[ RadSafe ] Seven staff at London bar have traces of radiation

Sandy Perle sandyfl at earthlink.net
Thu Dec 7 14:13:57 CST 2006


Seven staff at London bar have traces of radiation
Radiation found at embassy in Moscow 
U.S.-bound cargo to be tested for radiation 
Port Radiation Monitors In Place
Radiation Pills Now Available On The Cape
U.S.-Indian nuclear bill nears vote 
Operator of nuclear plant replacing old system 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Meets With Stp Officials

Seven staff at London bar have traces of radiation

LONDON (Reuters) - Seven staff working in a London hotel bar where 
former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko drank before he died from 
radiation poisoning have been found to have traces of polonium 210, a 
public health agency said on Thursday. 
The case has soured ties between Britain and Russia after Litvinenko, 
speaking on his death bed, accused Russian President        Vladimir 
Putin of ordering his assassination.

"Preliminary results received from seven members of staff working in 
The Pine Bar of the Millennium Hotel on November 1 show that they 
appear to have been exposed to low levels of polonium 210," the 
Health Protection Agency said in a statement.

"There is no health risk in the short term and in the long term the 
risk is judged to be very small on the basis of initial tests," it 

Litvinenko met Russian businessman Dimitry Kovtun and fellow ex-KGB 
spy Andrei Lugovoy at the Pine Bar on November 1, the day he fell 
ill. He died from poisoning from the radioactive isotope polonium 210 
on November 23.

Kovtun and Lugovoy are now undergoing treatment in a Moscow hospital 
for radiation contamination.

Russian prosecutors on Thursday launched their own investigation into 
Litvinenko's death and also opened a criminal case into what they 
said was the attempted murder of Kovtun.

British detectives and Russian investigators interviewed Kovtun in 
Moscow on Wednesday.

Radiation found at embassy in Moscow 

MOSCOW (AP) Dec 6 - Minor traces of radiation have been found at the 
British Embassy in Moscow, but there was no health risk to the 
public, a spokesman said Wednesday. 
A team of experts checking the embassy as a precaution turned up 
"small traces of radiation" that were below a level that present a 
health risk, the spokesman told The Associated Press, speaking on 
customary condition of anonymity.

Traces of radiation have turned up at sites in Britain and on 
aircraft flying routes between London and Moscow following the 
poisoning death in London of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko 
last month.

The spokesman said the British Embassy was working as normal.

U.S.-bound cargo to be tested for radiation 

WASHINGTON USA Today - Cargo containers bound for the USA from four 
overseas ports will be checked for radiation before they're loaded on 
ships under a new government program aimed at preventing terrorists 
from smuggling a nuclear weapon into the country. The Homeland 
Security and Energy departments will announce today that containers 
at ports in Korea, Oman, Honduras and the United Kingdom will be 
scanned beginning early next year in the first phase of a program 
that could expand to ports worldwide.  

"There is ample history of people using container traffic for 
smuggling a whole range of things," Homeland Security Deputy 
Secretary Michael Jackson said.

Some containers being shipped from Hong Kong's port have been run 
through radiation detectors since 2004 as part of a test program by 
shippers and port officials to see whether cargo containers could be 
effectively scanned without creating bottlenecks and slowing the pace 
of shipments.

The new program, which will cost $60 million in fiscal 2007, is a 
first for the government.

In Korea, one of the world's largest ports, some of the cargo 
containers will be run through detectors. In the other smaller ports, 
officials expect most or all will be.

Either way, the program should deter anyone aiming to sneak weapons 
onto a cargo ship, Jackson said.

Officers who work for the port governments will run the containers 
through the radiation and X-ray machines. If an alarm sounds, Jackson 
said, the container will not be loaded onto a ship until a U.S. 
Customs official signs off.

He said most shippers and foreign governments support the program. 
"Nobody wants the global supply chain to ground to a halt over a 
terrorist event," he said.

Homeland security consultant Randall Larsen is skeptical of the 
program. "It would do nothing to make us more secure against an 
attack on an American city with a nuclear weapon," he said.

If terrorists were able to secure a nuclear weapon, they would never 
load it into a cargo container and send it across the ocean, he said. 
"You would never take your hands off it. You'd charter an airplane or 
(your own) ship" to bring it in.

Port Radiation Monitors In Place

The Port of Miami was one of the first in the country to get 
sophisticated radiation detection equipment designed to stop a 
terrorist threat. 
But Local 10's Rad Berky found out that radiation sniffers are not 
being used. The monitors are gamma ray imaging systems capable of 
penetrating up to 6 inches of steel.

Each truck that rolls out of the port is supposed to have been 
checked by radiation portal monitors. In fact, the equipment to do 
those checks has been in place on the port for more then six months, 
but Berky said that while he was at the port, not one of the trucks 
that passed by was checked.

Berky said that one of the biggest security fears is that terrorists 
will try to smuggle in some kind of nuclear device in a major city 
like Miami where cargo trucks roll off the port right into downtown. 
The idea is to have every container truck leaving the port pass 
through the monitors that can pick up traces of nuclear material such 
as plutonium or enriched uranium that could be used in nuclear 
weapons or even in a radioactive dirty bomb.

Local 10 was first shown the equipment last March. Now, in December 
it is still not being utilized because the port has not yet completed 
realigning traffic patterns and putting in gate arms.

James Maes, Port of Miami security director, said, "We determined 
that it wasn't going to be a safe utilization of that new technology 
until we actually had the project completed."

Flying over the port in Sky10, Berky said that it appeared to him 
that it would be easy enough to remove the barricades and route the 
trucks through the radiation sniffers. But the newly appointed 
director of port security said that the computer programs have to be 
completed and gate arms added to complete the $10 million project.

The port hopes to have the sniffers working in March, which would 
still be well ahead of the federal mandate to check all cargo trucks 
by the end of 2007.

Berky asked Maes, "Could the local officials have done anything to 
speed this up?"

He answered, "I honestly couldn't answer that one. I've been here 
just about a month."

There is also a new port director. Bill Johnson moved to the port 
from the county administration with a good reputation for getting 
things done. So, Berky said that there is some hope that they might 
move things along a bit and get the units operating even sooner.

Radiation Pills Now Available On The Cape

(AP) Radiation pills promised four years ago to protect residents of 
the Cape and Islands in case of an accident at the Pilgrim Nuclear 
Power Station have arrived at local towns and will soon be broadly 

The tablets of potassium iodide, or KI, block the thyroid gland from 
absorbing radioactive isotopes -- reducing the risk of thyroid cancer-
- if they are taken immediately after radiation is released from a 
nuclear power plant, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

In 2002, the state Legislature passed a law making KI available to 
all residents of the Cape and Islands.

In Plymouth, where the plant is located, health officials have 
already distributed the pills free through pharmacies, but only 10 
percent of the population picked them up, the Cape Cod Times 
reported. The pills are now stockpiled at local schools.

On the Cape and Islands, every town on the Cape and Islands has 
received at least a portion of its stockpile from the state 
Department of Public Health within the last three weeks.

Sandwich will begin handing out the pills through the town clerk's 
office next week. Other towns are still formulating plans to 
distribute them.

State Rep. Matthew Patrick, D-Falmouth, who sponsored the amendment 
to have Cape and Islands towns receive the pills, said people should 
not rely on KI for protection.

"It's not a cure-all, but it protects the thyroid gland, which is the 
most susceptible," Patrick said.

Patrick said the pills were delayed by a lack of urgency on the part 
of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and squabbles over 
how to pay for them. The pills eventually were paid for by Entergy, 
the owner of the Pilgrim plant.

U.S.-Indian nuclear bill nears vote 

WASHINGTON AP- Lawmakers Thursday neared completion of work on 
legislation allowing U.S. shipments of civilian nuclear fuel to 
India, congressional aides said, a measure that would overturn three 
decades of American anti-proliferation policy. 

A tentative agreement on compromise legislation was reached after 
several days of tense negotiations, aides said. But not all 
congressional negotiators had signed off on the bill, which 
reconciles versions previously endorsed overwhelmingly by the House 
and the Senate.

If approved by negotiators, the two chambers would need to vote on 
the measure before sending it to        President Bush to sign into 
U.S. law. The office of the House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-
Ohio, said the House was expected to consider the bill Friday.

The bill's passage would hand a rare victory to a president who has 
seen his popularity tumble and who will have to deal with a 
Democratic-controlled Congress after his Republican Party was 
defeated in recent elections.

The White House promotes the India plan as a major shift in U.S. 
policy toward a country that is strategically an important Asian 
power, one which has long maintained what the United States considers 
a responsible nuclear program. Critics say the extra nuclear fuel 
that the deal would provide could free India's domestic uranium for 
use in its weapons program. India developed its nuclear weapons 
outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which it has refused to 

Congressional aides said the bill became bogged down this week when 
Boehner halted action, apparently in an attempt to attach unrelated 
legislation. The majority leader's office denied that he was holding 
up the bill.

On Thursday, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns and his Indian 
counterpart, Foreign Secretary Shiv Shanker Menon, expressed 
confidence that each side would be satisfied with the outcome of 
Congress' work.

The final bill "will be, in my judgment, well within the parameters 
of the deal made between our two leaders," Burns said, referring to 
agreements struck in July 2005 and March 2006 by Bush and Indian 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Burns called the nuclear deal a 
"liberation" act for India's nuclear program.

Among the potential sticking points in congressional negotiations was 
language in the Senate version of the bill that would require Bush to 
determine that India is cooperating with U.S.-led efforts to confront 
       Iran's nuclear ambitions before he could allow nuclear 
cooperation with India. The Bush administration and the Indian 
government have urged lawmakers to remove the condition.

The bill also would carve out an exemption in American law to allow 
U.S. civilian nuclear trade with India in exchange for Indian 
safeguards and inspections at its 14 civilian nuclear plants; eight 
military plants would remain off-limits. Congressional action is 
needed because U.S. law bars nuclear trade with countries, such as 
India, that have not submitted to full international inspections.

State plant to make parts for nuclear reactors

MOUNT VERNON -- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has tapped a 
Southern Indiana plant to make parts for dozens of nuclear reactors 
expected to be built during a renaissance of atomic energy. BWX 
Technologies of Mount Vernon has received approval to make components 
for nuclear plants that may be less than a year away from 
construction, NRC Chairman Dale Klein said Tuesday. No nuclear plants 
have been built in the United States since 1978, but there are 31 new 
orders for plants that could be approved in 2007, he said.

Operator of nuclear plant replacing old system 

WATERFORD, Conn. (AP) - The 24-year-old siren warning system for the 
Millstone nuclear power plant is being replaced. Dominion, the owner 
of Millstone Power Station, has begun replacing the region's warning 
system with sophisticated sirens that can carry tones farther and 
handle live voice messages. The company this week began replacing 16 
sirens in a first phase and will replace all 159 sirens over the next 
three years with a total of 80 to 85 new ones. Dominion spokesman 
Pete Hyde said the sirens sit on poles throughout the communities 
surrounding the nuclear power complex, but are also available for use 
by local and state public safety officials in emergencies. The reason 
fewer sirens are needed is because the technology has advanced, and 
the sirens' six, low-frequency tones can travel farther than tones 
emitted by the old sirens, Phil Kurze, vice president of Whelen 
Engineering Co. in Chester, said Wednesday. Whelen, the company that 
is replacing the old system, has been making sirens since 1974. Tones 
can be assigned to specific types of emergencies, like a nuclear, 
hazardous materials, or hurricane emergency; or a public address can 
be carried live over the sirens, Kurze said. All sirens are on 
battery power and have solar power as a backup to charge the 
batteries, so in a true emergency, when power is out, they can still 
function, Kurze said. "They're always in a ready state," Kurze said. 
"They're designed to work when all else fails." 

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Meets With Stp Officials

A lack of communication between project management and Wackenhut, the 
company contracted to provide security at the South Texas Project, 
resulted in "teamwork issues" going "unresolved," that allowed "trust 
to degrade," said Joe Sheppard, president and chief executive officer 
of STP Nuclear Operating Co. Sheppard made his comments to U.S. 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission during a Monday meeting at the NRC 
Region IV offices in Arlington.  

The meeting was held for NRC staff and STP officials to discuss the 
results of a completed NRC review, which investigated concerns raised 
by a Union of Concerned Scientists´ study released in September, 
2006, citing a "breakdown" of security at STP.

Wackenhut Corp., a subsidiary of a Denmark-based, multi-national 
private security group, provides security at STP.

The NRC´s review found that overall, the security program at STP 
"adequately protects the public health and safety," but that it did 
find a "minor violation" of NRC requirements associated with vehicle 

But a lack of confidence by some members of the security force that 
STP management was acting to resolve security concerns exemplified a 
problem with the "culture" at STP, said Sheppard.

"Does culture within the security organization meet our 
expectations?" Sheppard. "We´ve concluded that we´re not where we 
want to be."

A "lack of alignment" between the two organizations - Wackenhut and 
STP - returned some "behavioral problems," Sheppard said.

The result was a lack of communication that caused unresolved issues 
that ultimately bred mistrust in security personnel. 

"The broader issue...teamwork issues went unresolved, allowing trust to 
degrade," he said.
"We were focused on implementing projects...more into project 
management rather than the people management business."

The vehicle search practice that was in violation of NRC regulations 
was related to a fire control vehicle that was staged inside the 
protected area. The vehicle is driven once a week outside the 
protected area for at least 15 minutes, according to the NRC.

The vehicle must be driven by a plant operator escorted by a security 
officer outside the protected area and then returned. The vehicle is 
"required to be searched," according to the NRC review.

"On several occasions in 2005 and the first quarter of 2006, this 
vehicle was operated on a public highway (off the licensee property) 
and allowed entry back into the protected area without a proper 
search being conducted," according to the NRC review.

"The practice of allowing the vehicle to enter the Protected Area 
without being properly searched is a violation of the licensee 
security plan and procedures," according to the NRC review.

The procedure has since been corrected, Sheppard said.

Investigation into other issues reviewed by NRC revealed to STP 
management that the lack of communication between security and STP 
was a broader issue that pointed to the need to change the "culture," 
at the plant.

It is important that there is a culture that allows employees to feel 
that their concerns are taken seriously and are addressed.

"Does culture within the security organization meet our expectations? 
We´ve concluded that we´re not where we want to be. We believe over 
time, that it could affect performance," Sheppard said.

The NRC review addressed each concern voiced by security personnel in 
a UCS study and determined whether the issue was resolved or needed 
further attention.

One action that STP is taking to improve communication and culture is 
to give access to a database to all its security personnel that will 
allow anyone to enter concerns or describe an issue, rather than 
having to report the issue directly to the employee´s supervisor.

STP also reorganized its security management to help resolve 
communication barriers and created a security operations committee to 
"look at things."

"We worked very, very hard to understand challenges and causes of not 
being where we want to be with the security...I hope you have gotten 
the sense here that we feel responsible...and that we take the short-
term and the long-term actions to move the cultures together to close 
that gap," Sheppard said.

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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