portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article announcements oregon & cascadia

energy & nuclear

Will You Trust Your Children's and Grandchildren's Safety to a 60 Year Old Nuclear Reactor

Energy NW operates the only commercial nuclear power plant in the Pacific NW. It is up for license renewal and public hearings need to be held throughout the region, not just in Richland, WA. We need to push for green renewal energy sources, not continuation of dangerous nuclear, and for closure, not relicensing of the Columbia (Nuclear) Generating Station.
What was not known until recently is that Energy NW has been seeking for the past two years to use the same dangerous plutonium as was used at the Fukushima Reactor 3 reactor. Plutonium is much more dangerous than uranium. Energy NW would be the only nuclear plant using plutonium in the United States.

The note below from our friends Heart of America NW in Seattle advocates for customers of PUDs to contact their PUD boards. I think that we need to contact our city councils, (Portland, Gresham, Fairview, Hood River, Salem, St. Helens) whether they are PUDs or not, and demand public hearings. It does not only affect PUD customers. It should be of concern to all citizens in the Pacific Northwest.

Seattle Times Sunday Front page story discusses danger & how Energy Northwest (formerly WPPSS) and NRC refused our request for hearings that ratepayers can attend.

 http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2015494517_nukeplant03m.html

Tell Your Seattle or other City and Public Utility District (PUD) officials to use their seat on Energy NW board to pull plug and plan to replace reactor in 10 years with true clean, safe renewable energy and conservation.

Will You Trust Your Children's and Grandchildren's Safety to a 60 Year Old Nuclear Plant at Hanford?
 http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2015494517_nukeplant03m.html

Tell Your Seattle City Council, Mayor and Snohomish County or other PUD Commissioners to Pull the Plug on Relicensing Extension and Plutonium Fuel at the Northwest's Only Commercial Nuclear Reactor.... And, insist on a public hearing in Seattle and other areas. (links to email them below and in action alert at www.hoanw.org)

It's time to plan for replacing the former WPPSS reactor with clean, safe and renewable power and conservation, not to have the reactor relicensed to operate until it is 60 years old in 2043.

Energy Northwest (formerly WPPSS) runs the region's sole commercial nuclear reactor, located along the Columbia River on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Energy Northwest is owned and run by Washington's publicly owned utilities, e.g., Seattle City Light, Snohomish PUD, Clark PUD, Tacoma City Light...

Heart of America Northwest's request to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to order public hearings in Seattle and around the region on the relicensing and environmental impact statement was turned down, as reported in the page 1 story in Sunday July 3rd's Seattle Times.

But, our public utilities own Energy Northwest and serve on its Board of Directors -- your City Light. So we have to insist that our elected City Councils, Mayors and PUD Commissioners tell Energy Northwest that it has to hold hearings in our communities - where the ratepayers live, not just in Richland.

Hearings aren't enough. As the NY Times and Associated Press recently documented,

 http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jnlxtxW2oDWrH5uizepE8mYnk3XA

the NRC has relaxed safety standards repeatedly and allowed political pressure to determine that every application to extend reactor licenses for an additional 20 years are approved, regardless of how poor the safety record of the reactor or the existence of widespread leakage and contamination.

We have to assert public control of our region's electric power and use the next ten years before the plant's license expires to plan to replace the power with clean, safe renewable power and conservation. Our cities and PUDs have been silent - not exercising their role on our behalf as Board members of Energy NW - in allowing the reactor's management to push ahead with relicensing, refusing to hold meetings, and with seeking to use the same dangerous Plutonium fuel as used in Fukushima Reactor 3.


That's right. Without any public notice or discussion, Energy Northwest has been working to be the nation's first nuclear plant to use highly dangerous Plutonium fuel instead of Uranium. This is the same fuel that was in reactor 3 in Fukushima and greatly increased the offsite radiation doses and contamination. Plutonium fuel not only melts at a lower temperature, it greatly increases the offsite dose in the event of an accident. Yet, there is not one word about this plan in Energy Northwest's relicensing application nor do we expect to see it discussed in the upcoming environmental impact statement. Heart of America Northwest has gone to court to bring to light documents which Energy Northwest blacked out to prevent disclosure of its plans, as reported in the Seattle Times

 http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2014539881_plutonium19m.html

and Tri-City Herald

 link to www.tri-cityherald.com

"Officials at the Columbia Generating Station, on the Hanford nuclear reservation, have been quietly discussing the use of so-called mox fuel for at least two years - but had hoped to keep the fact out of the news.

"In the case of an accident, some experts say fuel made from highly toxic plutonium can produce more dangerous fallout than standard uranium fuel. Plutonium fuel is also harder to control, said nuclear scientist Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research.

"The nuclear-watchdog group Heart of America Northwest sued the plant's operator this week, alleging that Energy Northwest improperly withheld information about the proposal requested under the federal Freedom of Information Act....But officials wanted to keep their studies quiet." Seattle Times Page 1 March 19, 2011.

Does this sound like these officials are representing you??? Does it sound as if your elected City Council, Mayor and PUD officials are exercising their oversight and representing your interests as Board members of Energy Northwest?

Use the links below to write the Mayor of Seattle and City Council Members or Snohomish County PUD - if you live elsewhere in WA look up your PUD or city officials on line - to urge:

As elected officials, please direct our public utility use its vote on the Energy Northwest Board of Directors to:

Start planning to replace the power from the Energy Northwest nuclear reactor with truly clean and safe power from renewable energy and conservation. Nuclear power is too dangerous, especially to operate a reactor for 60 years. There is nothing clean about nuclear waste.

End the application to relicense the reactor to operate from 2023 to 2043.

Insist that Energy Northwest voluntarily hold public hearings in the cities and counties of its major member public utilities so ratepayers can comment on the environmental impact statement and relicensing.

Pull the plug on the very dangerous scheme to use Plutonium fuel for the commercial reactor... and to fully disclose all records on costs spent and budgets for this scheme.

Here are the emails and comment form links for Seattle's Mayor and Council and Snohomish PUD (please cc your message to us at  office@hoanw.org)

 richard.conlin@seattle.gov

 sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov

 tim.burgess@seattle.gov

 sally.clark@seattle.gov

 jean.godden@seattle.gov

 bruce.harrell@seattle.gov

 nick.licata@seattle.gov

 mike.obrien@seattle.gov

 tom.rasmussen@seattle.gov


 http://www.seattle.gov/mayor/citizen_response.htm


Snohomish PUD Commissioners:

 http://www.snopud.com/?p=1236

David Aldrich
President
 emaildavidaldrich@snopud.com

Kathleen Vaughn
 emailkathyvaughn@snopud.com

Toni Olson
 emailtanyaolson@snopud.com


Wishing you a safe and fun 4th of July,
Gerry

Gerry Pollet, J.D.,

Executive Director

Heart of America Northwest

"The Public's Voice for Hanford Cleanup"

homepage: homepage: http://www.hoanw.org