REBUTTAL of NRC’s Op-Ed Claiming that Public Safety is its Priority
NRC’s recent Mercury op-ed (4-19-15) is an outrageous deception. NRC is many things but it is not always truthful and it is not always humane. NRC’s decisions for Limerick have shown reckless disregard for public health and safety, despite NRC’s assertion that safety is its priority. NRC clearly puts Exelon’s profits before safety.
The sad reality is that for NRC, it’s all about allowing dangerous degrading nuclear plants like Limerick to continue operating, despite the risks and costs to all of us.
Things are so bad at Limerick that NRC is actually stonewalling the public. Honest, direct answers are hard to come by. After many e-mail exchanges with the NRC regional chief for Limerick, ACE tells us that it is still unable to get direct answers about dangerous situations and safety-related breakdowns in Limerick’s systems and equipment. NRC’s chief went so far as to inform ACE that he doesn’t even want the public to e-mail NRC’s on-site resident inspectors with Limerick-specific concerns. Why does this NRC chief expect the public to contact only him when he appears to be a PR person with the goal of controlling Limerick information on behalf of Exelon’s interests, not public safety? ACE found that Limerick’s on-site inspectors can provide more accurate and timely responses to serious concerns than anyone in the regional office.
NRC has NOT enforced its regulations at Limerick, which NRC’s op-ed stated that it has the authority to do. Instead of enforcing compliance, when rules or licensed conditions for Limerick are violated, NRC has weakened or eliminated its regulations, saving Exelon the costs of compliance. We should all object to weakened safety at Limerick through NRC’s granting of exemptions, exclusions, experiments, amendments, dangerous delays, and reliefs (counting relief from inspections as compliance). These tactics greatly jeopardize the health and financial interests of everyone in the Greater Philadelphia Region.
Limerick’s records show that its reactors were defective from the start and now, 30 years later, they are degrading faster than estimates predicted. Our most recent concern is about the high number of Limerick scrams (planned or unplanned shutdowns), that can cause age-degraded defective reactors like Limerick’s to crack, leaking radioactive water from the core, which can lead to meltdowns. Testing on Belgium’s reactors confirmed our concerns about cracking: 16,000 cracks were identified in two reactors. Limerick’s reactors could have even more cracks. A nuclear engineer filed a petition against Limerick due to Limerick’s high number of scrams and their impact on reactor embrittlement-induced cracking:
- ACE identified 12 scrams in NRC’s own safety reports, just from February 25, 2011 to February 23, 2015.
- On February 23, 2015 Limerick’s Unit 1 scram was due to a valve problem. TMI’s partial meltdown was caused by a valve problem.
- On April 13, 2015, Unit 2 suffered back-to-back scramming events, which we haven’t seen before (an unsuccessful planned scram followed by a manual scram).
Don’t let NRC tell you that Limerick is safe. NRC’s conclusions about the safety of Limerick are dependent entirely on Exelon’s self-serving guesstimates and reports. Exelon is making a mockery of NRC’s regulatory process as NRC ignores:
- Unprecedented earthquake risks that increase Limerick’s meltdown risks
- PA fracking that increases Limerick’s earthquake risks
- Crude-oil “bomb train” tracks going through the Limerick site. A derailment could trigger a Limerick catastrophe.
- Cyber attacks and other terrorist threats that are increasing.
Don’t believe baseless NRC assurances that Limerick is safe. The only way to minimize risks of meltdowns is to close Limerick. If you agree, e-mail ACE at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information see www.acereport.org.
Betty and Charlie Shank
2461 East High Street, Unit F-28
Pottstown, PA 19464