Friday, January 26, 2007

Millstone Is More Of a Threat Than Ever

January 26, 2007

September 11 Five Years Later: Millstone Is More Of a Threat Than Ever Five years after terrorists flew over the Indian Point nuclear reactors on the Hudson River bound for the World Trade Center...

Dear Members of the Energy & Technology Committee:

We note that Rep. Elizabeth Ritter recently extended an invitation to fellow members of the Energy & Technology Committee to visit Millstone’s dry cask storage installation in Waterford. Please refer to the minutes of your January 4, 2007 and January 11, 2007 meetings.

While we appreciate earnest efforts to inform your Committee about all aspects of Millstone operations, we write to be sure you are aware of the following:

1. Dominion’s application to the Siting Council to site a de facto permanent high-level nuclear waste storage installation is the subject of a legal challenge initiated by the Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone; an appeal is now pending before the Appellate Court.

2. The approval defied the Waterford Conservation Commission’s decision and is contrary to Waterford’s zoning regulations, which prohibit permanent nuclear waste storage within the town.

3. The storage units are federally licensed for only 20 years; it is generally acknowledged that there will be no federal repository to take the waste before the licenses expire.

4. The federal regulator, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, did not evaluate the vulnerability of the above-ground, highly visible (see accompanying photograph) nuclear waste storage facility to acts of terrorism. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit recently ruled with regard to a dry cask storage application in California that the NRC erred in failing to take into consideration such vulnerability; the U.S. Supreme Court denied the utility’s pedtition to appeal.

5. Millstone’s above-ground storage installation is highly vulnerable to an airborne terrorist attack. (See photo.)

6. Dominion flagrantly misled the Siting Council when it represented the site is protected by state-of-the art perimeter security. When Dominion, through its lobbyist, Daniel Weekley, made such claim, it was deliberately disabling its perimeter security system because it was generating hundreds of false alarms. Dominion’s security was and is a travesty. These facts have become known through whistleblower disclosures.

7. High-level nuclear waste dry-cask installations in the U.S. have been plagued with defects. Components made in Japan do not meet U.S. quality control standards.

8. The NRC’s approval of Millstone’s high-level nuclear waste storage disallowed any public hearing or other public input.

9. The facility is designed to continuously release high levels of radiation requiring limited worker exposure. Direct unshielded exposure results in a lethal dose of radiation.

10. Millstone’s above-ground and highly visible dry-cask storage facility is located but yards away from Jordan Cove, an active recreational area and estuary of the Long Island Sound, which affords waterborne access.

11. Ex-Governor John G. Rowland’s office facilitated Siting Council approval of the facility, according to DEP records made available under the Freedom of Information Act. Mr. Weekley arranged for Dominion to fly the chairman of the Siting Council, its executive director and a voting member of the Siting Council to out-of-state nuclear facilities to acquaint them with dry-cask storage installations, a fact withheld from the public during the Siting Council’s proceedings. The then-Ethics Commission gave a green light to this arrangement, calling it a “gift to the state.” Current standards of ethics would disallow such an arrangement today.

12. Dominion represented that the dry cask storage facility was needed in order to keep Millstone Unit 2 operating. Unit 2 had filled its wet storage pool to capacity. Unit 2 - which began operations 31 years ago - has been troubled-plagued. Most recently, it was put under special scrutiny by the NRC because of the high number of defective equipment-related unplanned shutdowns. Its operational history was so bleak that the DPUC declared Millstone Unit 2 “no longer used and useful” and removed it from the rate base c. 1998. Millstone Unit 2 is an accident waiting to happen.


Nancy Burton
147 Cross Highway
Redding Ridge CT 06876
Tel. 203-938-3952

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