|Progressive Calendar 04.06.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Mon, 6 Apr 2009 02:51:36 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 04.06.09 1. Stop MN nukedom 4.06 10:30am 2. Human rights 4.06 10:45am 3. Peace walk 4.06 6pm RiverFalls WI 4. Spanish classes 4.06 6:30pm 5. Uhcan-mn 4.06 7pm 6. Howard Zinn 4.06 7pm 7. Pedagogy/oppressed 4.07 12noon 8. Econ crisis/CTV 4.07 5pm 9. RNC court watch 4.07 6pm 10. Worker's film 4.07 6:30pm 11. Amnesty Intl 4.07 7pm StCloud MN 12. Sustain/film 4.07 7pm 13. Sue Sturgis - The real Three Mile Island: blast from the past 14. ed - A glowing account (poem) --------1 of 14-------- From: David Strand <lavgrn [at] gmail.com> Subject: Stop MN nukedom 4.06 10:30am The Senate passed an amendment on the floor Thursday to repeal the moratorium on nuclear power plants in Minnesota. To be able to successfully kill the amendment now we need to keep a repeal of the moratorium out of the House bill and it can be amended at various stages. The bill has now moved on to another committee than the one first noted without having the repeal of the nuclear power plant moratorium attatched. Please be there 10:30 AM Monday at the Capitol if you are able and please call the house members below, particularly if you reside in one of their districts. [The Leg LUSTS to serve the corporations not us. Turn your back and it's pregnant with a deformed radioactive baby. So it plays fast and loose with times, places, bill numbers, etc, all in an attempt to blindside the public while it has its evil way. So you have to outwait and outwit them, outthreaten and outpublicize them. Be prepared. Life was too good, so they invented this Leg. -ed] -- Date: Sun, 5 Apr 2009 13:56:24 EDT From: PRO826 [at] aol.com ACTION ALERT!! CONTACT YOUR MN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE RE: NO NEW NUKES IN MN For those concerned about the potential of new nuclear power plants in Minnesota, note that our legislature has been considering lifting the moratorium on the certificate of need for new nuclear power plants in our state. The West Metro Global Warming Action Group, Inc. were one of several who testified on March 26th in the MN House of Representatives Energy and Finance Policy Committee hearings and provided testimony against lifting the moratorium. We were delighted when the committee did not pass HF 1091 by a vote of 12 -9. Committee Chair Rep Hilty provided closing remarks before the roll call vote suggesting that the committee should not support HF 1091. Unfortunately, on April 2nd, the MN Senate, without any committee processes or public notification, passed SF 550, the Omibus Energy Bill, Section 17, subdivision 3b which eliminates the state moratorium on construction of a new nuclear-powered electric generating plant. This provision was added by amendment on the Senate floor (Senator Dille). Thus, the process now is that it will likely be introduced as an amendment in a current House File and unfortunately, it will be difficult to track exactly which bill it will be attached to. This is time-sensitive and urgent action is needed by Monday morning. THEREFORE, it is imperative that we make ONE or more phone calls to our MN House of Representative and request that they do not pass any legislation which would lift the moratorium on the certificate of need for new nuclear power plants. Please contact your own representative and also, Rep Hilty, Chair of the Energy and Finance Policy Committee (_rep.bill.hilty [at] house.mn_ (mailto:rep.bill.hilty [at] house.mn) or 651-296-4308 or 800-788-1329) and Rep Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Speaker of the House (_rep.margaret.kelliher [at] house.mn_ (mailto:rep.margaret.kelliher [at] house.mn) or 651-296-0171 and state that you would appreciate that they NOT support lifting the moratorium on new nuclear power plants in Minnesota. To find contact information for your MN Representative, see link or phone numbers below: _http://www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/Districtfinder.asp_ (http://www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/Districtfinder.asp) or if you know your House District already: _http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/members/housemembers.asp_ (http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/members/housemembers.asp) 651-296-2146 1-800-657-3550 I've included below, a letter written by our volunteer lobbyist for the West Metro Global Warming Action Group, Inc. with arguments and references as to why we need to focus on policies initiating renewable energy and not waste time on the nuclear energy option as the solution for global warming. Note, due to space restrictions, I have not included any of the Exhibits as referenced in the letter, but they can be forwarded via email by request, contact _pro826 [at] aol.com_ (mailto:pro826 [at] aol.com) if interested. Also, another excellent reference is from the Public Citizen website on the Fatal Flaws of Nuclear energy, see link: _http://www.citizen.org/documents/FatalFlawsSummary.pdf_ (http://www.citizen.org/documents/FatalFlawsSummary.pdf) (copy and paste the URL in your browser to reference) For sane energy policies in MN, Danene Provencher West Metro Global Warming Action Group, Inc. THOMAS E. CASEY Attorney at Law 2854 Cambridge Lane Mound, MN 55364 (952) 472-1099 (office) (952) 472-4771 (fax) _tcasey [at] frontiernet.net_ (mailto:tcasey [at] frontiernet.net) April 4, 2009 Board of Directors West Metro Global Warming Action Group, Inc. P.O. Box 182 Mound, MN 55364 Re: Proposed Legislation to Remove the Moratorium on New Nuclear Power Plants (HF 1091) Dear Board Members, You requested a written elaboration of the testimony I provided on your behalf at the Minnesota House of Representatives; Committee on Energy Finance and Policy on March 26, 2009. (As you recall, House File 1091 - a bill to remove the moratorium on new nuclear power plants - was defeated by a vote of 9 in favor and 12 opposed.) Specifically, my comments pertain to why the present nuclear power moratorium should not be removed. I. NUCLEAR POWER WILL NOT CREATE ENERGY INDEPENDENCE. The U.S. has only of the world's "identified uranium resources," recoverable at a cost of less than $130.00 per kilogram of uranium. [Reference:, Uranium 2007: Resources, Production, and Demand, a joint report by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (2008), page 15. A derived chart is attached as Exhibit 1.] In my opinion, only 37% of the identified uranium resources are likely to come from reliably "friendly" countries. (See Exhibit 1.) Of course, if uranium rises in price, more uranium could be found, but then nuclear energy becomes even less competitive because of the higher cost. Moreover, in 2007, the sources of uranium for U.S. reactors were: 8% (3,973,000 pounds of U308 equivalent) - from the United States; and 92% (47,011,000 pounds of U308 equivalent) - from foreign sources. Similar ratios exist for the years 2003-06. [Reference: U.S. Energy Information Agency, - Uranium Marketing Annual Report (May 19, 2008), Table 3. Derived charts are attached as Exhibits 2 and 2A.] Finally, for the years 2003-2007, the vast majority of "uranium enrichment services" has also been purchased from foreign countries. In 2007, the U.S. purchased only 10% of its enrichment services from U.S. sources. [Reference: U.S. Energy Information Agency, "Uranium Marketing Annual Report" (May 19, 2008), Table 16. A derived chart is attached as Exhibit 3.] II. NUCLEAR POWER IS NOT SAFE. If nuclear power was safe, Congress would not have needed to enact the Price-Anderson Act in 1957, which established liability limits for damages that utility companies must pay in the event of a nuclear power plant disaster. (See 42 U.S.C. § 2210.) Of course, any damages above the liability limits would be paid by taxpayers. This public policy decision was explicitly acknowledged by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case entitled Duke Power Company v. Carolina Environmental Study Group, Inc. 98 S.Ct. 2620 (1978), where the court stated, "[T]here remained in the path of the private power industry various problems - the risk of potentially vast liability in the event of a nuclear accident of sizeable magnitude being the major obstacle.. [T]he potential liability dwarfed the ability of the industry and private insurance companies to absorb the risk ... [S]pokesmen for the private sector informed Congress that they would be forced to withdraw from the field if their liability were not limited by appropriate legislation ... Congress responded in 1957 by passing the Price- Anderson Act" [Duke Power, at page 2626, emphasis added.] Nuclear power needs the liability limits of the Price-Anderson Act; renewable energy does not. III. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT NUCLEAR POWER WILL CREATE MORE JOBS AS COMPARED TO "GREEN JOBS" CREATED BY RENEWABLE ENERGY. It is unfortunate that business leaders and labor unions have pitched nuclear power as a way to create jobs. They have presented no evidence that nuclear power will create more jobs than the jobs created from renewable energy sources. However, let's assume that more nuclear jobs would be created than the green jobs created by renewable energy. Wouldn't that make nuclear power less competitive because of higher labor costs? Shouldn't we try to reduce energy costs? Instead, business and labor leaders should work with communities and the legislature to find ways to create renewable energy jobs - jobs that are safe, clean, and provide energy independence. IV. NUCLEAR POWER IS NOT "CLEAN" - IT IS DIRTY FROM MINING TO WASTE DISPOSAL. All stages of nuclear power are dirty, with radiation and other hazards to human health and the environment resulting from occupational exposure, human error, sabotage, and theft: A. Uranium Mining. Throughout the world, the vast majority of uranium is mined by three basic methods: underground, in situ leaching (ISL), or open pit. [Reference: Uranium 2007: Resources, Production, and Demand, a joint report by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (2008), page 10. A derived chart is attached as Exhibit 4.] All of these methods present threats by radioactive materials and heavy metals to human health and the environment. For example, underground uranium miners are exposed to radon gas. (Uranium Workers Health Study - _http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/pgms/worknotify/uranium.html#study_ (http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/pgms/worknotify/uranium.html#study) .) "The NRC [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] anticipates that nearly 75 percent of new license applications for uranium milling received by the agency within the next several years will propose the use of ISL [in situ leach] process. (Federal Register, July 28, 2008, page 43796.) However, the environmental consequences of ISL uranium recovery have not been fully explored. A Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the impacts of in situ leach (ISL) uranium recovery was released for public comment; the deadline was October 7, 2008. (Federal Register, July 28, 2008, pages 43795-43798.) To the best of my knowledge, a final EIS has not been released. From what we know already, ISL uranium recovery creates the potential for groundwater contamination and other abuses. For example, on November 21, 2007, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Land Quality Division (DEQ-LQD), issued a Report of Investigation on the Smith-Highland Ranch, the only significant uranium producer in Wyoming. The report states in page 2: "Over the years there have been an inordinate number of spills, leaks and other releases at this operation. Some 80 spills have been reported, in addition to numerous pond leaks, well casing failures and excursions. Unfortunately, it appears that such occurrences have become routine. The LQD currently has two large three- ring binders full of spill reports from the Smith Ranch - Highland operations." (See attached Exhibit 5.) B. Uranium Milling. The milling of uranium ore into "yellowcake" (approximately 60% or more U308 by weight) presents more risk of exposure. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states: "Although the milling process recovers about 95 percent of the uranium present in ores, the residues, or tailings, contain several naturally-occurring radioactive elements, including uranium, thorium, radium, polonium, and radon. They also contain a number of chemically hazardous elements, such as arsenic. Past use of mill tailings for house, school, road, and other construction created public radiation health hazards." (See April, 2006 EPA document: http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb01/docs/uranium- mines.pdf, attached as Exhibit 6.) Uranium workers are especially susceptible to uranium overdoses. The EPA also states: "Workers in the industry have the potential for overexposure to radioactive material and must stay up-to-date on federal, state and industry health and safety guidelines. Following these procedures will reduce total on-site exposure." Workers also need to take precautions to avoid bringing radioactive material residue on their clothes and shoes home to their families and neighborhoods. - Remove potentially contaminated clothes and shoes before returning to the family car and to your home or office. - Do not bring home discarded equipment or material used at sites such as pipes, devices, bricks, rocks, and water or re-use these materials as containers or as building materials. (See April, 2006 EPA document: http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb01/docs/uranium- mines.pdf) See also comments in subparagraph A regarding ISL uranium recovery, a combined mining and milling process. C. Uranium Conversion. The conversion of uranium yellowcake to uranium hexafluoride (UF6) is also a dirty process that has created safety issues. The Honeywell conversion facility in Metropolis, Illinois, the only conversion facility in the U.S, reported to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on July 13, 2001 that it exceeded - the nearest resident radioactivity concentration of 3.OE-14 pCi/ml for the second quarter of 2001. (See attached Exhibit 7.) D. Uranium Enrichment. The only facility in the U.S. to enrich uranium hexafluoride gas (from a U- 235 concentration of 0.7% to 3-5%) is presently operated by the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) outside of Paducah, Kentucky. There have been very expensive cleanup issues arising from past actions on this site. (Caveat: I offer no opinion about whether USCE's past actions contributed to this problem.) According to an April, 2004 report by the General Accounting Office (GAO): - DOE [Department of Energy] currently projects that the cleanup will take until 2019 and cost almost $1.6 billion to complete, 9 years and about $300 million more than DOE's earlier projection. The $1.6 billion, however, does not include the cost of other DOE activities required at the site after the plant ceases operations, including final decontamination and decommissioning of the plant and long-term environmental monitoring. DOE estimates these activities will cost almost $5 billion and bring DOE's total costs at the site, including the $823 million already spent, to over $7 billion through 2070 (in 2002 dollars). (See attached Exhibit 8, page 2.) E. Uranium Fuel Fabrication. In the U.S., uranium fuel is fabricated in 6 facilities, in four states. In 2008, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued violations to at least 4 out of the 6 facilities. (See attached Exhibit 9.) F. Nuclear Power Reactors. The United States has 104 nuclear reactors at 65 locations. 51 million pounds of uranium were purchased by U.S. nuclear power facilities in 2007. (See Exhibit 2.) The risk of radiation exposure caused by sabotage, theft, or accident to one or more of these numerous reactors cannot be ignored, as the intent of the Price-Anderson Act clearly proves. Safety continues to be an issue at Prairie Island. After only a cursory review of Prairie Island's safety issues, I note that on January 21 2009, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission sent a letter to the Prairie Island nuclear facility in Red Wing, stating: ".. the NRC has concluded that the inspection finding is appropriately characterized as White, a finding with low to moderate increased importance to safety that may require additional NRC inspections." (See attached Exhibit 10.) G. Disposal of Radioactive Waste. The final stage of nuclear power is the disposal of radioactive waste. Testimony at the March 25 and 26, 2009 legislative hearings clearly stated that the French have not solved their nuclear waste disposal problem. Neither has the U.S. On October 15, 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency adopted the following standards for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site, which defy human comprehension: "Compliance will be judged against a standard of 150 microsieverts per year - (15 millirem per year (mrem/yr)) committed effective dose equivalent (CEDE) at times up to 10,000 years after disposal and against a standard of 1 millisievert per year (mSv/yr) (100 mrem/yr) CEDE at times after 10,000 years and up to 1 million years after disposal." [Emphasis added.] (References: Federal Register, October 15, 2008, page 61256; and EPA regulation 40 CFR Part 197.) Furthermore, President Obama's "proposed budget cuts off most money for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste project, a decision that fulfills a campaign promise and wins the president political points in Nevada, but raises new questions about what to do with radioactive waste from the nation's nuclear power plants." (New York Times, March 5, 2009.) CONCLUSION Nuclear power is dirty and unsafe from uranium through disposal. Our country will not be safe and clean for at least 10,000 years - and up to 1 million years - after the last nuclear power plant is decommissioned and the radioactive waste is buried. This time period defies human imagination. (10,000 years ago, my ancestors probably lived in a cave on the glacial ice margins of northern Europe.) It is unconscionable to add to this tragedy by building more nuclear power plants. We cannot foist the problem of nuclear waste on at least the next 400 generations (10,000 years = 100 centuries x 4 generations/century = 400), a problem that our descendants had no say about and never deserved. In summary, the nuclear energy advocates have not made their case. They have not met the burden of proof that the nuclear power plant moratorium should be lifted. Nuclear power is a huge distraction - in time and money - that Americans cannot afford. Instead, we must concentrate our limited time and money on: (1) energy efficiency; (2) energy conservation; and (3) an "Apollo Program" for the research, development, and implementation of renewable energy resources. Please contact me any time if you have additional questions or comments. Thank you again for allowing me to serve you. Very truly yours, Thomas E. Casey TEC/rf --------2 of 14-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Human rights 4.06 10:45am April 6: Minneapolis Branch American Association of University Women Meeting. 9:30 AM: What I've Learned About Education in Minnesota: What's Working? What's Not? 10:45 AM: How Human Rights Advocates are Changing the World with Professor Barbara Frey, founder, MN Advocates for Human Rights. Noon: Luncheon. 1:15 PM: Business Meeting. 2115 Stevens Avenue South, Minneapolis. --------3 of 14-------- From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at] comcast.net> Subject: Peace walk 4.06 6pm RiverFalls WI River Falls Peace and Justice Walkers. We meet every Monday from 6-7 pm on the UWRF campus at Cascade Ave. and 2nd Street, immediately across from "Journey" House. We walk through the downtown of River Falls. Contact: d.n.holden [at] comcast.net. Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls, Wisconsin 54022 --------4 of 14-------- From: Stephanie Bates <Stephanie.Bates [at] americas.org> Subject: RCTA Spanish classes 4.06 6:30pm LEARN SPANISH! Resource Center Classes offer: -Small Class Size, limit 12 people -Native Spanish Speaking Instructors -Custom Curriculum-that integrates human rights and social justice themes. -Classes are energetic and upbeat, you won't be practicing grammar for two hours! Sign up Now! Our Spring session of Spanish classes will start the week of April 6th Classes are $198 for members and $220 for non-members. The Class schedule for Spring is as follows: Beginning 1- Tuesday 6:30-8:30pm Beginning 2- Saturday 12:00-2:00pm Beginning 3- Wednesday 6:30-8:30 pm Intermediate 1- Thursday 6:30-8:30 pm Intermediate 2- Wednesday 6:30-8:30pm Intermediate 3- Thursdau 6:30-8:30 pm Call the office to Register: 612-276-0788 ext. 1 or visit http://ent.groundspring.org/EmailNow/pub.php?module=URLTracker&cmd=track&j=265536847&u=2841823 Hurry Spaces are filling fast! Classes are held at the Resource Center of the Americas 3019 Minnehaha Ave S Suite 20 Minneapolis, MN 55406 Program Coordinator Resource Center of the Americas 612-276-0788 www.americas.org --------5 of 14-------- From: Joel Albers <joel [at] uhcan-mn.org> Subject: Uhcan-mn 4.06 7pm Next UHCAN-MN mtg, monday April 6, 7PM, Walker Church (gallery in basement), 3104 16th Ave S, Mpls (1 block from Lake Str and Bloomington Ave). Items: -Intros, background info on HC crisis, economic crisis, strategy -Reportbacks; KFAI program on single-payer and next one; Mtg w/ Phillips N'hood Clinic -coordinate, brief training for upcoming mobile health screenings, April 17, and 25th -progress in starting a legal arm in exposing HMO "insurers" -organizing multi-disciplinary HC practitioners,new list serve etc -prepare for action at United Health Group Shareholders mtg (highlighting SP can solve both HC and economic crises) --------6 of 14-------- From: Nonviolent Peaceforce <nonviolentpeaceforce [at] nonviolentpeaceforce.org> Subject: Howard Zinn 4.06 7pm Howard Zinn tells stories of truth and peace, stories of history that resonate with what's happening today. Zinn shows how individuals have changed society - it's about people behaving magnificently. As Zinn says, "This gives us the energy to act. Hope is the energy for change." This one-night only performance of readings and songs is a fundraiser for Nonviolent Peaceforce. Voices of a People's History of the United States 7:00 p.m. Monday April 6 O'Shaughnessy Auditorium College of St. Catherine 2004 Randolph Avenue St. Paul Tickets: $12 Student, $36 Main Floor, $21 Balcony, $125 Sustainer /$100 tax deductible Sustainers are invited to a reception with Howard Zinn after the show For tickets: Call O'Shaughnessy Box Office at 651-690-6700 or buy them online at http://oshaughnessy.stkate.edu/allevents.html [http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1102520271416&s=8368&e=001TSrNZA7uQrUUfoyt_71CFzF_6Q3AXvIkOHWoUpKKLphHiqBJ7732ses54-7TYXwK418bAX4DpzvfIZfZeYp0oH8EOxtuEICPlNKrlKgTDaMUvUGQnb4FDqrX6tN4-eifJI5DvDUtSt4=] or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venue/49294 [http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1102520271416&s=8368&e=001TSrNZA7uQrU557jKLEFh27MkA-9VXnsHerXMbNlnL87-6lJ8UdkDM4UA-g3p_Pn6xW3hwL0m1ePn_XU4R1cxWBkm2z5L0dzdjH3_9U75w_w-Q3R8txmvpH5RMWrjEWn_kRp5mG183bk=] --------7 of 14-------- From: Joan Vanhala <joan [at] metrostability.org> Subject: Pedagogy/oppressed 4.07 12noon Come learn about the organizing practices of Twin Cities Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed (PTO). PTO uses pedagogy and theater to work with oppressed peoples of the world to develop critical thinking and actions to overcome social systems of oppression. Organizer Roundtable: Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed - A Powerful Organizing Practice Noon - 1:30 pm Tuesday, April 7 Rondo Community Outreach Library 461 N Dale Street, St. Paul The session will be led by Victor Cole and his colleagues from the Twin Cities Pedagogy and Theater of the Oppressed. Come join with your peers to learn new and innovative organizing techniques and to discuss how they can be applied in your own campaigns. Organizer Roundtables are free, but registration is required. Please register at https://www.thedatabank.com/dpg/322/personalopt1.asp?formid=event&c=1387530 Light snacks will be provided, and please bring your lunch! The Rondo Community Outreach Library is located at the corner of University Avenue and Dale Street with FREE underground parking - enter from the south side of University Avenue. Joan Vanhala Coalition Organizer Alliance for Metropolitan Stability 2525 E Franklin Avenue, Suite 200 Minneapolis, MN 55406 612-332-4471 joan [at] metrostability.org --------8 of 14-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Econ crisis/CTV 4.07 5pm Supercalafragalistic St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers: "Our World In Depth" cablecasts on SPNN Channel 15 on Tuesdays at 5pm, midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am, after DemocracyNow! All households with basic cable may watch. Tues, 4/7, 5pm & midnight and Wed, 4/8, 10am The Economic Crisis: A Recent History of Deregulation Talk given by People's Economist Karen Redleaf on some of the causes of the current economic crisis. --------9 of 14-------- From: Do'ii <syncopatingrhythmsabyss [at] gmail.com> Subject: RNC court watch 4.07 6pm RNC Court Watchers are in need of participants to help with organizing court information, documentation and etc. RNC Court Watchers Meetings are every Tuesday, 6 P.M. at Caffeto's. Below is announcement for our meetings. Preemptive raids, over 800 people arrested, police brutality on the streets and torture in Ramsey County Jail. Police have indiscriminately used rubber bullets, concussion grenades, tasers and chemical irritants to disperse crowds and incapacitate peaceful, nonviolent protesters. The RNC-8 and others are facing felonies and years in jail. We must fight this intimidation, harassment and abuse! Join the RNC Court Solidarity Meeting this coming Tuesday at Caffetto's to find out how you can make a difference in the lives of many innocent people. Caffetto's Coffeehouse and Gallery (612)872-0911 708 W 22nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55405 Every Tuesday @ 6:00 P.M to 7:00 P.M participate and help organize RNC court solidarity. For more information, please contact: rnccourtwatch [at] gmail.com THE PEOPLE UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED! --------10 of 14-------- From: patty <pattypax [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Worker's film 4.07 6:30pm Tuesday, April 7, we will show the film, At the River I Stand. Great film about the workers movement. Takes place during the 1968 strike by sanitation workers in Memphis, which became one of the most important events of the Civil Rights movement as well. Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon ) are held (unless otherwise noted in advance): Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 W 7th, St Paul, MN Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats. Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information. --------11 of 14------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: Amnesty Intl 4.07 7pm StCloud MN Saint Cloud Area Amnesty International meets on Tuesday, April 7th, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the St. Cloud Public Library, 1300 W. St. Germain, Saint Cloud. For more information contact Jerry Dirks, 320-251-6491 or jerry.dirks [at] gmail.com. --------12 of 14-------- From: Curt McNamara <mcnam025 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Sustain/film 4.07 7pm Don't miss Everything's Cool, the last screening in this semester's Celebrate Sustainability Film Series on Tuesday, April 7. From the makers of Blue Vinyl, Everything's Cool follows global warming messengers as they search for the iconic image, the magic language and the points of leverage to create the political will to move the U.S. away from its reliance on fossil fuels toward a new clean energy economy. The screening begins at 7 p.m. in the College Center, located on the second floor of MCAD's Main Building. Both cineforums are free and open to the public. Visit MCAD's events page to find out more. --------13 of 14-------- Startling Revelations About Three Mile Island Raise New Doubts Over Nuclear Plant Safety Fooling with Disaster? [Blast from the past -ed] By SUE STURGIS April 3-5, 2009 CounterPunch It was April Fool's Day, 1979 - 30 years ago this week - when Randall Thompson first set foot inside the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Middletown, Pa. Just four days earlier, in the early morning hours of March 28, a relatively minor problem in the plant's Unit 2 reactor sparked a series of mishaps that led to the meltdown of almost half the uranium fuel and uncontrolled releases of radiation into the air and surrounding Susquehanna River. It was the single worst disaster ever to befall the U.S. nuclear power industry, and Thompson was hired as a health physics technician to go inside the plant and find out how dangerous the situation was. He spent 28 days monitoring radiation releases. Today, his story about what he witnessed at Three Mile Island is being brought to the public in detail for the first time - and his version of what happened during that time, supported by a growing body of other scientific evidence, contradicts the official U.S. government story that the Three Mile Island accident posed no threat to the public. "What happened at TMI was a whole lot worse than what has been reported," Randall Thompson told Facing South. "Hundreds of times worse." Thompson and his wife, Joy, a nuclear health physicist who also worked at TMI in the disaster's aftermath, claim that what they witnessed there was a public health tragedy. The Thompsons also warn that the government's failure to acknowledge the full scope of the disaster is leading officials to underestimate the risks posed by a new generation of nuclear power plants. While new reactor construction ground to a halt after the 1979 incident, state leaders and energy executives today are pushing for a nuclear energy revival that's centered in the South, where 12 of the 17 facilities seeking new reactors are located. Fundamental to the industry's case for expansion is the claim that history proves nuclear power is clean and safe - a claim on which the Thompsons and others, bolstered by startling new evidence, are casting doubt. An unlikely critic Randall Thompson could never be accused of being a knee-jerk anti-nuclear alarmist. A veteran of the U.S. Navy's nuclear submarine program, he is a self-described "nuclear geek" who after finishing military service jumped at the chance to work for commercial nuclear power companies. He worked for a time at the Peach Bottom nuclear plant south of Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania's York County, but quit the industry six months before the TMI disaster over concerns that nuclear companies were cutting corners for higher profits, with potentially dangerous results. Instead, he began publishing a skateboarding magazine with his wife Joy. But the moment the Thompsons heard about the TMI incident, they wanted to get inside the plant and see what was happening first-hand. That didn't prove difficult: Plant operator Metropolitan Edison's in-house health physics staff fled after the incident began, so responsibility for monitoring radioactive emissions went to a private contractor called Rad Services. The company immediately hired Randall Thompson to serve as the health physics technician in charge of monitoring radioactive emissions, while Joy Thompson got a job monitoring radiation doses to TMI workers. "I had other health physicists from around the country calling me saying, 'Don't let it melt without me!" Randall Thompson recalls. "It was exciting. Our attitude was, 'Sure I may get some cancer, but I can find out some cool stuff.'" What the Thompsons say they found out during their time inside TMI suggests radiation releases from the plant were hundreds if not thousands of times higher than the government and industry have acknowledged - high enough to cause the acute health effects documented in people living near the plant but that have been dismissed by the industry and the government as impossible given official radiation dose estimates. The Thompsons tried to draw attention to their findings and provide health information for people living near the plant, but what they say happened next reads like a John Grisham thriller. They tell of how a stranger approached Randall Thompson in a grocery store parking lot in late April 1979 and warned him his life was at risk, leading the family to flee Pennsylvania. How they ended up in New Mexico working on a book about their experiences with the help of Joy's brother Charles Busey, another nuclear Navy vet and a former worker at the Hatch nuclear power plant in Georgia. How one evening while driving home from the store Busey and Randall Thompson were run off the road, injuring Thompson and killing Busey. How a copy of the book manuscript they were working on was missing from the car's trunk after the accident. These allegations were detailed in several newspaper accounts back in 1981. Eventually, after a decade of having their lives ruled by TMI, the Thompsons decided to move on. Randall Thompson went to college to study computer science. Joy Thompson returned to publishing and writing. Today they live quietly in the mountains of North Carolina where, inspired by time spent seeking refuge with a traveling circus, they have forged a new career for themselves as clowns - or what they like to call "professional fools." As Joy Thompson wrote in the fall 2001 issue of Parabola, a journal of myth, the role of the fool is to help people "perceive the foolishness in even ... the most powerful institutions," noting the medieval court jester's role of telling the King what others dare not. That conviction has led the Thompsons to tell their story today. "They haven't told the truth yet about what happened at Three Mile Island," says Randall Thompson. "A lot of people have died because of this accident. A lot." Anomalies abound That a lot of people died because of what happened at Three Mile Island, as the Thompsons claim, is definitely not part of the official story. In fact, the commercial nuclear power industry and the government insist that despite the meltdown of almost half of the uranium fuel at TMI, there were only minimal releases of radiation to the environment that harmed no one. For example, the Nuclear Energy Institute, the lobbying group for the U.S. nuclear industry, declares on its website that there have been "no public health or safety consequences from the TMI-2 accident." The government's position is the same, reflected in a fact sheet distributed today by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the federal agency charged with overseeing the U.S. nuclear power industry: TMI, it says, "led to no deaths or injuries to plant workers or members of the nearby community." [The watchdog group Three Mile Island Alert offers their take on the NRC factsheet here.] Those upbeat claims are based on the findings of the Kemeny Commission, a panel assembled by President Jimmy Carter in April 1979 to investigate the TMI disaster. Using release figures presented by Metropolitan Edison and the NRC, the commission calculated that in the month following the disaster there were releases of up to 13 million curies of so-called "noble gases" - considered relatively harmless - but only 13 to 17 curies of iodine-131, a radioactive form of the element that at even moderate exposures causes thyroid cancer. (A curie is a measure of radioactivity, with 1 curie equal to the activity of one gram of radium. For help understanding these and other terms, see the glossary at the end of this piece.) But the official story that there were no health impacts from the disaster doesn't jibe with the experiences of people living near TMI. On the contrary, their stories suggest that area residents actually suffered exposure to levels of radiation high enough to cause acute effects - far more than the industry and the government has acknowledged. Some of their disturbing experiences were collected in the book Three Mile Island: The People's Testament, which is based on interviews with 250 area residents done between 1979 and 1988 by Katagiri Mitsuru and Aileen M. Smith. It includes the story of Jean Trimmer, a farmer who lived in Lisburn, Pa. about 10 miles west of TMI. On the evening of March 30, 1979, Trimmer stepped outside on her front porch to fetch her cat when she was hit with a blast of heat and rain. Soon after, her skin became red and itchy as if badly sunburned, a condition known as erythema. About three weeks later, her hair turned white and began falling out. Not long after, she reported, her left kidney "just dried up and disappeared" - an occurrence so strange that her case was presented to a symposium of doctors at the nearby Hershey Medical Center. All of those symptoms are consistent with high-dose radiation exposure. There was also Bill Peters, an auto-body shop owner and a former justice of the peace who lived just a few miles west of the plant in Etters, Pa. The day after the disaster, he and his son - who like most area residents were unaware of what was unfolding nearby - were working in their garage with the doors open when they developed what they first thought was a bad sunburn. They also experienced burning in their throats and tasted what seemed to be metal in the air. That same metallic taste was reported by many local residents and is another symptom of radiation exposure, commonly reported in cancer patients receiving radiation therapy. Peters soon developed diarrhea and nausea, blisters on his lips and inside his nose, and a burning feeling in his chest. Not long after, he had surgery for a damaged heart valve. When his family evacuated the area a few days later, they left their four-year-old German shepherd in their garage with 200 pounds of dog chow, 50 gallons of water and a mattress. When they returned a week later, they found the dog dead on the mattress, his eyes burnt completely white. His food was untouched, and he had vomited water all over the garage. They also found four of their five cats dead - their eyes also burnt white - and one alive but blinded. Peters later found scores of wild bird carcasses scattered over their property. Similar stories surfaced in The People of Three Mile Island, a book by documentary photographer Robert Del Tredici. He found local farmers whose cattle and goats died, suffered miscarriages and gave birth to deformed young after the incident; whose chickens developed respiratory problems and died; and whose fruit trees abruptly lost all their leaves. Local residents also collected evidence of deformed plants, some of which were examined by James Gunckel, a botanist and radiation expert with Brookhaven National Laboratory and Rutgers University. "There were a number of anomalies entirely comparable to those induced by ionizing radiation - stem fasciations, growth stimulation, induction of extra vegetative buds and stem tumors," he swore in a 1984 affidavit. Scientists say these kinds of anomalies simply aren't explained by official radiation release estimates. Evidence of harm The evidence that people, animals and plants near TMI were exposed to high levels of radiation in the 1979 disaster is not merely anecdotal. While government studies of the disaster as well as a number of independent researchers assert the incident caused no harm, other surveys and studies have also documented health effects that point to a high likelihood of significant radiation exposures. In 1984, for example, psychologist Marjorie Aamodt and her engineer husband, Norman - owners of an organic dairy farm east of Three Mile Island who got involved in a lawsuit seeking to stop TMI from restarting its Unit 1 reactor - surveyed residents in three hilltop neighborhoods near the plant. Dozens of neighbors reported a metallic taste, nausea, vomiting and hair loss as well as illnesses including cancers, skin and reproductive problems, and collapsed organs - all associated with radiation exposure. Among the 450 people surveyed, there were 19 cancer deaths reported between 1980 and 1984 - more than seven times what would be expected statistically. That survey came to the attention of the industry-financed TMI Public Health Fund, created in 1981 as part of a settlement for economic losses from the disaster. The fund's scientific advisors verified the Aamodts' calculations and launched a more comprehensive study of TMI-related cancer deaths led by a team of scientists from Columbia University. The researchers found an association between estimated radiation doses received by area residents and instances of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, lung cancer, leukemia and all cancers combined. Crucially, however, the researchers decided there wasn't "convincing evidence" that TMI radiation releases were linked to the increase in cancers in the area because of the "low estimates of radiation exposure." The paper did not consider what conclusions could be drawn if those "low estimates" turned out to be wrong. By the time the Columbia research was published in the early 1990s, a class-action lawsuit was underway involving about 2,000 plaintiffs claiming that the radiation emissions were much larger than admitted by the government and industry. (The federal courts eventually rejected that suit, though hundreds of out-of-court settlements totaling millions of dollars have been reached with victims, including the parents of children born with birth defects.) Consulting for the plaintiffs' attorneys, the Aamodts contacted Dr. Steven Wing, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health in Chapel Hill to provide support for the plaintiffs. Dr. Wing was reluctant to get involved because - as he wrote in a 2003 paper about his experience - "allegations of high radiation doses at TMI were considered by mainstream radiation scientists to be a product of radiation phobia or efforts to extort money from a blameless industry." But impressed with the Aamodts' compelling if imperfect evidence, Wing agreed to look at whether there were connections between radiation exposure from TMI and cancer rates. Wing reanalyzed the Columbia scientists' data, looking at cancer rates before the TMI disaster to control for other possible risk factors in the 10-mile area. His peer-reviewed results, published in 1997, found positive relationships between accident dose estimates and rates of leukemia, lung cancer and all cancers. Where the Columbia study found a 30 percent average increase in lung cancer risk among one group of residents, for example, Wing found an 85 percent increase. And while the Columbia researchers found little or no increase in adult leukemias and a statistically unreliable increase in childhood cases, Wing found that people downwind during the most intense releases were eight to 10 times more likely on average than their neighbors to develop leukemia. Dr. Wing reflected on his findings at a symposium in Harrisburg marking the 30-year anniversary of the Three Mile Island disaster last week. "I believe this is very good evidence that releases were thousands of times greater than the story we've been told," he said. "As we think about the current plans to open more nuclear reactors, when we hear - which we hear often - that no one was harmed at Three Mile Island, we really should question that." Documenting discrepancies Randall and Joy Thompson couldn't agree more. If anything, they think Dr. Wing's findings understate the impact of Three Mile Island because they're based on low-ball estimates of radiation releases. "Given what he was allowed to know or could figure out, he did a slam-bang job of it," Joyce Thompson says. In 1995, the Thompsons - with the help of another health physics expert who was also hired to monitor radiation after the TMI disaster, David Bear (formerly Bloombaum) - prepared a report analyzing the Kemeny Commission findings. Their research, which hasn't been covered by any major media, documents a series of inconsistencies and omissions in the government's account. For example, the official story is that the TMI incident released only 13 to 17 curies of dangerous iodine into the outside environment, a tiny fraction of the 13 million curies of less dangerous radioactive gases officials say were released, primarily xenon. Such a number would seem small compared with, for example, the 1986 nuclear accident at Chernobyl, which released anywhere from 13 million to 40 million curies of iodine and is linked to 50,000 cases of thyroid cancer, according to World Health Organization estimates. But the Thompsons and Bear point out that the commission's own Technical Assessment Task Force, in a separate volume, had concluded that iodine accounted for 8 to 12 percent of the total radioactive gases leaked from Three Mile Island. Conservatively assuming the 13 million curie figure was the total amount of radioactive gases released rather than just the xenon portion, and then using the Task Force's own 8 to 12 percent estimate of the proportion that was iodine, they point out that "the actual figure for Iodine release would be over 1 million curies" - a much more substantial public health threat. In another instance, the Kemeny Commission claimed that there were 7.5 million curies of iodine present in TMI's primary loop, the contained system that delivers cooling water to the reactor. But a laboratory analysis done on March 30 found a higher concentration of iodine in the reactor water, which would put the total amount of iodine present - and which could potentially leak into the environment - at 7.65 million curies. "Thus, while the apparent difference between 7.5 and 7.65 seems inconsiderable at first glance," the Thompson/Bear report states, "this convenient rounding off served to 'lose' a hundred and fifty thousand curies of radioactive Iodine." They also offer evidence of atmospheric releases of dangerously long-lived radioactive particles such as cesium and strontium - releases denied by the Kemeny Commission but indicated in the Thompsons' own post-disaster monitoring and detailed in the report - and show that there were pathways for the radiation to escape into the environment. They demonstrate that the plant's radiation filtration system was totally inadequate to handle the large amounts of radiation released from the melted fuel and suggest that the commission may have arbitrarily set release estimates at levels low enough to make the filtration appear adequate. Shockingly, they also report that when readings from the dosimeters used to monitor radiation doses to workers and the public were logged, doses of beta radiation - one of three basic types along with alpha and gamma - were simply not recorded, which Joy Thompson knew since she did the recording. But Thompson's monitoring equipment also indicated that beta radiation represented about 90 percent of the radiation to which TMI's neighbors were exposed in April 1979, which means an enormous part of the disaster's public health risk may have been wiped from the record. Finally, in a separate analysis the Thompsons point to discrepancies in government and industry accounts of the disaster that suggest the TMI Unit 2 suffered a scram failure - that is, a breakdown of the emergency shutoff system. That would mean the nuclear reaction spiraled out of control and therefore posed a much greater danger than the official story allows. The Thompsons aren't the only ones who have produced evidence that the radiation releases from TMI were much higher than the official estimates. Arnie Gundersen - a nuclear engineer and former nuclear industry executive turned whistle-blower - has done his own analysis, which he shared for the first time at a symposium in Harrisburg last week. "I think the numbers on the NRC's website are off by a factor of 100 to 1,000," he said. Exactly how much radiation was released is impossible to say, since onsite monitors immediately went off the scale after the explosion. But Gundersen points to an inside report by an NRC manager who himself estimated the release of about 36 million curies - almost three times as much as the NRC's official estimate. Gundersen also notes that industry itself has acknowledged there was a total of 10 billion curies of radiation inside the reactor containment. Using the common estimate that a tenth of it escaped, that means as much as a billion curies could have been released to the environment. Gundersen also offered compelling evidence based on pressure monitoring data from the plant that shortly before 2 p.m. on March 28, 1979 there was a hydrogen explosion inside the TMI containment building that could have released significant amounts of radiation to the environment. The NRC and industry to this day deny there was an explosion, instead referring to what happened as a "hydrogen burn." But Gundersen noted that affidavits from four reactor operators confirm that the plant manager was aware of a dramatic pressure spike after which the internal pressure dropped to outside pressure; he also noted that the control room shook and doors were blown off hinges. In addition, Gundersen reported that while Metropolitan Edison would have known about the pressure spike immediately from monitoring equipment, it didn't notify the NRC about what had happened until two days later. Gundersen maintains under the NRC's own rules an evacuation should have been ordered on the disaster's first day, when calculated radiation exposures in the town of Goldsboro, Pa. were as high as 10 rems an hour compared to an average cumulative annual background dose of about 0.125 rems. No evacuation order was ever issued, though Gov. Dick Thornburgh did issue an evacuation advisory on March 30 for pregnant women and preschool children within 5 miles of the plant. The government also did not distribute potassium iodide to the public, which would have protected people from the health-damaging effects of radioactive iodine. Lessons for the future? When asked to respond to these allegations, a spokeswoman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission did not address them directly, instead stating that it continues to stand by the Kemeny Commission report. The NRC further insists that the radiation releases from Three Mile Island had only "negligible effects" on the physical health of humans and the environment, citing other reports from federal agencies [For a PDF of the NRC's response to Facing South, see here.] But Gundersen and the Thompsons argue such claims don't address new findings at odds with the government's account. "I believe [the] data shows releases from TMI were significantly greater than reported by the federal government," Gundersen says. They also say their findings that releases were potentially much larger have important ramifications for current plans to expand the nuclear power industry. With more than $18 billion in federal subsidies at stake, 17 companies are seeking federal licenses to build a total of 26 nuclear reactors across the country, the first applications since the 1979 disaster. The Atlanta-based Southern Co. plans to begin site work this summer for two new reactors at the Vogtle site in Georgia, where state lawmakers recently approved legislation forcing ratepayers to foot the bill for those facilities up front. Florida and South Carolina residents have also begun paying new utility charges to finance planned reactors, USA Today reports. Plans are in the works as well for new reactors in Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Harold Denton, a retired NRC official who worked in Three Mile Island during the crisis, recently told Greenwire that changes made after the 1979 disaster "significantly reduced the overall risks of a future serious accident." But the Thompsons and Gundersen point out that the standards the NRC is applying to the new generation of nuclear plants are influenced by assumptions about what happened at Three Mile Island. They say the NRC's low estimates of radiation exposure have resulted in inadequate requirements for safety and containment protocols as well as the size of the evacuation zones around nuclear plants. Other nuclear watchdogs have also raised concerns that the NRC's standards for protection against severe accidents like TMI remain inadequate. In a December 2007 report titled "Nuclear Power in a Warming World," the Union of Concerned Scientists notes that the worst accident the current generation of reactors was designed to withstand involves only partial melting of the reactor core but no breach of containment. And the NRC requires operators of plants found to be vulnerable to severe accidents to fix the problem "only if a cost-benefit analysis shows that the financial benefit of a safety backfit - determined by assigning a dollar value to the number of projected cancer deaths that would result from a severe accident - outweighs the cost of fixing the problem," the report states. Given their personal experiences, the Thompsons warn that we may be fooling ourselves into believing nuclear power is safer than evidence and history suggest. "Once you realize how deep and broad the realignment of facts about TMI has been, it becomes really pretty amazing," Randall Thompson says. "I guess that's what it takes to protect this industry." Sue Sturgis is an investigative reporter and editor for Facing South, online magazine for the Institute for Southern Studies. Before joining Facing South, Sturgis was a reporter for The Raleigh News & Observer and The Independent Weekly. This story originally appeared on Facing South, online magazine of the Institute for Southern Studies: www.southernstudies.org [TMI is a typical example of "captialist ethics" - tender concern for longer yachts for themselves, and heartless unconcern for other selves. Why do we put up with capitalism once we know its evil heart? -ed] --------14 of 14-------- The nuke industry leaks to the skies a glowing account of itself. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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