[ RadSafe ] Second Hanford downwinder trial begins

Sandy Perle sandyfl at earthlink.net
Wed Nov 16 09:24:36 CST 2005


Second Hanford downwinder trial begins
Air Cargo Still Vulnerable to Terror Attack
Italy Said Saddam-Uranium Intel Was Bogus
Australian food officials caution consumers about glowing meats
Nigeria Lifts 2-Year Ban On Halliburton Unit -Report
Australia - terror suspects were stopped near Sydney nuclear reactor
Pieces of nuclear fuel rods missing at Ga. plant
Qaeda 'dirty bomb' risk grows - German spy chief

Second Hanford downwinder trial begins

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - A Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, woman who contends that 
radiation releases from the Hanford nuclear reservation caused her 
thyroid cancer believes the jury will be on her side this time.

Jury selection began Monday for the second trial of Shannon Rhodes. 
In May, a federal court jury deadlocked over whether Rhodes' health 
problems were caused by the emissions during the early days of Cold 
War production of nuclear weapons.

Rhodes' cancer, which had been in remission, returned during the 
first trial, but defense attorneys for federal contractors insisted 
that jurors not be told.

Rhodes believes the information about her cancer returning, and the 
fact that the jury will be presented with only one case, rather than 
six as in the previous trial, will work to her favor.

"I think it was very confusing for the jury last time, having so 
many," Rhodes said outside the courtroom. "I am optimistic."

In the first trial, Rhodes was one of six so-called "bellwether" 
plaintiffs who were considered representatives of thousands of people 
who were exposed to Hanford releases.

The lawsuit was filed in 1990 on behalf of thousands of downwinders 
who sued the private companies that ran Hanford's plutonium factories 
during World War II and the early days of the Cold War. The case did 
not reach the trial stage until earlier this year.

Of the six bellwether plaintiffs, two who suffered from thyroid 
cancer were awarded a combined total of about $500,000 after the jury 
decided their illnesses were "more likely than not" caused by Hanford 

The jury rejected the claims of three others with autoimmune thyroid 
disease, saying their illnesses likely were not caused by Hanford's 
emissions of radioactive iodine-131, a byproduct of plutonium 

The jury deadlocked 10-2 in Rhodes' case, so U.S. District Judge 
William Nielsen declared a mistrial. Among the thyroid cancer cases, 
Rhodes had the lowest estimated Hanford radiation dose, 6.9 rads of 

A jury verdict in Rhodes' favor would be good news for thousands of 
other plaintiffs with radiation doses under 10 rads.

Richard Eymann, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, has said the 
government's liability could reach $2 billion in the remaining 2,300 
cases. Defense attorney Kevin Van Wart has said he expects many of 
the remaining cases to be rejected.

Van Wart, of Chicago, represents General Electric Co., E.I. DuPont de 
Nemours Co. and UNC Nuclear Inc.

Taxpayers will be responsible for any payments to plaintiffs because 
the federal government agreed to indemnify the corporations that ran 

The federal government has already spent $100 million on legal costs 
for the defense and $40 million on a pair of radiation studies since 
the first Hanford cases were filed in 1990, Eymann has said.

Rhodes, who grew up near Colfax, drank milk from the family's cows 
during the years of Hanford's largest iodine-131 emissions in the mid-
1940s. Children were most at risk from the radiation, which fell on 
grass that was consumed by cows.

Her left thyroid lobe was removed in 1978, and she was told it was a 
benign tumor. Cancer was detected again in her body after she and her 
husband, Ken, retired and moved to Coeur d'Alene from Seattle five 
years ago.

She had three more cancer surgeries and joined the downwinders' 
lawsuit in 2003.

Van Wart had argued that Rhodes' cancer relapse was not relevant to 
the legal question of what caused the cancer.

People who grew up downwind of Hanford, which is located near 
Richland, didn't learn about the radiation releases until the 
government declassified the information in 1986.

Air Cargo Still Vulnerable to Terror Attack

WASHINGTON (Nov. 16) - The Bush administration has yet to follow 
through on a two-year-old plan to find and plug holes in air cargo 
security and doesn't even have a schedule for completing it, 
according to congressional investigators.

A report by the Government Accountability Office being released 
Wednesday says the Transportation Security Administration won't be 
able to protect cargo-carrying planes from terrorists unless it 
understands where they're vulnerable.

"According to officials, limited resources and competing priorities 
have delayed agency efforts to conduct such an assessment," said the 
GAO report, which was obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. The 
GAO is Congress' investigative and auditing arm.

Critics say it makes no sense to screen people and luggage carefully 
but not the cargo on passenger planes. Last year, about 6 billion 
pounds of cargo - a quarter of the cargo shipped by air in the United 
States - was flown aboard passenger airplanes.

Critics also say cargo planes need to be protected because terrorists 
could use them as weapons. Late in 2003, Homeland Security officials 
said intelligence indicated al-Qaida might hijack cargo planes and 
attack nuclear plants, bridges or dams.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, several stowaways have been discovered in 
the holds of cargo aircraft.

Air cargo loaded onto passenger aircraft must be shipped by a company 
that has registered with the TSA. Cargo airlines have security plans 
and some cargo is randomly inspected.

But the report noted that the TSA collects information on less than 
one-third of the registered companies that ship goods on passenger 
planes, and that information may not be reliable.

The TSA has also exempted certain kinds of cargo from inspections 
because it doesn't view it as a risk, the GAO said. The report noted 
that visits to four airports showed that "a considerable amount of 
cargo" being loaded and unloaded on passenger airplanes was exempt 
from inspection.

TSA spokeswoman Yolanda Clark said the agency required airlines to 
triple random inspections of cargo, hired 100 cargo inspectors and is 
testing new security technology.

"TSA has established a strong layered system of security in the air 
cargo arena and recognizes the need to do more," Clark said.

Rep. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who requested the report, 
said it confirms the concerns he has raised about loopholes in cargo 

"GAO's report blows away the Bush administration's smoke screen that 
paperwork checks, random inspections and other half measures keep 
Americans safe," Markey said in a statement.

Rep. Chris Shays, a Connecticut Republican who also asked the GAO for 
the report, said it's time to implement tougher inspection 

"Uninspected cargo is a risk to air passengers," Shays said in a 

The TSA, which is part of Homeland Security, promised regulations to 
plug holes in air cargo security by the end of 2003. Congress gave 
the agency an August deadline to come up with the rules. The TSA has 
yet to do so.

Italy Said Saddam-Uranium Intel Was Bogus

ROME (Nov. 3) - Italian secret services warned the United States 
months before it invaded Iraq that a dossier about a purported Saddam 
Hussein effort to buy uranium in Africa was fake, a lawmaker said 
Thursday after a briefing by the nation's intelligence chief.

"At about the same time as the State of the Union address, they 
(Italy's SISMI secret services) said that the dossier doesn't 
correspond to the truth," Sen. Massimo Brutti told journalists after 
the parliamentary commission was briefed.

Brutti said the warning was given in January 2003, but he did not 
know whether it was made before or after President Bush's speech. 
Brutti, a leading opposition senator, said SISMI analyzed the 
documents between October 2002 and January 2003.

The United States and Britain used the claim that Saddam was seeking 
to buy uranium in Niger to bolster their case for the invasion, which 
started in March 2003. The intelligence supporting the claim later 
was deemed unreliable.

Italian lawmakers questioned Premier Silvio Berlusconi's top aide and 
SISMI director Nicolo Pollari about allegations that Italy knowingly 
gave forged documents to Washington and London detailing a purported 
Iraqi deal to buy 500 tons of uranium concentrate from Niger. The 
uranium ore, known as yellowcake, can be used to produce nuclear 

Pollari requested the hearing after the allegations were reported 
last week by the daily newspaper La Repubblica. Pollari and Cabinet 
Undersecretary Gianni Letta were questioned by members of a 
parliamentary commission overseeing secret services.

The closed-door session lasted about four hours, and commission 
members spoke with reporters after it ended.

La Repubblica, a strong Berlusconi opponent, alleged that after the 
Sept. 11 attacks Pollari was being pressured by Berlusconi to make a 
strong contribution to the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in 
Iraq. The Italian leader is a staunch U.S. ally.

Berlusconi's government has denied any wrongdoing, and the premier 
has personally defended Pollari amid calls for his resignation.

Berlusconi, in an interview with the conservative daily newspaper 
Libero published Thursday, said Italy had not passed any documents on 
the Niger affair to the United States. He added that La Repubblica's 
allegations were dangerous for Italy because "if they were believed, 
we would be considered the instigator" of the Iraq war.

Brutti said the commission was told that the documents were forged by 
Rocco Martino, whom he described as a former SISMI informant. Both 
Brutti and commission chairman Enzo Bianco quoted Pollari and Letta 
as saying no SISMI officials were involved in forging the dossier or 
in distributing it.

The Niger claim also is at the center of a CIA leak scandal that has 
shaken the Bush administration, leading to last week's indictment of 
Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby .

Libby was charged with lying to investigators about leaking the 
identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame, the wife of Bush 
administration critic Joseph Wilson. Libby pleaded not guilty 

Wilson accused the administration of covering up his inquiry into 
whether Iraq was trying to obtain uranium from Niger after he found 
the claim had no substance.

Australian food officials caution consumers about glowing meats

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - An Australian food agency sought Wednesday 
to quell fears about glow-in-the-dark meats after a man called a 
Sydney radio station alarmed about his luminous pork chops.

The New South Wales state Food Authority said the phenomenon was 
caused by a harmless light-emitting bacteria, pseudomonas 
fluorescens, that is naturally present in most meats and fish.

"While most of us would understandably be shocked to see our food 
glowing, it is important to remember that the microorganism 
responsible for the glow is not known to cause food poisoning," the 
authority's director general, George Davey, said in a statement.

The Food Authority receives around two phone calls each month from 
nervous consumers who have discovered glowing meats in their 
refrigerators, and issued the statement to allay fears about possible 
radioactivity in Australia's meat supply.

"There has been some speculation in the media that glowing food might 
have been irradiated, and I can assure consumers that this is 
definitely not the case," Davey said.

While the bacteria is harmless to humans, it spreads quickly on meat 
that is starting to spoil, said the food agency, which recommends 
throwing glowing meats in the trash.

Nigeria Lifts 2-Year Ban On Halliburton Unit -Report

LAGOS -(Dow Jones)- The Nigerian government has lifted a two-year old 
ban on a local subsidiary of oil services company Halliburton Co. 
(HAL), after radioactive materials stolen last year were found and 
returned to Nigeria, Punch newspaper reported Tuesday.

The government banned Halliburton from bidding for contracts in 
Nigeria's oil and gas industry after the radioactive materials, which 
are used in the oil industry but could also be used to make a bomb, 
were stolen from the country in 2003.

Halliburton Energy ServicesNigeria Ltd., the local unit of 
Halliburton, imported the radioactive materials in 2002.

Punch quoted Shamsideen Elegba, director-general of Nigerian Nuclear 
Regulatory Authority, as saying that the radioactive materials stolen 
from Halliburton were exported from the country as scrap metal.

The materials were traced to Germany, sent to the U.S. and then 
returned to Nigeria and those who stole the materials were tracked 
down, Elegba said.

Australian police report says terror suspects were stopped near 
Sydney nuclear reactor

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - Members of an alleged Islamic terror cell in 
Sydney stockpiled bomb-making materials, trained at Outback hunting 
camps and sized up Australia's only nuclear reactor as a possible 
target, a police report said.

In a 20-page glimpse into Australia's biggest terror investigation 
released Monay, police said the eight suspects arrested last week had 
the know-how and were assembling chemicals, detonators, digital 
timers and batteries to carry out a major bomb attack.

A nuclear reactor used to make radioactive medical supplies on the 
edge of Sydney, Australia's biggest city, was listed as a possible 
target, according to the report.

The eight men have been charged with conspiring to make explosives 
for use in a terrorist act. Ten other men, including a radical Muslim 
cleric, were arrested in the city of Melbourne on charges of being 
members of a terror group. All 18 could face life imprisonment if 

Police describe the cleric, Algerian-born Abdul Nacer Benbrika, also 
known as Abu Bakr, as the spiritual leader of both cells. The report 
says he told one of the Sydney men in custody: "If we want to die for 
jihad then we have to have maximum damage, maximum damage. Damage 
their buildings, everything, damage their lives."

Australia has never been hit by a serious terror attack, but its 
citizens have been targeted elsewhere. Islamic militants have been 
angered by the government's staunch support for the U.S.-led war in 
Iraq and for sending troops there and to Afghanistan.

The police report paints a picture of extremist Sunni Muslims 
accumulating a potentially lethal cocktail of products that have 
become the tools of terror bombers.

During a search of suspect Mohammed Elomar's home on June 27, 2005, 
police said, they found a computer memory stick containing 
instructions in Arabic for making TATP, or triacetone triperoxide - 
an unstable explosive made from commercially available chemicals such 
as hydrochloric and sulfuric acids, brake fluid and hydrogen 

Australian police have said TATP is similar to the explosives used by 
suicide bombers in the July 7 attacks that killed 56 people in 
London. British authorities have refused to confirm that.

Police said they found two dozen bottles of hydrogen peroxide 
solution stashed on public land behind the home of one detainee, 
Khaled Sharrouf. In October, Sharrouf also was arrested for trying to 
steal six digital timers and approximately 132 batteries from a 
hardware store, police said.

Another alleged cell member, Abdul Rakib Hasan, tried to buy 
laboratory equipment and a 100-liter (26.4-gallon) cooler to be used 
for storing chemicals, the report said.

Two other men, whose identities were not released, visited an auto 
parts wholesaler to buy 200 liters (53 gallons) of brake fluid and 
300 liters (80 gallons) of sulfuric acid, police say.

"They were informed by the manager that the combination of sulfuric 
acid and brake fluid was a highly volatile mix" and asked for their 
business details, the report said. The men said they said they would 
come back the next day but never returned, it said.

The report also outlined steps taken by the cell to case potential 
targets and train for jihad, or holy war.

It said three of the men in custody - Elomar, Mazen Touma and Abdul 
Rakib Hasan - were stopped in a car and questioned by New South Wales 
state police near the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor last December. 
The men had an off-road motorcycle and told police they were in the 
area to ride it, the document said.

After investigating the area, police later found the lock to one of 
the gates surrounding the nuclear complex "had recently been cut," 
the report said.

The Lucas Heights facility makes radioactive material used in medical 
procedures and does not generate electricity. It is surrounded by 
chain-link fences and patrolled by security guards, but critics 
contend security is lax.

In December 2001, 46 Greenpeace activists broke into the facility 
carrying banners and dressed as nuclear waste barrels. Some climbed 
over the fence and others walked through the front gates, easily 
passing a handful of security guards.

Aldo Borgu, a security analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy 
Institute, said it was impossible to know from the information 
released by police whether the suspects had the expertise to turn 
chemicals into an explosive powerful enough to cause enough damage to 
the facility to release radioactivity into the air.

The report said several members of the Sydney cell took hunting and 
camping trips last March and April near the Outback town of Bourke, 
about 650 kilometers (400 miles) northwest of Sydney.

"Police allege that these camping and training trips are part of the 
jihad training being undertaken by this group. The trips are 
consistent with the usual modus operandi of terrorists prior to 
attacks," the report said.

Pieces of nuclear fuel rods missing at Ga. plant
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - Pieces of highly radioactive fuel rods are 
missing from a nuclear plant in southeast Georgia, and Georgia Power 
Co. acknowledged it's likely some will never be found.

The utility said more than 5 feet of spent fuel rods, removed in the 
1980s from a reactor at Edwin I. Hatch nuclear plant near Baxley in 
southeast Georgia, could not be found during an inventory last month.

The pencil-thin rods, kept in containment pools at the plant, emit 
lethal doses of radiation. Georgia Power spokesman Tal Wright said 
the pieces likely remain unfound in the pools or were shipped to a 
waste disposal facility.

"Many of these pieces would be minute, and its quite possible some of 
them could have broken up into smaller pieces over time," Wright 
said. "It's likely we will not find much of this. We've already put a 
significant effort into it."

Georgia Power, which operates the plant, notified the federal Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission of the missing pieces Monday.

NRC spokesman Roger Hannah said the deadly radioactivity of the 
pieces makes them virtually impossible to steal and they would not 
have left the plant without setting off its radiation monitors.

"From a public health and safety standpoint, it's extremely unlikely 
this could have gotten into the public domain," Hannah said. "This is 
not the kind of material you could walk out of there with and expect 
to survive."

At the Baxley plant, about 90 miles southwest of Savannah, workers 
have been searching 40-feet-deep containment pools with robotic 
cameras. But it's like hunting for a needle in a haystack, Wright 
said. The plant's two reactors and two spent-fuel pools hold 4.75 
million feet of fuel rods.

It's possible some of the missing pieces were swept up during 
cleaning of the pools and sent with other waste to a disposal 
facility, Wright said.

In the 1980s, some fuel rods had be removed from a reactor because of 
corrosion, which required them to be taken out in pieces.

Hannah said NRC inspectors were looking into the plant's record-
keeping and accountability programs. He could not specify what type 
of fines or sanctions the plant might face.

"There's certainly the possibility there could be some sort of 
enforcement action," Hannah said. "It's too early at this point to 
say what that might be."

The NRC in February ordered all commercial nuclear plants to 
inventory their spent fuel pools. The Georgia plant isn't the first 
to report missing fuel rods to federal regulators.

Last year, operators of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant near 
Brattleboro, Vt., reported it could not find two pieces of spent fuel 
rods removed from its reactor in 1979.

In 2000, the Millstone One nuclear plant near New London, Conn., told 
regulators it had misplaced two fuel rods of 13 1/2 feet in length.

Qaeda 'dirty bomb' risk grows - German spy chief

BERLIN, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Evidence is mounting that terrorist groups 
are trying to make chemical, biological weapons or a "dirty bomb", a 
German spy chief was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

"We observe experiments, training efforts, and production 
instructions being passed on via the Internet," August Hanning, head 
of the BND foreign intelligence agency, told ARD television.

In extracts from the interview, released by ARD ahead of broadcast on 
Wednesday evening, Hanning was quoted as ruling out, for now, the 
possibility of terrorists stealing a nuclear weapon or producing one 
by themselves.

But a dirty bomb attack was "a very concrete threat" because it was 
"no real problem" to produce such a weapon, in which radioactive 
material would be packed with conventional explosive and scattered 
over a wide area on detonation.

Hanning said al Qaeda had several times tried to acquire radioactive 
material and made contact with Pakistani nuclear scientists.

"From the questioning of al Qaeda members it has become more and more 
clear that al Qaeda has tried to recruit scientists," he said, 
speaking ahead of a BND conference on proliferation in Berlin on 

"And we were greatly disturbed to see that a Malaysian biologist was 
hired with the aim of assembling production facilities for anthrax in 

Asked for further comment, a BND spokesman said both the Pakistani 
and Malaysian cases dated from 2001 but described them as part of "a 
chain of evidence that the danger is constantly growing".

Sandy Perle
Senior Vice President, Technical Operations
Global Dosimetry Solutions, Inc.
2652 McGaw Avenue
Irvine, CA 92614 

Tel: (949) 296-2306 / (888) 437-1714  Extension 2306
Fax:(949) 296-1144

E-Mail: sperle at dosimetry.com
E-Mail: sandyfl at earthlink.net 

Global Dosimetry Website: http://www.dosimetry.com/ 
Personal Website: http://sandy-travels.com/ 

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