To: Editor, Todays Sunbeam:
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently held a "public" meeting in their King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, offices to hear PSEG's proposals for building above-ground temporary "dry cask" storage of spent nuclear fuel from their three nuclear power plants on Artificial Island. No members of the public attended and only one newspaper covered the event.
The Hope Creek Plant will run out of room in their spent fuel pool in 2007, and the two Salem Plants in the early 2010s. Construction of the dry cask storage is expected to begin in 2004.
This is the same PSEG, who when asked about dry cask storage during meetings at Lower Alloways Creek a year and a half ago, said they had "no plans" to build it.
As Coordinator of the UNPLUG Salem Campaign, which watchdogs both PSEG and the Salem Nukes, I have concerns about PSEG's plans. I am concerned that the "public" meeting was held not in Salem County, but far away in King of Prussia, and that no members of the public attended.
I am concerned that there was no opportunity to present alternative plans or to ask PSEG officials questions about their plans.
I am concerned that building temporary dry cask storage as currently proposed by PSEG does nothing to lessen the security risk presented by the spent fuel pool at Hope Creek. This pool is outside of the containment, is on the second floor, and is one of the most vulnerable terrorist targets on the Island. A successful attack on the spent fuel pool could be catastrophic in its consequences to the residents of Salem County and beyond.
I am concerned that the dry cask vendor proposed by PSEG, Holtec, has come under fire for building casks not up to minimal NRC requirements, according to information released by a whistleblower who worked at Holtec.
I am concerned that the NRC is allowing this plan to go forward before the NRC completes its ongoing tests on the safety of dry casks.
I am concerned that PSEG, which has come under fire by the NRC for continual problems of human error and problem solving, is looking for the cheapest way to take care of their crowded spent fuel pools, not the safest way.
The safest way is outlined by the Institute for Resource and Security Studies. In a report published in January of 2003, they recommended a plan to empty out vulnerable spent fuel pools by employing "Robust Storage of Nuclear Fuel". Their system would be a dry cask storage system that would not be vulnerable to terrorist attack. This report will be available at the UNPLUG Salem Campaign's website: www.unplugsalem.org. PSEG should build this robust storage, not temporary storage of this dangerous, highly radioactive, spent fuel.
I urge the readers of this letter and our public officials to write to the Dr.Nils Diaz, Chairman of the NRC, Washington DC 20555-0001, and request that additional public hearings on PSEG's plan for dry cask storage be held in Salem County, and that PSEG's dry cask plan be changed to the robust storage plan.
Or PSEG could do us all a public service and decommission their nukes when each nuke runs out of room in their spent fuel pools.
321 Barr Ave
Linwood NJ 08221