From: "Russell 'Ace' Hoffman" <>
Subject: Polonium murder in London; Carrie Dickerson R.I.P.;
  Caldicott's compromise on Dry Cask Storage; Calvert Cliffs' near-miss;

November 28th, 2006                                *** Contents: ***

1) Who killed British citizen Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian whistleblower?  WE MUST KNOW!
2) Carrie Dickerson, R.I.P.; announcing The Genesis Project
3) Carrie Dickerson's obituary
4) Caldicott's curious compromise on Dry Cask Storage
5) San Onofre's owners admit to a massive crime:  A concerted, long-standing, highly ORGANIZED effort to make it appear that working conditions are vastly SAFER than they really are
6) We can simply close San Onofre today
7) My recent letter on transporting so-called transuranic waste to WIPP (as published in the Hanford Digest)
8) What happened at Calvert Cliffs, President Bush's shining-example of a properly run nuke?
9) My web site was Adobe Site of the Day November 7th, 2006 (a clarification of the previous announcement)!

1) Who killed British citizen Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian whistleblower?  WE MUST KNOW!

The ex-spy's death by radiation poisoning, possibly by agents acting directly under, or without fear of retribution from, Russian ex-KGB chief Vladimir "the disintegrator" Putin, was drawn-out and torturous, but it is how many of us will die if we do not stop nuclear power NOW.  BEFORE it's too late -- not AFTER.  And that means stopping the Russian Mafia.  Whoever they are.

Polonium-210 was apparently used, which has a half-life of about 138 days, and which is also found in trace amounts in cigarette smoke.  It took but a tiny fraction of a pinhead worth of material, an invisible speck, to give Mr. Litvinenko fatal and painful radiation poisoning.

According to the Independent (UK), Letvinenko had: "Said he was on the verge of revealing the name of the assassin who gunned down Anna Politkovskaya, the Russian journalist murdered in Moscow in October, shortly before he was poisoned."

He was meeting with an Italian journalist with an interest in Russian nuclear waste activities (i.e., crimes) when he was poisoned.  The journalist is not believed to be a suspect in the attack.

Bush 1 and Putin got along especially well, perhaps because they were both the top dog in their respective spy agencies (CIA; KGB) at the same time.  King Bush 2 is unlikely to take his dad's old pal to task on this or any other issue, like the 40+ other journalists who have been murdered while reporting on the conflict in Chechnia.  And British Prime Minister Tony Blair wouldn't even take King Bush 2 to task on Iraq -- he just went along with faulty "intelligence" too and sent his own soldiers to die along with our thousands -- so what are the chances he'll stand up now, to the most organized criminal country on earth?

-- Ace Hoffman

The following was seen in RADBULL (one of many reports presented there):

56 UPI: Britain probing Russia on ex-spy's death

United Press International - NewsTrack -

11/25/2006 9:27:00 AM -0500

LONDON, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- Russian dissident Alexander
Litvinenko's death bore the hallmarks of a "state-sponsored"
assassination, Britain's intelligence agencies say.

Britain's Foreign Office met with the Russian ambassador in
London and asked the Kremlin to hand over information that could
help a Scotland Yard probe into the death of the 43-year-old
former Russian spy, The Times of London reported Saturday.

Litvinenko, who had become a British citizen, died Thursday
after a three-week illness.

A senior British intelligence official told The Times Litvinenko
was poisoned with radioactive polonium-210 and said evidence not
yet released pointed to the slaying being carried out by foreign

A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin called the
suggestion of Russian involvement in the poisoning "sheer

In a statement released after his death, Litvinenko accused
Putin of what would be the Kremlin's first political
assassination in the West since the Cold War.

"You may succeed in silencing one man, but the howl of protest
from around the world will reverberate, Mr Putin, in your ears
for the rest of your life," he wrote.

2) Carrie Dickerson, R.I.P.; announcing The Genesis Project

A week ago last Friday (on November 17th, 2006), activist Carrie Dickerson -- "Aunt Carrie" to thousands of people -- passed away in her sleep at 89.  The death notice appears below.

Carrie Dickerson did what the rest of us only dream of (so far):  She (with the help of those thousands) STOPPED A NUKE!  The Black Fox nuclear power plant was never built.

Unfortunately, even though we kept planning it (and then not managing to pull it off), I never met her in person.  But fortunately, we spoke on the phone every couple of months for the past few years.

Every conversation I ever had with Carrie was ALWAYS "right on point."  She would ask what topics I was working on, and she would suggest directions to move forward with my efforts.  And of course, she knew just about everybody, and had worked with most of them.

Yet somehow I never managed, even though I'd thumbed through it many times, to find enough hours to read her book.  So I didn't really know what it was about.

And so this little obituary and homage to that wonderful woman -- the one I'm writing right now -- is late.  But travel for family matters gave me the time, and her passing gave me the impetus to finally read her book.

And now I think I know why we got along so well.

She and I assumed that justice and democracy are POSSIBLE in America.  We have not been proven right, but we assumed / assume it.  It is our only hope.

Like many devoted activists, Carrie poured a fortune into her efforts -- draining her savings repeatedly to fund some next step:  Printing books, sending letters, printing posters, traveling to hearings and conventions, and being totally focused -- to the exclusion, if necessary, of virtually every other "obligation" that could be put off or ignored.

Carrie's book is called Aunt Carrie's War Against Black Fox Nuclear Power Plant (Council Oak Press, Tulsa, OK).  As I read it, I realized that she and I had another thing in common: Keeping LOTS of notes!  Her book does have a small number of glaring errors (Diablo Canyon certainly DID eventually get built!) but overall it is meticulously constructed from what must have been meticulously-kept notes (she credits many people with helping reconstruct the events for the book).

So I'm taking this opportunity to also announce, in honor of Carrie Dickerson, that I have figured out what I'm going to do with the 500 or so BOOKS ABOUT NUKES I have collected.  I'm going to CUT THEIR SPINES and SCAN THEM INTO MY COMPUTER!  All 500!  And the many letters from experts, too!  Technology now makes this both affordable and possible.  The collection took years to amass, and most of it is totally unavailable except in the occasional used book store, activist's home, or peace library.  Some are unique pre-publication versions of books which were stopped, for no apparent reason, at the last minute by their publisher!

Many of the books could not possibly have a valid copyright, because they are totally pro-nuclear, and inciting people to MURDER other people -- even if those so INCITED do not realize they are KILLERS -- is strictly illegal, and you cannot legally profit from such a thing. Therefore, the original authors of those books are not due any compensation (they are due only ridicule).  And anyway, if the electronic copies are properly distributed, it would all fall under the rule of "fair use."

Some of the anti-nuclear books were purposely printed "copyright-free" so that others could duplicate them without worry.  (Any authors -- and I know many, of course, so that means YOU! -- who specifically WANT (or don't want) their books scanned in and distributed should contact me directly about their wishes -- but no promises -- this story MUST be told, and to the widest possible audience!)

This project will probably take me more than five years to accomplish, and I don't plan to start it until next year.  It will include, of course, creating interactive support programs to access the books and to help us get a feel for how what was being written influenced what people thought.

The goal, of course, is to try to figure out where we went wrong, so we can fix it.

In 2002, Carrie Dickerson wrote my wife and I a little note on one of her beautiful quilt-motif cards, which ended: "We have our work cut out for us!  We can't live on our laurels.  Keep in touch and may God bless you and your work."

Aunt Carrie, the Genesis Project is for you.

Rest in Peace, dear; we ARE still working hard!


Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

3) Carrie Dickerson's obituary:

This is the Carrie Dickerson obituary in the Tulsa World.  It was accompanied by a lovely photograph.

Nuclear-power activist Carrie Dickerson dies
By Staff Reports

CLAREMORE -- Carrie Dickerson, the nursing home owner-turned activist who in the 1970s and '80s led a successful fight against the Black Fox nuclear power-plant proposal in eastern Oklahoma, died Friday. She was 89.

A funeral service is set for 1 p.m. Wednesday at the First United Methodist Church under the direction of Rice Funeral Home.

Dickerson and her twin sister, Clara, were born May 24, 1917, in a log cabin west of Okmulgee to Carrie Elizabeth (Perry) and Marvin Beauregard Barefoot.

Dickerson's childhood was marked with hardships. When she was 2, her father went to nurse a cousin through a bout of the Spanish flu. He returned ill, and then Dickerson's pregnant mother came down with the flu. Her mother and the baby survived, but her father did not.

Dickerson attended Rocky Hill School and Nuyaka Mission School in Okmulgee County. In high school, she won a statewide 4-H essay and speech contest for girls. Her topic was on rearing children to become responsible citizens.

Her future husband won the boy's contest, and the two met on a trip to Washington, D.C., which was their prize in the contest. She and Charles Robert Dickerson were married in 1938.

Carrie Dickerson attended Oklahoma State University, where she received her bachelor's and master's degrees in home economics. She taught home economics at several public schools, including in Chelsea, Catoosa, Talala and Claremore.

Dickerson and her husband opened a nursing home in the 1960s. She attended nursing school and became a registered nurse.

She was running Aunt Carrie's Nursing Home when she began a crusade that she would continue for the rest of her life.

Dickerson was going about her usual morning routine on May 8, 1973, when a Tulsa World headline caught her eye: "$450 Million N-Plant Proposed by PSC for Site Near Inola."

Dickerson had no idea what "N-Plant" meant and what it would mean to her nearby family farm, but she was determined to find out.

After a few months of intense research on nuclear power, Dickerson was ready to fight against Public Service Company of Oklahoma's proposed Black Fox nuclear power plant.

"People always told me that I couldn't win, that I was too small to make a difference," she told the Tulsa World in October. "I've always said that you can't win if you don't try."

Dickerson went to a City Council meeting and spoke against the plant. Soon reporters from around the state were calling her and asking her what group she represented.

"I couldn't admit that I didn't have a group," Dickerson told the World in 1982, so she formed Citizens Action for Safe Energy on the spot.

Soon thereafter, people flocked to join the group. Ilene Young-hein of Oklahoma City co-led the organization.

Dickerson was told by the Atomic Energy Commission that projects were never stopped by local intervention unless the site was proved unsuitable or the plan economically unfeasible. So Dickerson took PSO to court to delay construction.

For nine years, she and her group prevented PSO from moving on with the plant through court action.

To fund the court battles, Dickerson drained her savings, mortgaged her farm, sold her nursing home and made and sold quilts. Fundraising concerts were given by musicians such as Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne.

It is estimated that about $550,000 was spent fighting Black Fox, with $200,000 of that coming from Dickerson herself.

Dickerson also lectured, gave presentations and showed films about nuclear power around the state, as well as in Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri.

On Feb. 16, 1982, PSO officially canceled the Black Fox project.

Dickerson started a retirement home, opened a health-food store and began teaching quilting classes. But the need for safe energy stayed in her mind.

In 1995, she published a book about the ordeal, "Aunt Carrie's War Against Black Fox Nuclear Plant." Dickerson's daughter, Patricia Lemon, said Dickerson completed a children's book about wind power shortly before her death.

Lemon said the Black Fox ordeal left her mother practically destitute. In 2002, Dickerson said the battle was worth living in poverty.

"Sometimes we're expected to do something with our lives other than what we had planned," she told the World four years ago. "I think that this was my purpose in life. That's the reason I can accept my condition today."

Since the Black Fox plant's cancelation in 1982, no new nuclear plants have been approved for construction in the U.S.

Dickerson is survived by two of her four children, Patricia Dickerson Lemon of Claremore and Warwick, Mass., and Florence Snelling of Claremore; a brother, Marvin Dickerson of Davis, Calif.; three sisters, Clara Barefoot-Seahorn of Olympia, Wash., Florence Cahalen of Broken Arrow and Paula Bentley of Barada Hills, Neb.; five grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Friends are making contributions to the Carrie Dickerson Foundation.

Related Photos & Graphics


4) Caldicott's curious compromise on Dry Cask Storage:

Who's going to stop at 35, Dr. C?

Immediately before reading Carrie Dickerson's wonderful book, I also read Dr. Helen Caldicott's newest book, called Nuclear Power Is Not The Answer (The New Press, New York, London).

While I do highly recommend it, as well, I've got issues.

On page seven, the first sloppy statement appears.  Caldicott states that the dimensions of a mass of rock -- the amount of granite ore that must be ground up to produce 162 tons of "natural uranium" is: "one hundred meters high and three kilometers long."

That's only two dimensions.  How WIDE is this mass?

On page 40, she claims that "background radiation was one of the main instigators of evolution, as it induced mutations in the reproductive DNA molecules or genes of plants and animals."  She even claims (later on, on the same page) that radiation has been "fundamental to the evolution of planetary life."

This is hardly likely to be true!  While radiation has been an ISSUE which evolution has had to CONTEND WITH, it is very unlikely to have been responsible for inducing that vast number of beneficial changes that push EVOLUTION forward.

Here's a more likely scenario:

Combinatorial mathematics regarding DNA reproduction covers the creation of new characteristics.  There is no need for additional chaotic driving forces, any more than an orderly meeting of experts needs a grenade thrown in the room.  New characteristics and eventually new species emerge as the entities that have a "more successful" characteristic are more likely to survive and procreate.  Repeat quadrillions of times over eons, and viola!  From one-celled creatures, to slugs, to YOU!  There is no need for the random smashing of DNA sequences for EVOLUTION to move forward.

RADIATION IS CHAOS.  Intelligence is orderly.

On the next page (41), Caldicott states, I assume correctly, that most mutations "cause disease," but then goes on to claim that "advantageous mutations are infrequent and require millions of years to express themselves."  While this is quite probably true too, it incorrectly suggests, as on the previous page, that evolution is mainly the product of mutations.

On page 52, I believe she gives a unrealistically low figure of 127 tons of Depleted Uranium used in Gulf War II.  The true figure is almost surely AT LEAST 10 times higher.  127 tons might well have been aerosolized in the Camp Falcon Ammo Dump fire alone!

Caldicott's book IS a wealth of facts, but I believe some "facts" needed better checking.

On page 61 Glen Seaborg is mentioned, but maybe she got that from one of my newsletters -- I think I've made that mistake.  It's Glenn (two n's).  Glenn T. Seaborg.

On page 85 she puts the steam generators outside the reactor's containment dome in a PWR.   Then why does San Onofre need to cut a hole in their containment dome (something they never expected to do, which might weaken it) to remove one?  On the same page, she quotes David Lochbaum, of the Union of Concerned (so they say) Scientists, who says that the "best way to prevent recurring problems at aging reactors" is to suspend licenses -- until "the nuclear industry has demonstrated that it takes plant safety seriously."  Oh come on, Helen!  I'll bet you could get the exact same quote out of some Jimmy Carter speech after Three Mile Island, and look what it's got us!

On page 89, perhaps to please the head of the Nuclear Control Institute, who's been pushing the idea, she goes into some depth on the idea of protecting the plants from airplane strikes by building vertical steel beams around them (embedded in concrete, of course) and stringing stiff wires between the beams in a cage-like structure with a funny name.   The idea is to shred the incoming airplane so it won't damage the plant as much!  It's utterly preposterous, if only because a smart or half-smart pilot will merely flip their suicide plane on its back and dive straight in.  ANY PLANE CAN DO THAT MANEUVER.  Any pilot, too.  There are many other serious problems with those sorts of solutions to the problem of potential terrorism at nuclear power stations.  SHUT 'EM DOWN!

On page 91 we are told that the NRC now requires plants to protect against "up to eight attackers."   I thought Lochbaum had deduced it was unlikely to be more than about five attackers, but in any event, the NRC has NOT told the public the real number, so how could Caldicott know?  But she does not equivocate on the number.

On page 97 she claims that in America, smoking (tobacco) is illegal.  Only in some states is smoking in other people's airspace somewhat restricted.  But smoking is NOT illegal in America. (The point she is making there is a perfectly valid one, as are most of her points even when she errs.)

On page 99, she neglects to mention an important possible "root cause" of a secondary reactor meltdown at a site where there is more than one reactor:  The operators of the second reactor might leave their posts.  If the first reactor gives them a warning that it's about to blow, it's almost GUARANTEED that the second (and third, etc.) reactor's staff will RUN LIKE HELL!  Hopefully they'll SCRAM the reactor first (which might or might not work), but the chance of them hanging around, rather than leaving to protect their families and themselves, is small at best.  These are not New York City firefighters and police, after all!  So we'll have TWO meltdowns at once, followed shortly thereafter by two spent fuel pool fires!

But then we get to page 101, and Dr. Caldicott begins her endorsement of Dry Cask Storage.  She points out that the spent fuel pools have been "re-racked and re-racked," and that they are now overloaded.  The solution, according to Dr. Caldicott, is not to SHUT THE REACTOR DOWN -- I mean, shouldn't she at least mention it? -- nor even to build more pools (at great expense to the utility, oh well).  No.  Instead she endorses building Dry Cask Storage units!  In a recent speech I heard her make the point that the reactors should be shut down NOW.  But it needed to be said here - -and emphatically!  Harry Ried, the Senator from Nevada, who is now in a position, politically, to put enormous brakes on Yucca Mountain and probably will, believes dry cask storage is SAFE and that nuclear fuel storage should occur ON SITE at each reactor.  He and Caldicott both need to be corrected in their thinking.

On page 102 she worries about a turbine shaft of a jet going into a spent fuel pool, but the pools she's talking about can be breached with the engine of a small CESSNA single-engine airplane!  Boiling Water Reactors often have their spent fuel pools ABOVE the reactor, high above ground level, and in some cases with little more than ALUMINUM SIDING to protect them!

On page 103 she seems to credit Bob Alverez with coming up with Dry Cask Storage, now implemented (according to page 104) at "33 reactors."  But she claims, with absolutely NO basis in fact, that "on average, thirty-five casks would be needed for each reactor."

Now, I know, if she reads this, she might write me and say she meant that 35 casks would be enough to relieve the "dangerous overcrowding" in the spent fuel pools.  But the truth is, if the reactors stay open, it won't stop at 35 or even at 350 or 3,500.  Because Yucca Mountain is a scientific and engineering MESS, and is unlikely to ever open, and never should.  (Fortunately, Dr. Caldicott seems to realize the problems with Yucca Mountain pretty thoroughly.)  And another way to relieve the seriousness of the overcrowding problem is to let the fuel rods cool by NOT PUTTING MORE IN!  (That is, shut the reactors down forever.  But again, it is left unsaid.)

On page 116 Dr. Caldicott states that 50 trillion curies of tritium were released into Lake Ontario at the "Pickering-4 station."  A typical American reactor releases about 1,000 Curies of tritium per year and this, she will be the first to tell you, is a tragedy in itself.  Canadian CANDU reactors release about 20 times that much each year.  50 trillion is, uh, 2.5 billion times more!  That's got to be a typo.

Throughout Caldicott's book, as with many others, there is a strange inability to reconcile which is worse;  A long-lived isotope or a short-lived one; a global dispersal or a localized one.  As with every pro-nuker and quite a few anti-nukers, she chooses to paint it in the light she needs for the section.  See page 117 for one example.

On page 119 she states -- and I only can HOPE she's wrong here, but I really don't know -- that some "Generation IV" reactors are "expected to be built and operational by 2010."  I'm not sure even the pro-nukers are that optimistic!  (Not to imply she's happy about it, but I think the timetable is improbable.)

On page 143 she mentions that Iran is "floating in oil" but ought to point out their large solar reserves, as well, and several other renewable energy sources.  They certainly are the last people on earth to NEED nukes!

On page 161 she really lets me down, claiming that nuclear power could be eliminated in "ten years."  She means, of course, without undue hardship -- whatever THAT means!  The truth is, the nuclear power plants COULD all be closed tomorrow.  Maybe we would all need to be a little careful for a little while, but I think, for example, that the thousands of American troops who have died in Iraq already, and the 100s of thousands of Iraqis, could all have told you that a little hardship in order to achieve something important is maybe not so bad, when the alternative is worse.

My last criticism of her book is that on page 174 she neglects to mention, although it is undoubtedly true, that a large-scale varied renewable energy solution to our energy problems would be vastly more RELIABLE than an energy solution based on nuclear power, which is prone to sudden drop-outs of 1000 megawatts of electricity in the blink of an eye, and sometimes the outages are very prolonged.  Hence, for example, we computer geeks purchase umpteen million battery-backup systems!  How many BILLIONS of dollars could be saved if there were virtually no power surges or drop-outs anymore?

Other than the above items, I liked the book a lot and highly recommend it.  Remember, there are thousands of facts in this book.  Under no circumstances should this review be used as an excuse not to read it!

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

5) San Onofre's owners admit to a massive crime:  A concerted, long-standing, highly ORGANIZED effort to make it appear that working conditions are vastly SAFER than they really are:

This next item is really something.  And yet it's just the tip of the iceberg.  When these same workers get sick and suffer from cancers, leukemia, heart attacks, or they or their wives give birth to deformed babies, well that's even MORE covered up than the on-the-job injuries -- blatant injuries -- that are discussed here.  Countless former San Onofre workers have died from brain tumors and other "odd-ball" diseases.  Sometimes, the utility WILL settle with the survivors, but they'll NEVER settle with you unless they get you to sign a CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT not to talk about what happened to your loved one, who used to work at the plant, EVER.  Or you'll have to give back ALL the money (with interest) AND be liable for additional punitive damages if the courts decide you talked in flagrant violation of the contract!

And as if that isn't enough, you will also have to go through YEARS AND YEARS of court hearings regarding your case, and ENDLESS PAPERWORK.  It's not done just to wear you down, but it sure will WEAR YOU DOWN.

It's done to STOP YOU.  The more STEPS there are in a process -- ANY PROCESS -- the greater the chance of failure.  So what happens is that, in your years and years of FIGHTING for your rights, sometimes you STUMBLE.  You miss a filing deadline or something, and your YEARS OF EFFORT to get what you deserve are wasted.  From that one mistake, hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars in justified compensation can be lost, and often is.

EVERYONE who lives near a nuclear power plant has an increased risk -- a MEASURABLE increased risk -- of cancer, leukemia, heart disease, and damage to the DNA structure in their reproductive organs, thus damaging every child that might ever be born to them or their progeny.

It is in THIS light that the following article should be read:

Edison said to cover up injuries

Nuclear workers at San Onofre allege that safety data were falsified. The utility will pay millions for abuses designed to draw bonuses.
By Elizabeth Douglass, Times Staff Writer
November 24, 2006

Managers at the state's largest nuclear plant won safety bonuses for years by hiding employees' on-the-job injuries and dodging state reporting rules, employees of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station said in testimony during nine days of regulatory hearings this month.

To avoid reporting employee injuries, safety managers at the plant tried to persuade doctors to close wounds with Steri-Strips in lieu of stitches or to issue over-the-counter medications instead of ordering prescription drugs, the employees said. Other times, they mischaracterized on-site injuries as the result of mishaps at home.

Such injuries at the coastal plant south of San Clemente are still covered up today, the employees alleged, because facility operator Southern California Edison penalizes workers who are involved in incidents that are deemed avoidable.

"If you have an accident and you can somehow hobble your way out of the gate without anybody noticing it, then it's in your best interest to do that," said Carl Wood, a former state regulator who is representing the plant's labor union and the employees who provided testimony to the California Public Utilities Commission. "You're better off hiding it. If you report it, then they chew you out, they chew out your supervisor, and you could have something put in your file."

The employee accounts, provided at hearings and in writing, describe a nuclear power plant where managers routinely downplayed injuries and falsified safety data despite a string of e-mail and hotline complaints from San Onofre employees to Edison management dating back to 1998.

None of the allegations involved radioactive releases or accidents that threatened public safety. They nonetheless reveal a compromised safety culture at San Onofre, said Thomas Barnett, a safety manager at the plant until 2000, when he was reassigned, he said, because he refused to cover up injuries.

Edison, a subsidiary of Rosemead-based Edison International, didn't dispute the testimony from Barnett and two other San Onofre employees. But executives said that since that time they had eliminated bonuses based on injury statistics. What's more, utility Chief Executive Alan J. Fohrer said Tuesday in an interview that he "would never be in favor of disciplining an employee because they were hurt."

Asked about Wood's contention that Edison's disciplinary program encourages employees to hide an injury rather than report it, Fohrer said, "There's something wrong if they feel that way, and we need to address it."

The new allegations about skewed safety reports came to light as part of an investigation by the state PUC into Edison's use of rigged data to win $50 million in ratepayer-funded rewards for its customer service and workplace safety performance from 1997 to 2003.

At issue now is how much the debacle should cost Edison. The company thinks that number should be $52 million, plus interest, which includes returning or forgoing $49.4 million in rewards plus a $2.5-million penalty for failing to keep accurate records of minor first aid treatment.

Other parties in the case, including the commission's consumer protection and safety division, its independent ratepayer advocacy unit and the San Francisco-based Utility Reform Network consumer group proposed that Edison pay amounts ranging from $62 million to $207.6 million.

Local 246 of the Utility Workers Union of America, which represents more than 600 San Onofre employees, asked the judge to allocate $2 million a year from Edison shareholder money to fund a five-year collaborative safety program at the nuclear plant.

The biggest potential hit to Edison, suggested by the commission's consumer protection unit, includes what the utility offered plus maximum performance penalties of $56 million and maximum fines of $102.2 million. The commission's ratepayer advocates group wants Edison to return up to $94 million in results-sharing bonuses the utility paid to employees based in part on the manipulated customer satisfaction and safety results.

"Edison was rewarded for having customer service performance that was simply invented," said Mindy Spatt, spokeswoman for the Utility Reform Network. "The overriding concern is that you have a utility cutting corners and cheating on these things…. Edison has to answer not so much for the individual behavior, but for the culture that spawned this kind of abuse."

In 2004, the utility admitted that employees in its service planning department erased or changed the phone numbers of unhappy customers to prevent customer satisfaction surveyors from reaching them. In addition, planners sought to improve the survey scores by replacing customer phone numbers with their own or those of relatives, friends or cooperative contractors who agreed to provide glowing assessments of Edison's work.

Edison, in a report to the commission, attributed the fraud to "an overstated emphasis on achieving positive survey findings within an organization that was severely stressed due to workload, attrition and limited job experience."

In the months that followed, an internal investigation found that Edison employees with no electrical experience had been given the answers to technical tests to win jobs planning electrical systems for homeowners and developers.

Edison also said it hadn't properly tracked first aid cases companywide, that managers seeking bonuses pressured employees not to report injuries and that there were "limited instances" of supervisors or managers trying to influence medical treatment to avoid California reporting rules. Edison never acknowledged injury misreporting that was as widespread as that alleged by San Onofre workers.

In June, after a preliminary investigation by the commission's consumer protection unit, the regulators launched a formal probe into the scandal. Administrative Law Judge Robert Barnett (no relation to the Edison employee) has presided over the proceeding, which included written testimony, exhibits and reports as well as nine days of courtroom-style hearings with more than 20 witnesses.

At the hearings, Edison argued that the penalties should be limited because the company quickly and voluntarily reported the problems, conducted extensive investigations and offered to return more money than it thought was warranted. In addition, Edison said it fired 11 people and disciplined 46 others as part of what Edison attorney Charles Read called "the most extensive discipline effort in the company's history." Some of those punished were mid-level managers.

Utility commission attorney Nicholas Sher dismissed Edison's claim that it moved swiftly to ferret out the problems, noting that the company didn't act in earnest until after a whistle-blower wrote a second letter about the survey scam -- a letter that was also sent to Edison's regulators and other public officials. In the safety area, Sher said Edison investigated only after discovering the survey scam rather than responding to its own audit reports or years' worth of complaints about underreporting of injuries.

"Only one manager was fired for his role in the health and safety data falsification. And with regards to customer satisfaction, no managers were fired for data falsification," Sher also told the commission judge. "It is too convenient that only low-level employees were terminated…. It strains credulity that no one in management had a hand in this funny business."

The final hearing in the matter is set for Tuesday. After the attorneys file their final briefs, Barnett will issue a ruling on how much Edison must pay. That decision is final after 30 days, unless someone involved in the case appeals the matter to the five-member commission or a commissioner seeks further review.

Regulators plan to conduct a second investigation next year focusing on other facets of customer service as well as the reliability of Southern California Edison's electrical network. That probe will assess the utility's performance and whether ratepayer-funded bonuses in those areas were justified.


6) We can simply close San Onofre today:

About every two years (or less) these days, California adds, in new electrical energy generating capacity, the FULL CAPACITY OF ALL ITS FOUR NUKES.  In the past 5 or 6 years, California as added about FOUR TIMES the total capacity of all our NUKES in electrical generation capacity.

So NO ONE can honestly say that we CANNOT close these death-traps today.  Yet that is Rochelle Becker's (of A4NR) stated position!  She endorses stopping license renewal -- but that's not for in nearly TWENTY YEARS!   She thinks that AFTER San Onofre's owners spend more than TWO BILLIONS DOLLARS to rebuild some of the plants' major components (steam generators, reactor pressure vessel head, etc.), THEN it will be time to try to get California's lap-dog regulators to force the NRC to shut the reactor down!   She has ALSO endorsed dry cask storage, much the way Caldicott (above) does.

Not a difficult opponent for San Onofre's spokesliar to face!  But later this morning, that's the hardest-hitting "activist" that will be heard at a League of Woman Voters event in La Jolla.  (This author was not notified of this event directly.)

Below is the statement I plan to print up and pass around at the event later today.

November 28th, 2006

Just because a poison is odorless, colorless, and tasteless is no reason to ignore it.  In fact, it is all the more reason to be ever-vigilant about its dangers.

San Onofre releases enormous amounts of poison into the air, soil, and water around it, and it MUST be closed down IMMEDIATELY.

Or else what?

Or else ... a tsunami might destroy it.  IT COULD NOT SURVIVE A PERFECTLY PLAUSIBLE TSUNAMI.

Or else ... an earthquake might destroy it.  The ability to withstand a "7.5," as San Onofre supposedly can, may not be adequate, AND numerous buildings, built AFTER San Onofre was built, which were supposed to be even STRONGER, COLLAPSED in recent earthquakes.

Or else ... one of the many MISTAKES the employees have made over the years will be one mistake too many, or too many mistakes at once.

Or else ... a terrorist might have his day.

We can debate, we can study, we can hold meetings like this one.  But if you let OTHER PEOPLE DECIDE FOR YOU, San Onofre will remain open.  Because those other people do NOT have your best interests at heart.

Qualified experts do not seriously debate nuclear power's role in preventing global warming because it has NONE.  Oh sure, pro-nukers will assure you (now that they believe in Global Warming) that nuclear power is a solution, but it is not.  The nuclear fuel cycle uses huge amounts of energy to produce that "tiny little fuel pellet" which goes into the reactor core for about 60 months.  Additional energy -- lots of it -- is required to "deal" with the fuel after it comes out red hot, highly toxic, carcinogenic, teratogenic, and able to destroy any container you put it in.  How much more energy will be needed to deal with the waste for hundreds of thousands of years?  Nobody knows yet, but it's going to be much more than went in to creating the waste in the first place.

Fossil fuels supply the energy for virtually all the processing that goes into creating nuclear energy (and cleaning up afterwards), so its net effect on global warming is atrocious.

And the nuclear waste becomes a terrorist's best friend.  250 POUNDS of radioactive waste is created EACH DAY at EACH of California's four nuclear reactors.  This waste must be guarded for "eons."  Way beyond the length of human civilization so far.  How much will THAT cost?  How much HEAT will it generate?  What will keep the heat and radioactivity out of our environment?  The answer is that we MUST stop creating it because EVEN IF they find a NEARLY PERFECT way to contain nuclear waste, or to TRANSMUTE IT, there is no net energy gain overall, and there is significant risk of catastrophic accidents with accompanying increases in the LOCAL (and global) rates of cancer, leukemia, heart disease, birth defects, and many other illnesses.

The panel before you consists of NO experts on nuclear power.  But experts ARE available, who can confirm EVERYTHING in this document, and more!

The nuclear industry has claimed that containment domes could withstand a 9-11 style attack.  THEY CAN'T -- and anyway, MILLIONS OF POUNDS OF SPENT FUEL are OUTSIDE the containment domes!

Nor can DRY CASKS withstand a 9-11 style attack, or any other CONCERTED EFFORT to destroy them by the terrorists.  But the nuclear industry will tell you that dry casks are EXTREMELY ROBUST.  They're LYING and the NRC doesn't care.

The SCE spokesperson on this panel, Ray Golden, for example, will NEVER be investigated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for ANY lie, exaggeration, falsification, misrepresentation, or dishonest statement to the public.  This author made a written request for an investigation of such false claims, and in a registered letter on March 30th, 2002, the NRC stated: "Statements made by the public affairs officer of a NRC licensee are not regulated activities.  Therefore, the veracity of such statements will not be investigated by the NRC."

Another thing the nuclear industry lies about is that dry cask storage of nuclear waste is "temporary."

Many nuclear activists have WELCOMED dry cask storage as a way to relieve the intense and dangerous overcrowding in the SPENT FUEL POOLS.  They see it as better than an overcrowded spent fuel pool.  That's like saying death by hanging is better than death by firing squad.  Maybe it is (or the other way around), but not by much.  BOTH OPTIONS STINK!  But the real reason for ANY reactor to have DRY CASK STORAGE is simply to KEEP THE REACTOR OPERATING.  Dry Cask storage is incredibly dangerous and should be halted immediately.  It is said to be an interim step before Yucca Mountain is operational, but Yucca Mountain is a monumental mistake, hated by all Nevadans, and UNLIKELY TO EVER OPEN.

California does not need nuclear power to keep our lights on.  Don't let ANYONE TELL YOU OTHERWISE, because if they do tell you that, THEY ARE LYING.

Unless, of course, they are in control of the switch and can turn off your power at will.  IN THAT CASE, yes, they'll turn out your lights IF YOU LET THEM.

Since the (artificially-manufactured) California energy crisis of 2000 - 2001, about every two years or less, California has added THE TOTAL ENERGY CAPACITY OF ALL FOUR NUKES.

So obviously, it's ABSURD to think we CAN'T close these things TODAY.  They are nothing more than a CASH COW FOR THE UTILITY and a MAJOR source of cancer for the rest of us -- and for the utility workers, as well.

By choosing nuclear power for our energy options, we force out renewable energy options.  The government subsidizes nuclear power with billions of dollars in direct -- and billions more in indirect -- financial aid.  For every dollar spent on nuclear power by the federal government, a few fractions of a penny is spent on renewable energy, but a lot of talk is made about that small amount! In addition, many of the real costs of nuclear power, such as long-term storage costs of nuclear waste, and "quality of life" costs of accidents to the community, are completely ignored when nuclear proponents calculate the cost of nuclear power.

As a result, the price of nuclear power can be artificially kept below the cost-effective price for renewable-energy options such as wave energy, wind farms, solar installations, and so forth.

But the main reason that nuclear power appears cost-effective to ANYONE is because the cost of nuclear power is NOT carried by the nuclear power industry.

WE pay the cost with our lives, in leukemia, cancer, heart disease, mutations, and other diseases.

We, the people, suffer from nuclear power.


Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

7) My recent letter on transporting so-called transuranic waste to WIPP (as published in the Hanford Digest):

Another GRIM milestone!

It should be noted that this isn't really "clean-up" at all; it's just shifting the waste to another, new location so we can poison it, too, and have accidents along the way, which have occurred since DAY ONE for WIPP.

A true "clean-up" would physically isolate the waste with a new type of container which can successfully resist radioactive decay, not shift it around again. But in 60+ years, the pro-nukers STILL aren't smart enough to come up with a way to do that (the physical properties of radioactive decay get in their way EVERY TIME).

Since they can't build a containment that won't crumble under the radioactive bombardment, their current plans are to "geologically" isolate the waste instead, which really just means: Dump it in a hole in the ground and hope for the best. Nothing new there!

WIPPs only "big" advantage is that RIGHT NOW, with THESE climate conditions on earth, it happens to be fairly DRY there as far as they know. But that can change...

Also, it should be noted that much of this waste has literally crisscrossed the country multiple times already, as it was created, used, and now as we try to find a "permanent" home for it. And all for naught, too. Nuclear weapons do not make us safe, nuclear power does not keep our lights on.

WIPP has not received as much condemnation as it should, perhaps because enough locals were paid handsomely to allow it, and perhaps also because most people have no idea what "transuranic" means, anyway.

The Hanford cleanup project is so far behind every schedule ever created, it should be seen as a clear and dire warning to every other location that has nuclear waste on-site, including all the reactors with dry cask storage, and spent fuel pools, and other nuclear waste, that this government will NOT solve your problem for you, and you better stop making your problem bigger.


Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

8) What happened at Calvert Cliffs, President Bush's shining-example of a properly run nuke?

Pamela Blockey-O'Brien and I discussed this accident at length, and feel it requires an AIT -- an Augmented Inspection Team, which is a whole bunch of extra inspectors from outside the area who walk through the plant and look at EVERYTHING and try to figure out what really happened.  If you know anyone in the Washington, D.C. area, they should be demanding that this "event" be thoroughly reviewed so that it can be determined exactly how close we came to losing Calvert Cliffs and, probably, Washington D.C. too (and the Chesapeake Bay (and Quantico)).  And would terrorists have been blamed, which might spiral us even deeper into global conflict?  A reactor accident can blow the reactor pressure vessel head (RPVH) right through the containment dome and then half a mile into the sky.  The RPVH weighs about 20,000 pounds so IMAGINE the force of that explosion!

Normal reactor pressure in a PWR's primary loop varies from reactor to reactor, but it's usually about 2200 pounds per square inch.

It is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to know what the actual sequence of events was on November 16th at Calvert Cliffs, but that's part of the problem:  It's equally CRYSTAL CLEAR that the operators didn't know at the time, and can't sort it out!  This is outrageous but to be expected there:  The reactors are more than 30 years old, based on nearly 50-year-old designs, the company that made them is long ago out of business and the people who designed them retired, if not passed on.  The cabling and everything else has been repeatedly "improved" to the point where NOBODY KNOWS WHAT'S WHAT!

It was utterly clear from Pamela's 2005 2.206 petition to the NRC that there were vast problems at the Calvert Cliffs site which would lead to things like this.  Problems she identified (which were then OFFICIALLY IGNORED BY THE NRC (the petition was denied)) included:  Corrosion of the tendons of the containment dome;  Cracks in the containment floor (which is 26 feet below sea level);  Water intrusion "everywhere" (not surprisingly);  Spent fuel pool liner leaks; leaks in fuel-carrying areas; and the whole thing -- all 42,000 tons of it -- is built on FILL!  Not earthquake-resistant at all!

So with that in mind, here's the official statement from the event that day.  It's clear that the reactor operators are totally confused about what happened.  It's also clear that a proper analysis must ask:  "What would have happened if the "Power Operated Relief Valve" (PORV) had not finally shut of its own accord?  (A later report says about 300 gallons of primary coolant spewed out in about 90 seconds.)  What DOES "secured" mean when they say that two feedwater pumps were "secured?"  That sounds good but I suspect it's bad!

Subject: Calvert Cliffs - Trip & After-the-fact Emergency Condition

Power Reactor
Event Number: 42995
Region: 1 State: MD
Unit: [ ] [2] [ ]
RX Type: [1] CE,[2] CE
Notification Date: 11/16/2006
Notification Time: 03:02 [ET]
Event Date: 11/16/2006
Event Time: 00:18 [EST]
Last Update Date: 11/16/2006
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY
10 CFR Section:
50.72(b)(2)(iv)(B) - RPS ACTUATION - CRITICAL
Person (Organization):

Unit: 2
Initial PWR: 100
Initial RX Mode: Power Operation
Current PWR: 0
Current RX Mode: Hot Standby

Event Text

At 0018 Calvert Cliffs Unit 2 experienced an automatic reactor trip due to a turbine trip. "At the time a clearance order was being performed for upcoming maintenance on P-13000-2 [transformer]. As a result of the turbine trip, RCS pressure rose to approximately 2420 psia causing the PORV's to open. Unexpectedly, a Pressurizer Safety Valve, RV-200 also lifted and reclosed when RCS pressure was lowered to approximately 1500 psia. As a result of the pressure decrease, a Safety Injection Actuation Signal (SIAS) occurred. Once the Pressurizer Safety Valve reclosed, RCS pressure began to rise to return to normal values.

"Decay heat is being removed via normal methods through the Turbine Bypass Valves to the Condenser.

"Normal Feedwater is being used. No Auxiliary Feedwater actuation occurred.

"Two Reactor Coolant Pumps were secured as a result of the SIAS. The plant responded normally to the event. The plant is currently stable and operators are conducting a plant cooldown to mode 5."

All control rods fully inserted.

The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector.

* * * UPDATE FROM C. MORGAN TO W. GOTT AT 1039 ON 11/16/06 * * *

The automatic trip was due to high RCS pressure from the closure of the Turbine Intercept Valves. Both PORV's opened as designed. One remained open approximately 1.5 minutes causing RCS pressure to reduce to 1500 psia. The PORV should have closed at 2400 psia. Relief Valve 200 (RV-200) did not open as previously reported and was not the cause of the RCS pressure lowering. Acoustic monitoring indication were due to the close proximity of the PORV. Since the SIAS signal did not cause a reportable ECCS actuation, the reported 50.72(b)(2)(iv)(A) ECCS Actuation is retracted.

The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector.

Notified R1DO (P. Henderson).

* * * UPDATE FROM C. MORGAN TO W. HUFFMAN AT 1200 EST ON 11/16/06 * * *

Upon further review, the licensee has determined that this event met the criteria for Unusual Event Emergency Action Level (EAL A.U.2.2.1) for identified RCS leakage greater than 25 gpm. The licensee met this criteria for the duration that the PORV valve remained open (less than 2 minutes). The licensee did not recognize that it had met the criteria at the time of the event and is reporting this as an after-the-fact emergency condition of unusual event per the guidance in NUREG-1022. The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector.

Notified R1DO (P. Henderson), NRR EO (Ross-Lee), and IRD Manager (Leach).


Also see:
PNO 106014, November 17th, 2006
Unit Two Main Turbine Governor and Intercept Valve

And: PNO: 106014A November 20th, 2006 (follow-up)

9) My web site was Adobe Site of the Day November 7th, 2006 (a clarification of the previous announcement)!

It seems that some readers of my previous newsletter thought I was asking them to vote for my Animated Periodic Table of the Elements as a "Site of the Day" at Adobe.  In reality I had already won the award; the mistake was caused by my admonition to "GO VOTE!" which I gave because in America, nationally, it was "midterm" election day, an event I think every citizen should take part in, however useless it may seem.

THANK YOU to those who tried to vote for my web site as "Site of the Day," however useless THAT effort might have been!

Ace Hoffman

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