Subject: Nuclear Power Meeting DE City Report

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 Meeting DE City Fire Hall;

--Nuclear Plant Safety Post-Fukushima Nightmare—

NRC-Bill Dean, Region 1,

PSEG- Bill Levis, President

DEMA- James Turner, Director

MC’d by David Hodas, Widener U. Attorney, Environmental Law

Host: John Carney, US Congress

 

Richard Barkley, PE, US NRC, Nuclear and Envir Engineer, Region 1

 

Below please read the fabulous testimony given by Ellen Lebowitz on Tuesday in Delaware City

some comments of mine:


..stated that any request from a group or organization, for DEMA to come out and talk about evacuation plans and such, would be honored
Private Groups such a Nursing Homes...there is no official record
Dry Cask vs. In-Pool containment of spent fuel was a continuing discussion as Congressman Carney was very concerned with the risks of both, and pressed this issue. Of course you know that the risks of pooled spent fuel is water contamination (radiological) and then a question was asked but (to my knowledge) not answered

NRC has a “Waste Confidence Act”; they can store on site for 60 yrs. And there is a ‘Blue-Ribbon Commission’ for repository storage/recommendations. Absolutely another Blue Ribbon commission. How many have we had so far I lost count

Several NRC people came over to me afterward with manuals and information and asking for my contact info, etc. to send stuff about this. I just asked the question to bring it out (this was video recorded). It’s easy enough to get info on Price-Anderson. They always come and talk to you afterwards, looking for a CONVERSION

 

 

and John Carney said nuclear power was a substantial energy provider and wouldn’t be going away in the near term. (This is also what Senator Coons stated in a reply to me). I said it should go by attrition. Yes. Don't rock the boat I have my political future to worry about

Thank you very very much Ellen.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 Meeting DE City Fire Hall;

--Nuclear Plant Safety Post-Fukushima Nightmare—

NRC-Bill Dean, Region 1,

PSEG- Bill Levis, President

DEMA- James Turner, Director

MC’d by David Hodas, Widener U. Attorney, Environmental Law

Host: John Carney, US Congress

Richard Barkley, PE, US NRC, Nuclear and Envir Engineer, Region 1

Tel#610-337-5065

richard.barkley@nrc.gov

Frieda,

Initially I met DE Congressman John Carney and then went over to David Hodas. I mentioned UD’s Charles Mitchell’s 2008 report on the problems associated with emergency evacuation plans, and that it appeared that none of the recommendations had been implemented and so Mr. Hodas had me talk with DEMA Director Turner. He talked quite a bit but did not seem particularly interested in hearing from me. However, later as he spoke to the group, he stated that any request from a group or organization, for DEMA to come out and talk about evacuation plans and such, would be honored. So this might be something to consider in lieu of the fact that public hearings about evacuation plans in Delaware do not appear to be forthcoming.

In the 2 hours that followed there is little I will bother to iterate to you, because as you are well aware, they spoke mostly of their redundant diverse safety systems and how Fukushima was different and what they are learning from it and how they inspect and continually assess and implement actions as findings come in. Post Fukushima recommendations- 1st Stage this summer; longer term 6-9 months; Performance indicators hailed Salem and Hope Creek ‘Green’ last year and so 2011 brings nominal inspections. I believe it was stated that Salem is in the final stages of licensing renewal.

I asked about the generators at Fukushima- they were swept away by the tsunami. Apparently they were not safely stored high enough to be saved from that fate and thus the melt down. (They never used that term). Here, generators are supposedly kept out of harm’s way and would be able to be used effectively in an ‘event,’ to cool the fuel in case of power loss….(I’m just telling you what I remember hearing them say—also took some notes). And yes, those explosions were of concern in terms of radiological releases. Congressman Carney continued with questions about the spent fuel, which seemed to be his primary concern. This became quite a discussion because it became clear that the NRC blames the US Government for not following through on its commitment to have underground repository to store this waste. I believe Bill Dean said a couple of times how the government had failed on this account.

Bill Levis said there was enough on-site capacity for 200 casks and I think he said there were currently 20. Yes, we are susceptible to earthquakes (as you know). Seismic design is said to be robust to 6.5 and the largest quake to date was 5.3. They were more concerned with flooding and John Carney brought up the threat of climate change. The NRC did not have much to say on this and apparently does not take it too seriously at this point in terms of impact to domestic plants. David Hodas added that sea level rise has been underestimated since IPCC’s 2007 report. Dean was not able to answer Hodas’ question on the NRC’s ‘worst case scenario due to sea level rise.’ Dry Cask vs. In-Pool containment of spent fuel was a continuing discussion as Congressman Carney was very concerned with the risks of both, and pressed this issue. Of course you know that the risks of pooled spent fuel is water contamination (radiological) and then a question was asked but (to my knowledge) not answered regarding where that water ends up, and potential accidental release; also pool water relies on power to cool the newly spent fuel which is extremely ‘hot’…..The dry casks are subject to external natural and other-than-natural catastrophic events such as extreme weather or terrorist attack. However, predictably the NRC describes both methods “equally safe.”

Reprocessing spent fuel (as done in France) was brought up in a question regarding options for this waste, and answered that the concern was about plutonium risks, bomb making and terrorism…..

NRC has a “Waste Confidence Act”; they can store on site for 60 yrs. And there is a ‘Blue-Ribbon Commission’ for repository storage/recommendations.

At the end, I asked one more question….If they were so confident, why the Price-Anderson Act that would pass liability on to the taxpayer. This was a ‘larger policy question’ which no one was prepared to address but they ‘could get this information to me after’….. I said it was a slightly rhetorical question and that if confidence in the safety of nuclear plants was so great there would be no need to be insured by the taxpayers/government; Several NRC people came over to me afterward with manuals and information and asking for my contact info, etc. to send stuff about this. I just asked the question to bring it out (this was video recorded). It’s easy enough to get info on Price-Anderson. One NRC gentleman said it kicks in after 12 billion dollars. I said a major event could come to 100’s of billions. He said Fukushima was estimated at around 30; I said the health impacts would be generational. He nodded.

After Mr. Carney closed the meeting and thanked everyone, I spoke with David Hodas and him. We talked about coal and the Congressman said no one seemed as concerned as they should be about this. I disagreed and we discussed the nightmare of mountain-top mining, and greenhouse gases; Mr. Hodas and Mr. Carney agreed that nuclear does not emit greenhouse gases. I disagreed. The following day I sent Congressman Carney some numbers on tons of greenhouse gas emissions due to the mining and transportation of uranium for nuclear fuel. We talked about clean renewables and John Carney said nuclear power was a substantial energy provider and wouldn’t be going away in the near term. (This is also what Senator Coons stated in a reply to me). I said it should go by attrition.

This report is based on notes I took and recollection. I cannot guarantee 100% accuracy of everything stated herein. I have done my best to report as accurately as possible and apologize for any possible errors.

Ellen Lebowitz