By Deb Katz
Organizer For The Citizens Awareness Network

“…. It brings to mind the Office of Circumlocution in Charles Dickens’ Bleak House….”
Judge Michael Ponzer, Federal District Court, May, 1994
Regarding NRC’s actions to violate EPA requirement and a public hearing in the Rowe decommissioning

“….arbitrary, capricious, and utterly irrational…..”
US Court of Appeals July 1995 CAN v NRC
Describing NRC’s activities in the Yankee Rowe decommissioning

In what may be the only opportunity for the public to express concerns to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) about the radioactive pollution Yankee Atomic is leaving behind for us, the NRC will hold a Pre-hearing, January 26th at the Greenfield Court House. The pre-trial will establish the boundaries for subject matter for a subsequent hearing regarding the site release plan for the site of the Yankee Rowe nuclear reactor. Yankee's lawyers, counsel for the NRC, and Citizens Awareness Network with other public interest groups including New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution, will argue before a panel of three Atomic Safety and Licensing Board judges about how dirty the clean-up of Rowe can be. There will be a public comment period, beginning at 6:30 PM, for citizens to raise concerns over the future of the reactor site

In November 1998, the NRC Commissioners ordered the elimination of any discussion of a proposed Dry Cask storage facility on the site for Yankee Rowe's irradiated fuel with the justification that high-level waste is the "responsibility" of the Department of Energy (DOE). This action attempts to effectively preclude public input into perhaps the most salient aspect of Yankee's License Termination Plan (LTP).

This may be the only opportunity for members of the public to express concerns about the dangerous waste Yankee Atomic is leaving behind for us, its hapless neighbors. The contentions CAN will present at the hearing include concerns about plans for the creation of an Independent Fuel Storage Facility. These concerns are supported by an affidavit by David Lochbaum, Nuclear Engineer for the Union of Concerned Scientists. In all likelihood the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board will attempt to silence any references to this experimental process. CAN's eight contentions argue that YAEC's License Termination Plan is not adequate to protect the health and safety of the public and workers, and that the NRC has not promulgated clear guidelines and standards for the remediation of the site. CAN is requesting that YAEC stop:

What is seen in on-going events at the site, and in Yankee's LTP, is a philosophical decision to cut costs, limit clean-up, and thereby relieve itself of its responsibility to monitor and remove dangerous contamination from the site and from the river where contamination has migrated. This philosophical perspective does not protect the health and safety of our community, but will lead to the firing of Yankee's skilled workforce and the removal of Yankee's fuel pool to save money. What YAEC will leave behind, if NRC abdicates its responsibility to reactor communities, is not a "Greenfield" but an atomic power legacy of radioactive contamination and storage site for irradiated fuel rod waste.

“It is unacceptable that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission values Yankee Atomic’s profit margin over the health and safety of our community.” said Deb Katz, President of the Citizens Awareness Network. “ It is a travesty if NRC sanctions the violation of EPA radiation standards so that Yankee can cut costs, cut jobs, and create another dangerous experiment at Rowe. Rowe’s site remediation must be relevant and accountability to its neighbors not its shareholders.”

“If NRC gives Yankee Atomic the green light to leave the site contaminated, all reactors in New England will follow Yankee’s lead and leave their deadly garbage behind.” said Sal Mangiali, Board member of CAN and resident of Haddam, CT, host to the decommissioning CT Yankee reactor. “We believe that it would be safer, more cost-effective, and protective of workers and the community if Yankee would stop its strip and ship policy, and hold its waste on site until an environmentally sound and just solution is created. To bury the nuclear fiasco in someone else’s backyard only masks the problem of how dirty nuclear power really is.”

“Yankee’s precedent-setting decommissioning will effect how contaminated Vermont Yankee will eventually leave its site. What we see with decommissioning at Yankee Rowe and CT Yankee is that safe, clean nuclear power is public relations rather than fact. Vermont Yankee should close rather than creating more waste for which there is no solution.” said Derrik Jordan, Vermont CAN member.

MA: Box 83 Shelburne Falls, MA 01370 P/F: 413-339-5781/8768
CT: 54 Old Turnpike Road, Haddam, CT 06438 P/F: 860-345-8431
VT: C/O Box 566 Putney, VT 05346 P/F: 802-387-4050
NH: 9 Evens Road, Madbury, NH 03820 P/F 603-742-4261
NY: 924 Burnet Ave, Syracuse, NY 13203 315-472-5478/ 7923