An Interview with Vic Macks – Alliance to Halt Fermi 3Written by Stacy Jurich | | firstname.lastname@example.org
SJ: Toledo is situated comfortably on Lake Erie between Davis Besse and Fermi 1 and 2 in Monroe. How close have reactors come to disasters that would require an evacuation, and how would you explain the current threat?
VM: Davis Bessie has a cracked containment structure but is allowed to operate. In 1985 it had a twelve minute interruption of feedwater and in 2002 the lid of the reactor nearly burst. Former NRC Commissioner, Harold Denton, called these events the worst reactor problems since Three Mile Island. In 2006, Tom Ullman of the U.S. Department of Justice said Davis Bessie owner, First Energy had shown “brazen arrogance and breach of public trust”.
Fermi 2 had three unplanned shut downs last year. On June 6, 2010, there was a tornado touch down causing damage to a generator building and a shut down.
A Center for Disease Control statistical analysis shows that there is a significantly higher incidence of cancer deaths for Monroe, MI residents compared with incidences for the U.S. as a whole. This increase in Monroe cancer deaths correlates with the Fremi 2 going to full power. Fermi 2 has 550 tons of withdrawn highly radioactive fuel rods in over crowded cooling pool outside the containment vessel and is dependent on pumps to maintain cooling in order to avoid a meltdown and explosion.
SJ: Days after three Fukushima reactors exploded, the U.S. NRC advised Americans within 50 miles to leave. Can millions of people be quickly evacuated from the proposed fifty-mile zones around Fermi and Davis Besse?
VM: In a real emergency evacuation, roads would be clogged, some people would have no means of leaving the area, and an evacuation could not be done in an orderly, effective manner so as to avoid exposure to radiation and radionuclide fall out. There is no thought-out practiced plan. Not surprising since the NRC, in its Environmental Impact Statement in support of Detroit Edison’s application to build and operate Fermi 3, dismisses the risk of a serious accident as small and “requiring no mitigation”.
SJ: What entity is responsible for notifying the public of an accident in a timely manner and can we depend on them?
VM: It appears ambiguous and left to the reactor owner and state/local government. A timely notification hasn’t happened around the world in the twenty-eight reactor accidents on record. The governor of Pennsylvania waited days to issue an evacuation order after the Three Mile Island accident. He also fired the state health official for criticizing the delay. Did anything bad happen? Yes. People got sick and 430 infants died. In 25 years after Chernobyl, 985,000 people died. It’s not over.
The NRC advice to Americans to leave a 50 mile zone around Daichi was issued many days after the explosions. U.S. Navy ships measured significant radiation exposure 100 miles away from Fukushima.
SJ: You posed the question, would the U.S. government license, finance (federal loan guarantees), and indemnify (Price-Anderson Act) a reactor knowing it is unsafe?
VM: Prior to building Fermi 1, the 1957 WASH Report produced by the Brookhaven National Laboratory at the request of the Atomic Energy Commission said that in a major accident the following would happen:
3,400 people would die within 15 miles; 43,000 people within 44 miles would suffer severe radiation sickness; 82,000 people within 200 miles would have double the chance of cancer; and subsequently, 460,000 people would have to be moved out of their homes up to 320 miles downwind of the accident; and there would be 7 billion dollars in property damage.
Also, the 1956 report of the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safe Guards, given to the Atomic Energy Commission, clearly stated that the design of the proposed Fermi 1 reactor was unsafe and should not be built. Nonetheless, AEC Chairman Strauss suppressed these reports and authorized construction of Fermi 1. Walter Reuther of the UAW sued to stop Fermi 1 but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the AEC. Fermi 1 was built, had a partial meltdown and a subsequent liquid sodium fire, and John Fuller wrote (accurately) We Almost Lost Detroit. Fermi 1 sits, a radioactive hulk.
For more information:
http://www.nrdc.org/nuclear/fallout/default.asp for a map of U.S. Nuclear Power plants, plume trajectories and evacuation zones.
Add your support and your voice to stop Fermi 3, shut down Fermi 2 and stop the re-licensing of Davis Bessie at www.ATHF3.org.