Monday, May 14, 2007

Indian Point Contaminating Buchanan Sewers-What's Next?

As is par for the course, both Steets of Entergy (Indian Point) and Neil Sheehan of the NRC were quick to rush out to the press assuring the public that the tritium leaking into the town of Buchanan's sewer system was NOTHING TO BE ALARMED ABOUT. Even Patrick Moore tried to defend Indian Point (which he is being paid handsomely to do we might add), pawning off the leak as minor, and of no significance, while trying to implement the nuclear industry's buzz word of sustainability, meant to replace renewable. You are a sly one Mr. Grinch. The reality though, is this is a serious one, and radioactive materials contaminating sewage treatment facilities is one that the NRC is all too familiar with, and one where NRC's past actions have seen them ALWAYS siding with their licensee.

For those not up on the issue, the real issue is simple...though the NRC and it's licensees do not understand how it happens, radioactive materials that find their way into sewage treatment plants end up concentrating together, thus CONTAMINATING a facility to a point where it (not the licensee) is in violation of both the NRC and US EPA's release criteria. Once this occurs, the NRC and other regulatory bodies (EPA, Health Department) go after the sewage treatment facility demanding REMEDIATION. As much as Buchanan loves to defend Indian Point at all costs, have they asked themselves where the remediation dollars are going to come from when this happens to their facility? You can bet money it will not be Entergy, or their separately owned LLC's picking up the tab.
If NRC or the state of Ohio does not approve on-site disposal of the contaminated soil the cost of off-site disposal could exceed $3 billion.
To address the problem of radiative materials’ concentrating in sludge and ash, NRC has revised its regulation to reduce the concentration of radioactivity that licensees can discharge to treatment plants. However, because of uncertainty about how the radioactive materials concentrate during the sewage treatment process, NRC does not know how effective this solution will be.

The health implications of the exposure of treatment plant workers and the public to contaminated sludge, ash, and related by-products are unknown because neither NRC nor EPA knows (1) how much radioactive material may be in these products and (2) how these products might affect people.

According to the district, NRC has consistently taken the position that unless it can prove the manufacturer exceeded the discharge limits set forth in 10 C.F.R. part 20.303, there is no action NRC can take against the manufacturer. NRC maintains that the district is responsible for any and all costs associated with the remediation of the site since the district is in possession of the contamination.

District officials believe that passing on the costs of the cleanup to its ratepayers is unfair, and they are taking action to keep this from happening. The district filed a petition (pursuant to 10 C.F.R. part 2.206) on March 3,1993, requesting that NRC modify the manufacturer’s NRC license to require it to (1) assume all costs resulting from the release of cobalt-60 that has been deposited at the Southerly plant and (2) decontaminate the sewer.

The above passage is not Green Nuclear Butterfly's opinion, but words taken right out of the government PDF referenced at the beginning of this article. At every turn we are hearing about another NEW LEAK at Indian Point, and Neil Sheehan,in the LOHUD article written by Noreen O'Donnell, states, "the contamination is believed to be concentrated in and around the reactor structures on the site." In other words that Neil Sheehan and the NRC are well versed in not using, the pipes, steam pipes,valves and the reactor core itself are LEAKING, beginning to break apart due to aging, embrittlement and degradation issues associated with and ancient reactor. In short, Indian Point is literally breaking apart at its seams (failing weld joints) and the longer the plant operates, the greater risk to the public health and safety.

The old Kenny Rogers song warns, "that you have to know when to hold em, and know when to fold em, and the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep." There is a certain almost prophetic message there for Buchanan. They as a community have benefited and grown as a result of their long term tax arrangement with Indian Point and its various tenants/owners. The question is, "Has the time come for Buchanan too get up from the table and walk away?"


Anonymous said...

Just curious regarding your information on Patrick Moore - you state he is being paid "handsomely as an Indian Point supporter. Just to have the facts - how much and by whom? Also, the town of Buchanan is supporting the plant at "all cost". Again how much?

Porgie Tirebiter, Royce Penstinger and Pinto Bean said...

How much is Patrick Moore getting paid...a lot is the easy answer. For starters, the CASEnergy group that is promoting nuclear at the grassroots level, and founded by Christine Todd Whitman and Patrick Moore is completely funded (or was)by NEI (Nuclear Energy Insitute) that is the lobby for the nuclear industry. Further, Patrick Moore has shown up at a lot of events...his fee is $15,000. This does not include his consulting fees which are hidden behind the corporate veil of his company.

Buchanan's price they are paying. First, if there is a big incident, they are at ground zero. Then, you have elevated cancer rates for this area that they choose to ignore...big price. Lastly, if the sewage treatment plant is contaminated, who is going to pay for that? Not Entergy...they will keep it in court for decades.