, Latin American residents, and is already heavily burdened with nuclear activities and dirty fossil fuel industries. WCS would launch unprecedented numbers of irradiated nuclear fuel train and barge shipments through many states.
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