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DEEP COMMISSIONER SELECTS LONG TIME MILLSTONE WORKER TO HEAD RADIATION PROTECTION

Waterford, CT, July 30, 2014 – A longtime worker at the Millstone Nuclear Power Station is the new head of radiation protection for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone announced today. Jeffrey Semancik, former director of nuclear engineering at Millstone, is DEEP’s Director of Radiation, according to a DEEP announcement issued on June 26, 2014. The appointment by DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee was criticized by Coalition Director Nancy Burton, a longtime anti-nuclear activist. On its face, this appointment is woefully inappropriate, she said.

“DEEP and its predecessor DEP have an appalling record of lackadaisical, hands-off attitude when it comes to Millstone,” Burton said. “This appointment confirms the concerns of many that DEEP is an industry puppet when it comes to Millstone.”

Burton cited the recent repeated failure of radiation monitoring equipment at Millstone Units 2 and 3 as necessitating the appointment of a radiation director who is unquestionably independent and free of industry influence. Mr. Semancik, no matter how hard he tries, will have zero credibility with the public when radiation releases are at issue, Burton said.

Semancik studied at the U.S. Naval Academy before becoming Millstone operations manager in 2009, according to the DEEP announcement.

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Millstone News Press Releases

COALITION PROPOSES MILLSTONE WATER TAX FOR POLLUTING AND HEATING OF LONG ISLAND SOUND

SEPTEMBER 23, 2013
Contact: Nancy Burton Tel. 203-938-3952 NancyBurtonCT@aol.com

Dominion’s Millstone Nuclear Power Station in Waterford sucks in 1.3 million gallons of water per minute from the Long Island Sound to cool its nuclear reactors. That’s 6.8 trillion gallons per year.

The water is discharged to the Sound laced with traces of toxic and radioactive waste byproducts – and it’s hot. Millstone operations continuously spew out a thermal plume, estimated at 15 billion BTUs of heat every hour.

Today the Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone proposed the state impose an annual $336 million water tax on Millstone for its use, pollution and degradation of the public waters of the state – the Long Island Sound.

“For 43 years, since Millstone 1 went online in 1970, Millstone’s owners and operators have enjoyed a free ride, treating our public waters like a personal toxic waste lagoon,” said Nancy Burton, the Coalition’s director. “It’s time for the public to demand Dominion assume financial responsibility for its pollution and heating of our precious natural resource.”

The Coalition calculated that if Millstone had to purchase the water it uses for cooling from a private water utility, such as Connecticut Water Company, which charges its customers $4.93 per 1,000 gallons of water usage, it would be liable for $3.369 trillion annually. Over the 43 years of plant operations, that would amount to $144.9 trillion.

“We call on the state to impose a fair, just and equitable water tax of $336 million annually,” Burton said.

Millstone could avoid a water tax by converting to a closed cooling system, Burton said. A 1993 study by Northeast Utilities, Millstone’s prior owner, found that a closed cooling system, which would recirculate water from an onsite pool, was prudent, feasible and environmentally far less destructive than the once-through system now in use.

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EPA Dramatically Weakens Radiation Protection

For Immediate Release
Contacts: Dan Hirsch Committee to Bridge the Gap 831 336 8003
Diane D’Arrigo Nuclear Information and Resource Service 301 270 6477 x 15

April 15, 2013 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is publishing in the Federal Register today controversial new Protective Action Guides (PAGs) for responding to radioactive releases. EPA says it solicits public comment but is nonetheless making the PAGs immediately effective.

The new PAGs eliminate requirements to evacuate people in the face of high projected thyroid, skin, or lifetime whole body doses; recommend dumping radioactive waste in municipal garbage dumps not designed for such waste; propose five options for drinking water, which would dramatically increase the permitted concentrations of radioactivity in drinking water, by as much as 27,000 times, compared to EPA’s current Safe Drinking Water Act limits; and suggest markedly relaxing long-term cleanup standards.

“In essence the government is now saying nuclear power accidents could produce such widespread contamination and produce such high radiation levels that the government should abandon efforts to clean it up and instead force people to live with radiation-induced cancer risks orders of magnitude higher than ever considered acceptable,” said Daniel Hirsch, president of Committee to Bridge the Gap.

The PAGs are intended to guide the response to nuclear power reactor accidents (like Fukushima in Japan, Chernobyl in Ukraine and Three Mile Island in the U.S.), “dirty bomb” explosions, radioactive releases from nuclear fuel and weapons facilities, and nuclear transportation accidents.

“EPA ignores the fact that women and kids are at even greater risk from radiation. The doses permitted by the 2013 EPA PAGs will allow indecent exposures to radiation,” says Diane D’Arrigo of Nuclear Information and Resource Service. “Women are 50% more vulnerable than men and children are at even greater risk from radiation than adults, according to data from the National Academy of Sciences.”

Extremely high food contamination levels would be allowed by the incorporation of Food and Drug Administration 1998 guidance. EPA officials had previously criticized those standards, saying that 1 in 50 people eating food at those levels would get cancer from their exposure, on top of our normal cancer risk.

The PAGs also incorporate and expand controversial Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) PAGs adopted in 2008 which would allow long-term doses as high as thousands of millirems per year without cleanup being required. Associated guidance for carrying out the long-term cleanup, prepared for DHS and for which the comment period expires today, recommends abandoning EPA’s long-held cleanup standards and instead allowing people to be exposed to doses as high as the equivalent of three chest X rays a day for one’s entire life. Over 70 years, EPA estimates 1 in 6 people would get cancer from exposure that high, orders of magnitude higher risk than EPA has historically said is acceptable.

In addition, EPA admits that a nuclear power accident could far exceed the capacity of radioactive waste sites to manage waste generated from cleanups and therefore suggests allowing the waste to go to regular trash dumps, a fight the public has waged for decades in the US.

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Press Releases

ON FUKUSHIMA ANNIVERSARY: TIME TO INVESTIGATE GINA McCARTHY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MARCH 11, 2013
Contact: Nancy Burton, NancyBurtonCT@aol.com

Gina McCarthy’s release of only four emails concerning the Fukushima nuclear disaster in response to a Freedom of Information request – two on March 11, 2011, when it began and two a day later, both heavily redacted – raise grounds for her investigation, not nomination, a Connecticut anti-nuclear organization said today.

On March 4, 2013, President Obama nominated McCarthy, who has served as head of EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation since 2009, to become head of EPA. She has yet to undergo a Senate confirmation hearing.

“Gina McCarthy’s handling of the Fukushima crisis as EPA’s chief of radiation protection demonstrates she is not qualified for that position,” said Nancy Burton, director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone.

EPA’s own Inspector General issued a scathing report which found that McCarthy’s management of the nation’s air monitoring network was seriously deficient and many stations inoperable in the immediate aftermath of the triple nuclear meltdown at Fukushima commencing two years ago today. (See “Weaknesses in EPA’s Management of the Radiation Network System Demand Attention,”
http://www.epa.gov/oig/reports/2012/20120419-12-P-0417.pdf.)

The limited air monitoring system detected Fukushima fallout in the U.S., particularly in Hawaii, Alaska and the West Coast but extending across the nation to Vermont and Connecticut. Fukushima fallout was detected in milk in Vermont and rainwater in Hartford, Connecticut.

Burton filed a Freedom of Information request on June 12, 2012 seeking all of McCarthy’s emails and correspondence concerning radiation released by the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

In response, McCarthy released only 5 emails – 2 dated March 11, 2011 and 3 dated March 12, 2011.

In 4 of the emails, she redacted the name of the recipient.

In a March 12, 2012 email, McCarthy misspelled “Chernobyl.” Referring to the 1986 nuclear disaster in Ukraine, she spelled it “Chernoble.”

None of the emails released by McCarthy contained substantive information.

On December 27, 2012, Burton appealed from McCarthy’s disclosure to the EPA’s FOIA and Privacy Branch. No action has yet been taken on the appeal.

“McCarthy’s record of failing to provide even a minimal level of radiation monitoring during the Fukushima crisis – one of her primary responsibilities as EPA’s head of Air and Radiation – is more than deeply troubling,” Burton said.

“McCarthy’s obvious failure to provide full disclosure under the FOI Act reinforces concerns about her commitment to protect the American public from radiation exposure and detection,” Burton said.

“On this second anniversary of Fukushima, we call upon Congress to fully investigate McCarthy’s record on radiation protection,” Burton said.

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Millstone News Press Releases

Gina McCarthy: Investigate- Not Nominate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 1, 2013 Contact: Nancy Burton, NancyBurtonCT@aol.com

Gina McCarthy is being talked about as a possible successor to Lisa Jackson, who announced her intention to resign as U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator on December 27, 2012. (See The Wall Street Journal, “The Next Lisa Jackson,”
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324669104578206011318198152.html.) Jackson will exit the post in January.
But President Obama should investigate McCarthy, not nominate her, according to the Mothers Milk Project.
“McCarthy’s record on protecting the public from known radiation hazards, from goat’s milk to Fukushima, is scandalous,” said Burton, co-director of the Mothers Milk Project, a grassroots organization that collects human, goat and cow’s milk and has it analyzed for levels of radioactivity.
“Further, her recent failure to fully disclose emails under a Freedom of Information request demands Congressional investigation,” Burton asserted.
McCarthy served as chief of Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection before Obama tapped her in 2009 to become EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation.
As Commissioner of Connecticut’s DEP, McCarthy defaulted on her legal responsibility to the public in favor of Millstone, the state’s sole operating nuclear power plant, located near the Rhode Island border in Waterford, Burton said.
“She allowed Millstone to operate for years on an expired Clean Water Act permit, allowing Millstone to flout the federal law with routine emergency authorizations that allowed unregulated releases of a thermal plume laced with chemicals and radioisotopes onto public beaches and the Long Island Sound,” Burton said.
“Millstone’s illegal releases decimated an indigenous population of fish – the Niantic River winter flounder – when larvae were sucked into Millstone’s mammoth water intake structures,” Burton said.
“McCarthy had the power to uphold the public trust by stopping the illegal releases and saving the fish from extinction, but she abused her power to prop up Millstone, the worst predator of fish in the Northeast,” Burton said.
Burton said McCarthy was also behind a blatant whitewash of data that linked Millstone’s routine venting of radioactive gases to high levels of radioactivity found in local goat milk.
Beginning in 2004, Burton called attention to high levels of strontium-90 in milk samples collected from a goat named Katie (“Katie the Goat”) who grazed in a pasture located five miles northeast of Millstone.
High concentrations of strontium-90, strontium-89 and cesium-137 in Katie’s milk were reported by Millstone’s owner, Dominion Nuclear Connecticut, Inc., whose technicians collected Katie’s milk as part of its environmental radiation monitoring program. Dominion reported the results to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Connecticut’s DEP. Katie died on August 12, 2012 after being diagnosed with cancer. See www.KatieTheGoat.org.
In 2006, Burton transported Katie and two of her kids to the state capital in Hartford for a press conference to demand the Governor investigate why her milk was heavily contaminated with radiation.
Weeks later, McCarthy, as the state’s highest environmental regulator, released a report absolving Millstone from any role in the high radioactivity levels found in Katie’s milk. (See
http://www.kids.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?A=2712&Q=324734.)
“The report was a poster child for junk science,” Burton said, noting that two experts in radiation came forward to debunk the report. “McCarthy’s report absolved Millstone without identifying any other plausible culprit for the releases.”
Strontium-90, strontium-89 and cesium-137 exposures are all associated with serious health effects, including bone and breast cancer, leukemia and diseases of the immune system, Burton said.
McCarthy made a $1,000 donation to the Obama presidential campaign in 2008 (See http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/regina-mccarthy/gIQAgb7JAP_topic.html.)
On March 20, 2009, newly elected President Obama nominated McCarthy to serve as the federal government’s top protector of the public from radiation, heading the Office of Air and Radiation as EPA in the post of EPA’s Assistant Administrator.
That position put McCarthy at the pinnacle of protecting the American public from poisonous fallout from the March 11, 211 Fukushima nuclear disaster. (See EPA website: “Congress designated EPA as the primary federal agency charged with protecting people and the environment from harmful and avoidable exposure to radiation. EPA responds to emergencies, assists in homeland security, assesses radiation risks, sets protective limits on emissions and informs people about radiation and radiation hazards.” http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/oar.html; http://www.epa.gov/radiation/laws/index.html.)
McCarthy’s Office of Air and Radiation operates a network of radiation monitors across the nation, a system tested as three of the Fukushima reactors exploded with core meltdowns, releasing vast quantities of radiation into the air and Pacific Ocean.
The EPA radiation monitoring effort was a debacle.
At the outset of the Fukushima nuclear emergency, one out of five monitors was inoperable, according to a scathing, but little-reported-on, audit issued on April 19, 2012 by EPA’s own Inspector General, whose hand was forced to investigate by leaders of national safe energy organizations appalled by deficiencies in EPA’s monitoring. (See “Weaknesses in EPA’s Management of the Radiation Network System Demand Attention,”
http://www.epa.gov/oig/reports/2012/20120419-12-P-0417.pdf.)
The report is addressed to “Gina McCarthy, Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation.”
The IG report found 25 of EPA’s 124 stationary monitors were either broken or disabled due to “relaxed quality controls,” taking them out of service for an average of 130 days – four months – at the beginning of the Fukushima emergency.
The so-called “RadNet” system, consisting of 124 stationary monitors distributed across the United States and 40 mobile monitors, is designed to continuously sample the air for traces of radioactivity and report the data to EPA headquarters, alerting officials to unusual readings.
The monitors also serve as collecting stations for precipitation, drinking water and milk samples. The RadNet system has been identified by EPA as “critical infrastructure” for homeland security under the Patriot Act, according to Forbes Magazine. (See http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2012/04/27/inspector-general-faults-epa-radiation-monitoring/.)
EPA’s Inspector General bluntly placed responsibility for the gross deficiencies in the air monitoring system with McCarthy.
“We recommend that the Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation establish and enforce expectations for RadNet operations readiness,” the report states.
“EPA’s RadNet program will remain vulnerable until it is managed with the urgency and priority that the Agency reports it to have to its mission,” the report stated.
“If RadNet is not managed as a high-priority program, EPA may not have the needed data before, during and after a critical event such as the Japan nuclear incident,” the IG warned. “Such data are crucial to determine levels of airborne radioactivity that may negatively affect public health and the environment.”
McCarthy’s gross failure to adequately manage the nation’s radiation air monitoring network is not surprising in light of her permissive record toward Millstone..
McCarthy’s name was put before President Obama as a candidate by Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman and then-Senator Chris Dodd, both unapologetic fans of the nuclear industry. Neither used the word “radiation” in his letter of endorsement. (See http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=b519766a-7b4c-466f-a302-acac3ebf50c7 and http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=202b8ff9-f21a-4509-ab87-913d92f7cfcc.)
During the course of McCarthy’s Senate Committee hearing on her nomination to serve as chief of EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation on April 2, 2009, the word “radiation” was never uttered other than to identify the office she sought.
Ironically, on the very morning of the confirmation hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, McCarthy dispatched two Connecticut DEP attorneys to file motions in the Connecticut Superior Court to block environmentalists’ emergency applications to shut Millstone’s two operating reactors during the annual peak of the Niantic River winter flounder migration during the month of April to spare them from extinction, according to Burton, who brought the suit.
Burton contends that McCarthy’s recent response to an FOIA request she submitted on June 13, 2012, seeking all of McCarthy’s emails which concern Fukushima radiation, warrants Congressional inquiry.
McCarthy responded to Burton’s FOIA request by releasing only four emails. Each deletes the name of an addressee and one deletes a portion of the content. In one, dated March 12, 2012, the name of the single addressee is redacted and McCarthy misspells “Chernobyl” as “Chernoble.” (“I spoke with Lee [last name not given] and she has it all together. She indicated that at this point there doesn’t seem to be a significant release and she reminded me that the US did not have to take any protective action with Chernoble – even though that was a much more extreme situation. . . .”)
“It simply strains credulity to believe that in the whole course of the 20-month, ongoing Fukushima disaster Gina McCarthy, as head of EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation with responsibility for the EPA’s national network of continuous air monitors, issued only four emails concerning the Fukushima radiation and none of them after March 12, 2011,” Burton stated.
On December 27, 2012, Burton appealed to the EPA’s FOIA office, challenging the completeness of the FOIA disclosure, the withholding of an unidentified document and redactions.
Burton also filed an additional FOIA request, seeking all emails concerning Fukushima radiation which may have been generated by McCarthy using an alias email address other than her official mccarthy.gina@epa.gov address.
It came to light shortly before Lisa Jackson announced her resignation as EPA Administrator that she had created an “alias” email address other than her official email address by which she generated more than 12,000 emails in her official capacity. (See http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/14047-epa-chief-lisa-jackson-announces-resignation.)
EPA’s Inspector General has opened an internal investigation into the agency’s electronic records management.