Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2006 09:11:27 -0700
To: Oscar Shirani <>,,,,,,,,,,,
From: "Russell 'Ace' Hoffman" <>
Subject: Re: Fwd: US Embassy in Ukraine blindly quotes from NRC, but
  Shirani invites NRC for a Technical Challenge

To: Oscar Shirani <>

June 13th, 2006

Hi Oscar,

Regarding the NRC you are having so much trouble with, please note that this is the same NRC which refused to discuss terrorism issues with this author, year after year after year -- a practice deemed completely insufficient to ensure the public safety by the recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision against the NRC.  They cannot survive technical challenges and they know it.

It's the same NRC which did NOT shut down Indian Point, Three Mile Island, Hope Creaky Leaky, the Witches of Salem, Ginna, Nine Mile Point, or any of the other reactors which were threatened on 9-11, and nor did they react even with so much as a significantly heightened security alert for about 8 to 12 hours that day.  If that sounds like they reacted quickly, it was a lifetime of opportunity for the terrorists.  For example, some of the planes which were forced to land "at the nearest available airport" that day probably OVERFLEW NUCLEAR REACTORS TO GET THERE.  Activists had warned them of that danger for DECADES -- which is well-documented in books from the time.  The NRC has been ignoring terrorism despite warnings since they were formed out of the corrupt AEC just after Three Mile Island -- in the false hope that separating the regulation of the plants from the promotion of the plants would promote safety. 

At the time, I thought the NRC would, without the burden of being the promotion agent of nuclear power, quickly decide to shut them all down.  It was, after all, the only logical thing to do back then, as now.

I was naive, of course, and so were we all.

Instead, we now have TWO organizations promoting the "safety" of nuclear power, and each tells you it's the other's fault when you nail them down on any particular big issue -- if you say to the NRC, "but we don't even NEED these plants!" they tell you to talk to DOE, because they (the NRC) just regulate their safety once they are operating.

But if you say to someone at the DOE, "but we don't even NEED these plants!" they will say: "of course we do, we need the energy, and since the NRC says they are safe, we consider them perfectly safe and the equal of any other power generation system."

So they just slough off on each other whenever it's convenient for them, to duck a question. This is assuming you've got them cornered at a hearing or something for three minutes or two minutes, NOT UNDER OATH, and can ask them something at all.  Letters are responded to very slowly if at all, generically whenever possible, and with no attempt at truth but only at evasion, and email is totally ignored as if they don't even get them.  Hard questions are not answered.  I asked for a report on the use of the medical family of drugs known as "beta blockers" by the operators in the control rooms of nuclear reactors, and they have no answer, for just one example.

This is the same NRC which sent Dr. Richard Webb a letter last January (2006) stating that they do not have time to hear his new and extremely detailed and complete re-analysis of Three Mile Island because the accident was "almost 30 years ago" and thoroughly analyzed.  He of Shippingport experience with Admiral Rickover in the 1960s, the author of The Accident Hazards of Nuclear Power Plants in the 1970s, an advisor during both Three Mile Island AS IT HAPPENED and Chernobyl as IT happened, who just gave a Colloquium to nuclear engineering graduate students and faculty at Purdue University last month (May, 2006), and explained to them various scenarios in which reactors can explosively deconstruct (the pro-nukers could not discount his assertions, including the head of nuclear engineering there).

This same NRC didn't have time for Dr. Webb.

Yet within two months the NRC's own official historian did, in fact, give a colloquium on Three Mile Island!  Dr. Webb was NOT invited.  The historian was not involved in any way at the time of the accident, and is not a nuclear expert in any way, either, as far as I know.  It was just an official retelling of the official lies concerning the event.  No one was hurt by the radiation releases, the releases were very small, there was no possibility of any further explosion of any sort, it was due to fixable, not intractable, problems, etc. etc. etc..

Below is a brief consideration of terrorism issues regarding dry casks.  I have written much more extensively on the subject, and have submitted those comments to the proper authorities for consideration -- and that doesn't mean the NRC, who are a rogue. lawless organization along with their compatriots, the DOE.


"Ace" Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

Letter to an activist living near a closed nuclear power facility where used reactor cores are stored (aka {"spent fuel"):

June 8th, 2006

Hi Julie,

Thanks for sending me the article from the Eureka (CA) Times Standard regarding Dry Cask Storage plans at the Humboldt Bay Power Plant.

One thing is OBVIOUS from the article:  Barbara Byron of the California Energy Commission does not consider me a person.

She should know full well that I, for one, do NOT think that dry casks are "better" than spent fuel pool storage.

She has had ample opportunity to be aware of my opinion -- she only needed to read the documents she has docketed which I had previously submitted to the California Energy Commission, of which she has the lofty title of "nuclear policy advisor" although from what I can tell, she is NOT KNOWLEDGEABLE ON ANY SIGNIFICANT NUCLEAR ISSUES.

She could also have listened to my presentations at which she was in attendance to learn that there is NO universal belief that dry casks are safer that spent fuel pools, and in any event, they are NOT SAFE.

I'll agree they are cheaper for the utility, but that's as far as I'll go.

Regarding terrorist threats specifically, the building of "berms around the casks," using "higher-grade steel," scattering the casks over a "large area," and even building anti-aircraft batteries around the casks (not mentioned in the article but proffered time and again by others) are highly inadequate solutions to terrorism.

It is a rule of thumb that terrorists, being human (Yes! Our brothers (and sometimes our sisters)!) and having the ingenuity of humans, can get past any simple security system if they want to, and can get past any medium-quality security system if they put the effort into it, and can get past most high-quality security systems if they want to badly enough and are willing to die trying, and make the attack in a well-thought-out manner.

Defense-in-depth has been deemed the "only" solution, but it's really the only solution when not doing anything is not an available solution.

In this case, there is no reason to remove the fuel from the pools if it is not being moved to a permanent repository, or to a reprocessing facility (this is not advocating Yucca Mountain or nuclear fuel recycling, only pointing out the paucity of possibilities).

Dry cask storage is specifically designed to allow an industry with an intractable problem -- what to do with the nuclear waste they generate, which is deadly for millions of years -- to pretend their impossible problem doesn't exist.

Sooner or later, because NO dry cask facility ANYWHERE is safe, there will be a horrific accident, equal to or greater than Chernobyl.  The more dry casks we make, the more targets there are.  If we scatter them, that increases the chance that an airplane will fall out of the sky by accident than if they are all in one place and airplanes are banned from overflying the area.

Also, scattering them -- as they now are, around the country -- means we cannot form terrorist-proof security perimeters around them as cost-effectively, because of pi (the circumference of a circle increases more than six times as fast as the radius does), and because you need at least a couple of MILES around each dry cask facility.  Why so much space?  To ensure they are protected from, say, rocket-propelled grenades, 50-caliber machine guns, mortars, and long-range, high-powered sniper rifles.

Perhaps one or two rounds can't do any damage, but repeated firings in rapid succession -- 50 shots, say, or 100, which a well-prepared sniper could EASILY GET OFF BEFORE WE COULD CATCH THEM -- might break a dry cask completely open.  That's 50 shots from a relatively low-powered hand-held weapon -- if the terrorist has access to any sort of heavy firepower, such as the afore-mentioned 50-caliber machine gun, or a JAVELIN DROPPED FROM A BALLOON, then the terrorist has the advantage.

Yep, a terrorist could drop a radio-controlled spear, with little flippers on the end for guidance, from a BALLOON, and destroy a dry cask and thus destroy an area "the size of Pennsylvania" as official government documents once put it, long ago.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has committed a grave crime against humanity by not allowing citizens' concerns about terrorism issues to be heard, and then going even further by not taking into account those threats, with or without citizen input.

They have truly put there collective pinheads in the sand.

When a terrorist group finally makes a serious attempt to attack one -- any ONE -- of our vulnerable nuclear facilities, not IF, but WHEN (Al Zarqawi's death will not stop terrorism globally, and might actually increase it), it will be too late to put the criminals at the NRC on trial for negligent homicide, unless the bittersweet taste of revenge will succor our shame in knowing WE should have acted sooner, and thrown the bums in jail, and done the steps which are truly necessary to protect ourselves from this "quap" even if the NRC is a lap-dog agency in bed with a corrupt Mafia-like industry.

Terrorism, after all, is not the only threat.  Sitting so close to the coast as Humboldt Bay's spent fuel is, there is also the threat from tsunamis.  Airline traffic above, earthquake faults below, and there are even asteroids out there which could destroy dry casks (or spent fuel pools, or nuclear reactors).

All the dangers begin to subside, albeit slowly for some dangers, and more quickly for others, the instant we stop producing more new nuclear waste -- the instant we turn off the reactors.  Humboldt Bay's problems are just like Diablo Canyon's and San Onofre's, the vulnerabilities are just as great -- nausea, vomiting, and death can suddenly take over your bodies in minutes after an accident, for HUNDREDS OF MILES AROUND as the winds carry the deadly POISONOUS, GASEOUS RADIOACTIVE FISSION PRODUCTS away, just as it can here.  With operating reactors and fresh spent fuel, it can happen a bit EASIER here than there.

But both places can suffer the same widespread destruction, the complete breakdown of society, and can cause the bankruptcy of the state, perhaps of the Union, and certainly can bankrupt the industry's weak insurance scam known as Price-Anderson.

Operating reactors hide these problems from the community better than Humboldt Bay can, because the operating reactors generate "useful" jobs and local cash flow, which keeps people quiet and happy, as they die from tritium releases and wonder why.

"Ace" Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

At 08:36 PM 6/7/2006 -0700, Julie wrote:
This article was mailed to you by: Julie
Click to View this Article

Feds eye impact of nuke storage ruling

John Driscoll The Times-Standard
Eureka Times Standard

Could 9th Circuit opinion foul up Humboldt Bay nuke fuel plan?

A recent federal court ruling draws into question the approach the Nuclear Regulatory Commission took to examine possible terrorist attacks on a storage system approved in 2005 for the Humboldt Bay Power Plant's old nuclear fuel.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision last week specifically addressed a plan to store fuel for the Diablo Canyon nuclear facility in San Luis Obispo County. It determined that the commission should have examined in environmental reports the threat of attack on cement and steel storage casks the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. proposes to build.

But the ruling could apply to the Humboldt Bay plant, as well, which has permits to build six 10-foot tall casks to store spent fuel and radioactive reactor parts -- now stored in a pool -- at the King Salmon site. The fuel would be stored on a bluff on the property until at least 2014, provided a federal repository is available to take it.

Like in the Diablo Canyon case, the commission did not consider terrorism as part of an environmental report for the Humboldt Bay project.

Whether that means that the commission needs to revisit the Humboldt Bay plan is unclear.

James Park with the commission's Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards said that the agency is reviewing the ruling. He said that the commission has done a lot of work to ensure that nuclear facilities beef up security, but in 2005, when the environmental assessment was issued for Humboldt Bay, its position was that an attack was “remote and speculative.”

”The agency's position here was that terrorism wasn't explicitly called out for review,” Park said.

That is, the steps that PG&E will take to protect the fuel from terrorist attacks were not outlined for public review under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Such a review was called for by the state during the commission process. When the California Energy Commission commented that sabotage or a terrorist attack on the proposed dry casks should be considered in an environmental review, the NRC said that it wasn't the appropriate forum. The details of such security plans can't be released to the public, it said.

The 9th Circuit said that it recognizes issues of national security, but said it believes the NRC's history of handling the nation's nuclear secrets makes it able to sensitively analyze the question of terrorism.

Barbara Byron, the nuclear policy adviser for the state energy commission, said there should be a significant attempt to explain to the public what measures are being taken to protect spent nuclear fuel to be stored in the casks at Humboldt Bay, she said.

”I think everyone agrees that it would be better in a robust cask than where it is now,” Byron said. “But there should be a significant attempt to explain the measures.”

Diane Curran, an attorney for the San Luis Obispo Mothers For Peace, which brought the suit, said that the ruling could affect the Humboldt Bay plant. She said the regulatory commission did not look at alternatives like scattering casks over a large area, using higher-grade steel for the casks, or building berms around the casks -- and then circulate the report to the public.

PG&E spokesman Jeff Lewis said that the threat of a terrorist attack was considered as part of the permitting process for the project -- but not through the National Environmental Policy Act.

”You can't just take the fuel out of the pool and not have an approved security plan,” Lewis said.

He said the Humboldt Bay project should not be affected by Friday's ruling, a view not held as assuredly by the commission.

This e-mail was initiated by machine [] at IP [].

Oscar Shirani correspondence:

At 07:36 AM 6/13/2006 -0700, Oscar Shirani <> wrote:
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2006 07:34:00 -0700
To: "Oscar Shirani" <>
From: "Russell 'Ace' Hoffman" <>  View Contact Details   Add Mobile Alert
Subject: Re: United States Embassy in Ukraine blindly follows NRC and ignores Shirani's warnings about the faulty casks
Hi Oscar,

Thanks for sending us this disgusting bit of propaganda.  Where DID our embassy staff learn to write such disgusting and immoral lies?

It seems you must be officially denounced internationally!  You must be a very dangerous person!  You might let the truth out!!

Hopefully the Russian people are not so stupid as to trust the authors of documents like this one!  They have been lied to so many times; surely they can sense that they are being lied to here, too.



Note: forwarded message attached.

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Received: from [] by via HTTP; Mon, 12 Jun 2006 07:55:57 PDT
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2006 07:55:57 -0700 (PDT)
From: Oscar Shirani <>
Subject: Fwd: US Embassy in Ukraine blindly quotes from NRC, but Shirani invites NRC for a Tecnical Challenge
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary="0-1898930701-1150124157=:83441"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
Content-Length: 9586

Dear NRC;
Why don't you send the following statements from your NRC PHD of Engineering and Expert in the dry cask storage that fully supported Shirani to the media and your US Embassies around the world not to fool the public of other nations like you did at home. These casks are dangerous and have to be stopped for the sake of your own children.
PBS TV on May 3, 2005 Nationwide Quoted: "Some at the NRC were also concerned with the design of the Holtec casks used at Dresden.  In this report issued in 2001, the NRC inspector for the Midwest region, Ross Landsman says, as Shirani did, that welds were faulty. And even more alarming, records of who did the welding and the process they used did not exist. Landsman refused to sign off on this letter giving Dresden the go-ahead to load the dry casks. And he tried to get the NRC to follow up on his and Shirani's findings, with no success. Landsman would not agree to an on-camera interview, but off camera he said: "Every time I found something wrong with the Holtec casks, my colleagues in Washington gave them an exemption." And "I remain concerned about the safety of the Holtec Dry Casks. The NRC should stop the production of the casks, but they do not have the chutzpah to do it. This is the kind of thinking that causes space shuttles to hit the ground."
You have been shamelessly ignoring to challenge me face to face with the presence of public. Look to see how you have fooled everyone in the country and now your partners at the American Embassies around the world are trying to fool the world and quoting from your negligent reports. Even other government entities are themselves are fooled by your negligent response.
Do you remember that on December 1, 2004, Mr. David Lochbaum of Union of Concerned Scientists sent you a letter and invited all the NRC technical staff to sit face to face with Oscar Shirani and discuss the dry cask storage code violations?
But, instead, you have refused to do that. Your excuses were that you need to protect my identity and could not have a public forum with me to discuss the issues. Then  I sent you many responses that I don't care that my identity be revealed and please don't make that as an excuse. Who in the US or the world does not know my issues?
Up to now, none of your technical experts have discussed the design and welding issues that I had raised. You had only sent your Paul Narbut, the NRC lead auditor of your useless audit of 1999 to Holtec to go and cover-up his own mess that I exposed in my audit report of August 4, 2000. Your Director of Engineering at NRC in Washington, Mr. Wayne Hodges sat with me for 30 minutes and after he could not defend the NRC's position, replied to me: " the technical issues that you are discussing are way over my head". He told me that his technical staff will call me. No technical staff ever called me.
Your allegation coordinator in Washington who was responding to my allegations on the phone had repeatedly confessed to me that he is not a technical expert in the dry cask neither. Your technical guru of the dry cask storage in Chicago (NRC Region III) for Midwest, Dr. Ross Landsman had fully supported my issues and even though he read my falsified audit report by Exelon, he still found that welding issues were significant.
Worse than you, was your negligent Office Of Inspector General that admitted to me that they are not having meeting with me to discuss the dry casks storage, but issued a report and completely found my issues un-substantiated. Some of the NRC's own report had substantiated my issues, but just made a general statement that issues were resolved. It was resolved to whose satisfaction? NRC never provided me any objective evididence for the closure of my technical issues are required by law. 
I want to challenge you based on the written codes of NRC and endorsed codes of NRC such as ASME and ANSI standards. You know that I have been teaching these issues at many technical conferences and universities and at your public meetings and no one from NRC and any one around the world ever disputed my technical arguments about the structural integrity of the cask being indeterminate.
Please accept my invitation for a public meeting. Bring all your experts. No one will defend your position. By the laws of physics, math, and engineering, your arguments are not defendeable. These casks have been illegally and unlawfully been dispositioned 100's times in violation of your own endorsed codes. Please for the sake of public's interest and safety don't refuse my challenge. Please find Tony Frazier by the help of FBI to sit at this meeting. He was my Quality Control Inspector who assisted me with many of these issues, but got fired by Exelon, one month after my August 4, 2000 Audit report was issued.
Oscar Shirani, Nuclear Whistle Blower who loves the public that you betrayed.
The forwarded message attached.

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Received: from [] by via HTTP; Mon, 12 Jun 2006 04:10:22 PDT
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2006 04:10:22 -0700 (PDT)
From: Oscar Shirani <>
Subject: United States Embassy in Ukraine blindly follows NRC and ignores Shirani's warnings about the faulty casks
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United States Embassy in Ukraine
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– February 23, 2006
There is a great deal of misinformed reporting in the media about the agreement between the U.S. firm Holtec and Energoatom on the construction of the Ukraine Central Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility at Chernobyl. The agreement gives Ukraine a safe, cost-effective method to address its nuclear waste storage concerns. The project will pay for itself in two years while enhancing Ukraine’s overall energy security.
The deal was not secret: Energoatom announced an international tender in July 2003, under the Kuchma-Medvedchuk Administration, in anticipation of rising costs to handle spent nuclear fuel, for which Ukraine currently pays approximately $100 million annually. The Ukraine Central Spent Nuclear Storage Facility will store fuel from nine Ukrainian nuclear reactors only. The facility will not handle any radioactive waste from other countries. Reports that President Bush cancelled the Yucca Mountain nuclear storage project in the state of Nevada in the U.S. are mistaken. The President’s Advanced Energy Initiative, announced on Feb. 20, 2006, states that “Yucca Mountain is still required under any fuel cycle scenario.” The President did designate new national parkland in the Cedar Mountain area of Utah on January 6, which could have some effect on the nearby much smaller private spent fuel storage facility. On February 21, 2006, however, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued a license to construct and operate this facility in Utah. Some media have confused the two.
The signing of the Holtec-Energoatom contract is the beginning, not the end, of the process. Before construction can begin the following must take place: Holtec International, founded in 1986, is a company that has supplied equipment to over 150 power plants worldwide. The company has an excellent reputation and an impeccable financial and performance record. Its products are licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and by competent authorities in Taiwan, Korea, Mexico, Brazil, the U.K. and Spain. Holtec has a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission certified Quality Assurance program.
None of Holtec’s licenses has ever been denied or revoked. Some Ukrainian news reports have referenced U.S. news accounts of statements by a former nuclear auditor named Oscar Shirani, who in 2000 raised concerns about Holtec products. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission reviewed Shirani’s claims and determined them to be unfounded. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Office of the Inspector General then reviewed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s inspection history of Holtec and in a finding released on August 6, 2004 also did not substantiate Shirani’s claims.
Over 80% of the spent nuclear fuel in the U.S. is stored in Holtec-supplied systems. The same is true for 60 percent of Korea’s, 60 percent of Taiwan’s, 100% of Mexico’s, 100% of the United Kingdom’s, and 100% of Brazil’s spent fuel.
Some have argued that Ukraine does not need a nuclear waste facility because Russia takes back spent nuclear fuel it provides. Even if Russia takes back all the spent nuclear fuel for the current non-market rate of $100 million a year which could soon reach $160 million annually, Ukraine will still need storage for related high-level nuclear waste, which under current arrangements would be returned to Ukraine from Russia after reprocessing is completed.
One important lesson from the natural gas crisis in January 2006 is the need for Ukraine to strengthen its own energy security. The Holtec-Energoatom agreement is a major step in that direction.

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