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A Question of Priorities

Anthony Rogers is thinking out loud about some incidents that took place over the weekend.

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pgunter said…
Greetings and good night,

This blog about the LaSalle "site area emergency" being such a success story... whadaya expect?

Let me just add this bit to the story---

Local police did not know the nuke was at its 2nd highest level of emergency classification as the local first responders, until about 4 hrs later around the time the plant was exiting the emergency.
Bunch of burned out blubs but they did not appreciate that. Not a good exercise, folks.

More over since this wasnt a drill good neighbors dont treat each other that way.

Given the benefit of the doubt that this was a case of "operator optimism" or some other communication breakdown its more of a critique of the Katrinaesque emergency planning (ala early notification process) that still exists for nuclear power plants.

Then again, good neighbors dont wait to get found out that they've been crapping in the water for at least 10 years.

Paul, NIRS
pgunter said…
One more note... catch this AP wire story published as NRC closes the public comment period of the rulemaking for a "revised" Design Basis Threat for nuclear facilities.
For what its worth, I filed mine... did you?

February 22, 2006 WASHINGTON (AP) - "A government defense plan for nuclear power plants assumes an attack would come from less than half the number of Sept. 11 hijackers and they wouldn't be armed with rocket-propelled grenades or other weapons often used by terrorists overseas."

As I see there are new rules here, too [no posting full articles]you can see the whole pitiful story in the The Guardian UK.,,-5639818,00.html

Pretty lame, folks, are you really so financially marginal as to need to hold down the security bar this low... or just plain stingy?

We're getting blasted from Mogadishu to Baghdad with RPGs and you guys think the nukes are immune?

nighty, night,
Paul, NIRS
David Bradish said…
I love how you come in and stir up debate over things you're freaked out about that no one should be.

At LaSalle an indicator light showed that three of the control rods' position could not be confirmed. Call the police, local authorities, oh my gosh, a reactor tripped, run for the hills.

Sound the alarms, lets cause panic over three indicator lights that didn't work correctly for 4 minutes. Four minutes after the trip, all control rods were shown to have been inserted.

Seems like something to get all worked up to me.
Paul Primavera said…
While I agree with Dave Bradish, I would like to address the security portion of Paul Gunter's comments.

First of all, many of the anti-nuclear folk like Paul who are wailing about nuclear power plant security have often never actually worked in a nuclear power plant and have no real idea of what measures are in place to ensure public health and safety with respect to security matters, nor (since they are without Safeguards clearance) should they have any such knowledge. The old adage of 'loose lips sink ships' certainly applies, and it often seems as though no lips are looser than an anti-nuclear activists'. With all their concern about nuclear power plant security, one wonders why they try to constantly wave the red flag to attract would-be terrorists.

That being said, Islamic fascist terrorists would sooner attack undefended targets such as shopping malls, bridges, churches, schools, high rise office buildings, etc., than a well-armed, well defended fortress of impregnability that a commercial US nuclear power plant essentially is. That doesn't mean that our own home-grown, red-neck boys of the woods wouldn't try to do something stupid with their shotguns or fertilizer explosives (aka Timothy McVeigh), but to incite these characters to action as the anti-nuclear activists seem to be doing is at best disingenuous and at worst treasonous.

Now here are a few items to ponder. A rocket-propelled grenade that Paul Gunter referenced will have NO adverse impact on reactor containment. NONE. PERIOD. The concrete walls are too thick, nor would the terrorist get close enough to hit it. Security is so well maintained that not even a wild turkey can fly over our fence without being detected. Furthermore, I personally know the people on the Security Force at my plant. You will not meet a finer group of ladies and gentlemen anywhere. If Al Qaida or our own home-grown red-neck version tries ANYTHING stupid, then they will be dispatched straightaway to Allah for immediate judgement.

You, Paul Gunter, do not know anything about the security provisions we have in place (other than what you may be able to guess at from the NRC web site), nor should you or any other member of the public. We are SAFE. We are SECURE. And our electricity is VITAL to America's strength.

Perhaps it is that very strength which NIRS - WISE abhors.

On a side note, there is a propane tank farm and natural gas depot 2 miles from my house. There's no security guard, no containment, no anything. One shot from the gun of a deranged nut-case could turn the nothern half of the town where I live into a crater. I have REAL concern about that. In many respects, I actually feel SAFER being at the plant where I work.
Robert Merkel said…
Paul, maybe part of the problem is that these security provisions are super-super secret. If the industry could be a bit more open about its security provisions, maybe people would be more reassured. Like justice, it's not just about being done, it's about being seen to be done.

Furthermore, you're assuming that the more secret your security provisions are, the safer your plants will be. If those security plans depend entirely on their secrecy, then they run the risk of being exploited by somebody who gains inside knowledge about them.

Look, I'm not suggesting your security detail posts its guard changeover schedules on the internet, but some careful thought about what could be shown to the public to reassure them on this matter might be advantageous.
Paul said…

Thoughtful comments however dismissive.

Doesnt matter... I am just reading to you aloud the writing on the wall since there is such a deliberate effort to ignore or try to a curtain over it.

Mr. Primervara,

Your comment about "loose lips sinks ships" is first of all anti-democratic, demonstrating that nuclear power is in of itself not an appropriate power system for an open society. Second of all, your incenuations ignore or are ignorant that the National Academy of Sciences, the scientific validation arm of Congress, is one of those that has pointed out the vulnerabilities of the spent fuel storage system. Third, the RPG or TOW or whatever of concern comes as an attacked directed against target sets other than the containment dome, thus your statement reflects the same obfuscations.

According to the DBT and the AP, your security forces are not adequately guarded, equipped or trained to take on the equivalent of the September 11 attacks. Did you read that, sir?

No BS please,

Paul, NIRS
Paul Primavera said…
Paul Gunter,

NRC Chairman Nils Diaz addresses the NAS report at some length at:

< >

NRC Commissioner McGaffigan addresses the GAO report on the same at:

< >

I will not reproduce here what these two gentlemen write other than to state that the nuclear power plant at which I work is indeed quite secure. You do not need to know the means by which it is. It simply is and all your arguments to the contrary simply won't change the facts, nor grant you any safeguards clearance to find out how.

I will, however, take up your statement, "Your comment about 'loose lips sinks ships' is first of all anti-democratic..."

We do NOT live in a Democracy which is nothing more than tyranny of the majority - two wolves and one sheep voting on what's for dinner. We see in the example of Socrates in ancient Athens the result of Democracy where the individual right to life is expended at the behest of a mere simple majority.

Rather, we live in a Constitutional Republic where individual rights are respected, including the right of company owners to privately own nuclear power stations EVEN WHEN the majority of people say NO. An OPEN society means a FREE ENTERPRISE society where people, when they don't want something, simply don't buy it anymore.

If you, sir, do NOT want nuclear power, then simply don't buy electricity from the grid. It's really that simple. Put your money where your words are, for indeed money is the 'true democratic principle'.

BTW, here is how you generate electricity on your own:

< >

As a side note, I found this little photo quite illustrative and humorous (I hope you find it so, too):

< >

On a serious note, I really wish I could do what these old red necks from the woods do. They are pretty ingenious and inventive boys, and you have to give them a lot of credit for being grid-independent. But my wife and children don't want to live in the woods like this with electricity availability at 90 to 95% (that's a total of 36.5 to 18.25 days per year without electricity). If that, however, is what trips your trigger, then far be it from me to stand in your way. Go and with my blessings!
Paul Primavera said…
Paul Gunter,

I just can't resist leaving you with this quote from one of our Republic's founders:

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790), Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Increasing our use of nuclear energy gives us liberty - freedom - from dependence on fossil fuel in lands of Islamic fascism. Never must we sacrifice our freedom because of unreasoning fears. In fact, the best way to end involvement in wars of adventurism in lands of sands (my, that rhymes!) is by replacing oil with nuclear power. No longer would we have to 'export democracy' at the tip of the bayonet (or the muzzle of our Abrams tanks).

I am often amazed at how the very people who whine, moan and wail against the war in Iraq are the same as those who whine, moan and wail against nuclear power, citing all kinds of hypothetical and mythical dangers ranging from containment collapse to battalion terrorist attack.

I will repeat:

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Nuclear power - just a small amount of uranium - is quite liberating from the tons and tons of replacement fossil fuel and no sarcasm is intended.
pgunter said…
Mr. Primivera,

"A subtle traitor needs no sophister."

Shakespeare, King Henry the Sixth, Part II, Act 5 Scene I Line 195
Paul Primavera said…
Then Paul Gunter, why the sophistry from NIRS - WISE?

My point is that no facility - nuclear, chemical, airline, train, etc. - is or can ever be 100% safe. There is far greater danger from the petro tank farms all along I-95 in New Jersey just outside of NYC than from any commercial nuclear power plant. An attack on the Croton or Kensico dams in NY's Westchester County (quite feasible given the minimal security provided by County Commissioner Andy Spano) would drown hundreds of thousands in flood waters, but an attack against the Indian Point nuclear power plants would be utterly defeated. Yes, from many attack scenarios against non-nuclear targets literally millions could die, but such is not the case with the hardened, impregnable fortress that a nuclear power plant is.

I sincerely applaud all real attempts to improve security at commercial nuclear power plants just as I would at chemical plants or petro tank farms. However, the red flag waving and hysteria-mongering of anti-nuclear activist organizations are at best disingenuous and at worst treasonous. In fact, to abandon nuclear energy because of unreasoning fear and superstition makes us MORE dependent on fossil fuel, increases air pollution that kills innocent women and children, and necessitates wars of foreign adventure in lands of Islamic fascism to secure access to oil. A fringe element of society, however afraid of what it does not understand, has no right because of its fear to impose its will and necessitate the deaths of tens of thousands of inocents from air pollution. To quote your quote, Paul Gunter:

"A subtle traitor needs no sophister."

With all due and sincere respect,

Paul Primavera
Paul Primavera said…
Paul Gunter,

I just wanted to followup with one explanation. I am NOT calling YOU personally a traitor or treasonous. I am NOT attacking YOU as a person. You are entitled to your opinions and the right to freely express them. Rather, I am saying that making America increasingly dependent on oil in lands of Islamic fascism, and increasing the deaths of innocents from air pollution created by the burning of fossil fuels is treasonous. Nuclear power avoids all that.

If I have given ANY indication otherwise, then please accept my sincerest apologies.
Paul Primavera said…
If suicide terrorist squads can be defeated by the lesser security provisions at a Saudi petroleum refinery, then they would surely be defeated by the far greater security of a commercial US nuclear power station:

< >

This again confirms that Islamic fascist terrorist squads prefer to attack relatively lightly defended targets than a heavily armed fortress of impregnability (e.g., commercial US nuclear power plant).

It's too bad, however, that because we didn't expand on the number of nuclear power stations in the US in the 1990s that now we are dependent on Saudi petroleum refineries.
Moon said…
Man, that's exactly the rebuttal I expected. Facts are totally irrelevent, speculation is the only thing that counts. If the facts don't fit the speculation, avoind them at all costs. My "thinking out loud" was exactly what is was, several emergencies at nuclear reactors over 30 years or so and still not one single death. Meanwhile, coal miners die in bunches every singal year.

Gunter, if possible, can we just discuss the actual content this post is about? Namely, how many people died at LaSalle? Almost doesn't count. Could have doesn't count, should have doesn't count. Facts are facts. No one died. No one even came close. The body count this year is about typical for any year, coal mine deaths in the several hundred world wide, nuclear deaths, 0 again. Coal, although getting cleaner, ravages the environment through mining and exhaust. Nuclear MIGHT if we don't figure some way to rocket the waste into space. ( Paul P., any clue why this has never been an option? You'd think Cassini would have softened that view some. ). And, to top it off, we wouldn't be hogtied to 3rd World countries just to keep our economy going.

Now, what's that downside of nuclear energy again? And, remember, coulda's, shoulda's, mights, and would have's don't mean a thing to anyone other than the Sheen family.

I actually a did a little more in-depth "thinking out loud" on the issue a while back. Basically, the conclusion I've come to is some people are still tethered to the logic of homo sapien and anything beyond cave man logic scares them. So, they must kill it.

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