Saturday, September 29, 2007
LEDs will replace conventional lighting on the George Washington bridge and the Holland Tunnel.
According to an article on the Star-Ledger news website, two Hudson River crossings linking New Jersey and New York City will be fitted with LED lights.
The plans to retrofit conventional lamps with energy-saving LED illumination on the George Washington bridge and the Holland Tunnel were approved by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's board of commissioners.
A $4.5 million project eventually will replace more than 4,200 fluorescent fixtures at the Holland Tunnel with 1,736 LED fixtures. The new lamps will last 15 years, compared with the roughly 18-month life span of the existing lights, providing an estimated annual saving of $340,000, says the article.
The George Washington bridge will see a one-for-one replacement of 156 mercury vapor lamps on the bridge's cables. The $200,000 project will results in annual savings of $50,000.
The current fixtures, which provide aesthetics and do not light the roadway, must be replaced as often as each year. Agency officials also are considering converting the roadway lights, says the newspaper article.
Both projects are annually expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 3.3 million pounds and nitrogen oxides by 5,000 pounds. Work on the bridge and the tunnel is slated to start and finish in 2008.
Article courtesy LED magazine
Friday, September 28, 2007
As allowed under 10 CFR 2.206, I am formally requesting immediate action from the Commission that would shut down both Indian Point 2 and 3 until such time as their emergency siren system with back up power has met ALL FEMA requirements, and passed all necessary tests required to be certified as and acceptable emergency notification siren system.
First, to put this formal request into perspective, we should review some history. On January 31, 2006, the NRC issued a Confirmatory Order Modifying License (Order) to Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. (Entergy or licensee) requiring the licensee to install backup power for the Indian Point siren system, as required by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, by January 30, 2007. Interestingly, perhaps to save money, to do the job on the cheap, Entergy chose a new system that FAILS to meet design basis.
On January 11, 2007, Entergy submitted a request to relax the Order, to extend the deadline to April 15, 2007. On January 23, 2007, the NRC approved Entergy's request after wrongfully finding that Entergy had made a good faith effort to comply with the Order and had demonstrated good cause to relax the Order. The NRC failed to explain how they came about deciding Entergy's good faith, but it is obvious that the community being forced to play host to this aging, dilapidated nuclear relic from days gone by disagreed then, and as it turned out, with good cause. ( I reference here the 2.206 petition of Thomas Gurdziel) It is no accident that there is now a law suit against the very company that our siren system comes from for a similar failure to perform issue at another nuclear reactor site.
On April 13, 2007, Entergy submitted a second request to relax the Order, to extend the deadline to August 31, 2007. On April 13, 2007, the NRC denied the relaxation request and stated that the NRC would consider action under the NRC's Enforcement Policy. On April 23, 2007, the NRC issued a Notice of Violation and
Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty for $130,000 (EA 07-092) to Entergy because of its failure to meet the April 15, 2007, deadline.
The NRC acts as if this $130,000 fine was severe...we as a community disagreed, as each day the siren system is not in operation is another separate and unique violation. Further, that $130,000 fine represents less than ONE PERCENT of the actual cost of the new siren system. Despite the fine, Entergy was given another four months to have the system up and running. Where were 120 separate fines? On or about August 24th they conducted a test which FAILED MISERABLY. I immediately informed appropriate agencies of the government, including the NRC, and it is pointed out here, that the NRC has failed completely in getting back to me on the complaint I filed over a month ago, despite the fact that FEMA findings outlined in and eight page letter to Entergy validated my complaints about the shortcoming of the system.
This week in a Journal News article by Greg Clary dated September 25th, 2007 we have just learned that Entergy has requested a face to face meeting with FEMA to find out just what they need to do to GET THE SYSTEM RIGHT.
We have heard Steets false promises before, have been promised a working functioning emergency siren system for quite sometime. Problem is, it has NOT BE DELIVERED, and the old system has a horrid track system of failures.Indian Point seeks talks with FEMA on sirensBy GREG CLARY
THE JOURNAL NEWS(Original publication: September 25, 2007)
BUCHANAN -Indian Point officials want a face-to-face meeting with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to make sure they know exactly what will satisfy regulators who so far have found the nuclear plant's new siren system "inadequate."
In a 12-page letter obtained by The Journal News, the company said it wants to go over in detail with FEMA officials the unresolved technical issues such as volume, sustainability of siren sound and overall system reliability.
Jim Steets, a spokesman for plant owner Entergy Nuclear, acknowledged yesterday that the in-depth, in-person discussions would further delay the new sirens' operation.
"It's impossible to know how long it will take us," Steets said. "We're committed to moving quickly, but only to FEMA's satisfaction."
For citizens living within the shadow of Indian Point's Peak Fatality Zone, the Emergency Siren System is our first, and perhaps best chance of protecting our selves and our families in the event of a terrorist attack and/or significant radiological event at the Indian Point Entergy Center site. NRC's first response in considering these types of 2.206 petitions is to routinely dismiss them, to claim we have not raised a basis for relief. The twin towers that no longer grace our skyline are PROOF that terrorist can mount a successful attack on American infrastructure. The deplorable condition of the systems and components of Indian Point (leaks, spent fuel leaks, serious Boric Acid Corrosion (BAC) concerns with the reactor vessel head, as well as sleeping guards show there is a very real risk of a significant radiological event at the plant.
As is witnessed by FEMA's failure of the Entergy Emergency Alarm system in Auguest, coupled with Entergy's expressed desire to meet face to face with Entergy makes it apparent that our community's first line of defense, our early warning system if you will is not working adequately enough to protect us in the event of a significant radiological event. In short, we ARE AT RISK, and that risk can be greatly mitigated by placing both reactors into COLD SHUT DOWN until such time as the Emergency Siren system as is required by the NRC Confirmatory Order Modifying License (Order) to Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc has been approved by, and signed off on by FEMA.
NRC's decision in August to simply take a hands off, wait for FEMA approach is unacceptable, and is placing human life at great risk should and emergency event occur at Indian Point. I am therefore implementing my legal right as a stakeholder to request formally that the Commission issue and order effective immediately that Entergy's IP2 LLC and IP3 reactors be placed into COLD SHUT DOWN until their Emergency Sirens are fully approved by FEMA and the NRC, and the system is operating within the 96 percent acceptable zone. Additionally, it is requested that the Commission use its vast discretionary powers to fine Entergy $130,000 per day from today, September 28th, 2007 forward until such time as they have complied with the NRC's Confirmatory Order. Almost eight months after the original due date for delivery of this alarm system, and we as a community are STILL AT RISK. Yet, during that time, Entergy has found time to file License Renewal Applications, file a formal request for license transfer for over half of their fleet, and rammed through a SIGNIFICANT license amendment.
Placing the reactors into Cold Shut Down until the siren system functions as required will significantly lower our community's risks, and the fines should be adequately incentive for Entergy to place their corporate priorities where they belong, which is taking care of Public Health and Safety as JOB ONE.
Peekskill, New York 10566
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
My name is Gary Shaw and I live less than six miles from Indian Point.
I work as a designer of marketing research projects and a data analyst, so I am very familiar with the use of benchmarks and action standards. I spend considerable energy to ensure that the metrics in my research that are used as the basis for business decisions are well defined and consistent with established protocols. That is one of the reasons that I am so concerned about the NRC’s evaluations of Indian Point and the relicensing process overall.
One of the terms that the NRC uses repeatedly is “reasonable assurance,” and this term is used in evaluations of a range of operations and systems, but is not at all clearly defined. A primary example of this is the agency’s approval of the Indian Point Emergency Evacuation plan after James Lee Witt issued a report that the plan was “inadequate to protect the public from an unacceptable dose of radiation,” On a Friday in July of 2003, FEMA, under the infamous Michael Brown, approved the Evacuation Plan and that judgment was quickly accepted by the NRC, saying the plan provided reasonable assurance that it would be effective. Ironically, on that very day, all the major roadways in Westchester were jammed through the entire day because of a single accident on the George Washington Bridge during the morning rush hour. I still wonder how the NRC defined “reasonable assurance” for that ridiculous judgment. When I think of that day I have a mental image of those traffic jams happening while Indian Point’s sirens wailed. That is, if the sirens were working that day.
Now the NRC is considering extending the operating licenses of Indian Point units 2 and 3 for twenty more years beyond their expirations in 2013 and 2015 respectively, and will cite reasonable assurance that the plants will remain safe and environmentally benign for that twenty year extension. We know that there are an undetermined number of leaks of radioactive elements into the environment and that the sources of those leaks remain uncertain. Consequently, there are no known plans to stop the leakage. Especially disturbing is that large sections of pipes are not accessible to inspection, and the only way for the NRC to evaluate whether those pipes have corroded or will remain viable for twenty more years is to dig test wells and declare that there is not currently a leak at that site at that time. And since Indian Point 1 has been non-operational for decades and that plant is leaking with no plan for stopping the leakage, wouldn’t the discovery of additional leaks at some point in the future simply mean that we have more uncorrectable problems?
If the NRC is not capable of stating how many linear feet of piping are inaccessible or how many thirty-five year old welds are inaccessible, and where each of them is located, how will they define “reasonable assurance” that those pipes and welds will be viable until the years 2033 and 2035? Since we already know that this is the only nuclear plant in the country leaking Strontium 90 and Cesium 137, wouldn’t that information would be important.
We also know that prior test wells found concentrations of contamination at many times the EPA level for drinking water, but since the leaks are not currently going into known drinking water sources, the NRC has dismissed them as non-hazardous. I would like to know what specific radiological readings would define an unacceptable level that is not going directly into a known drinking source.
In other words, if the NRC cannot provide a well defined set of metrics, how can they establish standards that must be met to warrant twenty additional years of operations for this aging and leaking facility. We have already seen the NRC’s idea of reasonable assurance. With the potential danger of radiological contamination, how can we accept this agency’s judgments if they cannot define their standards and prove the validity of their metrics?
Member of the Steering Committees of Croton Close Indian Point (CrotonCIP) and the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition (IPSEC).
Nuclear Plant Guards Caught Sleeping On The Job
(CBS 3) YORK COUNTY, Pa. Major security changes are underway at an area nuclear plant following the discovery of several guards sleeping on the job.
The guards were caught on tape sleeping on duty, secretly taped by a fellow officer.
The images are all the more disturbing because their job is protecting the Peach Bottom Nuclear Plant, which is one of America's largest.
"It's outrageous that they're not ready to go," Peter Stockton said.
Stockton is with a government watchdog group.
The area where the guards were taped sleeping on different shifts and days, is called "the ready room."
The sleeping guards are supposed to be poised to spring into action immediately if there is an emergency.
"Certainly every one of these officers should have been wide awake and ready to go," said a former Peach Bottom officer who asked not to be identified. "Some of these officers should have been patrolling the facility."
The owner of Peach Bottom, Exelon Nuclear, said the sleeping is in its words, "not acceptable" and they've now terminated their contract with Wackenhut Security to protect Peach Bottom.
Exelon does maintain that, because the sleeping guards are only part of a much wider security net, there was no risk to the public.
"The actions we have seen on the videotape and found in our internal inquiry did not directly impact the safety and security of the plant," a statement from Exelon read.
Wackenhut Security, the same company providing security at Peach Bottom, also protects three other Exelon facilities: Three Mile Island outside Harrisburg, the Limerick Nuclear Plant in Montgomery County, and Oyster Creek in New Jersey.
However, while Wackenhut is being removed from Peach Bottom, Exelon said the company will continue to protect the other three nuclear facilities, pending the outcome of a security review.
"You're only as strong as your weakest link, and you don't want your weakest link to be a security guard sleeping on the job," Eric Epstein of a nuclear watchdog group.
Epstein, chairman of a community nuclear watchdog group "Three Mile Island Alert" said the sleeping guards show nuclear plant owners should stop outsourcing security to private companies and instead rely on officers trained and managed by the Federal Government.
"Clearly we're concerned about what we saw," Nuclear Regulatory Commission Administrator Sam Collins said.
After viewing the tape, the NRC now has a special five member team conducting what it calls a "special security inspection" at Peach Bottom.
"What we saw is not aligned with our expectations or Exelon's expectations and we will pursue it on that basis," Collins said.
The NRC will issue a report 30 days after its inspection.
Meanwhile, Wackenhut calls it quote "an anomaly," and said "it was a small number of security personnel that were not performing as they should have."
Monday, September 24, 2007
Thanks for getting in touch with Energy Action Coalition. We are firmly against nuclear power.
In our Youth Statement of Principles (http://www.climatechallenge.org/statement_of_principles), we state:
"A just climate and energy policy cannot rely on any forms of dirty energy such as so-called “clean coal” or nuclear power. We must recognize the disproportionate impact of global warming and dirty energy on low-income, people of color and indigenous communities and ensure a just transition that improves and supports their physical, social and economic health."
The goals of Power Shift are laid out here (http://www.powershift07.org/about). Power Shift is a unique opportunity for young people from all walks of life to have their voice be heard in the halls of Congress. Monday will be a lobby day on Capitol Hill during which we will be promoting the main asks in the Youth Statement of Principles and calling for bold solutions.
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of Power Shift, please check out the resources here (http://www.powershift07.org/sponsor). For an interesting article on the topics you bring up, read this - http://itsgettinghotinhere.org/2007/01/25/anatomy-of-an-addiction.
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New York Times
Indian Point Faces New Challenge From Opponents
By MATTHEW L. WALD
WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 — An antinuclear group filed legal papers with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Friday evening opposing the relicensing of the Indian Point 2 nuclear reactor in Westchester County.
As a result, a panel of judges must consider the validity of the assertions — setting the stage for a long and contentious new chapter in the dispute over the plant and its companion, Indian Point 3.
There is already strong opposition to the relicensing of other nuclear power plants, including Oyster Creek in southern New Jersey and Vermont Yankee, which is on the Connecticut River just north of the Massachusetts border. Panels of three administrative law judges are studying those applications as well.
A hearing is scheduled to begin Monday in Toms River, N.J., on the request for a 20-year licensing extension of Oyster Creek, the oldest commercial reactor in the country, and a hearing is also likely for Vermont Yankee. Another three-judge panel is considering hearings for the Pilgrim nuclear plant, in Plymouth, Mass.
The antinuclear group, Friends United for Sustainable Energy, or FUSE, of Spring Valley, N.Y., contends that for decades, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and its predecessor, the Atomic Energy Commission, improperly held the Indian Point reactors, which are in Buchanan, N.Y., to less stringent design requirements than those the government applied to newer plants.
The requirements, which lay out in broad terms what safety precautions must be built into a plant’s hardware, were often changed in the 1960s and early ’70s, when the Indian Point reactors were built. According to the petition by FUSE, the builders claimed at one point that they met the draft criteria, but actually met only the criteria the nuclear industry was lobbying for.
The commission itself focused on precisely what standards were used, and what should have been used, when it analyzed the plant again in the early 1990s. In 1992, the commission decided not to require Indian Point to meet the criteria for newer plants.
“You don’t start from scratch,” said a spokesman for the commission, Neil Sheehan, on Friday, describing the decision to consider relicensing the plant now without making it comply with rules approved after its completion.
But FUSE argues that the 1992 action was a violation of a federal law designed to ensure fairness in administrative procedures. And the failure of the builders to heed the requirements that applied to newer plants “substantially reduces safety margins,” the group contends.
Entergy, which owns the reactors, insists that the plant was safe as built and still is.
FUSE also charged that Entergy has failed to submit an adequate plan for maintaining safety at the plant as its components age. The operators are promising merely to reach agreement later, thereby limiting public input, the group said.
But James Steets, a spokesman for Entergy, said in a telephone interview that it was in the nature of such maintenance plans that they evolved as the plant aged, and that “you never finish.”
Entergy bought Indian Point 2 from Consolidated Edison and Indian Point 3 from the New York Power Authority. The reactors are now owned by separate subsidiaries of Entergy. Plant opponents have argued that this is a legal strategy to limit the corporation’s liability in the event of an accident.
They now contend that because the reactors are separately held, Entergy cannot submit one application for renewal of both licenses. The opponents also note that while the two plants are of similar design, construction was managed by different engineering companies.
The application, according to FUSE, “creates an avalanche of a mixing of safety, technical and environmental issues caused by comingling.”
But Entergy, the first operator at the site to run both reactors, has been trying to integrate their operations. Mr. Steets said that the differences in the plants were accounted for in the details of the application for the extension, and that Entergy was seeking, for financial reasons, to bring them under the ownership of a single subsidiary.
Public Trust in government institutions is the fundamental currency of our American democracy, our economy, and our way of life, and nowhere is that trust more important than in the regulation of our nation's most dangerous and complex industry: commercial nuclear power. On going investigative research by FUSE (Friends United for Sustainable Energy), a not-for-profit nuclear watchdog organization overseeing the Indian Point nuclear complex, has alleged in their Formal Petition to Intervene that Entergy's Indian Point reactors are in violation of NRC 10 CRF Regulations, and present a clear and present danger to human health and the environment.
For forty years the owners of Indian Point have routinely avoided complying with some of the most important federal regulations designed to protect the health of our children and families from the terrible risks of a nuclear accident or terrorist attack. The errors are so serious that FUSE has filed allegations with the NRC, and will be asking the New York Attorney General's office and Congressman John Hall to investigate. Most importantly, the 30 million people who live in the shadow of the Indian Point nuclear reactors have unwittingly been subjected to risks much greater than they were ever aware.
Worse, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the agency entrusted with ensuring nuclear safety, has either been party to the wrong-doing, or has utterly failed in its job to protect the public.
The problems uncovered by FUSE fall into numerous safety and aging management areas crucial to the License Renewal Application review process. These include a General Design Basis different than the one the facility was licensed too, serious fatigue, leak and corrosion issues, and a host of problems that affect public health and safety.
Before a facility can be relicensed for another 20 years of operation, it must have adequate aging management plans in place, must be capable of preventing off site radiological incidents that could affect public health and the environment. The cornerstone of meeting these critical obligations to public health and safety is a truthful and accurate General Design Criteria.
It appears the Public Trust has been broken, that Indian Point has never been in compliance with regulations, and that regulators have not been doing their job. public record shows major differences between federal nuclear guidelines and the way Indian Point Unit 2 nuclear reactor was actually built. There is a public process that the NRC should have gone through to address those differences, but that process was never followed. As a result, nuclear safety at Indian Point has been seriously compromised, and the public has been put at risk. At the very least, public trust has been seriously violated at a time when Entergy is seeking permission to run the aging nuclear reactor for another 20 years.
21 Perlman Drive
Spring Valley, NY 10977
(Contentions PDF document can be downloaded from the home page)
Sunday, September 23, 2007