New Press Release's are added at the bottom
To The Editor, Atlantic City Press
The recent Press article about PSE&G's so-called Estuary Enhancement Program (EEP) was a balanced accounting of the current conflicts over PSE&G's fish killing nuclear plants and NJ DEP's refusal to enforce the Clean Water Act.
The UNPLUG Salem and Stop the Salem Fish Slaughter Campaign's 62 endorsing organizations would just like to make a few additions to this comprehensive article.
First, the numbers of horseshoe crabs slaughtered by PSE&G is in the hundreds of thousands, not just thousands, and continues to this day..
Second, PSE&G's claim of restoring over 20,000 acres of wetlands is just nonsense. As Clean Ocean Action's marine biologist Tony Totah has shown, there has been no net gain wetlands, perhaps even a net loss of wetlands.
Third, the article does not mention that the first permit written by the NJ DEP did require cooling towers, and did comply with the Clean Water Act. Also, the current permit does not call the EEP a mitigation on the fish kills. The EEP is in reality a public relations gimmick.
PSE&G has taken a verity of conflicting positions on the Salem fish slaughter, and some of those positions are reflected in Bergen's article. PSE&G says that they don't kill any fish, then say they kill some fish, then say that since their are so many fish in the Delaware, whatever fish kills there are have no impact.
Let's be specific: the two Salem Nukes slaughter Billions of fish, fish eggs, and larvae, and this slaughter has had, and will have, a negative impact on the Delaware Bay. Any improvement in fishing is the result of the two Salem Nukes being shut down for repair, or of other clean-ups of the Delaware River irrelevant to Salem.
Finally Bergen confirms one of our main contentions: that the DEP is biased towards PSE&G's project and the permit in its present form, when he states that "(UNPLUG's) claims of political partisanship are fueled by the DEP itself. At the dedication of the Thompson's Beach site last year, DEP officials stood side by side with PSE&G officials and even came to the podium to tout the merits of the program. The same DEP will judge the merits of the application for the renewal of the permit."
And this statement refutes letters to the editor from Gary Sondermeyer of the DEP who claimed that he was not praising PSE&G's program when he spoke at the Thompson's Beach pig roast.
The line at the beginning of the article is a more accurate description of the EEP:, "The legion moves mud, monitors mud and then tells the public about mud."
It is time to stop moving mud. It is time for PSE&G to either build cooling towers or shutdown the Salem Nukes. It is time for the DEP to enforce the law, and it is time for the US EPA and our Congressional representative to act to make sure that the DEP does in fact enforce the law.
Signed: Hank Egerton; Jane Nogaki & Norm Cohen
To the editor, :
The General Accounting Office‘s new inside look at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) shows morale could threaten the ability of the NRC to carry out its mission to protect public health and safety. A major change in how the NRC inspects and oversees nuclear plants is almost a done deal. Yet some of the strongest criticism is coming from within the Commission itself as well from the NRC inspectors who will have to implement the new process.
The NRC publicly claims that it is streamlining regulations to help utilities and inspectors perform with greater safety and efficiency. But the NRC staff told a different story to the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress. The majority of NRC staff who responded to the GAO survey believe that the new risk-informed oversight process will reduce plant safety margins. An amazing seventy percent of these nuclear plant inspectors say they fear that the new regulatory process will not identify and correct degrading performance.
We in the UNPLUG Salem Campaign are deeply concerned that inspections and regulations are being lowered to a level similar to that of the 1970's and 1980’s, which produced the TMI accident, the 1983 “near miss” at Salem, and the degraded performance of the two Salem Nukes, as well as several other "close calls." There’s only one way to put it: "the fox will be guarding the hen house" if we allow utilities who care more about profits than safety to have their way. Seventy five percent of the NRC staff told GAO auditors that utilities and industry groups had too much input and influence in developing the new regulatory process.
Inspection hours might be reduced even further according to two-thirds of plant inspectors. The same percentage have misgivings that licensees will manipulate performance indicator data and seventy-six percent say the
proposed process could mask problems. In the new system, the NRC relies on “voluntary” submission of data by the nuclear plants. This new system will lead to an increased reliance on utilities' self-assessments rather than actual observations by the NRC.
According to the January 2000 GAO report titled "Nuclear Regulation: NRC Staff Have Not Fully Accepted Planned Changes," the staff has "expressed high levels of uncertainty and confusion about the new directions in
regulatory practices and challenges facing the agency." Only twenty percent of the NRC staff say that trust exists between NRC senior management and the NRC staff!
The NRC's Office of the Inspector General concluded that "without significant and meaningful improvement in management's leadership, employees ' involvement, and communication, NRC's climate could eventually erode the
staff's outlook and commitment to doing their job."
The GAO noted that one-fourth of NRC staff said they were considering resigning and almost half said they would not recommend a colleague to take a job with the Commission. Nearly one-third of the staff said they were
dissatisfied with the NRC.
The GAO report concluded that, "NRC has neither established long-range goals to implement a risk-informed approach nor developed performance indicators to determine whether the agency has met the goals. ...Without such
information, NRC has no way to determine where it is going, how it will get there, or what progress has been made."
The GAO has provided adequate warning that the NRC is headed into a void which could lead to disaster at a time that our nuclear plants continue to age and degrade. And its incredible that this kind of criticism, why we as a nuclear watchdog group usually put out, is coming from the NRC staff itself.
The NRC will be holding a three day conference on this new inspection system in Philadelphia, from March 21-23, at the Independence Holiday Inn, 4th and Arch. But this conference will basically be a “dog and pony show”. There will be little room, and no inclination, to listen to the public’s concerns. UNPLUG Salem will be holding a press conference and protest at the Holiday Inn from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM on March 21st. We urge all concerned citizens of the Delaware Valley to come out and tell the NRC that their job is to protect the public, not to protect the bottom line of the utilities. Check our website at www.unplugsalem.org or call 609-601-8583 for more information.
Coordinator, UNPLUG Salem Campaign
321 Barr Ave
Linwood NJ 08221