As we watch the nuclear industry rubber stamping license renewal for 104 failing American Nuclear Reactors in the name of a Nuclear Renaissance, we have to wonder where worker protections are at plants like Entergy Nuclear's Indian Point. To push through license renewals for failing reactors, the NRC has allowed EPRI and NEI to rewrite major sections of 10 CFR, the NRC regulations meant to protect human health,safety and the environment. Meanwhile, one simple rule change that would provide nuclear workers with a great deal of protection from cancer causing REM exposures sits on the back burner.
Almost universally, the world has a 2 REM a year exposure rating for people working in nuclear facilities...not so in America, and not even close for many workers at Nuclear Reactor sites. A quick rule change could enact this exposure rating for every NRC licensee...however, the NRC buckled to industry pressure (EPRI and NEI), and is taking no action on changing the rules to lower worker exposure limits until after EPRI (using statistics provided by NEI) conducts a study on the effects of lowering the yearly exposure limits from 3 REM to 2 REM on the industry! Let's save the industry a LOT OF TIME and MONEY by spelling out what such a rule change would do.
1. It would reduce worker radiation exposures by 1/3 from 3 REM to only 2 REM per year.
2. It would propably cost nuclear plant owners like Entergy who reported profits last year of almost half a billion dollars a few million a year in added staff.
3. It would provide union workers more job opportunities, as nuclear plants would have to schedule in more workers to keep individual employee exposures under 2 REM.
So, why not make this simple rule change? Because MANAGEMENT cares more about PROFITS than their workers, especially when those workers are the laborers, the pipe fitters, the welders, nozzle damn insertion-removal workers, radwaste technicians, in-house maintenance, valve and pump vendor technicians...in short, the blue collar, union workers, the back bone of American Industry.
It is a known fact that Indian Point workers read this blog...go to your management at Indian Point. Ask them if it is true that NRC is/has been considering a REM dose reduction. Ask them about the EPRI study on this topic, ask them why worker personal information was shared with EPRI for this study. Demand they explain to you, the worker being exposed why they as a company, as an industry are not pushing the NRC to make this rule change IMMEDIATELY.
Further, so that the NRC has ACCURATE records on every employee in the nuclear industry, demand that PADS tracking be mandatory for every worker in the industry, including in-house employees. Where is your union demanding this rule change? Where is your union in demanding that the NRC not grant exemptions to this exposure and tracking rule? One would think the Pipe fitters Local would be ALL OVER THIS VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE. Grow a backbone, demand that EPRI make public their study entitled:
Evaluation of 2 Rem per Year Occupational Dose Limit:
Potential Impacts on U.S. Nuclear Utilities