Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2004 15:57:52 +0000
My letter to editor in today's AC Press

Let PSEG put safety first

I must disagree with the recent assertion by Chris Bakken, the nuclear  
chief for Public Service Electric and Gas, 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 percent of the safety areas  
surveyed. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, or NRC, has all three plants  
under a special watch. The NRC and PSEG admit that PSEG's work environment  
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 its plugged and  
dangerous steam generators, which would improve safety.

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 10  
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 to restart.

Now PSEG wants to restart Hope Creek, even though it has a defective  
circulating pump. If this pump breaks under certain conditions, a  
loss-of-cooling accident or even a meltdown is possible.

PSEG needs to spend the money and time it will take and replace the  
defective Hope Creek circulating pump. It needs to shut down each plant  
for an extended period of time to replace the defective steam generators,  
fix its safety culture and get caught up on longstanding maintenance  
backlogs.

If PSEG won't do this, then the NRC should grow a backbone and require  
PSEG to really put "safety first.''

NORM COHEN

Coordinator

UNPLUG Salem Campaign

Linwood