[ RadSafe ] [Nuclear News] Lithuania's Ignalina nuclear power plant cannot continue operation after 2009 - EC president

Sandy Perle sandyfl at cox.net
Sun Apr 1 16:18:35 CDT 2007


Lithuania's Ignalina nuclear NPP cannot continue operation after 2009 
NRC asked to consider terrorism risk
Tepco owns up to past nuclear plant accidents
Projects, A-plant keep Post busy
Attack on Koodangulam Atomic Plant employees
View Point: Tempers flare up around N project  
Russia, Kazakhstan plan nuke plant
High court sets hurdle for whistle-blowers to get cash
3 more radiation sites found at park 

Lithuania's Ignalina nuclear power plant cannot continue operation 
after 2009 - EC president 

VILNIUS. March 30 (Interfax) - European Commission President Jose 
Manuel Barroso sees no possibilities for Lithuania to continue the 
exploitation of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant after 2009. "This is 
impossible," the EC president told the Seimas on Thursday. "One 
should respect  agreements.  You  [Lithuania]  undertook a commitment 
to close the first and second energy blocks. What will happen if 
agreements are not  respected? The EU will end then. It is impossible 
to revise the portion  of  Lithuania's entry agreement dealing with 
the closure of the Ignalina NPP. Many countries ratified it." 
Lithuania  undertook  an  obligation to fully stop the NPP by the end 
of 2009 in the EU membership agreement. There is only one possible 
way to postpone the closure of the NPP, which is to secure  the  
consent  of  all EU member states, he said. "However, this is 
impossible," the president added.  

NRC asked to consider terrorism risk

(Boston Globe) Apr 1 - The state's congressional delegation, along 
with several legislators and seven attorneys general from other 
states, are backing Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley's 
attempt to include the risk of terrorism among the factors considered 
in extending a nuclear power plant's license.
Sign up for: Globe Headlines e-mail | Breaking News Alerts The 
possibility of a terrorist attack on the spent nuclear fuel stored 
inside a plant, or any catastrophic accident involving that storage 
area, warrant concern and examination, Coakley argues in her attempt 
to get the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to change its rules 
to take those risks in to account.

At immediate issue is the storage of spent fuel at the Pilgrim 
nuclear plant, which is seeking to extend operations by two decades. 
Under Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules, spent fuel issues are not 
included in the licensing process, but are part of the agency's 
ongoing regulation of the nation's nuclear reactors.

Letters signed by all 12 members of the Massachusetts congressional 
delegation, state lawmakers, and seven other attorneys general echo 
Coakley's view , as expressed in her petition to the NRC.

"The NRC should amend its rules to ensure that the risks of severe 
accidents involving spent fuel storage pools caused by terrorist 
attacks and other events are adequately addressed," Coakley stated.

NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said agency staff will review the letters 
along with the comments and supporting material offered on the 
petition -- a review that can take up to a year. The five-member 
presidentially appointed commission that oversees the NRC "can ask 
the staff to accelerate its review if it deems that to be necessary," 
Sheehan said.

Officials from towns near Pilgrim have also attacked the NRC's 
unwillingness to examine potential threats to the nuclear waste 
stored in Pilgrim. Terrorism was not a concern when the plant opened 
35 years ago, they say, but it is today.

Duxbury Selectman Andre Martecchini said last month it was imperative 
that rules be changed so that the safety of spent fuel storage be 
fully reviewed in relicensing.

Critics of the current system say that while the pool of water in 
which the spent fuel rods are stored lies within the plant's outer 
shell, it is not as well protected as the core reactor. Some analysts 
have identified nuclear plants as inviting targets for a 9/11-scale 
terrorist attack.

In response, the NRC has pointed to its efforts to increase security 
measures at nuclear plants. Pilgrim's owner, Entergy Corp., has 
argued that the Atomic Policy Act gives the NRC the authority to 
determine the scope of environmental impact statements in licensing 
reviews, and that Coakley's attempts are misdirected.

NRC staff and lawyers for Entergy have also opposed the attorney 
general's effort to change the rule on grounds that courts have 
already backed the idea that spent fuel issues are not part of the 
relicensing process.

But nuclear critics point to a federal court in California that 
earlier this year ruled that spent fuel storage must be reviewed in 
license proceedings for a new nuclear plant built in that state, 
giving the issue new momentum.

Along with asking the NRC for the change, Coakley is proceeding on a 
parallel track in federal court. Last month she asked a judge to 
review the NRC's rejection of the state's earlier motions to force 
regulators to consider spent fuel in the Pilgrim relicensing process. 
She made the same review request for the Vermont Yankee reactor in 
southern Vermont, given its proximity to Massachusetts.

Local nuclear critics cheered the appeal, saying that placing the 
Pilgrim case in the hands of a court will bring a quicker decision on 
the spent fuel issue. "It's great to get into court sooner," said 
Mary Lampert of Pilgrim Watch , the regional citizens group that has 
also sought a review of the spent fuel issue.

The attorney general office's spokeswoman, Amie Breton, said her 
office does not know when the court would take up the appeal.

Tepco owns up to past nuclear plant accidents

Tokyo (Kyodo News) Mar 31 - Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Friday that 
it had concealed an emergency shutdown of a reactor at its Fukushima 
Daiichi nuclear plant in 1984.

The utility also reported to the government that a criticality 
accident occurred in a separate reactor at the plant in 1978, 
changing its earlier claim that such an accident was "likely to have 

Tepco is the second power company in recent days to acknowledge the 
occurrence of a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. Hokuriku 
Electric Power Co. did so on March 15.

Along with Tepco, 11 other power companies also reported to the 
Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, an arm of the Ministry of 
Economy, Trade and Industry, all the irregularities they have found 
in their probes since November under an order by Economy, Trade and 
Industry Minister Akira Amari. 

According to a report by Tokyo Electric, the No. 2 reactor of the 
utility's Fukushima Daiichi plant shut down in 1984 when a buildup of 
neutrons in the reactor was discovered as workers were preparing to 
start it.

Tokyo Electric claimed there were no injuries to workers or damage to 
the surrounding environment.

The utility said it deliberately chose not to report the incident to 
the nuclear safety watchdog.

Projects, A-plant keep Post busy

(The Arizona Republic) Apr 1 - When Bill Post thinks about the 
state's future energy needs, he envisions more towers at Palo Verde 
Nuclear Generating Station.

Post, president and CEO of Pinnacle West, the parent company of 
Arizona Public Service Co., said that more nuclear energy "is the 
only answer to climate change."

Post, 56, was selected Man of the Year by the group Valley Leadership 
last week for his work in the community. advertisement  
"The best site for more nuclear energy would be adding Units 4 and 5 
at Palo Verde since the plant was originally sited for that," Post 
said during a wide-ranging interview about the future of Phoenix's 
primary utility company and future civic projects he would like to 
see in the Valley. "But we will need to deal with spent fuel, 
licensing, regulatory and financing issues before we get to that."

Post also said nuclear-generated power makes up about 20 percent of 
the total fuel mix of APS but that it could be double that in the 
future as government officials wrestle with what to do about climate 
change and cleaning up emissions from coal-fueled plants.

Business and residential electric customers also need to think of 
ways to reduce their demand during peak periods of power production, 
Post said.

"I use, as an example for that, the agriculture-processing industry 
in Yuma County," Post said. "They can have leeway, so why not freeze 
(their products) at 4 in the morning rather than 4 in the afternoon? 
It would cut their bills in half and would decrease peak demand."

Post, who recently passed the 10-year mark as president and CEO of 
Pinnacle West, has worked 36 years for APS, starting as a draftsman. 
Post's energy is tireless in trying to make the Valley a better place 
to live. He's on the boards of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, the 
Thunderbird School of Global Management, Greater Phoenix Leadership 
and the ASU Foundation. 

Next, he is spearheading an effort to turn Papago Park into what he 
calls "the premier desert park in the world, the Balboa Park of 

Post noted that the Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Garden already 
are in the park, and it is near Tempe Town Lake, Phoenix Municipal 
Stadium and museums such as the Arizona Historical Society Museum and 
Hall of Flame and at the National Guard Armory.

But for now, Post is focused on more immediate issues concerning APS.

Like the 20.4 percent rate hike proposed by the utility giant last 
year. The Arizona Corporation Commission is expected to rule on the 
hike later this spring. Wall Street rating agencies have been keeping 
a close eye on APS since Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings 
downgraded the company's rating to just above junk status last year.

APS officials testified before the Corporation Commission in hearings 
on the rate case that they likely face a downgrade unless the full 
rate hike amount is granted.

"We run our company by keeping a long eye to the future but that runs 
up against Wall Street demands at times," Post said. "When they talk 
about a favorable outcome of the rate case, in the short term that's 
not necessarily favorable to everyone else but us."

But Post said that a downgrade from investment grade debt for APS 
would mean about a 3 percent increase in interest rates on notes of 
about $5 billion for infrastructure needs in the Arizona territory it 
serves, increasing the price tag for customers by tens of millions of 

The specter of Palo Verde's recent downgrade to the most monitored 
nuclear plant in the country by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission 
also hangs over the company.

Post said workers at the nation's largest nuclear plant and APS 
officials got complacent after Palo Verde was held up for a decade as 
a model to emulate and received visits from nuclear plant officials 
around the world.

Attack on Koodangulam Atomic Plant employees

Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, Mar 31: Six employees, including three 
women, of the Nuclear Power Plant being built with Russian assistance 
at coastal Koodangulam were injured when an unidentified group hurled 
stones on their vehicles today.

The incident took place this morning when the employees boarded 
company buses and proceeded to the project site from the township at 
nearby Chettikulam.

The group was reportedly supporters of the state-wide bandh called 
over the Supreme Court stay on reservation for OBCs.

Six of the employees sustained injuries and windshields of the 
vehicles were damaged in the stone-throwing.

The incident is being inquired into, police said, and added that none 
of the injured had come forward to lodge a complaint.

Environmental groups, civil society organisations and the locals, 
predominantly fishermen, had also been consistently opposing the 
project for more than two decades. 

According to them, the project would prove to be an environmental 
hazard, affecting livelihood and coastal economy, dependent upon the 
sea. Sporadic protests had been erupting time and again opposing the 
nuclear power project. 

A public hearing to ascertain the views of the locals has been 
scheduled in the town shortly.

View Point: Tempers flare up around N project  

(Central Chronicle) Apr 2 - Another scandal is unfolding around the 
Bushehr nuclear power plant (NPP), which Russia is building in Iran. 
Atomstroyexport, Russia's nuclear-technologies exporter, announced 
its decision to delay the NPP's commissioning because of a lack of 
funding from Iran, which means a delay in nuclear fuel supplies to 
the country. Some analysts have already referred to the project as a 
bargaining chip that may help Moscow win concessions from the United 
States on NATO's eastward expansion and the Kosovo problem, allow 
Russia to expand its presence on the European energy market and enter 
the WTO, and persuade the U.S. to abolish the Jackson-Vanik 
amendment. Moreover, Russia will receive guaranteed compensation for 
lost profits when it leaves the Iranian market. 

Last Saturday, the UN Security Council unanimously voted to approve 
Resolution 1747 imposing tougher sanctions on Iran, and gave it 60 
days to come to terms with the IAEA. Atomstroyexport has announced 
that the construction cycle will be delayed by at least two months if 
the required equipment is supplied by third countries. 

This is a lucky coincidence. Now the Bushehr NPP will start receiving 
enriched uranium (if Iran pays on time) only after the Security 
Council approves a new resolution on Tehran. 

This coincidence may be viewed as a handshake between Moscow and 
Washington. But it may also be seen as a no-less-neat deal between 
Moscow and Tehran. 

During his visit to Tehran last December, Sergei Kiriyenko, the head 
of Rosatom (the Russian Nuclear Agency), warned Iran in no uncertain 
terms that the completion of the Bushehr project directly depended on 
timely funding and supplies of equipment from third countries. Tehran 
failed to pay in full in January and February, but resumed funding a 
day after the Security Council passed the said resolution. This was 
no accident. The resumed payments are only part of Iran's financial 
commitments under the project. 

Why would Iran wish to delay the project's completion? What if 
Tehran's indignation over the delay and Kiriyenko's angry references 
to Iran's chronic lack of funding are nothing more than a well-
orchestrated show? Fuel will be delivered to Bushehr six months prior 
to the plant's commissioning. Now that the United States has deployed 
a powerful carrier-based attack group to the Persian Gulf - very 
close to Bushehr - isn't it better to hold off on the supplies of 
enriched uranium, the part of the deal that irritates Washington most 
of all? 

There is yet another potential scenario. Tehran is indignant at 
Russia's decision not to supply the uranium in March. At the same 
time, it has not paid in full for the preparations for the NPP's 
commissioning. The question is where to load the fuel if the plant is 
not ready to accept it. Maybe into the 3,000 centrifuges that 
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised the world to start operating 
by the Iranian New Year (March 21)? 

The Bushehr NPP has long ceased being a strictly business project, 
and Iran is largely to blame for that. The sides concluded a contract 
on the project's completion in January 1995, but it was only in 
November 2003 that Moscow persuaded Iran to sign a bilateral 
agreement on the return of nuclear waste, in accordance with 
international practice. Even so, Iran agreed to sign it only after 
Moscow affirmed that it did not see any obstacles to cooperation with 
Iran in nuclear energy. 

The issue of nuclear waste is significant. International observers 
have reason to doubt Iran's intention to return the waste to Russia. 
Moscow will have to make a difficult choice on fuel supplies, and not 
without looking to the Security Council. Considering the 
temperamental character of the Iranian president, nobody can 
guarantee that he will not call the intergovernmental protocol on 
returning nuclear fuel a "torn piece of paper," as he dubbed the 
Security Council's two last resolutions on Iran.

Russia, Kazakhstan plan nuke plant

ASTANA, Kazakhstan, March 30: Russia and Kazakhstan may build a 
nuclear power plant together in the Kazakh port of Aktau, a Russian 
official said Friday.

The two countries are well-suited for such a partnership because 
Russia has highly developed uranium enrichment facilities and 
Kazakhstan is the world's second-largest producer of uranium, Russian 
Federal Nuclear Power Agency chief Sergei Kiriyenko told RIA Novosti.

"Kazakhstan and Russia are leaders in the sector and integration will 
enable us to enhance our positions on the world market," Kiriyenko 

The two countries agreed to work on developing a plant but no 
timetable for building one has been decided.

The Russian nuclear official was in Kazakhstan with a delegation 
headed by Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.

Fradkov said the two countries talked about joint chemical and 
petrochemical ventures, RIA Novosti reported.

High court sets hurdle for whistle-blowers to get cash

WASHINGTON (AP) Apr 1 -- The Supreme Court left an 81-year-old 
retired engineer without a penny to show for his role in exposing 
fraud at a former nuclear weapons plant in a ruling that makes it 
harder for whistle-blowers to claim rewards.

James Stone stood to collect up to $1 million from a lawsuit he filed 
in 1989 against Rockwell International, now part of aerospace giant 
Boeing Co., over problems with environmental cleanup at the now-
closed Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant northwest of Denver.

A court eventually ordered Rockwell to pay the government nearly $4.2 
million for false claims the company submitted. Stone could have 
received up to a quarter of Rockwell's payment, under the False 
Claims Act.

But Justice Antonin Scalia, writing in the 6-2 ruling last week, said 
Stone was not entitled to recover any money because he lacked "direct 
and independent knowledge of the information upon which his 
allegations were based." Scalia said Stone had little connection to 
the jury's ultimate verdict against Rockwell.

The company must pay the entire penalty anyway. The only question 
before the court was whether Stone would get a cut.

The outcome was sought by business interests that were looking for 
the court to limit whistle-blowers in false claims lawsuits. Since 
Congress reinvigorated the Civil War-era law in 1986, those suits 
have returned $11 billion to the government. Recent high-profile 
cases include settlements with leading pharmaceutical manufacturers.

The decision will cause whistle-blowers, or relators, to think twice 
before they file false claims lawsuits, said Peter B. Hutt II, an 
expert in false claims lawsuits in Washington.

"The principal thing the court did is essentially try to preclude 
relators from engaging in fishing expeditions," said Hutt, a lawyer 
at the Miller and Chevalier firm.

James Moorman, president of the advocacy group Taxpayers Against 
Fraud Education Fund, agreed. Individuals whose information leads the 
government to pursue fraud can be told years later that they can't 
collect anything, Moorman said.

"No whistle-blower can afford to pursue a case to resolution under 
these circumstances," he said.

The Bush administration sided with Stone, arguing that it was in the 
government's interest to encourage whistle-blowers, even though the 
government keeps more money now that Stone has lost.

Hartley Alley, a Colorado-based lawyer who represented Stone, said 
the decision fails to recognize the importance of Stone's actions at 
Rocky Flats, now a Superfund cleanup site. "He is the one primarily 
responsible for exposing the criminal activities of Rockwell 
International at Rocky Flats," Hartley said.

In nearly four decades, some 70,000 plutonium triggers for nuclear 
bombs were made at Rocky Flats. Production was halted in 1989 because 
of chronic safety problems, prompting a raid by FBI agents. The Cold 
War ended before production could resume.

The company pleaded guilty in 1992 to violating federal environmental 

Hartley said Stone, who lives in Wheat Ridge, Colo., would not agree 
to an interview.

Once allegations are disclosed publicly, often by the media, 
individuals face a higher hurdle in bringing fraud suits on the 
government's behalf. Otherwise, people could read a newspaper account 
or an indictment and then rush to the courthouse to file suit.

The major exception to this rule is if an individual is an original 
source of the information, which Stone said he was. Stone did not 
file suit until after problems at Rocky Flats became public. He did, 
however, approach federal investigators with information about 
environmental issues before news accounts were published.

The company said his claim was implausible. Stone was laid off the 
year before Rockwell began submitting false claims saying it was 
meeting goals of treating low-level radioactive wastes at the former 
atomic weapons plant.

3 more radiation sites found at park 

Low-level readings not enough to close Great Kills Park; more surveys 
to be conducted 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (Staten Island Advance) Mar 31 -- The city has 
turned up three additional sites that are emitting radiation in Great 
Kills Park, part of the Gateway National Recreation Area. 

The discovery was made during a city-led "rapid-assessment" survey of 
the park's public recreation spaces prompted by last week's 
revelation that a radiation reading at a level of 7.5 millirems per 
hour (mR/hr) was detected on a burned-out section near the model 
airplane field. 
In surveys conducted by the NYPD and the Health Department, a spot on 
the outer edge of ballfield number 1 revealed a radiation level of 
3.2 millirems per hour and another, located along the road leading to 
the model airplane field, recorded a radiation level of 2.25 
millirems per hour. 

A third spot, near a site found last week in a burned-out area near 
the airplane field, had levels pegged at roughly 0.105 mR/hr, 
according to the surveys. 

"Low levels of radiation were detected during a ground survey today 
in Great Kills Park. These levels do not pose a significant risk to 
the public," said Sarah Markt, a spokeswoman for the city Health 

All three sites measure radiation levels at only a fraction of a 
chest X-ray. Health Department guidelines state that a reading of 
more than 2 mR/hr is higher than acceptable by city standards. 

The park -- including the ballfields -- remains open. 


But the National Park Service yesterday fenced off the sites in 
question with orange-and-white barricades. 

To be sure, presenting the public with radiation readings without 
accompanying context can bring up many more questions than answers 
about exposure risk, said Nick Dmytryszyn P.E., environmental 
engineer to the borough president.

"The key to understanding whether or not radiation is affecting 
anyone is, 'How far away am I from the source for how long a period 
of time?'" he said. "It would be in the best interest of the public 
that these kinds of answers be given, because questions will multiply 
without clarification, creating, perhaps, unnecessary fear." 

A more thorough survey of the entire park, commissioned by the 
National Parks Service nearly a year ago, is due to be completed in 
six to eight weeks, the Pennsylvania-based consulting firm Michael 
Baker Engineering said earlier this week. 

Great Kills Park encompasses approximately 570 acres. 

"They should explain, give more information about what it is and why 
it's here," said Sal Gesueli, 73 of Bay Terrace, who was walking 
through the park yesterday evening, as he does about four times a 
week. "I felt disturbed when I read about it." 


Rep. Vito Fossella (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) had urged the city 
agencies to conduct their own surveys after last week's discovery of 
radiation at the park. 

"I am concerned that three new sites have been located this week," 
Fossella said yesterday in a statement. "This information will help 
guide us in developing a remediation plan for the park. The public 
has a right to know that the park is safe." 

The Health Department began its survey using a mobile unit yesterday 
and plans to finish its work next week, said Ms. Markt. 

The ballfields and model airplane field have already been checked; 
next week's survey will include the hiking trails, fishing beach area 
and jogging path, according to Fossella's office. 

The "hot spot" discovered by the Health Department on March 22 sits 
on an area off-limits to the public that was charred during a three-
alarm brush fire March 5. The section was fenced in to prevent anyone 
from accessing the area. 

Two other radiation readings also have been recorded in the park in 
the last two years. 

The first was detected during an NYPD aerial sweep of the park in 
2005. The second was found March 15 near the site of last week's 
discovery, and equated to a fraction of the radiation found in a 
dental X-ray. The previous readings measured levels of 1.2 mR/hr and 
0.2 mR/hr. 

The radiation in the area likely emanates from the filler dumped into 
the earth decades ago, when parks czar Robert Moses approved turning 
the wetland into parkland. 

Glenn Nyback covers environmental news for the Advance. He may be 
reached at nyback at siadvance.com

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

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

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