[ RadSafe ] [Nuclear News] Suit against Labor by ill nuclear employees gains notice

Sandy Perle sandyfl at cox.net
Fri Apr 13 10:04:25 CDT 2007


Suit against Labor by ill nuclear employees gains notice
No radiation found in public areas of Great Kills Park 
Gulf states have right to nuclear energy: UN atomic chief
Group wants child evacuation centers farther from nuclear plant
Nuclear plant seeks new way to store fuel 

Suit against Labor by ill nuclear employees gains notice

Denver Post - A class-action lawsuit on behalf of six Cold War-era 
nuclear workers in Colorado and New Mexico is drawing interest from 
other nuclear workers across the country, the attorney who filed it 
said Thursday. 

The lawsuit accuses Bush administration Labor officials of holding up 
health care the government owes to elderly workers who became ill 
after working with radioactive and other toxic materials at mines and 
other facilities in the nation's nuclear weapons complex. 

About 100 workers in Colorado and New Mexico, and unknown numbers 
nationwide, are affected by the bureaucratic hurdles that in many 
cases violate doctors' orders, said attorney Greg Piche of the Denver-
based firm Holland and Hart. 

Since last summer, U.S. Department of Labor workers' compensation 
officials have waged "an orchestrated, internal campaign to limit 
access to medical and other benefits available to nuclear energy 
workers" under federal law, according the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in 
U.S. District Court. 

Labor officials "have engaged in a deliberate program to unreasonably 
delay payment for authorized skilled nursing services, so as to 
disrupt the availability of skill nursing suppliers to the energy 
workers," the suit alleges. 

"These actions by the defendants have artificially created legal, 
economic and medical uncertainties that have jeopardized and continue 
to jeopardize the health and emotional well-being of the plaintiffs 
and threaten the availability of nursing services to them." 

Denver-based Professional Case Management, which cares for ill 
weapons workers, was put in the position of risking losses or cutting 
off services to workers who couldn't get the government to pay their 
bills, Piche said. 

Professional Case Management asked U.S. Sens. Ken Salazar and Wayne 
Allard of Colorado to break bureaucratic jams last year. 

Labor Department officials raised questions about whether the 
services that workers requested were necessary. 

The workers are frail and in many cases dying with respiratory 
problems, Piche said.

After final inspection, no radiation in public areas of Great Kills 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The city Health Department has concluded its 
inspection of public-access areas of Great Kills Park without finding 
any additional radiation hot spots, the agency announced yesterday. 

A city-led "rapid-assessment" survey of the park's public recreation 
spaces started after a radiation reading of 7.5 millirems per hour 
(mR/hr) was detected on a burned-out section near the model airplane 
field in March. 
Now federal officials are waiting for a more comprehensive survey of 
the entire park to be completed later this spring. The National Park 
Service commissioned the study of the 570-acre park, which is part of 
Gateway National Recreation Area. 

"The next step is to . . . get a clean bill of health for the entire 
park," said Rep. Vito Fossella (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn), who asked 
the city to complete the study of pathways, ballfields and other 
public areas while the full survey is being wrapped up. 

Two weeks ago, the Health Department found three spots with small 
amounts of radiation: There was a reading of 3.2 mR/hr on the outer 
edge of ballfield number 1, while another site located along the road 
leading to the model airplane field recorded a radiation level of 
2.25 millirems per hour. A third spot, near the airplane field, had 
levels pegged at roughly 0.105 mR/hr. 

In total, six spots emitting radiation have been detected in the park 
since the summer of 2005. Officials, who have said there's no health 
risk to park users, believe the radiation stems from medical 
equipment buried in the park while it was a landfill, several decades 

All spots equaled a fraction of the radiation used in a chest X-ray, 
officials have said. Health Department guidelines state that a 
reading of more than 2 mR/hr is higher than acceptable by city 
standards; all the spots located have been fenced off to prevent park-
users from accessing it. 

A spokesman for the National Park Service said the agency would not 
have a comment until he sees the full report in writing.

Gulf states have right to nuclear energy: UN atomic chief
RIYADH (AFP) - The head of the UN atomic watchdog said on Thursday 
that the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has the right to 
develop nuclear energy for peaceful ends. 
"It is a natural right for the GCC countries to possess nuclear 
energy in order to use it for peaceful purposes," said the head of 
the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed 

"There are some 150 countries which use nuclear energy," he told a 
joint news conference in Riyadh with GCC chief Abdulrahman al-

During their annual meeting in Riyadh last December, GCC heads of 
state announced their determination to develop a joint nuclear 
technology programme for peaceful use under international rules.

Their interest in developing atomic energy comes amid a continuing 
standoff between the West and the GCC's neighbour Iran over its 
programme to enrich uranium.

ElBaradei said he advised the GCC countries to begin by constructing 
a plant for research purposes to train staff.

The six GCC countries are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia 
and the United Arab Emirates.

Group wants child evacuation centers farther from nuclear plant

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. --A watchdog group said some schools where children 
would wait to be picked up in the event of an emergency at Three Mile 
Island are too close to the central Pennsylvania nuclear plant.

The group, Three Mile Island Alert, asked the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission to require evacuation centers for children to be at least 
15 to 20 miles from the plant.

The NRC currently requires evacuation centers to be at least five 
miles outside an evacuation area usually defined as 10 miles from a 
plant, but the petition said there is no such requirement for the 
school pickup centers.

Some of the buildings where parents would pick up children in the 
West Shore School District are closer that that, and one, Cedar Cliff 
High School, is less than one-half mile from the evacuation area, the 
petition said.

The centers need to be at safe distances for the health of the 
children, and to keep parents from clogging evacuation routes by 
making them backtrack toward the evacuation zone to pick up their 
children, the petition said.

"We're just asking the federal government to be true to what it put 
on paper," said Eric Epstein, chairman of TMI Alert.

Neil Sheehan, an NRC spokesman, said the agency had not reviewed the 
petition and declined to comment.

Nuclear plant seeks new way to store fuel 

CARLTON - The details of Dominion Inc.'s plan to begin above-ground 
storage of spent nuclear fuel at Kewaunee Power Station bothers local 
residents less than the need to do it in the first place. 

"I'm not happy it's going to be out here, but it's not Dominion's 
fault," said Dave Zellner, Carlton town chairman Thursday during an 
open house at the Town Hall. "Am I worried about it. No." 

Dominion Resources would like to begin construction on a dry-cask 
storage system by the end of the year. Currently, used nuclear fuel 
is stored in the power plant's spent-fuel pool, but the pool is 
running out of room. 

Zellner, as did others at the event, criticized the federal 
government for not helping foot the bill for the additional storage 
and for not providing a permanent storage location as it pledged to 
do in 1982. The planned Yucca Mountain nuclear storage site is at 
least another 10 years from completion, and some question whether it 
will ever be used. 

Rick Philipps, a Carlton resident, said he is concerned that used 
fuel stored at the site could outlast the plant. 

"My concern is what assurance do I have when this plant is 
decommissioned or Dominion goes out of business?" he said. "Let's say 
they go out of business. Who's going to pick up when they are not 

Francis Wojta of Carlton had a similar concern. 

"Sometimes, when you build something, it stays," he said. 

Philipps said he has no problem with nuclear power or with Dominion 
as neighbors, and would not oppose issuing the plant a building 
permit for the storage facility. 

Dave Lohman, project manager for Dominion, said the company soon will 
apply for a building permit from the town and zoning approval from 
Kewaunee County. 

Bill Matthews, senior vice president of nuclear operations for 
Dominion, said citizens need to pressure the federal government to 
provide permanent storage. 

"I advise them to keep up the political pressure," he said. "All we 
can do is propose the solution to store it safely (temporarily)." 

Zellner said the cost of building the facility will have to be passed 
on to consumers by Dominion. 

"The federal government should return some of that money they've 
got," he said. 

Zellner predicted the effort to secure a building permit will result 
in "an interesting couple of months." 

Initially, the 3-acre storage facility will house 10 modules, each of 
which can hold a 75-ton fuel rod storage cask. Each cask will hold 32 
fuel assemblies. 

The Kewaunee reactor has 121 assemblies, with about one-third being 
replaced every 18 months. All 121 assemblies are placed into the pool 
during refueling and those in use for three refueling cycles are 
permanently removed. 

The spent nuclear fuel is radioactive and placed in welded steel 
canisters designed to be leak-tight. They will be kept in a dry-
storage facility consisting of a series of reinforced concrete 
horizontal storage modules measuring 8.5 feet wide by 14 feet high, 
and 20 feet deep with walls and roof that are up to 4 feet thick.

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 cox.net 

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

More information about the RadSafe mailing list