From: "Russell D. Hoffman" <>
Subject: Davis-Besse Newsletter #14 -- June 6th, 2002 -- by Russell Hoffman, Concerned Citizen
cc:, HopeDance <>, Global HopeDance <>
End of world scheduled for July 4th, 2002 -- don't miss it!
Davis-Besse Newsletter #14
June 6th, 2002
The latest news, views, and interesting correspondence.
Edited by
Russell D. Hoffman, Concerned Citizen

This newsletter is intended to be the most accurate information available anywhere.
Corrections welcome...

(1): Atomic Terror Alert: If the White House Knew Something About Future Attacks, the Time
to Act is Now (by
Harvey Wasserman, CounterPunch, May 28th, 2002)

Barbara Starr, Star Reporter for CNN, Screws Up The Logic For Bush and Putin's benefit

(3): How a Banana Republic Dies (by
Francis Boyle)

(4):  NRC issues more security orders (from's Nuclear New Flashes (May 24th, 2002)

(5): NRC Policy doesn't pass the straight-face test (sent in by
Ray Shadis)

(6): Fwd: In Minnesota, Bush cheerleads the new "Nuclear Power 2010" plan (by
Kevin Kamps)

(7): NRC promises full testing for shipments to Yucca Mountain (by
Doug Abrahms Reno Gazette-Journal, May 23rd, 2002)

(8): DOE has no nuclear waste transportation plan, sez x-ntsb chair

(9): It is nice to see the good old free market system spreading the truth for us, since the government seems determined not to do so (by
Wille deCamp)

(10): Yucca - Inefficient Reactors, A Lazy DOE, A Mountain of Deadly Fuel (by
Bob Nichols)

(11): NY Times Magazine has pretty good article on nuke terrorism

(12) Links to essays and correspondence by
rdh since DB#13

(13): Closing remarks / Subscription Information / Contact Information for the author of this document

Previous Davis-Besse newsletters are available online here:

Please distribute freely.  Please contact the author (email address is given at the bottom) if you feel you have received this document in error or wish to unsubscribe.  Thank you for reading. -- Russell. D. Hoffman.

(1): Atomic Terror Alert: If the White House Knew Something About Future Attacks, the Time
to Act is Now (by Harvey Wasserman, CounterPunch, May 28th, 2002):

May 28, 2002
Atomic Terror Alert
If the White House Knew Something About Future Attacks, the Time
to Act is Now
by Harvey Wasserman
So if Bush knew something at some time about the possibility of terrorists using jets to crash into government buildings, why didn't he do something about it before September 11? And far more important: If he knows something about the possibility of terrorists attacking atomic power plants and causing a radioactive apocalypse, why doesn't he act right now, before we find ourselves in post-tragedy hearings about why he didn't?

And just for the heck of it, let's ask another related question: What do you do with a gigantic, highly radioactive piece of metal that weighs 120 tons, has a six-inch hole in its head and is currently "ship-in-a-bottle" locked inside a massive concrete and steel containment dome that's many feet thick, latticed with powerful rebar steel, allegedly designed to withstand the radioactive fires and pressures of a controlled nuclear explosion?

The rap that U.S. intelligence should have anticipated the possibility of a horrific hijacking like September 11 is not a partisan bauble. The threats were always credible, and there was a way to deal with them_pay for decent airport security.

Paul Krugman of the New York Times placed the blame precisely where it belonged immediately after the disaster: airline deregulation. Terrorists don't walk onto commercial aircraft with box cutters unless screening is really lax, which it certainly was prior to September 11. Why? Because the airline industry, with its well-heeled lobbyists working Congress and the White House, didn't want to pay for real precautions. Locks on cockpit doors, armed marshals riding shotgun, trained screening personnel_it wasn't really rocket science. It could have prevented September 11.

But the White House, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (whose wife lobbies for the airlines) and an army of bought pols simply said: "Don't bother."

Well, now there are prices to be paid. Bush's poll ratings won't shield him from having exploited a horrible human tragedy for which his own corrupt neglect was partly responsible.

But there's another nightmare in the wings, and the response has been as lax and complacent as what led to September 11. But this time the consequences could be infinitely worse.

The major media is now carrying reports of terrorist threats against commercial atomic power plants to happen on or around July 4. Nuke sabotage has long been considered a credible threat. Bush cited reactor plans found at Al Quaeda hideouts and the Ayotallah Khomeini among others has talked about hitting "nuclear targets."

In short, if warnings of hijacked planes crashing into government buildings prior to September 11 were vague and isolated, warnings of attacks on nuclear plants are clear and abundant.

So has the government reacted? Not hardly. There's been some heightened ground security and talk of posting snipers. The Nuclear Control Institute has suggested installing anti-aircraft emplacements. But atomic reactors are infinitely complex and vulnerable. There are literally thousands of ways to attack one. The only real security measure is to shut them all down.

Which is doable. The U.S. electric grid is awash in capacity. The alleged "shortages" driving prices through the California roof were fake. Every reactor in the country could disappear tomorrow and there might be some temporary shortages in some isolated areas, but virtually no impact on the national supply.

Where there would be an impact is if one of these threats comes true, a la September 11. A U.S. reactor catastrophe, terrorist or otherwise, could kill hundreds of thousands of people, poison millions, cause trillions of dollars in damage, permanently devastate thousands of square miles and irrevocably cripple the entire U.S. economy. The threats to make all that happen are far clearer and more tangible than what preceded September 11. The administration's insane response has been to push to build more reactors.

So do we wait for disaster to strike and then hold hearings to determine what the administration knew and when? Or do we find a way to shut these things down before the unthinkable occurs?

We may not have to wait for the terrorists anyway. A six-inch hole burned by boric acid into the head of the Davis-Besse reactor near Toledo recently brought the Great Lakes within three-eighths of an inch of extinction. A tiny, remnant sliver of warped metal may be all that saved millions of people from lethal fallout.

The plant owners want to replace the head. But how do you get it out? Where do you put it once you do? And who's going to volunteer to be exposed to the incredibly intense levels of radiation involved with this horrendous task?

Every week new horrors emerge, from a full-scale fire in California's San Onofre plant during the dereg crisis to an endless litany of human errors and mechanical fiascos that bring us ever-closer to atomic catastrophe.

The first jet that flew into the World Trade Center on September 11 flew directly over the Indian Point nuclear reactors, 40 miles north of New York. Had it dived down a minute earlier, all of New York would now be a radioactive wasteland.

It didn't then, but it could be happening now. George W. Bush may duck what he knew and didn't know on September 11. But we all know plenty about 103 sitting duck commercial nuclear reactors in the U.S., and the 430-plus worldwide.

Credible threats have been made. The reactors are vulnerable. Their power is not needed. What are we waiting for?

Comment on the above item by rdh:

You are cordially invited to attend the end of the world, currently scheduled for July 4th, 2002.  For those who survive, there will be Congressional Hearings about six months later asking why we weren't ready, and how we could be so surprised.

-- rdh

(2): Barbara Starr, Star Reporter for CNN, Screws Up The Logic For Bush and Putin's benefit:

Barbara Starr, CNN reporter
From: Russell D. Hoffman, censored citizen
Re: Your comments today on Iran's new nuke power plant (being built with Russian money and know-how)
Date: Saturday, May 25th, 2002

Dear Ms Starr,

You asserted that the nuclear power plant Russia is helping Iran build will NOT produce weapons-grade nuclear waste.  It depends on what kind of weapon you want. 

Have you ever heard of a "dirty bomb"?  You can make one from ANY nuclear spent fuel.  All you have to do is grind it up and spread it around!

So there is no such thing as a safe nuclear reactor.


Also, nuclear power plants are all TARGETS FOR TERRORISTS.

Your point that spent fuel can't be made into Hiroshima or Nagasaki style bombs is duly noted, but that's not even half the story.  It's not even 1% of the whole truth.

The whole truth is that renewable energy technology, NOT nuclear reactors, is what the world needs.  Iran will need its own Yucca Mountain some day, or they'll be shipping nuclear waste -- the deadliest stuff on Earth -- back to Russia, or maybe to England by boat.  Or maybe they'll give a pound or two to some of our enemies, who can use it to DEVASTATE A CITY.

Just because Bush goes to Russia and tells Putin that America isn't going to say anything as Russia helps Iran build a NUCLEAR POWER PLANT doesn't mean American Citizens, who know the score full well, aren't going to speak out. WE ARE. Why?  Because we realize that the real terrorists are sitting in comfy-chairs and pushing buttons.

We realize
the deaths caused by those terrorists are civilian deaths -- American and others -- worldwide.  The victims of Chernobyl.  The victims of the "Cold War".  The victims of every spill, leak, or lie that ever spewed forth from the nuclear industry.

We realize that a large portion of our tax dollars goes directly into supporting this infrastructure.

We realize that nuclear terrorism occurred in WWII, The Gulf Oil Co. War, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.

We realize that scientists all around the world are fully aware of the deformities and deaths which Depleted Uranium weapons cause.  We realize that ALL radioactive weapons have these effects.

We realize that we are already living in a post-nuclear-terrorism world.  The equivalent of LARGE CITIES are being wiped out around the world, year in and year out, and the rate is INCREASING and will continue to increase, even if we stopped nuclear terrorism COMPLETELY today.  We can't contain all the waste which has already been produced, so it will spread into the environment and kill people.

We realize that democracy has been DESTROYED so corporate and military nuclear terrorists can work in peace, without being disturbed by pesky environmentalists, humanitarians, scientists, or other troublemakers.

Meanwhile, while CNN repeats a report on the ethics of killing a mountain lion who wandered into suburbia, the scroll bar at the bottom simply warns, "NRC puts all 103 nuclear power plants on heightened state of alert" AS IF the nuke plant security forces could go to a higher level of alert without spending money or shutting down, neither of which do they have any intention of doing.

Wake up, Barbara Starr, star reporter for CNN!  The whole world is watching!

Russell Hoffman
Concerned Citizen
Carlsbad, CA

(3): How a banana republic dies:

Date: Sat, 25 May 2002 19:53:16 EDT
Subject: Fwd: Nuclear Power Plants

To: (Editor,CNN Feedback)

To: Barbara Starr, CNN reporter

Ms. Starr:
I would like to know what planet you are from. Your discussion about the
Nuclear Power Plant being built in Iran is simply nonsense. All Nuclear Power
plants generate waste that can be used to build bombs, and at the very least
they can produce material to build non nuclear explosive "dirty bombs."

Is it any wonder that the American people are uninformed, the people
presenting information are equally uninformed and are willing to produce as
truth anything that our scumbag politicians give to you as truth.

Wake up.
John P. Shannon Major USMC [Retired]
Nuclear Physicist/Nuclear Engineer

You might want to read the following to find out what is going on in this
Nation today:

Behold How a Republic Dies


[Boyle, Francis]

George W. Bush was never elected President by the People of
the United States of America. Instead, he was anointed for
that Office by five Justices of the United States Supreme
Court who themselves had been appointed by Republican
Presidents. Bush Jr.'s installation was an act of judicial
usurpation of the American Constitution that was
unprecedented in the history of the American Republic. Had
it occurred in a developing country, such a subversion of
democratic process would have been greeted with knowing
derision throughout the West. What happened in America could
only be likened to a judicial coup d'état inflicted upon the
American People, Constitution, and Republic. There should
now be no doubt that the United States Supreme Court is
governed by raw, naked, brutal, power politics. Justice has
nothing at all to do with it. This Supreme Court's
constitutional sophistry proved a harbinger of the new
administration's disrespect for the Rule of Law, whether
domestic or international.


From the Supreme Court's installation of Bush Jr. as
President to the Ashcroft/Federalist Society post-September
11 regime of police state "laws," the politico-legal
functioning of America is increasingly resembling that of a
Banana Republic. Since September 11th, we have seen one blow
against the U.S. Constitution after another. For example,
Attorney General John Ashcroft unilaterally instituted the
monitoring of attorney-client communications despite the
Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures
and the Sixth Amendment right to representation by Counsel
in criminal cases. He just went ahead and did it, without
even bothering to inform anyone.

Over 1100 aliens have been picked up and "disappeared" by
Ashcroft and his Department of Injustice. The American
People have no idea where most of these people are. They are
being held on the basis of immigration law, not criminal
law, for a period of detention which has not been defined.

Ashcroft proclaimed another ukaze that these immigration
proceedings must be held in secret. The phenomenon of
"enforced disappearances" is considered to be a crime
against humanity by Article 7(I)(i) of the Rome Statute for
the International Criminal Court.

It appears that many of these aliens have been deprived of
their basic human rights to consular notification and access
as set forth in the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular
Relations, to which the United States is a contracting party
and which even the U.S. State Department concedes
constitutes binding customary international law. Apparently
Bush Jr.'s left hand does not care about what his right hand
does. Yet another international convention set at naught.

The one characteristic these detained foreigners have in
common is that they are mostly Muslims, Arabs, and Asians.
Everyone needs a scapegoat for the 11 September tragedy, and
it looks like we have one, both at home and abroad.
Thousands more such aliens are being moved into the pipeline
for the Ashcroft gulag by the FBI.

Ashcroft is now planning to reinstate the infamous
COINTELPRO Program, whose atrocities against the civil
rights and civil liberties of the American People have
been amply documented elsewhere.

It is just a matter of time before the Bush Jr. Leaguers
unleash the newly-augmented powers of the FBI, CIA and NSA
directly against the American People. And we already have 2
million Americans rotting away in prison -- the highest rate
of incarceration in the world, a disproportionate majority
of whom are Americans of Color, victims of the Nixon/Ford,
Reagan/Bush, and Clinton administrations' racist "war on
drugs," which is really a war against People of Color. The
American Police State has already arrived for People of


This brings the analysis to the Ashcroft Police State Act.
There are no other words to describe it. While Bush failed
to get a formal declaration of war that would have rendered
him a constitutional dictator, clearly Attorney General John
Ashcroft and his right-wing Federalist Society lawyers took
every piece of regressive legislation off the shelf, tied it
all into what they called an anti-terrorism bill, and then
rammed it through Congress, giving it the appropriately
Orwellian name of the U.S.A. Patriot Act.

According to one report, Ashcroft's first draft would have
had Congress suspend the ancient Writ of Habeas Corpus - the
necessary prerequisite for imposing a police state in the
United States of America.

Many Members of Congress publicly admitted that they did not
even bother to read the Ashcroft Police State Act. Another
Congressman said basically:

"Right, but there's nothing new about that." Interestingly
enough the so-called liberal Democrats in the House and the
Senate were willing to give Bush Jr. and Ashcroft more
police state powers than the conservative Republicans in the
House. But there are no real differences that matter between
Republicans and Democrats when it comes to promoting
America's self-proclaimed "Manifest Destiny" to control the
World and now Outer Space too.


It would take an entire law review article for me to analyze
all the legal and human rights problems with the Bush Jr.'s
proposed military commissions. Here a cabal of Federalist
Society Lawyers in the White House got President Bush to
sign an Executive Order on 13 November 2001 which, when
implemented, will be widely recognized to constitute a grave
breach of the Geneva Conventions and establish a prima facie
case of criminal accountability against the President

It is emblematic of this particular war that right towards
its very outset President George W. Bush personally
incriminated himself under both international criminal law
and United States domestic criminal law.

The Bush Jr. administration has severely undermined the
integrity of the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949. By doing
this, the Bush Jr.  administration has opened up U.S. Armed
Forces and civilians around the world to similar reprisals,
which has already happened.

As a licensed attorney for 25 years, a law professor for 23
years and someone who has done a good deal of criminal
defense work in U.S.  Federal Courts, I am appalled by the
insinuation of these Federalist Society Lawyers that
America's Federal Courts established by Article III of the
U.S. Constitution cannot hold accountable those responsible
for the crimes of 11 September 2001. This is an insult to
all Federal Judges, Federal Prosecutors, Federal Public
Defenders and all the Lawyers who are Officers of these

In one fell stroke these Federalist Society lawyers have
besmirched and undermined the integrity of two Branches of
the United States Federal Government established by the
Constitution - the Presidency and the Judiciary. So far the
U.S. Congress has supinely gone along with the Bush Jr.
police state agenda. If and when these Bush/Ashcroft police
state practices make their way to the U.S. Supreme Court,
many of them will probably be upheld. After all, a 5 to 4
majority of the Supreme Court already gave the Presidency to
Bush Jr. We need to seriously consider whether they would
strike down laws and practices that would give Bush Jr. a
Police State as well.

Philosophers have taught that a People get the type of
government they deserve. If the American People permit the
Bush Jr. Leaguers to impose a Police State at home in the
name of furthering Pax Americana abroad, we will have
deserved it by abnegating our responsibilities as Citizens
living in what is supposed to be a constitutional Republic
with a commitment to the Rule of Law. The same thing
happened to the Romans and to the Athenians. The United
States of America is not immune to the laws of history.

Sic transit gloria mundi!
Comment on the above item by rdh:

Bush's pro-nuke and anti-treaty coup is illegal, immoral, and unAmerican.

To contact Professor Boyle:

"Boyle, Francis" <FBOYLE@LAW.UIUC.EDU>

-- rdh

(4):  NRC issues more security orders (from's Nuclear New Flashes (May 24th, 2002):

At 10:50 PM 5/25/02 , "Raymond Shadis" <> forwarded this item:
Platts - Friday, May 24, 2002


Washington (Nuclear News Flashes)--24May2002

NRC issues more security orders

NRC sent orders to 12 decommissioning nuclear plants with
fuel still in their spent fuel pools and to General
Electric's (GE) independent spent fuel storage facility in
Morris, Ill. The orders, issued today, require the
facilities to increase security by taking measures such as
increasing patrols, adding guards or new security posts,
installing physical barriers, and moving vehicle checkpoints
further from the facility. Other measures include increased
coordination with the law enforcement agencies or the
military and tightening the site access granted to
employees. In addition to the GE facility, the orders were
sent to: Big Rock Point in Michigan; Connecticut Yankee and
Millstone-1 in Connecticut; Humboldt Bay, San Onofre-1, and
Rancho Seco in California; Indian Point-1 in New York; La
Crosse in Wisconsin; Maine Yankee in Maine; Zion-1 and -2 in
Illinois; Trojan in Oregon; and Yankee Rowe in
Massachusetts. The facilities have 20 calendar days to
respond to the order and six months to implement the

Comment on the above item by rdh:

The utilities have SIX MONTHS to implement a slap on the wrist!  I bet you could train an assault team to attack a nuke in a lot less time than that!

-- rdh

(5): NRC Policy doesn't pass the straight-face test (sent in by Ray Shadis):

        "NECNP" <>,
        "Governor Angus King" <>,
        "DOEWATCH" <>
Cc: <>,
        "Jersey Shore Nuclear Watch" <>,
        "CAN" <>
Subject: [JerseyShoreNuclearWatch] decom-order (
FYI- Attached is NRC's Interim Order for security at decommissioning nuclear power stations, distributed Thursday. It does not pass the straight-face test. NRC Commissioners ( all of them) told us in November and in March that US nuclear plants were adequately protected.  How then several months after the seminal event do we need "additional" protection that we didn't need before?  And why are protective measures so delicate that we must keep them a "secret"?

We want to SEE robust security at all nuclear facilities; security that is plainly visible and signals to area citizenery and terrorists alike that this place is guarded under federal authority and is impregnable to anything less than a small army. We want security that says, " Don't even try it!"  After that, NRC and their licensees may invoke secrecy to shield whatever other measures they think it is appropriate to deploy.
Sent: Monday, May 27, 2002 4:01 AM
Subject: decom-order (

Comment on the above item by rdh:

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has a cartoon attitude towards terrorism, but this is not a cartoon world.

-- rdh

(6): Fwd: In Minnesota, Bush cheerleads the new "Nuclear Power 2010" plan:

Subject: Fwd: In Minnesota, Bush cheerleads the new "Nuclear Power 2010" plan
To: Global HopeDance <>

There is some very important and scary information in Keven Kamp's memo
below.  The push for new nuclear reactors is on even though "they" don't
know what to do with the waste already produced!  The new budget gives
millions upon millions of dollars to the nuclear industry to build new
reactors.  That money should be going to put renewable sources of energy
in place! - Molly

[NIRS is one of several groups doing excellent work on the nuke-waste
issue nationally. Kevin Kamps, one of their lead campaigners, wrote the
important memo below... The more I learn about this subject, the more
worried I become!] - David Orr

---------------- Begin Forwarded Message ----------------
Date:        5/30/2002 12:21 AM

NIRS had its mock high level nuclear waste cask at President Bush's
unveiling of the Cheney Energy Task Force policy on May 16, 2001 in St.
Paul, Minnesota. 500+ other protestors were out there too!

Bush brought with him Energy Secretary Abraham and EPA Administrator
Christie Todd Whitman, for some strange reason. Can you guess why? Bush
gave a 5 minute pro-nuclear power spiel, a full third of his talk! About
how we need to keep running reactors (license extensions), and how we
need to build new ones (for the first time in decades). Then Bush turned
to his two Cabinet officers and said: and that is why I am looking to you
to expedite the siting of a national repository for high level
radioactive waste.

Bush didn't have the courage to say "at Yucca Mountain" out loud, though,
but there's one game in town. He may have been so bold because Xcel
Energy -- in whose sports stadium Bush was speaking, Xcel Arena! -- owns
the Prairie Island nuclear reactors, the only two in the country that
might have to shut down due to lack of storage space for high level
nuclear waste. Under Minnesota state law, agreed to by Xcel (formerly
Northern States Power) in the early 1990's, the reactors can "only" fill
17 dry storage casks on that flood plain in the Mississippi River (it's a
much worse situation than Palisades, if you can believe that!) smack dab
in the middle of a Native American reservation. So Xcel is trying to get
the limit undone, is trying to dump its wastes at the Skull Valley
Goshute Indian reservation in Utah, and leading the lobbying effort to
open Yucca, desperate to keep its reactors operating.

Anyway, I tell this story to affirm that the Bush Administration and the
nuclear power industry do see Yucca as their ticket to the "revival"
(relapse?) of nuclear power, as their green light to license extensions
and even building new reactors. Bush all but said it that day in St.
Paul. And we all know what an upstanding policy that Cheney Energy Plan
is. And which industry had some of the most access to the Energy Task
Force and to Energy Secretary Abraham in those critical first months of
the Bush Administration: the nuclear power industry.

More smoking guns...

On February 4, 2002, just ten days before he recommended going ahead with
the Yucca site, Spencer Abraham delivered his "Remarks on the FY 2003
Budget Rollout" (online at

Abraham said "...We will implement the President's National Energy
Plan...And knowing that our safety and the future of our ability to use
nuclear power depend on it, we also have a responsibility to find a
permanent disposal site for nuclear waste...the National Energy Plan
recommended the expansion of nuclear energy in the United States as a
source of clean, affordable, and virtually limitless electric power.
Following on that recommendation, our budget includes an important new
initiative on nuclear energy - the 2010 Initiative. Nuclear power now
generates 20 percent of America's electricity and makes a critical
contribution to our energy security by allowing us to diversify our
energy mix. It must remain a strong part of that mix. The objective of
the new initiative is really quite dramatic -- to bring new U.S. nuclear
plants on-line in far less time than it now takes. The $38 million
program will, among other things, push design completion, and look at
ways to enhance security..."

On Feb. 15th, the very next day after recommending Yucca Mountain to
President Bush (what a Valentine's Day gift to America!) and the very day
Bush rubberstamped the Yucca dump plan, Energy Secretary Abraham Unveiled
"Nuclear Power 2010: Public-Private Partnership on Clean, Affordable
Energy...New Initiative to Include DOEis Savannah River, Portsmouth, Ohio
and Idaho Reservations in Site Selection Process for Nuclear Power Plant
Construction..." (see full press release at "Nuclear
Power 2010" proposes building new commercial reactors, in a hurry, ON DOE
SITES! (in order to avoid public opposition, because many DOE sites are
remote and predominantly populated with DOE employees) at 50% taxpayer

So saying Yucca "is a big excuse to justify continued nuclear power
operations, re-newed licenses, etc." is right on the money (yes, pun

---Kevin Kamps, Nuclear Information & Resource Service, 202.328.0002

Comment on the above item by rdh:

Abraham's claim that nuclear power is vital is hollow rhetoric.  This nation has put virtually ZERO effort into building a sustainable economy based on renewable energy and conservation.  Despite that, nuclear power never "delivered the goods" and only represents about 7% of our total energy sources -- easily replaceable and don't let anyone tell you different!  Nuclear can never be a good solution for our energy needs because of its unique (and unfortunate) vulnerabilities, and, because the nuclear waste problem is UNSOLVABLE, it will continue to become MORE AND MORE or a problem as the quantity of waste grows and grows, UNLESS we close down the nukes.

-- rdh

(7): NRC promises full testing for shipments to Yucca Mountain (by Doug Abrahms Reno Gazette-Journal, May 23rd, 2002):

Subject: NRC promises full testing for shipments to Yucca Mountain
To: "me" <>

NRC promises full testing for shipments to Yucca Mountain

By Doug Abrahms
5/23/2002 11:10 pm

WASHINGTON — An Energy Department official defended plans Thursday to ship nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain, saying his agency has moved 800 loads of low-level nuclear materials to New Mexico without incident.

Also during the third and final Senate hearing on Yucca Mountain, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission official said the agency intends to fully test nuclear waste shipping canisters as part of the licensing review for the proposed dump.

The NRC currently relies on computer modeling and tests on small-scale versions of containers to assure they will not be dangerously breached in an accident.

NRC Chairman Richard Meserve told senators the computer modeling and limited tests “are sufficient to assess the effects of an accident.”

But when pressed on the issue at the hearing, Meserve reiterated the NRC plans to ask Congress for money to conduct full-scale tests of casks if the Senate approves Yucca Mountain as the country’s central radioactive waste storage facility.

Engineers at the Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque likely would conduct the tests, NRC officials said.

Preliminary plans from the Energy Department show that nuclear waste could be shipped through northern Nevada by rail and truck.

Robert Card, Energy undersecretary, told a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, that the department has been focused on selecting a dump site first and then figuring out how to get the waste there.

Responding to critics who have said the Energy Department hasn’t offered a complete transportation plan, Card noted that the agency successfully trucked low-level nuclear waste to a site in Carlsbad, N.M. for the past three years.

“I think we feel very comfortable with transportation,” Card said. “I would reject the notion that we don’t have a plan or haven’t thought about this issue” in connection to Yucca Mountain.

Government experts said they saw no fundamental flaw in the Bush administration’s plan to construct a nuclear waste dump in Nevada, about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

The committee is scheduled to vote on Yucca Mountain on June 5, and the full Senate is expected to take up the issue after July 4. Senate approval would allow the Energy Department to submit an application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for Yucca Mountain.

But government experts said many unresolved problems surrounding Yucca Mountain remain, and the project probably would cost more and take longer than the Energy Department expects.

Yucca Mountain will not open by 2010 — the self-imposed deadline set by the Energy Department — because the agency might not have its application ready to file with the NRC until 2006, said Gary Jones, an analyst at the General Accounting Office, the watchdog agency of Congress.

The U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board — set up by Congress to independently monitor Yucca Mountain — said no individual factors should remove the site from consideration, but the panel was not impressed by the Energy Department’s plans to date.

“The board has limited confidence in the current performance estimates generated by the DOE’s performance-assessment model,” said Jared Cohon, chairman of the technical review group.

But many senators seemed poised to vote for Yucca Mountain to let the process move forward and allow the NRC to fully evaluate the Energy Department’s plan for the nuclear waste dump. If the Senate kills the proposal, Yucca Mountain would be finished, leaving the Energy Department scrambling to find a new plan to handle the nuclear waste building up at the nation’s power plants and federal facilities.

“We put emotion into it and hearsay and misinformation to the point where we cannot make a solid, sound, political or common-sense decision on how to deal with nuclear waste produced in making power for this country,” said Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., who supports Yucca Mountain.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Copyright © 2002 The Reno Gazette-Journal

Comment on the above item by rdh:

Full-scale testing is a misnomer, too, because unless you subject the casks to real-world possible situations, your results won't be valid.  They might drop a cask three feet onto a six-inch post and call that a puncture test, for example.  Big deal.

Here is a letter to Senator Harry Reid about Yucca Mountain (from January, 2002):

Here is a letter to Senator Reid about Price-Anderson (also from January, 2002):

-- rdh

(8): DOE has no nuclear waste transportation plan, sez x-ntsb chair:

From: Molly Johnson <>
To: Global HopeDance <>

         For immediate release: For further information
          Tuesday, May 21, 2002 Contact: Ed Rothschild
                         (202) 879-9317


    Washington - Declaring that the Department of Energy has no
transportation plan for shipping high level nuclear waste, Jim Hall,
former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB),
today called on the United States Senate to delay any vote on a nuclear
waste repository until full-scale tests of truck and rail casks have
been conducted.
    In a letter sent to Senators, Hall said, "In light of September
11th, this lack of a comprehensive, well thought out plan is, in a word,
    Hall pointed out that the DOE's lack of a transportation plan was
highlighted by Secretary Abraham in his recent testimony to the Senate
Energy Committee where he admitted that "the Department of Energy is
just beginning to formulate its preliminary thoughts about a
transportation plan." The Secretary also stated, "any suggestion that
the Department has chosen any particular route or mechanism is
completely fictitious."
    Stating that as NTSB chairman he was all too familiar with the human
and economic toll caused by air, rail, truck, and marine accidents, Hall
urged the Senate to reassure the American people that "high level
nuclear waste can indeed be shipped safely and securely on America's
roads, rails, and waterways" by requiring "full-scale testing of truck
and train casks before it votes on establishing a nuclear waste
    Hall, who served as NTSB Chairman from October, 1993 to January,
2001, decided to speak out on the nuclear waste transportation issue
because "DOE seems not to have understood the consequences of September
11th. "In view of the fact that these shipments would pose extraordinary
risks with potentially catastrophic human and economic consequences, I
am astounded that DOE's transportation proposal contains no serious risk
assessment or analysis of human factors," said Hall.
    Sending his letter on behalf of a newly formed ad hoc group, the
Transportation Safety Coalition, Hall said, "The DOE's waste repository
plan will generate more than 100,000 truck shipments or nearly 20,000
rail and at least 1,600 barge shipments of high level radioactive waste
over the next 40 years. Each of these trucks, trains and barges will be
traveling across our country - through our cities and towns in 44 states
-- hauling shipping casks full of spent nuclear fuel and other high-
level radioactive waste. We have all witnessed the horrific creativity
of terrorists.
    They have seized U.S. airliners, blown up U.S. naval vessels, and
used powerful truck bombs. Each transport container holds enough
long-lived radiation to create a devastating dirty bomb."
"Where we find safe systems, we also find that before transportation
vehicles are allowed to carry passengers or cargo, they undergo vigorous
tests for crashworthiness, structural integrity and engineering
reliability. The same is not true for the casks that will be carrying
the nuclear waste. Unbelievably, no government agency - not the DOE, the
Department of Transportation or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
- has subjected truck or train casks to full-scale tests. This is of
particular concern since new cask designs that will carry four times
more waste than those currently in use would be used," said Hall.
    "Before putting its stamp of approval on DOE's nuclear waste
repository and allowing the shipment of even one metric ton of deadly
spent nuclear fuel across the country, the Senate should require DOE to
come up with a transportation plan, especially in view of the $68
billion that utility ratepayers are spending for the nuclear waste
program. Moreover, spending $40 to $50 million on a comprehensive
full-scale testing program, to test new truck and rail casks, seems a
very small price to pay for our peace of mind," Hall concluded.

Comment on the above item by rdh:

Yucca Mountain and the transportation issues surrounding it are political footballs which both sides are comfortable with tossing back and forth for decades, rather than come to the realization that we need to stop making more deadly footballs.

-- rdh

(9): It is nice to see the good old free market system spreading the truth for us, since the government seems determined not to do so (by Wille deCamp):
Subject: [JerseyShoreNuclearWatch] interesting piece of mail

Has anyone else gotten the rather amazing piece of mail that I received yesterday?

It is a mass-mailed color postcard advertisement for a gamma radiation detector "RADITECT".

The sales pitch is for protecting your family against the possibility of the nuclear plant near you being attacked by terrorists.

It is nice to see the good old free market system spreading the truth for us, since the government seems determined not to do so.

Willie deCamp

Comment on the above item by rdh:

I love the free-enterprise system!

-- rdh

(10): Yucca - Inefficient Reactors, A Lazy DOE, A Mountain of Deadly Fuel (by Bob Nichols):
Yucca - Inefficient Reactors, A Lazy DOE, A Mountain of Deadly Fuel
by Bob Nichols
Yucca Mountain is a colossal testament to bureaucratic waste and inefficiency. The federal Department of Energy (DOE) mismanagement legacy is truly Biblical in its proportions.
The DOE supervised fleet of 55 electricity generating nuclear reactors just barely hit the "ON" switch with their thousands of nuclear fuel rods then the rods are removed from the radioactive cores. The United States Department of Energy, through the expenditure of a flood of taxpayer money, awkwardly labored through the discovery of how to heat water with this incredible nuclear chain reaction.
The DOE manages this reaction for 24 months of the fuel rod's life of 3,000,000 months or 250,000 years, give or take. What an achievement!
They are far from "used up" though. The inefficient American nuclear reactors use only ten percent of the fuel in a fuel rod. The DOE is OK with that though: "regulations" call the expensive fuel rods garbage and require their replacement when 90% of the nuclear fuel is still in them.
Before the fuel rods are thrust into the atomic reactor core, they are only nominally radioactive. The nuclear furnace starts a nuclear chain reaction, releasing heat and radiation in the reactor core. No one can turn it off, the reaction continues for a majestic 250,000 years. The reactors use this energy to heat water to make electricity.
The nuclear fuel rods are about a Million times (literally) more radioactive when they are removed from the reactors than when they were loaded. That's why no one has tried to move the rods off site before; people who know are very afraid of the fuel rods. So-called "used" fuel rods can kill a human in ten seconds.
Then DOE require that the activated fuel rods are immediately doused in water. Then they are put in a continuously flowing river of water in a big swimming pool. The rods must stay immersed for a minimum of five years while they cool off a bit. Reactors use up to 500,000 gallons of water a minute on site.
Some evil public relations genius in the DOE must have thought up calling the activated fuel rods "spent fuel rods".  This conveniently hides the fact the grossly inefficient reactors only use them for two years. A brilliant deception! "Spent" implies "gone", "used up", "empty", and "it's all gone, get some more".
During World War II a concept known as the "Big Lie" developed. Simply stated, if a government repeats a lie often enough and loud enough; it magically morphs into the "Truth". But, it is still a lie.
So what did the three-fourths of mighty brains of the House of Representatives talk about for their short floor debate on moving the activated fuel rods to Nevada (average trip: 2,000 miles) for the government required 10,000 years of storage?
Yes, the subject of the debate was "spent fuel rods" and they repeated it endlessly like a mantra. They pretended to buy the convenient "Big Lie" completely, even if the rest of us don't buy it any more.
Everything about the nuke power plants is gigantic, huge, larger than life. Let's change the scale to make this whole picture more human sized. Imagine that the largest car company in world, our own American company General Motors, made an electric car with the equivalent of 300 HP based on this high concept. Best of all, it's cheap to buy and has everything - standard.
A four door do everything car/SUV, just like you might want. There's an immediate market, 30% of the people in the United States just gotta have it. Miraculously, the car goes two years without needing a fill-up. Works and looks great.
At the scheduled two year inspection a government official informs you the gas tank and the remaining 9,998 years of fuel must be replaced. "Now!" he/she says. "OK! Whatever you say." "After all, you are the independent government expert," you meekly reply, thinking "GMAC does finance the exchange".
So you get another 10,000 years of fuel to use for two years and a new gas tank to hold it. GM charges you an arm and a leg, but that's OK, you're good to go for two more years.
Some young accountant from GM dutifully and somewhat gleefully informs you that GM will "have to" charge you for storing the remaining fuel and the tank they just took off. The GM representative smirks when he or she tells you the next part, "We [GM] have to charge you to store your trashed gas tank and fuel for ten thousand years in a special underground facility we built near Las Vegas". "Government regulations, y'know!" "Will that be Visa or MasterCard?"
You feel like someone not in on the joke. "Why?", you ask.
"Don't worry about it, we'll bill you, and your family and friends that come after you for a long, long time. Have a good day. Enjoy your car/SUV!"
This is truly amazing. Only the United States Government with their close friends in a few corporations could come up with such a scheme. And to think, we buy the whole thing. But then cooperation between government and big corporations makes the very best government, doesn't it? Our leaders always know what's best and do the right thing for us, don't they?
This is the Perfect Consumer Product. The consumer is only peripherally involved for two years, then corporations and an obliging government get to charge the consumer (You!) to store the trash, virtually forever. The whole thing couldn't be easier. You just pay a little bit each month in your electric bill. The total bill so far is expected to be in the low $60 Billion range.
Great plan, we need more of these reactors. Maybe we can get at least 60% of all Americans on the program during President Bush's term as our President. Everybody needs electricity, so everybody needs nuclear reactors, right?

And to make it even better, our Vice President, The Honorable Dick Cheney wants to build more nuke power plants. Many, many more. Problem is, though, Yucca Mountain's fuel rod capacity rating is only half the projected partially used fuel rod load. Yucca Mountain will be full before the half the job is done. Since we've got a job to do as Americans, we'll need to finish the job somewhere else.
DOE is going to need more storage space. Oklahoma was one of the first choices for a nuclear garbage dump, but it did not work out. The Nevada Governor wants to pass on this new industry. Looks like a growth industry opportunity. The trick is to not get killed by this stuff. Other than that, it's great, isn't it?
If you think this is a great idea, call your US Senators.
If you think this is foolish beyond belief, call your US Senators.
Tell the young people answering the phones you are either for or against the Yucca Mountain Radioactive Fuel Rod Transportation Plan.
They will know what you mean. If one person calls, they will think you are crazy and not say nothing about it. But, if millions of people call, they just might change the Senators minds and kill this scheme.
Senate Operator: 202-224-3121       

Comment on the above item by rdh:

For a list of all nuclear power plants in America:

-- rdh

(11): NY Times Magazine has pretty good article on nuke terrorism:

This New York Times Magazine article is long but well worth reading.  However, the author still manages to minimize the dangers from nuclear terrorism by misunderstanding Low Level Radiation.  He apparently doesn't know that the full spectrum of health effects (cancers, leukemias, birth defects) happens at ANY dose level.  Only the RATE of these effects changes (goes down) as the dose goes down. ; The dose is harmless only if YOU are expendable.  Frank von Hipple's math seems obtuse at best, as well.&nbsp; 1% added to 20% becomes 21%, not 20.1%.&nbsp; His question, "would you abandon a city just for that?" becomes an order of magnitude more relevant, and it's a sad world where the answer is "no". -- rdh

The article is available here:

-- rdh

(12) Links to essays and correspondence by rdh since DB#13

Letter to Bill Corcoran, Nuclear Safety Engineer:

"Citizen's Deposition" on nuclear dangers (Letter to Paul Lavely, Director, ORS, US Bekeley):

Letter to India and Pakistan:

Four emails regarding "slightly used atomic reactor cores":

(13): Closing remarks / Subscription Information / Contact Information for the author of this document:

The creation of 10 NEW tons of High Level Radioactive Waste EVERY DAY in America (about 50 tons around the world) is the #1 environmental issue today.

EVERY DAY enough NEW nuke waste is created for terrorists to destroy hundreds of cities if they get their hands on JUST the NEW waste!  Mother Nature also gets a new target.  And "Murphy" ALSO gets a new target.  In short, GOD (or whatever benevolent forces there might be in the Universe) gets yet more things to worry about for the next million years or so. 

Why do we keep creating more waste every day and not switch to renewable energy?  Because we don't have the moral willpower to say "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!", that's why!  So instead, while we debate Yucca Mountain and 1000 other unworkable ideas, THE TERRORISTS ARE FREELY GIVEN MORE WAYS TO KILL US.

One day's output from America's nuclear generators isn't very big.  It's only a couple of cubic yards.  Anthrax and other poisons come in small packages too, it's true.  But you can destroy anthrax, and the danger is GONE.  Radioactive waste cannot be rendered harmless.  And we don't have an anthrax-based energy system.  Most (if not all???) anthrax is in a few highly secured government laboratories.  And the world supply of anthrax is probably not going up, as more and more nations renounce bioterrorism (and hopefully ours will too, soon).  And it's certainly not going up by 50 tons a day!

EVERY DAY, America's nuclear reactors run on the verge of catastrophe.  They are vulnerable, they are old, they are poor.  YES, THEY ARE POOR.  You see, the owners keep taking all the excess money, and on a day-to-day basis, the plants have little money for investing in things like new equipment.  Nearly everything is replaced only AFTER failure -- including pumps, pipes, valves, switches, bearings, straps, hooks, hydraulic lines, control room electronics, etc. etc. etc..  There are litanies of accidents at nearly every plant.  Many plants have earned reputations for poor operation over the years.  It's an endemic problem in the industry, caused in part by the price of alternative energy which is very competitive to coal, oil, and nuclear.  The cost of running nuclear power plants has to stay low, or renewables will be a clear alternative to nuclear -- but that means there is less money to actually run the nuke plants!





If America changes to green energy, who LOSES?  Only the world's most corrupt, secretive, dangerous AND lucrative "industry" -- the NUCLEAR MAFIA.  The rest of us WIN.  Nuclear isn't vital.  It never was.  Now, it's vital that we get rid of it.  Terrorism got you down?  Try a meltdown.



Just suppose I'm wrong.  What happens if people listen anyway?  Dependency on foreign oil soon goes DOWN as we turn to renewables, "clean coal" becomes the next-worst environmental challenge for activists, and our dangerous waste piles and terrorist targets stop GROWING DAY-BY-DAY.

I certainly WISH that I was wrong in every particular, and that we could snap our fingers and make the problem go away.  But we can't.  HOWEVER, we CAN "snap our fingers" and STOP MAKING THE PROBLEM WORSE.

Isn't it time, America?  BEFORE an accident or a terrorist attack?

This newsletter was written by Russell D. Hoffman, a concerned citizen.
Please include a personal comment of some sort -- anything will do, but preferably who you are and why you want to subscribe.