To: Editor, Atlantic City Press
From: Norm Cohen
321 Barr Ave, Linwood NJ 08221
I must disagree with PSEG's nuclear chief Chris Bakken's recent assertion that PSEG's three nuclear plants are safe to run.
PSEG's own surveys, done by industry consultants, concluded that the plants were deficient in 75% of the safety areas surveyed.
The NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) has all three plants under a special watch that was approved by the NRC Commissioners.
The NRC and PSEG admit that PSEG's Safety Conscious Work Environment (SCWE) and Safety Culture are deficient.
Employees remain afraid to tell management about safety concerns and management pushes production over safety.
PSEG's own actions show this.
PSEG has chosen to install new turbines in Salem 2, which increase production, rather than replace their plugged and dangerous steam generators, which would improve safety.
They are putting off the steam generator replacement until 2006.
When Hope Creek had a steam line rupture and was forced to shut down in November, PSEG officials wanted to restart Hope Creek just to burn off ten more days of fuel.
It took, according to Dave Lochbaum, nuclear safety engineer for the Union of Concerned Scientists, a "rebellion" in the Hope Creek control room to stop PSEG's unsafe plans for restart.
Now PSEG wants to restart Hope Creek, even though they have a defective circulating pump.
If this pump breaks under certain conditions, a loss of cooling accident, or even a meltdown, is possible.
PSEG's own internal report indicates that PSEG is rolling the dice if it restarts Hope Creek without replacing this pump.
PSEG has always told the public that they put 'safety first'. But James Ferland, PSEG CEO, has been quoted as saying that 'Mediocrity is acceptable".
It is time for PSEG to walk the walk, not just talk.
They need to spend the money and time it will take and replace the defective Hope Creek circulating pump.
They need to shut each plant down for an extended period of time to replace the defective steam generators, fix their SCWE and safety culture, and get caught up on their longstanding Maintenance backlogs.
If PSEG won't do this, then the NRC, supposedly the guardians of the public's safety, should grow a backbone and require PSEG to really put "safety first".