The Nuclear Regulatory Commission
The Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company
Generic and Site-specific Deficiencies
in Radiological Surveillance Programs
The recent NRC rule quoted at the beginning of this report and contained in 10 CFR Part 20.1402 sets a decommissioning site release criterion of an annual Total Effective Dose Equivalent (TEDE) of 25 mrem/yr for an average member of a critical group living in the vicinity of MYAPC. The Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company reactor was closed permanently in the spring of 1997 and decommissioning activities began with the publication of a Preliminary Site Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR) by the licensee in the summer of 1997. The licensee then hired GTS Duratek Inc. to execute a characterization of the residual radioactivity in the plant facility prior to accepting contractor bids for deconstruction and decommissioning of the entire facility. The publication of the Duratek Site Characterization Management Plan has served as a catalyst for a reconsideration of the historic deficiencies in the radiological surveillance programs of NRC licensees including MYAPC. The Duratek Site Characterization Management Plan also raises an important question pertaining to the decommissioning of all NRC licensed facilities: can a comprehensive radiological survey of the environmental impact of plant operations wait until the decommissioning process is completed and a final status survey is executed? The recent publication of the Characterization Survey Report confirms the existence of gross deficiencies in NRC oversight of radiological surveillance programs and policies at MYAPC as well as of the presence of extensive, previously unreported soil contamination.
Both NUREG-5849 and MARSSIM imply that evaluation of environmental impact of plant operations is a cumulative process and the final status survey is the last of many steps in determining residual radiation levels at a facility such as Maine Yankee. The Duratek Site Characterization Management Plan, however, raises important questions which cannot wait until the final site survey. The Duratek report makes it crystal clear that the licensee intends to postpone comprehensive surveillance and characterization of residual radioactivity in Montsweag Bay and Bailey Cove resulting from plant operations to the last possible moment. Increasingly beneficent and flexible NRC regulations may allow this characterization to be postponed and/or evaded entirely. The decommissioning process at MYAPC therefore exposes the schizophrenic content of conflicting NRC regulations. On the one hand, implicit in the Code of Federal Regulations is the statutory obligation to protect public safety by the comprehensive surveillance of all radionuclides in all media. At no point does the Code of Federal Regulations exclude the NRC or its licensees from documenting the presence of long-lived isotopes characterizing spent fuel (239Pu, 241Am, 99Tc and 137Cs, to name the four most important LLSF isotopes) because they are both difficult to detect (except 137Cs) with traditional survey equipment and techniques and expensive to analyze in a laboratory setting.
The questions raised by the ongoing site characterization process, the primary aim of which is to document residual radiation in plant equipment and structures prior to contractor bidding, originate in the long-standing deficiencies in NRC radiological surveillance programs. These deficiencies are cumulative and derive in part from a self-deceptive preoccupation with surface contamination in lieu of a more holistic approach to the complexities of multiple exposure pathways including the ingestion pathway. The NRC, not the licensee, is the entity responsible for the perpetuation of these deficiencies that originate in incompetent congressional oversight of NRC regulatory policies and literature. The failure of federal oversight first serves to assist NRC licensees in evading the expense of a more detailed evaluation of the impact of plant operations on site-specific environments such as the estuarine environment of Montsweag Bay and Bailey Cove. The long-term result of these federally sponsored evasions, however, especially after plant closure, is the victimization of the licensee, its stockholders, and ratepayers. The reactor host community, in this case Wiscasset, Maine, then becomes a semi-permanent repository of the radioactive wastes which result from this ongoing failure of federal oversight of nuclear energy production. Some of these wastes are in the form of undocumented contamination of site environs and in adjacent unrestricted areas, as illustrated by the Duratek final Characterization Survey Report.
B. Deficiencies in MYAPC Historical Site Assessment
1. Hess and Smith: Pre- and Post-Operational Surveys
NRC regulations require both a pre-operational and a post-operational radiological characterization of the environment at any NRC licensed reactor. Such a combination of surveys was executed by C. T. Hess and C. W. Smith from the University of Maine, in 1972, prior to the opening of the Maine Yankee Atomic Power Station and in 1974, after the reactor began operation in 1973. Soil and sediment gamma ray analyses were executed for both the naturally occurring thorium series and uranium series isotopes and 40K as well as for weapons testing-derived and reactor-derived 137Cs and reactor-derived 58Co and 60Co. Hess and Smith executed both laboratory and field pre- and post-operational analyses of 11 locations, many of them well away from estuarine locations which would be impacted by plant operations. In fact, only three locations, Foxbird Island (tidal marsh sediment), Young's Creek (tidal marsh soil) and Murphy's Corner (tidal flat sediment) are sampling stations which would reflect the impact of liquid emissions into Montsweag Bay from plant operations. Pre-operational surveys for 137Cs indicated higher fallout-derived cesium at Murphy's Corner and Young's Creek than post-operational surveys. Bailey Cove, where the plant liquid effluent outlet was located in the early years of operation, was the only sampling location which clearly showed the impact of plant operations. Hess and Smith followed up this anomaly in survey results with a transect survey of sediment in Bailey Cove for plant-derived isotopes 58Co and 60Co. This transect had sufficient samples (50) to allow mapping of the radiological impact of plant operations isocurically; Hess' isopleths document plant-derived contamination beginning at 50 pCi/kg. As the first document in the historical radiological assessment of MYAPC, and one of the few surveys with enough data for isocuric mapping, this survey clearly illustrated significant impact of reactor operations in the marine environment. Hess and Smith document 58Co contamination in Bailey Cove sediments ranging up to 5,620 pCi/kg and 60Co contamination up to 500 pCi/kg.
In one of the more disconcerting incidents in NRC licensee related radiological surveillance literature, Hess and Smith also documented one hot particle (sediment sample no. 19, see Fig. 2, pg. 15) containing 7,700 pCi of 60Co which had a total activity of more than 9,000 pCi in a mass less than 20 millionths of a gram. This hot particle also had activity levels of 58Co, 530 pCi; 46Sc, 670 pCi; 54Mn, 120 pCi. The location of sample site 19 is a significant distance from the plant outflow and was located on the opposite side of Bailey Cove, three quarters of the way to Foxbird Island. In the current site characterization process (Citizen Advisory Panel meeting presentations) the entire length of Bailey Cove, documented by Hess and Smith as completely contaminated by plant liquid effluents, is defined as an "unimpacted environment." Appendix D in the Hess report also documents significant impact from plant operations by the nuclides 58Co, 60Co and 54Mn in both oysters and in sediments outside of Bailey Cove from August 1973 to July 1974 with 58Co reported up to 8,000 pCi/kg in oysters and 4,000 pCi/kg in sediment.
Other than NRC mandated licensee radiological environmental monitoring programs (REMP), the Hess and Smith pre- and post-operational report is the only survey of the environmental impact of plant operations sponsored by the federal government that is available in the NRC public documents room of the Wiscasset library. While this report can be criticized for the minimal number of analyses for 137Cs in the marine environment, the transect of Bailey Cove for contamination by 58Co and 60Co, and, in particular, the discovery of one hot particle out of only 50 samples provides compelling evidence of the gross negligence of the NRC in documenting the environmental impact of MYAPC operations at this location. Recent publication of supplemental survey 2501 in the final Characterization Survey Report, as well as surveys 0100, 0500, 0900 and 1000 confirm that the licensee has experienced period loss of radiological controls of major significance.
The fact of the matter is that the NRC has relied entirely on an evasive, incomplete and misleading licensee environmental radiological program for documentation of the impact of plant operations. More accurate and comprehensive surveillance with reporting levels starting at the lower limit of detection of surveillance equipment would more clearly document reactor-derived contamination in ecosystems such as Montsweag Bay and Bailey Cove. This chronic contamination is characteristic of all reactor-derived liquid effluents and is a topic assiduously avoided in NRC regulatory guidelines and NRC licensee REMPs.
2. Maine Yankee Radiological Environmental Monitoring Programs (REMPs)
The MYAPC REMPs are notable as an important component of the legacy
of inadequate historical site assessment. MYAPC reports plant-derived contamination
only if recording levels in the Offsite Dose Calculation Manual (ODCM)
Table 3.12-2 are exceeded. Reporting levels utilized in NRC licensee radiological
environmental monitoring programs therefore substitute an artificial radiation
level for the lower limits of detection (LLD) capabilities of monitoring
equipment (see Table 4.4 "lower limits detection (LLD) sensitivity requirements,
Yankee Annual Radiological Environmental Operating Report [AREOR],
1995, pg. 18). These reporting levels include the following:
|fish and invertebrates||137Cs||2,000 pCi/kg|
|food products||137Cs||2,000 pCi/kg|
|sediment||137Cs||reporting not required at any level of contamination|
The reporting levels for 58Co and 60Co are even higher: for fish, 30,000 pCi/kg is the reporting level for 58Co and 10,000 pCi/kg is the reporting level for 60Co. Table 3.12-2 in the ODCM provides no reporting levels for 58Co or 60Co in either food products or sediment. The ODCM also doesn't indicate whether or not the reporting levels for 58Co and 60Co in fish apply to shellfish such as oysters, clams, and mussels. As noted in the MYAPC Annual Radiological Environmental Operating Report: January - December 1997, there is no reporting level for contamination of 137Cs in soil and sediments, no matter how contaminated. This discrepancy is restated in an NRC email message from M. Webb: "As discussed in NUREG 1301, the reason that Cs-137 does not have reporting limits in sediments is that we are concerned with direct path ingestion. Therefore, we have limits in water and edible items such as marine life, but since we would not expect people to ingest sediments, we do not provide a limit."
The significance of these reporting levels is that NRC licensees are allowed to report no detectable activity unless monitoring indicates "non-routine activity" above these artificial levels. Weapons fallout-derived 137Cs contamination levels (e.g. +/- 500 pCi/kg "background" contamination in soil or sediment) vary widely in all locations and in all media. The use of an artificially high reporting level to account for "background radiation" allows NRC licensees to systematically evade accurate documentation of the environmental impact of plant operations. This evasion is further magnified by the omission of numerous hard-to-detect (HTD) isotopes characterizing long-lived spent fuel in annual radiological environmental monitoring reports because it is both too expensive and too difficult to document their presence. In the Maine Yankee AREOR (formerly known as REMP, Radiological Environmental Monitoring Program) and other NRC licensee monitoring programs, data collection is limited to the easy to detect gamma-emitting isotopes with relatively short half-lives including ubiquitous activation products 54Mn, 59Fe, 58Co, 60Co, 65Zn, 95Zr-Mb, as well as 131I, 134Cs, and 140Ba-La. Only the longer-lived 137Cs is included in sample analyses. Presumably, long-lived isotopes characterizing spent fuel, many of them alpha emitters, (the proverbial 10-61 analyses) are excluded not only because of detection difficulty and expense, but also because their daily intake is not likely to exceed the "specified quantities" listed in the federal regulations 10 CFR Part 20, Appendix B summarized in Appendix 4 in this report. This is despite the fact that 10 CFR 61 requires NRC licensees to maintain documentation for all the long-lived isotopes characterizing spent fuel in low-level wastes destined for landfill disposal.
The application of the concept of "reporting levels" gives the licensee wide leeway in evading the reporting of contamination which would be clearly documented in more traditional radiological monitoring reports such as Hess and Smith's transect of Bailey Cove. That document utilized reporting levels for 58Co of 100 pCi/kg and 60Co of 50 pCi/kg, well below any reporting levels used by the NRC. Hess and Smith then drew isopleths to delineate the magnitude of the impact of plant operations in Bailey Cove. Little or no mention is made in any NRC guideline or in MARSSIM about the usefulness of characterizing residual radioactivity with isocuric or isobecquerel mapping.
A second deficiency in the MYAPC annual REMPs is the small number of
samples analyzed for plant-derived contamination per year:
Sixteen sediment samples per year results in an inadequate database for documentation of residual radioactivity in sediment, yet the Offsite Dose Calculation Manual (ODCM) requires only one annual shoreline sediment sample for the first three years of plant operations. This is a compelling illustration of the discrepancy between the radiation protection standards implied by 10 CFR, Part 20 and those implemented by the NRC. Recent disclosure of a huge spill of liquid effluents on the west side of the MYAPC facility at some time in the past provides added emphasis to this discrepancy.
A third deficiency in the MYAPC annual REMPs is the fact that almost all sampling stations are located well away from the liquid diffuser at the bottom of Montsweag Bay. In the early years of operation, the plant outflow was located in Bailey Cove, but after the embarrassing results of both the Hess and Smith post-operational survey and the numerous secondary studies of plant-derived contamination executed under the auspices of the Sea Grant program and noted later in this report, the plant diffuser was re-located to the bottom of the bay to facilitate the more rapid dispersion of plant contaminants. Only three sampling stations are located near the diffuser: HA-11, FH-11, CA-11 (lobster, fish and clams). No information about how close these sampling stations are to the diffuser is provided. It is also extremely convenient for the licensee that none of these species are sensitive indicator organisms and, therefore, don't easily accumulate plant-derived contamination. The most sensitive bioindicators are mussels and sea vegetables, the data collection for which is sparse in MYAPC REMPs, with the few sampling locations located far away from the liquid effluent diffusers at the bottom of Montsweag Bay. The four sampling stations for sediment are similarly located well away from the diffusers. Despite the paucity of data, the great distance from the liquid effluent diffusers of most sampling sites, and the very high reporting levels, the annual REMPs issued by MYAPC between 1974 and 1995 show a consistent pattern of plant-derived contamination, with intermittent examples of contaminated media in Montsweag Bay showing up in most reports. (In the later years of operation, MYAPC has slightly changed the title of the environmental monitoring program reports: REMP and AREOR are synonymous.)
A fourth deficiency of the radiological monitoring program has been noted throughout this report: other than 137Cs, NRC-sponsored licensee REMPs consistently avoid documenting the presence of any of the long-lived isotopes which characterize spent fuel wastes. Such isotopes also characterize weapons testing fallout; the presence of such microcontaminants from source points other than the MYAPC reactor allows the licensee wide leeway in avoiding accurate documentation of the presence of plant-derived long-lived isotopes. The fact that many of these hard-to-detect isotopes cannot be observed by traditional gamma scans or gamma spectroscopy (they are primarily alpha or beta radiation emitters) is no excuse for the failure to document the presence of these microcontaminants.
3. MYAPC: Secondary Radiological Surveillance Reports
Beginning in the mid-1970's and ending in 1982, a variety of secondary radiological surveillance reports were issued pertaining to the impact of MYAPC operations on Montsweag Bay. These secondary reports were the result of studies implemented as a component of the Sea Grant program that was funded by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the site-specific purpose of which was to cultivate oysters in the heated effluent of MYAPC discharges. To the dismay of the NRC and especially MYAPC owners and operators, these secondary reports documented the very clear impact of plant operations not only in oysters but also in mussels, benthic marine algae, other media and sediments in the estuarine environment adjacent to the plant outfall in Bailey Cove (later moved to the bottom of Montsweag Bay). The documentation of contamination of Bailey Cove and Montsweag Bay sediments by plant-derived contaminants is particularly extensive. Following is a list of some of the most important secondary literature reports documenting the historical assessment of this impact:
All quotations in the following citations are taken from Brack (1986) with the exception of Hess (1997) and Hess and Smith (1983).
Hess, C.T., Smith, C.W. and Price, A.H. (1975). Model
of the accumulation of radionuclides in oysters and sediments. Nature.
258. pg. 225-226.
Price, A.H., Hess, C.T. and Smith, C.W. (1976). A field
study of crassotrea virginica cultured in the heated effluent and discharged
radionuclides of a nuclear power reactor. Proc. National Shellfish Association.
66. pg. 54-68.
Churchill, J.H. (1976). Measurement and computer modeling of the distribution of nuclear reactor discharged radionuclides in the estuarine sediment near the Maine Yankee Atomic Power Plant in Wiscasset. Department of Physics, University of Maine, Orono, ME. pp. 122.
The following concentrations of reactor-derived contaminants
"Dramatically lower amounts of contamination are reported in the third survey after the outfall was moved to the diffuser system under Montsweag Bay. Churchill notes that the 'distribution of radionuclides discharged from the diffuser is not clearly known', the diffuser being 'relatively far from where all our measurements were taken'" (Brack, pg. 23).
McCarthy, W.J. and Ryder, D.L. (1978). Uptake and deprivation of 58Co, 54Mn, and 137Cs in two species of benthic marine algae growing in the effluent of the Maine Yankee Atomic Power Plant. Bulletin American Physics Society. 23(5). Abstract.
Contamination dramatically increased after the passage of the fallout cloud on 4/1/78, with 131I peak values rising to 9,823 pCi/kg dry weight. Licensee monitoring at the same time and in the same location indicated 131I was below the "LLD."
a. 1994 Clam Analysis
A number of other hand written and nearly illegible notes furnished by the Department of Human Services and dated from 3/15/96 through 3/21/96 indicate that portable TLD survey meter readings taken in the vicinity of the stationary TLD stations around MYAPC were even higher than those taken the previous year. These nearly indecipherable hand-written notes indicated many readings in the 65 to 80 µR/hr range. On a sheet dated 3/21/96, the following notation is scrawled at the bottom of the page, "5 to 10 second surges ... such values as 1 mR/hr, 400 µR/hr, 3.6 mR/hr, 133 µR/hr, transformer influence?" There was no additional explanation or follow up information in these notes. What component of these elevated readings result from reactor-derived soil contamination ground shine versus equipment and debris shine is unknown. The reliance on primitive ambient radiation dosimetry symbolizes the current state of dysfunctional and/or deceptive state and federal radiological surveillance programs after 24 years of reactor operation. The failure of this equipment to adequately document spills and accidental releases is graphically illustrated by the fact that recently discovered soil contamination north of the Forebay and on Bailey Point went undocumented for 15 years or longer.
The Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company reactor was permanently closed in May of 1997, due to the inability of its owners to justify the expense of upgrading the aging reactor to meet the increasingly stringent safety requirements imposed by the NRC. The closure followed the whistleblower's letter, the SBLOCA debacle and the resulting inspections. The first stage in the decommissioning process was the issuance of a Post Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report.
1. Post Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR)
This slim and inconsequential report contrasts sharply with the much more robust and detailed PSDAR issued by Yankee Atomic Power Company (Rowe, MA) and constitutes an early warning sign of the nearly dysfunctional decommissioning process now unfolding at MYAPC. While containing a brief commentary on planning decommissioning activities (planning, site characterization, decontamination, major decommissioning activities, other decommissioning activities, storage of spent fuel, final site survey and termination of license and site restoration), the PSDAR is particularly significant for the information it does not contain. The MYAPC PSDAR indicates prompt dismantlement will be completed seven years after termination of reactor operations, May of 2004. Some of the highlights of the PSDAR are summarized below:
2. The PSDAR mentions removal of large component steam generators and the reactor pressure vessel but fails to note that the Texas low-level waste facility is not designed to receive large components, leaving only one option for large component disposal: Barnwell, S.C.
3. The PSDAR is disingenuous in describing reactor vessel segmentation without mentioning that this option is no longer cost effective or environmentally acceptable for the disposal of any reactor vessel. The PSDAR only obliquely hints that the reactor vessel "could be removed with the internals intact ... radionuclide concentrations (due to neutron activation) may allow the vessel/internals assembly to be disposed of as low-specific-activity waste." This means, explicitly, that the reactor vessel would be sited intact including +/- 4 million curies of greater-than-class C (GTCC) internal components as well as dross containing long-lived hot particles, corrosion products, sludge and CRUD at the Barnwell, S.C., facility. With respect to the Texas low-level waste compact, overland transportation of a 1,000 ton reactor vessel (706 tons plus 300 ton concrete shield) will be impractical.5
4. The PSDAR is more forthcoming in describing the probable evolution of an independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI) as provided by the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act for the 1,442 spent fuel assemblies remaining onsite after plant closure. The PSDAR fails to mention that this ISFSI will likely be joined by the indefinite storage of GTCC reactor vessel internals within a reactor vessel which will probably still be located in its present location: the existing reactor containment building.
5. The decommissioning cost estimates in the PSDAR, unchanged from the 1993 estimates except for the addition of the ISFSI, are overly optimistic, and misleading, and they fail to include costs such as that of state oversight. These misleading estimates lack credibility in view of the uncertainties surrounding the costs and decommissioning procedures for large components such as the steam generators, the reactor vessel, the reactor vessel GTCC internals as well as spent fuel storage, transportation and disposal.
6. The most glaring omission in the PSDAR is the failure to even begin to list inventory of the residual radioactivity remaining in the many components of the MYAPC facility ranging from the reactor vessel, its internals, reactor vessel dross, CRUD, sludge, hot particles, the curic content of the spent fuel and contamination throughout the plant. No mention is made of the large spill of liquid effluents on the west side of the MYAPC facility or the hot particle contamination on Bailey Point recently documented in the Characterization Survey Report.
7. The PSDAR is particularly deficient in failing to list a schedule of decommissioning activities which have the potential of significant additional environmental impact, i.e. reactor containment decontamination flush, refueling water storage tank discharge (360,000 gallons), etc.
8. The PSDAR provides this information about the environmental impact of the decommissioning process "...impacts associated with the site-specific decommissioning activities will be bounded by appropriate previously issued environmental impact statements." Conveniently, both the reactor water system containment flush and the huge refueling water storage discharge were done just after the very limited Duratek shoreline and diffuser sediment sampling.
The second stage in the decommissioning process at MYAPC is the implementation of the Duratek Site Management Plan. This plan includes the compilation of a radiological characterization survey of MYAPC buildings, equipment and grounds which "will consist of taking approximately 6,000 radiation measurements and the collection and analysis of approximately 50 building materials samples for radioactivity ... the radiological characterization survey of plant systems will consist of taking approximately 4,400 radiation measurements and the collection and analysis of approximately 300 material samples for radioactivity" (pg. ii) as well as 275 samples of hazardous materials. Site characterization also includes an environmental radiological characterization survey consisting of approximately 4,000 radiation measurements and the collection and analysis of 620 soil, sediment and water samples for radioactivity" (pg. i). Of particular interest with respect to characterizing plant-derived residual radioactivity in unrestricted areas such as Montsweag Bay is the wording in the following quotation from the Executive Summary: "A background study will also be performed as part of the characterization survey. The purpose of the background study is to determine the level of radioactivity present in the environment surrounding the plant. Radiation measurements and soil samples will be collected from areas on and outside of the Maine Yankee property. This information will be used to determine the levels of radioactivity present in the surrounding areas from naturally radioactive material or from weapons testing fallout" (pg. ii). This executive summary clearly presents the assumption that there is no plant-derived residual radioactivity in unrestricted areas adjacent to the plant.
The Duratek Site Characterization Management Plan closely follows the guidelines contained within MARSSIM and includes this definition of minimum detectable activity (MDA). "The MDAs will be based on the assumed criteria for license termination. Site specified guideline values (SPGV), which equate to a TEDE of 25 mrem/yr based on recent 10 CFR 61 analyses and NUREG-1500, will be calculated and documented. Initially, the MDAs will be set equal to or less than 25% of the SPGVs" (pg. 15). Use of MDAs above the actual lower limits of detection of available equipment is the first step in evading accurate assessment of residual radioactivity.
A second stage in the evasion of accurate documentation of residual radioactivity is the historical failure to accurately characterize "background" radiation from anthropogenic source points such as weapons testing fallout and the Chernobyl accident. It is clear from both the MARSSIM and the prior NRC regulatory guides that background radiation serves as the criterion for determining decommissioning Derived Concentration Guideline Levels (DCGLs). No reference is made in either the MARSSIM or the Duratek report to the cumulative fallout record for isotopes such as cesium-137 and plutonium-239, isotopes which are ubiquitous components of spent fuel and spent fuel particles. The lack of specific information about background radiation other than naturally occurring background radiation is particularly disturbing in view of the definition of "minimum detectable activity" (MDA) as equal to or less than 25% of the site-specific guideline values (SPGV). These SPGVs are derived from or commensurate with the controversial DCGLs and represent the key factor in determining the credibility of a TEDE of 25 mrem/yr. A spurious modeled estimate of "background" radiation is substituted for exact measurements and reinforces the generic incredulity of the concept of derived concentration guideline levels (DCGLs). (Update: the Duratek Site Characterization Management Plan uses a guideline of 2,000 pCi/kg [2 pCi/g] for background 137Cs soil contamination. The Merrymeeting control location background average for 137Cs soil contamination listed in the same report is slightly less than 500 pCi/kg [ < 0.50 pCi/g]. Background soil contamination in Utah is listed as 270 - 405 pCi/kg in NUREG-1500.)
The Duratek Site Characterization Management Plan as well as NUREG-5849 and MARSSIM refer to the importance of historical site assessment documents in the site investigation process. The only existing licensee documentation of the historical impact of plant operations on offsite unrestricted environments such as Montsweag Bay is the Radiological Environmental Monitoring Program (REMP) report issued annually by MYAPC since it began operation in 1972. Current site characterization efforts rely heavily on the historical data contained in these reports. The insufficient number of data points pertaining to the surveillance of the marine environment in these REMPs have long been a point of contention (Brack, 1986). These REMPs contain occasional references to plant-derived contaminants in marine ecosystems impacted by plant liquid effluents, first from the liquid discharge pipe in Bailey Cove, and later from the liquid discharge diffuser that was installed at the bottom of Montsweag Bay in 1976. No reference in these REMPs is made to the large area on the west side of the plant contaminated by an accidental release of liquid effluents. More careful radiological surveillance might have documented the impact of this accident in Bailey Cove and Montsweag Bay. These occasional references to contamination in media impacted by plant operations are of sufficient frequency to define large areas of the estuaries surrounding the diffuser as impacted areas as defined in MARSSIM. The secondary literature cited above provides additional incontrovertible proof of the historic impact of plant operations on Montsweag Bay.
In contrast to these many reports in the early years of plant operation, there are no post-1978 independent radiological monitoring reports that the Center for Biological Monitoring can cite which supplement the MYAPC REMPs after this date other than Hess' 1997, summary of haphazard state radiological surveillance. None of these older documents appear to play any role in the current Duratek Site Characterization Management Plan (SCMP).
The MARSSIM makes it clear that the historical site assessment (HSA) is a critical step in site characterization. The lack of sediment and sensitive sea vegetable samples in the licensee's REMP result in insufficient data points to construct a standard grid for isocuric characterization of the impact of plant effluents on the marine environment surrounding MYAPC. This lack of data combines with a lack of reference to the secondary literature and results in a major flaw in the Duratek site characterization process. This is manifested in inaccurate and in fact absurd assertion that most of the marine environment surrounding MYAPC has been unimpacted by plant operations. (See SCMP, Environmental Radiological Characterization Survey, Section 6.1 pg. 18 and Appendix 1). Appendix 1 defines the following areas (among others) as unaffected: Foxbird Island, Montsweag Bay, Bailey Point, Bailey Cove, plant area shorelines, and the diffusers as well as "background as unaffected area environmental survey packages." The literature cited above including MYAPC REMPs clearly undercut the credibility of this classification. The data disclosed in the recently released Characterization Survey Report illustrates, in fact, that these classifications involved deliberate and possibly criminal misclassifications. It is very likely that the classification of survey packages 0900 and 1000 as unaffected areas was done with the full knowledge by the licensee that these were contaminated areas and that this misclassification was done with the intent to evade and deceive. If so, this would be another in a series of licensee violations of NRC and federal regulations.
The environmental radiological characterization survey "is divided into affected and unaffected area surveys ... and will consist of a gamma scan and biased and unbiased soil, sediment and water samples ... typically 25% of open land areas in unaffected areas will receive a gamma scan while 100% of open land areas in affected area will be scanned ... it is anticipated that the environmental survey will consist of approximately 600 soil and sediment samples and 20 groundwater samples" (pg. 18). In one of the more bizarre aspects of the decommissioning process, MYAPC has repeatedly presented maps at the CAP meetings illustrating as "unaffected" (by plant operations) almost all of the adjacent estuarine environment which had been previously documented as contaminated by plant effluents. Licensee delineation's of unaffected as affected areas are contradicted by the compelling evidence documenting widespread soil contamination contained in the recently released Characterization Survey Report.
The Site Characterization Management Plan survey instructions include the following description of sampling procedures, all of which are ultimately composed of composite samples:
2. R0014. Westport, Montsweag Bay, Bailey Point, Bailey Cove and Plant Area Shorelines: "Plant related radionuclides from liquid effluents were detected in sediments at Bailey Cove before the Forebay was constructed. Sediment and clam samples taken from Bailey Cove in recent years have not had detectable plant related radionuclides. ... Detectable levels of cobalt-60 have been detected from time-to-time in silt collected by the cooling water intake structure. ... The presence of plant related radionuclides in these silt samples is probably due to liquid radioactive effluents discharged through the plant cooling water diffuser discharge system. ... Analyze sediment samples by gamma spec."
3. R0019. Bailey Cove: "The primary north-south transect is divided into 12 approximately equally spaced (90 meter) sample points. From each of these sample points, 2 additional samples will be taken in east-west directions. ... Analyze each composite sample by gamma spec."6
4. R0020. Diffusers: "Liquid effluents may contain small amounts of radionuclides that are dispersed into Montsweag Bay when discharged through the diffusers. A portion of these radionuclides would become bound to sediments, which would eventually become distributed over a broad area. For example, evidence of such sediments with very low levels of radionuclides has been found in the plants cooling water intake structure. ... The relatively fast current in the deep water of Back River should preclude the deposition of sediments in proximity to the diffusers. ... Analyze sediment samples by gamma spec.
The areas defined as "unaffected" include locations impacted by the two MYAPC liquid diffusers located at the bottom of Montsweag Bay at an approximate depth of 100 feet. Strong tidal currents sweep any plant-derived contamination away from the immediate area of the diffusers potentially affecting a wide area of the marine environment including the bays north of the diffusers. Significant additional pathway analyses are needed to characterize the marine environment as a possible repository of isotopes characterizing spent fuel resulting from contamination from several incidents of spent fuel cladding leakage, including grid to rod fretting discovered in 1996. Other undisclosed incidents involving a loss of radiological controls could be verified by more accurate surveillance. In particular, there is an obvious need for a greatly expanded program of sediment sampling in areas impacted by the liquid diffusers. (Update: the recent Characterization Survey Report partially fulfills this function by providing compelling documentation of previously undisclosed contamination in radiation controlled area (RCA) soils, on Bailey Point and especially along the fence line north of the Forebay.)
Due to decay of weapons testing-derived fallout there has been a significant drop in cesium-137 levels in all media since the beginning of plant operations. Nonetheless, the small number of marine sediment samples in the Duratek Site Characterization Management Plan and the failure to utilize a standard grid in documenting these samples constitute a gross deficiency in the series of steps required to validate site release criterion. 137Cs is a ubiquitous fission products as well as the most important long-lived gamma emitting nuclide characterizing plant-derived contamination. Documentation of its presence in soil and sediment cannot be evaded. The omissions in the Duratek plan also perpetuate the deceptions and evasions in the MYAPC REMPs and in MARSSIM. It is probable that a careful survey of all of the isotopes characterizing spent fuel, activation product CRUD and hot particles in marine ecosystems impacted by MYAPC operations would not result in pathway analyses showing seafood loving tourists exceeding the site release criterion of a TEDE of 25 mrem/yr, but this supposition is not an excuse for the failure to accurately assess the impact of plant operations in the marine environment adjacent to this facility. The irony of this situation is that the routine collection of radiological surveillance data which would validate the safety of Maine seafood is not available. The recent disclosure of the large spill on the west side of the plant provides an additional reason for more thorough environmental monitoring.
The following observations need to be made about the Duratek Site Characterization Management Plan:
B. Use of a transect of 36 samples grouped into twelve composites to characterize contamination in Bailey Cove in lieu of a traditional grid is misleading, self-serving and bizarre.
C. The reference above in the Duratek report to the sweeping effect of the fast currents in the vicinity of the liquid effluent diffusers at the bottom of Montsweag Bay emphasizes the need for a comprehensive characterization of sediment loading by plant-derived contaminants over a broad area of coves and bays both to the north and south of the diffusers extending as far as five to ten kilometers in either direction.
D. Site characterization updates presented during Citizen Advisory Panel (CAP) meetings at MYAPC have provided vague summaries of the site characterization process including notation of the discovery of several "elevated" areas of radioactivity within site boundaries. The detailed database and the nuclide-specific isotopic characterization of these hot spots were not available during these meetings, perpetuating an aura of secrecy surrounding what should be a straightforward documentation of the radiological impact of plant operations as well as of the decommissioning process.
E. This aura of secrecy is also manifested in the unavailability of Duratek's staff to make presentations explaining the site characterization process, to answer questions about hot spots or to provide information to back up the generalized and ultimately deceptive licensee presentations made at the CAP meetings (see minutes of CAP meetings which are posted on the Internet at <http://www.maineyankee.com/maineyankee/cap.html>.)
F. The constituency of the Citizen's Advisory Panel also perpetuates the secrecy and evasions of the site characterization and decommissioning process. The majority of the panel is composed of supporters of MYAPC who are not familiar with most of the literature cited in this report and who have no propensity to question the licensee or the NRC about any of the deficiencies or irregularities which may impact the decommissioning process and result in increased costs for Maine ratepayers and taxpayers. In fact, the majority of CAP members, vis-à-vis unasked questions, are MYAPC's most effective advocates of the traffic in nuclear waste referred to in the next section of this report. The CAP has one, and only one, member willing to challenge the nuclear energy information gulag with the type of questions which need to be asked.
a. Licensee Site Characterization Summary
The nine volume Characterization Survey Report (CSR) for the Maine Yankee Atomic Power Plant, executed by GTS Duratek of Kingston, TN, was made available at the Maine State Library on June 8, 1998. The contents of this huge report pertaining to environmental sampling and site characterization were summarized by the licensee at the monthly CAP meeting in May as follows:7
2. Of 1,300 samples of soil collected, only 4 locations outside of the radiologically controlled areas were noted:
The presentation of this material at the May CAP meeting resulted in misleading press reports to the effect that site characterization showed no other radiological contamination as a result of plant operations. A review of volume six of the nine volume Characterization Survey Report shows otherwise.
Background radiation levels were taken in both open hay fields and scrub woodlands "east of route 24 near the Merrymeeting Field airport in Bowdoinham." (Volume 6, survey package 2200, page 1 of 38). Eighteen marine sediment samples from the New Meadows River, Harpswell, were composited into six samples, as were 18 sediment samples from the Damariscotta River near Dodge Point.
Survey packages for the environmental radiological characterization of the MYAPC environs have been divided into two categories, affected (1-7) and unaffected (8-21) as a result of historical site assessment. The Duratek report (only volume 6 contains environmental surveillance data) is particularly noteworthy for the interesting patterns of onsite and near-site contamination it documents as well as for its paucity of data pertaining to the marine environment surrounding MYAPC.
· A review of the other 21 environmental radiological characterization summaries, which are buried within volume six in the beginning of each "survey package" reveals information not reported in the press or in the CAP meetings. Extensive plant-derived contamination running as high as 86,500 pCi/kg of 137Cs in soil was discovered in along the western boundary of the plant to the north of the Forebay in an area previously alleged as an unaffected location. An area of high plant-derived 137Cs soil contamination is documented covering +/- 10,000 square feet with less contamination extending further along the fence line to the north on the west side of the plant to the 15 KV switchyard. (See the Characterization Survey Report maps; survey package 2501.)
· Each Characterization Survey summary contains "general historical information" which summarizes past incidents of loss of radiological controls e.g. steam generator tube leaks, CST overflows, etc. etc. These historical overviews provide compelling if brief descriptions of many small accidents which either have never been publicly disclosed or have received scant attention in the press if they have been disclosed.
· R0100: RCA portion (west side) of protected area yard. "137Cs concentrations remain significantly above background levels until the 24 inch to 36 inch profile was reached." Surface contamination examples: grid 103: 137Cs to 156,000 pCi/kg. Grid 5: 137Cs to 133,000 pCi/kg.
· R0200: Balance of protected area. "two of 30 random surface soil samples ... gave elevated results for 60Co and 137Cs." This report appears to use 2,000 pCi/kg as the cutoff level defining "elevated" from "normal" radiation levels with respect to 137Cs contamination in soil.
· R0300: Roof and yard drains. "Lower Forebay sediment samples were several times the range of marine sediment background sample concentrations."
· R0400: Forebay area shorelines. 137Cs in surface to 6 inch samples from the Bailey Cove side of the Forebay ranged up to 980 pCi/kg. "The nine (deeper samples gave a range of 137Cs concentrations of 210 to 960 pCi/kg." This range is up to twelve times the background range at control sediment sampling stations; all samples were at least three times the control background average.
· R0500: Bailey Point. The hot spot mentioned at the CAP meeting as an "elevated" reading turns out to have contained 33,600,000 pCi/kg of 60Co (33,600 pCi/g). Additional soil samples taken and not mentioned to the press include 60Co at 8,060 pCi/kg and 47,500 pCi/kg. Forty five random surface soil samples showed 137Cs to 1,030 pCi/kg (background = < 500 pCi/kg). There is no background radiation levels for 60Co; all contamination is plant-derived.
· R0600: Ballfield. Though expected to show contamination as an affected area impacted by snow removal from the radiation controlled areas (RCA) of the plant, this field showed no contamination above background. Thirty random and one biased 137Cs soil concentrations ranged from 00 to 60 pCi/kg.8
· R0700: Construction debris landfill. Drive-over gamma scans indicated eight elevated areas. Forty follow-up soil samples (see package 2500) did not show any 137Cs levels above background (range 00 to 60 pCi/kg). Thirty random soil samples showed this same result.
· R0900: Balance of plant area. "The drive-over gamma scanning survey did not identify any elevated locations in the balance of the plant area, partly because of the relatively high ambient dose rates associated with the RCA yard." Additional characterization was initiated after an elevated soil sample was taken from grid 130. Readers of this survey summary have to go to survey package 2501, a supplemental unlisted survey of a contaminated area to find out that "Twenty grids (five meters by five meters) were established to resurvey grid 130 from package 0900. All 20 samples showed 137Cs activity greater than 2000 pCi/kg ... 12 more five meter by five meter grids (grids number 21 through 33 were sampled). Elevated 137Cs activities were found in most of the grids, especially adjacent to the fence line" (The fence line runs along Bailey Cove). Four additional grids were established; 137Cs activity fell to below 2000 pCi/kg in these grids. Not mentioned in press releases nor in the brief conclusions in volume one, nor even in the characterization summary for 0900 or in special survey package 2501 is that 137Cs contamination reached 85,600 pCi/kg in soils adjacent to the Forebay and Forebay inlet flow monitoring shed next to Bailey Cove. Out of 35 additional samples, many showed contamination in the 10,000 to 65,000 pCi/kg range. This occurred in an area defined as unaffected prior to site characterization; this contamination is located directly adjacent to shellfish harvesting areas in Bailey Cove and covers in excess of 10,000 square feet to an unknown depth.
· R1000: Foxbird Island. Six samples near grid 122 showed 137Cs ranging from 650 to 1,630 pCi/kg "which appears to be elevated compared to other nearby results." The area around grid 122 was expanded to include 26, five meter by five meter grids. 137Cs in these 26 samples ranged up to 10,000 pCi/kg. Random soil samples taken from grid 185 showed 137Cs at 1,490 pCi/kg. Fifty eight other random soil samples showed 137Cs up to 1,630 pCi/kg. Background averages for soil contamination at Merrymeeting Bay were < 500 pCi/kg.
· R1100: Roof, yards and drains. No 137Cs above 0.09 pCi/g (90 pCi/kg) was noted.
· R1200: LLRW storage shed. No 137Cs above 0.13 pCi/g (130 pCi/kg) was noted.
· R1300: Proposed dry cask storage area. Drive-over scans identified two elevated locations. Slight contamination of 60Co to 450 pCi/kg was noted. 137Cs was within background ranging up to 140 pCi/kg in soil, with parking area concentrations up to 280 pCi/kg.
· R1400: Bailey Cove west shoreline (also Westport, Montsweag Bay, Bailey Point, Bailey Cove and plant area shoreline.) Six samples for each of 15 sampling locations were composited into thirty three sample composites. All of the composites showed 137Cs well above the Merrymeeting control sediment sample composites, with a range of 90 to 350 pCi/kg. Slight 60Co contamination was noted at the Bailey Point and Foxbird Island shorelines.
· R1500: Ash Road rubble pile, R1600: Open land areas, and R1700: Open land areas including transmission line corridors and woodlands. R1800: Bailey house area. R2100: Maintenance yard. All showed no 137Cs contamination above background levels.
· R1900: Bailey Cove. In a grossly inadequate survey in an area with a history of contamination, 14 sediment samples composites taken at seven locations in the cove all showed contamination two to six times higher than background control sediment samples from the New Meadows and Damariscotta Rivers. The range of contamination of 137Cs was from 180 to 430 pCi/kg.
· R2000: Diffusers. In a surveillance package with a grossly inadequate number of data points, five samples of sediment showed a very slight evidence of plant impact with 137Cs ranging up to 130 pCi/kg. This is an area swept clean by strong tidal currents which disperse liquid effluents throughout the Montsweag Bay ecosystem. No mention is made of one sample identified at a Citizen's Advisory Panel meeting showing "elevated" activity. This area of volume six also has some pagination typos.
Five of fourteen areas expected to be unaffected by plant activities showed evidence of contamination by reactor-derived 137Cs and 60Co. This includes a highly contaminated area covering over ten thousand square feet adjacent to and north of the Forebay which was used to hold liquid effluents discharged into Montsweag Bay through the two liquid effluent diffusers. The contaminated soil extends a significant distance along the west side fence line perimeter of the plant and exhibits a wide range of concentrations of plant-derived 137Cs up to 85,600 pCi/kg. The contamination on Baileys Island includes the discovery of a hot particle containing activity concentrations of 33,600,000 pCi/kg of 60Co. These findings indicate there has been a significant loss of radiological controls in the past and that plant decommissioning should not proceed until an in-depth review of these incidents and their potential impact has been instituted by the NRC.
A large spill of plant-derived liquid effluents and/or multiple incidents of chronic effluent leakage have now been clearly documented by the Characterization Survey Report. These disclosures mandate additional spectroanalyses of soil samples for a wide variety of long-lived isotopes such as 239Pu, 241Am, 241Pu, and 99Tc in the affected areas of the spill (10-61 analyses). The existence of previously undisclosed loss of radiological controls also mandates additional surveillance of the entire west and south sides of the MYAPC property as well as a much more detailed study of MYAPC plant-derived effluents in Bailey Cove and Montsweag Bay.
A possible source of some of the contamination in this location is an alleged March 30, 1984 discharge of 7,000 gallons of effluents from the reactor water storage tank which can hold up to 360,000 gallons. A licensee event report was filed with the NRC by MYAPC after this particular incident (LER84-004-00) and provides no description of the extensive soil contamination documented in CSR survey package 2501. The patterns of contamination documented in surveillance packages 0100, 0500, 0900, 1000 and 2501 appears to derive from multiple incidents of loss of radiological controls. The size of the contaminated areas documented by these survey packages range up to tens of thousands of square feet and indicate chronic contamination from multiple source points.
Also of interest in the Duratek report is the fact that the minimum detectable activity (MDA) suggested in the Site Characterization Management Plan has not been implemented. "Site specified guidelines values (SPGV), which equate to a TEDE of 25 mrem/yr based on recent 10 CFR 61 analyses and NUREG-1500, will be calculated and documented. Initially the MDAs will be set equal to or less than 25% of the SPGVs" (pg. 15). There is no indication in volume one or in volume six that such controversial MDAs are being utilized in the Characterization Survey Report. The MDAs used for both 60Co and 137Cs, gamma-emitting contaminants which can be detected by the relatively insensitive drive-over scans, are at or near the lower-limits of detection of the available laboratory equipment utilized for spectroanalysis (20 - 90 pCi/kg for 137Cs depending on the surveillance equipment being used.) If there is a hidden reporting level upon which the listed MDAs in the Characterization Survey Report are based it is not made explicit anywhere in this report.
Two thousand pCi/kg 137Cs soil contamination appears to be an investigation level used in this report as a guideline which would trigger additional sampling. This investigation level is four times as high as the average background 137Cs soil contamination levels at the Merrymeeting hay field control as well as five times as high as soil contamination in Utah resulting from weapons testing-derived fallout. (NUREG-1501, pg. 26-27). This "investigation level" allows the licensee sufficient leeway to avoid documentation of levels of plant-derived 137Cs contamination in the 400 to 2,000 pCi/kg range, especially, adjacent to and as a component of the large spill documented in survey packages 0100, 0500, 0900, 1000 and 2501.
No mention is made in this Duratek Characterization Survey Report of any derived concentration guideline values (DCGLs) regarding contaminated soil remediation. This is probably because DCGLs do not become an operative concept until the final site survey. Even at the time of a final status survey, only soil contamination exceeding the DCGL, whatever that may be, must be documented. The NRC has no requirement whatsoever that the soil contamination documented in the Characterization Survey Report need be reported. As the Decommissioning Site Supervisor, Michael Webb noted in his email message, nobody ingests contaminated soil. The site-specific DCGL which will be used by MYAPC to remediate contaminated soil is still unknown, as is the extent of soil contamination referenced in surveys 0500, 0900, 1000 and 2501. This tendency of both the NRC and MYAPC to omit, evade and misrepresent raises the question: will remediation of the contaminated soils along the fence line adjacent to Bailey Cove also be done in secret?
D. A Failure to Establish the Bases of NRC Site Release Criterion
The failure to execute detailed pathway analyses for the presence of long-lived isotopes characterizing spent fuel during plant operation and decommissioning undercuts the possibility of a credible TEDE of 25 mrem/yr based on all nuclides in all pathways as a bases for the final site release criterion at the end of the decommissioning process. This deficiency in pathway analyses for a site-specific marine ecosystem such as that at MYAPC represents a failure of the NRC to uphold its statutory responsibility for protecting health, safety and the environment. The radiological criterion for decommissioning represents the foundation of this statutory responsibility. If this radiological criterion is not based on exact and accurate pathway analyses, neither this statutory responsibility nor the more generalized requirements of 10 CFR Part 20 as well as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirement to document the effects of actions on the environment, are met.
The failure to document the extent of radiological contamination from plant operations prior to decommissioning provides the foundation for the ongoing failure to evaluate the impact of plant decommissioning on the marine environment. The deficiencies in pathway analyses and radiological surveillance are perpetuated by the over-generalized collective risk assessments for a few hypothetical scenarios as exemplified by the appendices in NUREG-1500. The pathway scenarios in NUREG-1500 are much more appropriate for land-locked weapons production facilities with surface contamination as the primary route of exposure. With respect to Montsweag Bay, the accurate pathway analyses of all decommissioning-derived nuclides in all pathways is an absolute necessity to validate a TEDE of 25 mrem/yr as the site release criterion.
NUREG regulatory guidelines including NUREG-5849 and MARSSIM suggest the compilation of an overview report summarizing general site information including past incidents of contamination, old environmental data reports, locations of likely residual activity, past and present results of radiological monitoring. No such overview report is available as a component of the MYAPC site characterization process (see NUREG-1505, pg. 3.2), nor is the site conceptual model suggested in this NUREG guide implemented in the Duratek Site Characterization Management Plan. Any such overview report should have clearly documented the contamination on Bailey Point, Foxbird Island and the east shoreline of Bailey Cove that has been graphically illustrated by the small amount of data in the Characterization Survey Report.
The deficiencies noted in the site characterization process illustrate an inability to evaluate plant-derived residual radioactivity and result in a flawed survey plan and design. While grid coordinates and a reference coordinate system are suggested in some situations "if appropriate" by both NUREG-5849 and MARSSIM, the Site Characterization Management Plan at MYAPC incorporates no such grid in sampling of the marine environment, which is limited to about 35 scattered shoreline samples, 8 samples near the diffusers and a pot-pourri of composites from Bailey Cove which have no relationship to grid coordinates. The usefulness of the grid as a surveillance tool is graphically illustrated by its implementation in the Characterization Survey Report during the documentation of soil contamination in the terrestrial environment on the west side of the reactor facility and on Foxbird Island, where 137Cs contamination up to 10,000 pCi/kg was also documented.
Site-specific derived concentration guideline levels for MYAPC have not yet been made public. The key questions for the decommissioning process at MYAPC are: how will the site-specific DCGLs compare to the DCGLs listed in Appendix 5 as the "upper bounds of non-contamination," which are extracted from NUREG-1500? Will these DCGLs perpetuate the outdated surface contamination release criterion in AEC 1.86? What credibility do DCGLs have in the context of a near total lack of routine environmental radiological surveillance data and poorly characterized "background" levels of anthropogenic radioactivity (weapons testing and Chernobyl-derived fallout, etc.?) MARSSIM allows NRC licensees to set DCGLs at whatever level is convenient for the decommissioning process at a specific facility. The defacto BRC guidelines implied by the appendices within NUREG-1500 provide a hint about the regulatory guidelines of the future. If the definition of DCGL separates what is considered "contamination" from "noncontamination," then the DCGLs about to be determined for MYAPC will specifically denote the defacto BRC guidelines which will be used to define 'ready for unrestricted release at this facility.
E. The Trash Sorting Allegation Investigation Report as an Indicator of Anomalies in NRC Regulation of Low-Level Wastes
The trash sorting controversy illustrates a fundamental conflict between a former requirement in the Code of Federal Regulations that no detectable radioactivity resulting from reactor operations be sited in any unlicensed landfill, and the much more lenient provisions of the CFR which allow unlimited liquid emissions of fission products and tritium to Montsweag Bay in so far as they do not exceed the annual limits on intake (ALI) by members of the public for ingestion of plant-derived isotopes.
The trash sorting controversy at MYAPC provides an opportunity to evaluate one of the more persistent anomalies in NRC regulatory guidelines. IE Circular 81-07 contains the following information: "Studies performed by Sommers [Sommers, 1975] have concluded that for discrete particle low-level contamination, about 5000 dpm of beta activity is the minimum level of activity that can be routinely detected under a surface contamination control program using direct survey methods. ... Therefore, taking into consideration the practicality of conducting surface contamination surveys; contamination control limits should not be set below 5000 dpm/100cm2 total [5,000 dpm/100cm2 = 500,000 dpm/m2 = 8,333 Bq/m2] and 1000 dpm/100cm2 removable" (pg. 2). This guideline allows significant amounts of residual radioactivity above background to be included in trash being released to unrestricted areas because residual radioactivity is below detectable activity using relatively inefficient frisking equipment. A similar observation may be made about the inefficient drive over gamma scans pertaining to documentation of soil contamination used during the MYAPC site characterization process.
This is essential background information for evaluating the trash sorting controversy, which originated from observations of the State Nuclear Safety Inspector that as an employee of MYAPC in 1987-88, he observed "that some bags with extremely low-levels of radioactivity were sent to the Wiscasset landfill ... he noticed that a bag that had previously been monitored had a greater than zero radiation reading (a number which sticks in his mind is 12.85 nanocuries)" (MYAPC, 1998, pg. 9). This remark references a 14 bag trash monitor which replaced a portal monitor and was used for an aggregate check of volumetrically contaminated trash to supplement surface contamination frisking referenced in 81-07 above. "The use of the bag monitor in lieu of the portal monitor is a more sensitive system of activity detection" (pg. 7). The following footnote in the MYAPC trash investigation report illustrates the practical difficulties encountered by NRC licensees when attempting to characterize the radiological content of trash-derived from radiation controlled areas of the plant. "Over this period the monitor setpoint was lowered from 20 to (eventually) 2 nanocuries in a conservative attempt to ensure that no trash bags containing contamination were released. With today's better understanding of alarm settings (see "Minimum Detectability Analysis" section below) we know that the alarm settings of 2-20 nanocuries were too low and, by necessity, would result in an inefficient process (i.e. excessive numbers of clean trash being identified as contaminated)" (footnote, pg. 7).
Page 29 of the Trash Sorting Allegation Investigation Report provides this technical information about the 14 bag monitor: chamber volume 10 cubic feet, minimum detectable activity (MDA) for a 10 second count time: 60Co 5 nanocuries, 137Cs 10 nanocuries. Further, "the waste bags monitored by the system contained an estimated 15,000 square inches of materials per pound" (Attachment C). 15,000 square inches translates into over 9 square meters of surface area. Using the NRC guideline noted above in 81-07 of 5,000 dpm/100cm2 or 500,000 dpm/m2, the minimum detectable concentration for a one pound bag utilizing conventional frisking equipment mentioned above would be approximately 2,000 nanocuries/bag. Since some bags going into the bag monitor were as heavy as five pounds or in other circumstances multiple bags were surveyed in the bag monitor, hand frisking alone using portable monitoring equipment would obviously not prevent some quantities of radioactive material from going into the landfill. The most obvious anomaly in these descriptions is the lack of uniform reporting units for the bags in the bag monitors with respect to the minimum detectable activity for a ten second count time. Is the ten nanocurie MDA for 137Cs for a ten second count time for a one pound bag with nine square meters of surface contamination or for a five pound bag with over 45 square meters of surface contamination? The NRC guideline cited above makes clear that considering the inefficiency of conventional frisking equipment, a five pound bag could contain up to 22,500,000 dpm of activity and still be just below what is defined as the "minimum detectable activity." Translated into nanocuries (22,500,000 dpm divided by 2.2 pCi/dpm = 1,027,200 pCi per five pound bag), 1,027 nCi per five pound bag is the MDA for hand frisking. It is obvious that the much more sensitive bag monitor would flag residual radioactivity at levels much less than 1,027 nCi. These bags would then be refrisked with inefficient direct survey equipment. In contrast to the misleading licensee assertion quoted above, excessive numbers of contaminated trash bags would be identified as clean.
Further information provided by the Trash Sorting Allegation Investigation Report indicates the bag monitor with its one and three quarter inch lead shield is impervious to external background radiation and that background radiation contained within the monitor itself is accounted for by a computer which determines alarm setpoints such that "The monitor constantly measures and updates the background radiation when empty" (pg. 15). Further, "The total activity [in the bag monitor] is a measurement of the radioactivity the detectors measure in the box minus the stored background value." and as such "...includes the naturally occurring radioactivity in the bag itself" (pg. 16). Based upon this information, the Trash Sorting Allegation Investigation Report provides the spectra of MYAPC radiation protection officials, as noted in the above page 7 footnote, frantically setting and resetting the alarm setpoints at 20 nanocuries, then at 2 nanocuries, then at who knows how many nanocuries, with a final explanation that in view of the guidelines in MARSSIM, 40 nanocuries would be the appropriate alarm setpoint. The fact that these alarm setpoints are not for any particular reporting unit, but can include bags with surface contamination ranging from nine square meters to 45 square meters reflects the disorganized and uncertain status of clearly dysfunctional NRC guidelines pertaining to free release of "uncontaminated" trash. Secondly, these anomalies and mishaps with the bag monitor provide a window of opportunity to examine the ever increasing flexibility the licensee has to determine its own guidelines for free release of trash in which there is "no detectable" contamination.
One development which helps illustrate the increasing flexibility NRC licensees have with regard to free release standards comes from the Code of Federal Regulations. Up until 1991, 10 CFR 20.301 General Requirement (Waste Disposal) as well as IE Circular 81-07 specifically stated "In practice no radioactive (licensed material) means no detectable radioactive material" (was allowed to be disposed of in unlicensed landfills.) As footnote c on page 10 of the Trash Sorting Allegation Investigation Report notes, 10 CFR 20.0301 was superseded in 1991 by 10 CFR 20.2001, the only requirement in which is that "A licensee shall dispose of licensed material only by transfer to an authorized recipient as provided in §20.2006... " as well as authorized under §20.2002d in the context of maintaining "... analyses and procedures to ensure that doses are maintained ALARA and within the dose limits in part."
The licensee then provides the following conclusions in the Trash Sorting Allegation Investigation Report. "Because of random variations in background and in the decay of radioactive materials and the calculational methods of the computer for the bag monitor printer, positive activity numbers often occur on the printout without indicating the presence of detectable radioactive material. ... More modern versions of these monitors have more user friendly displays and printouts which avoid assigning radioactivity values to items evaluated as 'CLEAN' because of the tendency to misunderstand their meaning" (pg. 18). The tendency of the licensee to resort to deception even when its not necessary to do so is demonstrated by Question 2 in the Trash Investigation Report: "Do greater-than-zero radioactivity readings on the bag monitor printout for bags evaluated as 'CLEAN' mean that radioactive (licensed) material is detected? Answer: No. The bag monitor alarm setpoint determines the presence of radioactive (licensed) material and is calculated by the bag monitor computer. This setpoint does not include some changes in radioactive background measurements that are included in the activity reading. Examples are changes in the content of naturally occurring radionuclides in the bag of trash being measured and changes in radioactive background outside the monitor. Activity readings on the printout for bags evaluated as 'CLEAN' include background readings. These readings are actually more indicative of the sensitivity of the monitor than the detection of radioactive material" (pg. 13).
These disingenuous explanations require further comment. The lead-shielded monitor is impervious to changes in the background radiation, so the only issue is variations in background radiation within the monitor. The bag monitor already had a pre-set alarm for background radiation within the trash (2 nanocuries, 20 nanocuries, potluck, and 40 nanocuries). Without careful laboratory analysis of each bag, neither the licensee nor the NRC can accurately determine if reading up to 40 nanocuries are background or reactor-derived radiation. Considering that this trash originates from the hot side of the plant, and that the bag monitor already had background alarm set points, the assertion by the licensee that all activity up to 40 nanocuries (per what reporting unit?) derives from wildly fluctuating background radiation is both preposterous and contradictory. That this explanation would satisfy the public, the press, CAP members, and the NRC illustrates how amenable to gulling are the recipients of such deceptive explanations. The recent presentations by MYAPC of these deceptive explanations to a cherubic and receptive Citizen's Advisory Panel meeting in April 1998 (one skeptical curmudgeon excepted) would have made Saddam Hussein blush. The fact of the matter is that reactor-derived microcontamination in trash from the hot side of the plant is a routine occurrence. The small amounts of contamination in this trash have no health physics significance in the context of a landfill containing hundreds of smoke detectors with 1,000 nanocuries of 241Am per detector. The question remains if background radiation in trash from the hot side of the plant is wildly fluctuating, why is all radioactivity below the alarm set points of 20 or 40 nanocuries (per what?) always background radiation, and never reactor-derived contamination? It was not surprising that a check of the local landfill found no evidence of contamination by plant-derived microcontamination of MYAPC trash. What is surprising is the assertion by the licensee that there was never any microcontamination in the trash destined for this landfill.
F. Other Relevant Decommissioning and Monitoring Paradigms
1. The Case of Connecticut Yankee Atomic (Haddam Neck)
Recent testimony before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (September 15, 1997) by a former high-level NRC employee and present consultant for the state of Connecticut, James K. Joosten, is particularly relevant to evaluating deficiencies, omissions, and misrepresentations in the MYAPC site characterization and decommissioning process. Unlike MYAPC, Connecticut Yankee Atomic utilized stainless-steel clad fuel assemblies rather than zircaloy clad assemblies as was the norm at most other U.S. reactors. Connecticut Yankee experienced two incidents of fuel cladding failure, the most serious of which involved the failure of 456 fuel rods due to metal fragments being left in the reactor after refueling and prior to restart. These two incidents resulted in widespread contamination of both the plant facility, nearby parking lots, as well as a variety of on and off site locations. The testimony of Joosten is based on a detailed review of plant documents which are admittedly incomplete but which provide proof of discovery of hundreds of hot particles throughout the facility beginning in 1987 and continuing through 1995.
MYAPC also experienced two incidents of fuel cladding failure, the first in the early years of operation and the second in 1996 when grid to fuel rod fretting resulted in the discovery of numerous leaky fuel assemblies. By January 27, 1997, the licensee had documented seventy-five leaky fuel rods. MYAPC plant never reopened following the discovery of these leaky fuel assemblies, and with closure of the plant the issue never received any widespread public attention.
The Joosten testimony before FERC is particularly interesting because it gives a detailed description of what hot particles are and how they originate:
A. They appear to have three principle origins: -Fuel: Failures of the nuclear fuel cladding allow irradiated material to enter the reactor's cooling water during operation and fuel handling evolutions. Minute fragments can then be transported to other auxiliary systems, radwaste systems, drains, and ventilation systems. (Connecticut Yankee has experienced a relatively large number of fuel rod failures.)
-CRUD: piping and other components corrode and release tiny particles of cobalt, manganese, iron, and other metals into the reactor cooling water. These particles pass through the intense radiation fields in the reactor and become highly radioactive. They can be transported throughout the connected water systems and may settle out in crevices or plate-out on the inside of components. (CRUD has been found at Connecticut Yankee both in the plant and outdoors.)
-Debris: Debris can also enter the reactor cooling water during improperly controlled maintenance operations in the form of metal shavings, filings, chips, grit, or dust. These particles pass through the intense radiation fields in the reactor and become highly radioactive. Like CRUD, small debris particles can be transported throughout the connected water systems and may settle out in crevices or plate-out on the inside of components. (One of Connecticut Yankee's significant fuel failure events was caused by metallic debris left in the reactor.)
The Connecticut Yankee facility was also the subject of NRC inspection reports, the most interesting of which is Haddam Neck Inspection Report 97-08. This report makes no reference to the problem of hot particle contamination discussed by Joosten in his FERC testimony other than as "potential alpha emitters" (pg. 12) and "small particulate type activity" (pg. 20). The NRC did execute a survey of the offsite landfill contaminated by Connecticut Yankee dumping which was also discussed by Joosten. The NRC survey showed a wide variation in Connecticut Yankee derived offsite contamination with 137Cs ranging from 170 - 34,800 pCi/kg. This report also provides detailed descriptions of the many leaks, overflows and other losses of radiological controls at Haddam Neck (125 incidents) discussed by Joosten. This is another important NRC document providing graphic evidence of how little the NRC knows or cares about the offsite impact of reactor operations.
2. The Case of the Yankee Atomic Electric Company
The Yankee Atomic Electric Company (Rowe, Mass.) which closed on December 4, 1986, presents another interesting point of comparison to the decommissioning process at MYAPC. The May 15, 1997 license termination plan for the Yankee Atomic facility includes a summary of radiological analyses of sediment samples taken from the Deerfield River and Sherman Pond, the recipient of its liquid effluents. Out of 119 sediment samples taken during the final status survey, 93 showed detectable 137Cs contamination with values ranging up to 3,000 pCi/kg (Table 2.5). If there was a reporting level underlying this data it wasn't observed by this editor. Yankee Atomic was still utilizing guideline values for soil contained in NUREG-1500 which give a 15 mrem/yr residential scenario value. This equates to a site guideline value of 10,700 pCi/kg as the cut off point for contaminated sediments requiring remediation, assuming such contamination was widespread rather than in isolated pockets, and 137Cs was the only isotope providing exposure. The ready availability of Yankee Rowe site evaluation guidelines for 137Cs in this report contrasts with the tenacity that both MYAPC and the NRC have exhibited in their refusal to disclose the Derived Concentration Guideline Levels (DCGLs) which are being utilized in the site investigation process at MYAPC. There appears to be a fear at MYAPC of public scrutiny and discussion of the significance of these guidelines perhaps because they will constitute a defacto BRC (below regulatory concern) standard. The upcoming publication of the final nine volume site characterization report may or may not clarify what DCGLs are being used in the decommissioning process at MYAPC (update: it doesn't.)
The decommissioning of Yankee Rowe raises another important issue. Yankee Rowe Atomic went through the messy and controversial process of segmenting and removing reactor vessel greater-than-class C (GTCC) internal components and was able to site these in their own spent fuel pool. This is a disposal option which MYAPC does not have for its reactor vessel GTCC internals which must either be segmented out and stored on site, disposed of intact with the reactor vessel at Barnwell, S.C. or remain in safe storage within an undisturbed containment building at MYAPC. Intact disposal of the entire reactor vessel package at Texas is not a practical decommissioning option due to the distance of the Sierra Blanca facility from the nearest port (Galveston - 500 miles) and the size and weight of the intact reactor vessel (706 tons plus 300 ton concrete shield.) After removal of the GTCC reactor internals, the Yankee Rowe vessel was transported by rail to Barnwell, S.C. for uncontained burial. Of interest with respect to the MYAPC decommissioning process was the fact that, though the greater-than-class C internal components had been removed and put in the Yankee Rowe spent fuel pool, the reactor vessel still contained significant quantities of residual radioactivity. Along with 4,500 curies of activity remaining in the reactor vessel itself after segmentation of the internals, there was an additional 1,400 curies of activity in "dross." The NRC has declined to provide an isotopic characterization of this dross to the High-Level Waste Workshop for discussion in this report. This raises the unresolved question of to what extent is the dross in the Yankee Rowe reactor vessel, or at Maine Yankee or any other decommissioned reactor vessel composed of hot particles, CRUD and/or long-lived spent fuel fragments? What is the legal status of the disposal of this material in a primitive uncontained landfill in Barnwell, S.C.?
3. Riso National Laboratory (Denmark) Environmental Monitoring
Deficiencies in NRC licensee radiological surveillance programs become more evident when the routine data collection of other nations' monitoring of environmental radioactivity is compared with the data collection of NRC licensees. Denmark has long maintained a routine radiological monitoring program summarized annually since the 1960's. Included in routine data collection is surveillance of the following abiotic and biotic media: air, precipitation, stream, lake, ground, drinking, and sea water, soil sediments, dried milk, fresh milk, meat, fish, cheese, eggs, grain, bread, potatoes, vegetables, fruit, grass, moss, lichen, sea plants, total diet, and humans. Gamma background is measured regularly by TLD, ionization chamber, and on-site gamma spectroscopy. Riso also monitors the marine environments at the Barseback and Ringhals nuclear power plants in nearby Sweden for 137Cs and corrosion products 58Co, 60Co, 65Zn, and 64Mn. Surveillance of gamma emitting radionuclides in the vicinity of the Swedish plants is broken down into the following categories: brown algae, benthic invertebrates, fish, and sea sediments. Extensive sampling of all varieties of sea plants as well as moss and lichens are routinely collected throughout Denmark. Riso reports also include annual summaries of 90Sr and radiocesium in the human diet, in humans, as well as a cumulative fallout index for both 90Sr and 137Cs. The annual report for 1986, which was a little longer than usual due to the Chernobyl accident, (Denmark escaped almost all the fallout from Chernobyl which so severely impacted Sweden and much of the northern United Kingdom) is 272 pages including an extensive bibliography. No such detailed environmental monitoring report is produced by any agency of the U.S. government, including the NRC, and with excellent reason.
The United States is the location of a variety of highly contaminated weapons production and former fuel reprocessing facilities. One of the legacies of the Cold War is the secrecy which still surrounds massive contamination that resulted from uncontained disposal of liquid effluents containing high levels of radioactivity from reprocessed spent fuel. After weapons grade plutonium was extracted from the spent fuel produced by DOE reactors the remaining wastes were deposited in evaporation lagoons as well as released directly into sub-surface soil via "French drains." The reluctance of the NRC to require documentation of the relatively small liquid and gaseous plumes which originate at NRC licensed reactors is ultimately a reflection of a federal need to maintain secrecy about the many nuclear waste filled closets in the gothic labyrinth of hundreds of DOE facilities now undergoing haphazard environmental remediation.
4. The Case of the National Cancer Institute 131I Exposure Report
On August 1, 1997, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) issued a report revising all prior estimates of 131I exposure from the Nevada atmospheric bomb tests. This report has particular relevance to the subject of deficient radiological surveillance programs because it so effectively deconstructs the myths underlying average effective dose equivalent calculations of federal agencies including the NRC. As the NCI assessment makes clear fifteen years after congress mandated this study in 1982, these tests released 150 million curies of 131I resulting in a cumulative thyroid dose to the general population of 2 rad with children averaging 6 - 14 rad. Some exposure to children ran as high as 112 rad. The actual dose range for children was thus up to 70 times higher than the data reported as recently as 1997 in Eisenbud, Environmental Radioactivity, fourth edition, chapter 16. The NCI report is for only one isotope, 131I, leaving undocumented the dose equivalents for 89Sr, 90Sr, 134Cs, 137Cs, plutonium and other fallout isotopes. The pie chart reproduced by Eisenbud on page 528, beloved by health physicists everywhere, and often cited by the NRC indicating the total average dose equivalence from nuclear power and fallout combined is only 0.03 mSv, is now history. The actual exposure levels are much higher; too little data exists to accurately document the real impact of weapons testing or nuclear power production. The omissions and misrepresentations of the NRC and MYAPC at and site specific location such as the Wiscasset reactor are just the tip of an iceberg of undocumented releases and contamination. "The chickens will inevitably come home to roost at some later date" (Andrews, H.L., National Institutes of Health, September 13, 1953, quoted from Ortmeyer, pg. 3). This 1953 prediction is graphically illustrated by the disclosure of a large spill in the Characterization Survey Report as well as of significant contamination at Bailey Point, Foxbird Island and throughout the soils in the radiation controlled areas (RCA) of the plant.
G. Observations about the Decommissioning Process at MYAPC
A number of comments, observations, incidents and reports about MYAPC operations assist in illustrating the extent of the lack of documentation of the radiological impact of the routine operation of this facility as well as of the deceptions and evasions which form the context of the current rush to decommission.
1. Unavailability of site characterization information
The closure of MYAPC leaves a legacy of unfunded decommissioning and waste disposal costs as well as of distrust and unease. A primary component of the public mistrust of NRC licensees is the historic unavailability of information about reactor operations and their radiological impact. The unavailability of data pertaining to site characterization during Community Advisory Panel meetings is one such example. During these meetings the licensee has made aggressive and inaccurate claims about Montsweag Bay as a generally unimpacted area (versus impacted areas within the site boundary.) The licensee has provided a variety of maps and diagrams illustrating a handful of "elevated areas" of radioactivity, with all other plant property noted as unaffected by reactor operations. The data in the recently released Duratek Characterization Survey Report illustrates that these claims which were repeated widely by the press were, in fact, a lie. The licensee has also been particularly efficient in closing off all other avenues of information availability pertaining to the decommissioning process other than the incomplete and misleading presentations made at the CAP meetings. Duratek staff involved in the site characterization process have been subject to particularly tight security and are not available to answer questions of any kind. Routine data documenting the fission product inventory of the recent reactor containment decontamination flush was also not available from either the licensee or the NRC when this data was requested by the High-Level Waste Workshop. The Community Advisory Panel (CAP) also serves as a further impediment to public scrutiny or review of the decommissioning process. The CAP is composed primarily of nuclear power acolytes. Most panel members are unfamiliar with MARSSIM, the NUREG documents reviewed in this report, the Duratek Site Characterization Management Plan and other important documents or issues essential to evaluating the decommissioning process. CAP members, with one or two exceptions, therefore have no questions about deficiencies and omissions discussed in this report and serve as a barrier blocking public scrutiny of the decommissioning process. The Community Advisory Panel (CAP) perpetuates the NRC and MYAPC tendency to withhold information pertinent to the evaluation of the decommissioning process as well as the past environmental impact of plant operations.
2. Radiological incident reports (RIRs)
RIRs are routinely executed by NRC licensees such as MYAPC and constitute an important documentation of operational deficiencies which result in a contamination of licensee workers, facilities and equipment and possibly of offsite environments. These RIRs are not available for public review. It is not in the interests of public safety that radiological incidents which occur at operational reactors remain confidential. This observation is emphasized by the documentation of a previously undisclosed spills and accidents at MYAPC as evidenced by the data within the Duratek Characterization Survey Report.
Typical RIRs that have surfaced out of the secrecy of MYAPC files include: documentation of a particle of 60Co imbedded in the skin above the left knee of an MYAPC employee on January 3, 1996, and containing 0.109 microcuries of 60Co (35,000 cpm); RIR number not available. RIR 96-016 discusses the discovery of a radioactive particle embedded in a guard's chair. Radioanalysis indicated the particle was a fission fragment containing 0.218 microcuries of 90Sr, 90Y, 147Pm. Another RIR not available for review but referenced by the only skeptic on the CAP pertains to a component of a fuel assembly which was removed from the radiologically controlled area of MYAPC and placed on a shelf in a storage area for almost a decade. Public review of all the radiological incident reports compiled by MYAPC would likely reveal numerous additional failures in radiological controls similar to those at Connecticut Yankee. The NRC and NRC licensee cult of secrecy, manifested in the unavailability of radiological incident reports, serves to facilitate licensee avoidance of public scrutiny of events which have public safety significance. The unavailability of RIRs is consistent with the deficiencies in NRC licensee radiological surveillance programs.
3. MYAPC gaseous emissions
Stack emissions from MYAPC is a subject not addressed in this report. However, several general observations need to be made on this topic. The extensive use of thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLDs) by both MYAPC and the state of Maine, several rings of which surround the reactor facility, are useful for providing monthly summaries of ambient radiation levels. The TLDs installed by the state of Maine are, in fact, connected to a computer in the Department of Human Services office in Augusta, Maine. Major releases of gaseous emissions including particulates reaching ground level in the immediate area of MYAPC would register as increases in ambient radiation. This equipment, however, provides no information about the long term cumulative impact of chronic stack emissions, much of which is rapidly transported to areas far beyond the perimeter TLDs at MYAPC. Fallout of particulates associated with stack emissions is often associated with rainfall events and may not occur in the stack vicinity. Chronic gaseous emissions are quickly diluted and significant impact on TLD readings is unlikely. The only accurate determination of the chronic impact of stack emissions would be from detailed spectroanalyses of soil samples and grass, moss and lichens surrounding the facility compound. Such analyses should also include samples from a distant control area. Such laboratory spectroanalyses would then be expressed as deposition of radioactivity per square meter (Bq/m2) or of contamination of biotic media per unit mass (Bq/kg.) An accurate survey with sufficient data points for an isometric characterization of the impact of plant operations would involve hundreds of samples. No such comprehensive survey for cumulative ground deposition of radioactivity has ever been noted at MYAPC or any other NRC licensed reactor. The laboratory analyses for such a survey, as illustrated by the hundreds of studies of Chernobyl-derived contamination, is time consuming, expensive and must be executed in a laboratory setting. The inefficient gamma-surveillance equipment so habitually relied upon by the NRC and NRC licensees is no substitute for accurate laboratory spectroanalyses.
Haddam Neck Inspection Report 97-08 refers to a 1979 incident involving a degassifier and a steam generator blowdown which resulted in the deposition of "particulate matter within the owner controlled area" (pg. 15) which was later detected in a routine site survey. No further information is available about the isotopes characterizing this fallout or the deposition amounts expressed in Bq/m2, but the incident illustrates that significant contamination can occur from stack emissions which also need to be characterized isocurically. The same critique of deficiencies in the radiological surveillance of the marine environment surrounding MYAPC can be made about the terrestrial environment surrounding MYAPC or any other NRC licensee.
4. Cooling water inlet silt contamination
The MYAPC cooling water inlet regularly fills up with silt which must be periodically removed. This silt is spread on a silt spreading area 250 yards north of the switch yard. Two samples of the silt spreading area analyzed by MYAPC reveal trace amounts of plant-derived 58Co, 60Co, 110Ag, 137Cs. Follow-up testing of silt by the UMO Physics Department did not identify any plant-derived contaminants in a split sample provided by MYAPC (state laboratory equipment was not available at this time) but licensee surveillance has documented silt contamination as noted in their REMPs. The fact that contaminated silt would accumulate in the cooling water intake is another illustration of the need for a comprehensive survey of the estuarine environment surrounding the MYAPC plant. More information about the cooling water inlet silt contamination may become available in the upcoming site characterization report.
5. Hot particles
The discovery by Hess and Smith in 1974 of a hot particle in one out of 50 sediment samples during a transect survey of Bailey Cove after MYAPC began operation containing over 9,000 pCi of activity in one 20 millionth of a gram illustrates the urgent need of much more comprehensive surveys of marine ecosystems adjacent to the main MYAPC facility than any that have been executed to date. Post-shutdown Citizen Advisory Meeting presentations by the licensee pertaining to the results obtained from the Characterization Survey Report indicates that one or more additional "hot spots" now have been located on Bailey Island and the MYAPC site boundary. Detailed isotopic analyses of these hot spots are not available but it is likely that these hot spots are actually hot particles of the type documented by Hess and Smith (update: the Characterization Survey Report confirms this prediction.) Joosten, in FERC testimony cited above gives an excellent overview of hot particle contamination at Connecticut Yankee. Neither the physical environment nor the paper trail of documents at MYAPC have been subjected to the kind of scrutiny and review as occurred at Connecticut Yankee to determine if hot particle contamination at MYAPC is as extensive as that at Connecticut Yankee. The use of Zircaloy instead of stainless steel for fuel cladding at MYAPC might suggest that this is not the case, but the two instances of fuel failure at MYAPC suggest that in fact scrutiny of radiological controls and surveillance for hot particles should be as thorough as that at Connecticut Yankee. No MYAPC and NRC reports have ever made specific reference to the Hess hot particle, or any other NRC licensee-derived hot particles, other than his own description published in the EPA report in May of 1976.
6. Reactor Vessel Segmentation
The debacle involving reactor vessel segmentation at Yankee Rowe (Mass.) illustrates the total impracticability of utilizing this approach to deconstruct the reactor vessel and remove its internal components. No space for reactor vessel GTCC internals is available in the MYAPC spent fuel pool as was the case at Yankee Rowe. Segmentation results in the uncontrolled release of volatile radionuclides and particulates as well as liquid emissions and resins and results in unnecessary additional worker exposure. The most cost effective methodology for decommissioning the reactor vessel with internals intact is to leave it on site in safe storage until the federal government can implement a more comprehensive radioactive waste storage and disposal program. This is particularly the case because reactor vessels are also contaminated with dross which includes hot particles, CRUD, and spent fuel fragments in sufficient quantities to make uncontained burial of reactor vessels with the reactor internals absolutely inappropriate. As with many other aspects of MYAPC operations, secrecy has surrounded the current plan to site the reactor vessel with its intensely radioactive greater-than-class C (GTCC) internal components intact at Barnwell, S.C. Even greater secrecy surrounds the issue of to what extent the dross in the Yankee Rowe reactor vessel, which was cited without its rector internals intact at Barnwell, contained long-lived spent fuel particles such as 239Pu. The NRC has declined to isotopically characterize this dross when so requested by the High Level Waste Workshop.
7. The Barnwell, S. C. "Low-Level Waste Site"
The plan to use the primitive landfill facility in Barnwell, S.C., which has been in operation for over three decades, to receive the intensely radioactive intact reactor vessel is one of the more bizarre aspects of the decommissioning process. This landfill has been receiving MYAPC generated low-level wastes on a sporadic basis since Maine Yankee opened in 1972. At one point the South Carolina legislature closed the facility but it has been recently reopened and does a very lucrative business receiving wastes from many locations. Rapid advances have been made in compaction technology, in part due to the high costs of disposing of low-level wastes at Barnwell and other locations. The result has been an industry-wide reduction in the volume of low-level waste with a resulting pinch on Barnwell operating revenues. The state of South Carolina has responded to these tightened circumstances by entering into an agreement with Barnwell through which a number of NRC licensees will site as many as 30 reactor vessels with their GTCC internals intact (+/- 4 million Ci each) in this landfill in the next decade. Also scheduled for uncontained disposal is the dross within these reactor vessels which includes hot particles, CRUD, and long-lived spent fuel fragments, the curic content of which can vary widely among the reactors being cited at Barnwell. Eighty to ninety percent of the revenues from this enterprise have been designated for higher education in South Carolina. The fact of the matter is that the Barnwell landfill, unlike the Texas repository, has and will have no engineered barriers to prevent migration of GTCC wastes, class C wastes, long-lived class B wastes, hot particles, and spent fuel fragments into adjacent groundwater. The reactor vessel is its own containment, as are the high integrity containers (HICs) which contain class B "low-level waste" resins generated by filtering highly radioactive reactor effluents. Barnwell has no additional engineered barriers and represents the last vestige of primitive uncontained land disposal of radioactive waste characteristic of the early days of the Cold War. Use of this landfill for these purposes subjects Maine ratepayers to possible future litigation and remediation costs. There is also an element of uncertainty in the viability of the Barnwell facility, which has already been closed once by the South Carolina State Legislature. It is also unclear how long the general public as well as students and politicians in South Carolina will be willing to indulge in nuclear blackmail, no matter how many billions of dollars the Barnwell facility raises for public education in South Carolina.
8. The Texas Low-Level Waste Compact
The Texas low-level waste compact, which will serve as a potential location for MYAPC as well as for Vermont Yankee low-level wastes is another bizarre chapter in the MYAPC decommissioning soap opera. As it nears final approval and the beginning of construction it has the potential to cost Maine ratepayers over 25 million dollars in wasted expenditures. The Barnwell facility is currently available for accepting decommissioning-derived low-level wastes. Unlike Barnwell, where a large hole can be made larger, the Texas site contains specific and well designed engineered barriers which could usefully serve as a repository for legitimate short-lived medical and research low-level wastes. The Texas facility is not designed to receive the large components such as steam generators and MYAPC's 706 ton reactor vessel with GTCC internals intact. In the case of the reactor vessel, its transport requires and additional 300 ton concrete shield. It may be possible to barge this reactor vessel to Galveston, Texas, but the remaining 500 mile trip over land on rail facilities not designed for this kind of weight is an unlikely eventuality. While the Maine congressional delegation appears ready to join this over land journey with a campout on the expansive Texas prairie, the identity of the parties paying for the tearing down and rebuilding of the bridges which interfere with reactor vessel transportation are still unknown. Meanwhile, legitimate research and medical generators of small quantities of short-lived low-level waste are held hostage by a dysfunctional federal government and its deceptive misclassification of high-level wastes as low-level wastes. The Texas low-level waste compact provides a vivid illustration of the careless disregard for public safety inherent in the current fragmented attempt of the federal government to site radioactive waste of every description as low-level waste.
9. Irregularities in the Use of Reporting Units
One of the more bizarre traditions of weapons production nuclear energy complex as a secret cult is the use of nontraditional reporting units to describe contamination in media of any kind. Initially, in the early days of Radiation Data Reports contamination was reported in picocuries per kilogram (pCi/kg) - a very small unit representing one millionth of a millionth of a curie, in the relatively large mass of the kilogram. With the advent of the international standard (SI) of measurements, contamination is now usually reported in becquerels per kilogram (one becquerel = one disintegration per second; one becquerel = 27 picocuries.) The function of reporting very small quantities of information in relatively large masses of solids or liquids is to maximize the visibility of trends of decreasing or increasing contamination in any given media over time. Our witty federal government, however, has discovered that reporting contamination in much smaller units of mass (grams, milliliters) is particularly helpful in minimizing the visibility of trends of increasing or decreasing contamination. This obsfucation is particularly useful at the many highly contaminated weapons production facilities now undergoing evaluation and sporadic and dysfunctional remediation. This tendency to deceive and mislead by using smaller reporting units is carried over at MYAPC even though residual contamination in Montsweag Bay doesn't hold a candle to the massive plumes which characterize the weapons production facilities. The Characterization Survey Report (CSR) will likely present contamination as so many picocuries per gram of mass or per milliliter of volume, thereby perpetuating the aura of deceitfulness already associated with the NRC and NRC licensees activities (update: it does).
10. The State of Maine as a Participant in the Decommissioning Debacle
The state of Maine has long played a major role as a principal supporter of the nuclear energy pyramid scheme which has recently enjoyed such a spectacular collapse in Maine with the closing of MYAPC. No publication issued by the state of Maine better illustrates the complicity of state officials in the traffic in the traffic in nuclear waste than a 1987 report, The Effects of a Mandatory Early Shutdown of Maine Yankee. The purpose of this report was to inform Maine voters that if they voted to shutdown the MYAPC facility, payment of 1.2 billion dollars would have to be made to MYAPC stockholders as compensation for the shutdown and its impact on plant valuation. This report, which was as one-sided as most of the press coverage during the last several decades, neglected to point out that 1.2 billion dollars was also the approximate cost of unfunded decommissioning and waste storage, transportation and disposal costs being evaded by both MYAPC owners and ratepayers. In view of the huge liabilities inherent in the traffic in nuclear waste, the discounted cost of electricity provided to MYAPC ratepayers constituted what is in hindsight most appropriately called bribery. No mention was or has been made in any state report or in the Maine press that the ratepayer benefits from the traffic in nuclear waste would eventually have to be paid back by Maine citizens who didn't profit from the generation of these wastes. The early shutdown of MYAPC has effectively eliminated the issue of compensation of the owners of MYAPC, but not that of unfunded costs. Policies of the state of Maine with respect to the decommissioning of MYAPC continue to be dominated by the myth of nuclear generated electricity at three cents per kilowatt hour. The realization that the +/- 1 billion dollars in alleged savings which resulted from this pyramid scheme will have to be paid back by someone following the cessation of reactor operations is a politically unpalatable thought. The state of Maine, as the most tenacious supporter of the traffic in nuclear waste, is also the very last entity, as illustrated by the MYAPC Citizen Advisory Panel, to have any questions about the legacies of undocumented contamination, unfunded waste storage and disposal costs, crackpot plans to site an intact reactor vessel in a large hole in South Carolina, or Wiscasset, Maine as the location of a permanent high-level waste storage facility.
Several fortunate developments, however, will help offset the impact of the unfunded decommissioning and waste disposal costs: by closing 12 years early, MYAPC ratepayers have approximately 25% less spent fuel to site, and the rapidly dropping cost of electricity in an era of deregulation and increased competition will greatly assist in masking the long-term impact of funding the +1 billion dollar shortfall resulting from the collapse of the nuclear energy pyramid scheme in Maine.
The Department of Human Services maintains a small laboratory with one full time radiologist. Results from the analyses of 161 split soil and sediment samples taken in conjunction with the Duratek CSR were not available at the time this (draft) report was published (June 23, 1998). It remains to be seen whether or not the state of Maine will assume a more proactive role in the decommissioning process in view of the frantic rush to decommission the MYAPC reactor as well as the extensive patterns of soil contamination documented by the CSR.
11. Decommissioning Operations Contractor (DOC) Conundrums
Proposals were due on May 29, 1998, from decommissioning operations contractors (DOCs) bidding on the privilege of profiting from the deconstruction of the MYAPC facility. Nine DOCs have submitted qualifications as a prelude to the May 29th bidding deadline. The frantic rush to decommission MYAPC as soon as possible raises a number of questions.
1. How can DOCs submit accurate bids when no public information is available about the extent of contamination in plant buildings and equipment, since the full nine volume site characterization report will not be available for review in the public documents room until early June?
2. If the DOCs contractors had access to this data prior to the publication of this report, how and in what format was this information available?
3. How can accurate bids for decommissioning be submitted if the siting scenario for the MYAPC reactor vessel and its GTCC internal components is as yet undetermined?
4. Could the frantic rush to decommission MYAPC have anything to do with the need to utilize the Barnwell, S.C. landfill before knowledge of certain controversial details concerning the decommissioning process become public (e.g. that MYAPC as well as other NRC licensees plan to use Barnwell as the cost efficient solution to disposing of highly radioactive greater-than-class C reactor vessel internal components?)
5. Could this rush to utilize Barnwell have anything to do with avoiding isotopic characterization of the dross within reactor vessels which can include tens of thousands of curies of hot particles, CRUD, sludge, other activation products and long-lived spent fuel fragments?
6. If the DOC chosen for the undocumented unscrutinized disposal of GTCC wastes, hot particles and spent fuel fragments in an uncontained landfill is successful in this effort, will the full financial liability for these patently illegal activities rest only with MYAPC ratepayers who are by law currently responsible for any future remediation and litigation costs? Are the decommissioning operations contractors exempt from such liability by NRC regulations even though they will be among the facilitators of this illegal dumping?
12. NRC paradox: Information availability versus secrecy
As noted, the NRC has established electronic access to many of its files and reports. The NRC home page allows public access to almost every aspect of NRC licensing operations. Nonetheless, the NRC maintains the tradition of Cold War secrecy about all things nuclear by the selective withholding of information which would allow a much more effective scrutiny of NRC licensees. The discrepancies and omissions in radiological surveillance reports including the paucity of routine monitoring data, high reporting levels, secret radiological incidence reports, and unavailable Derived Concentration Guideline Values during site characterization are all vestiges of this tradition. The most blatant manifestation of NRC oversight as an expression of a closed society comes in its refusal to hold public hearings at Yankee Rowe, Maine Yankee, and at the complex of utilities operated by Northeast Utilities in Connecticut, pertaining either to the decommissioning process, its environmental impact, or the many safety and operational issues recently highlighted by articles in major national media. A most recent example of NRC fear of freedom of information is its unwillingness to provide nuclide specific data about the fission product inventory of liquid effluents recently released to Montsweag Bay as a result of the reactor containment decontamination flush, which was conveniently executed just after sediment sampling in Bailey Cove and along the Montsweag Bay shoreline as part of the site characterization process. NRC fear of freedom of information continues to be evident in its phobia of public meetings and questions and discussions of many issues ranging from environmental impact statements to hot particles to contamination of low-level waste and reactor vessel components with long-lived spent fuel fragments. The most spectacular example of the NRC as a governmental entity which cannot be trusted was and is its deceptive insistence that no derived concentration guideline levels (DCGLs) were available pertaining to the MYAPC site characterization process. In fact, DCGLs had been determined and were in use at MYAPC as early as the late summer of 1996, prior to the commencement of the site characterization process. Only the NRC and MYAPC knows what they are.
The NRC as well as Maine media have served the MYAPC well by deflecting attention from the most controversial aspect of the decommissioning process: the use of DCGLs as defacto below regulatory concern (BRC) guidelines. Public scrutiny of DCGLs is likely to reveal the unpleasant fact that such guidelines are not compatible with the implementation of the new site release criterion of 25 mrem/yr. The new release criterion is for all nuclides in all pathways; unless the DCGLs are set at extremely low values, their only purpose is to assist NRC licensees in evading accurate documentation of the impact of both plant operations and the decommissioning process. The tendency of the NRC to keep many aspects of its operations secret to avoid public scrutiny has a very specific function: to save NRC licensees and their owners the high costs of accurate documentation of the actual impact of unsafe and aging reactor operations.
13. NRC Database
The propensity of the NRC to keep some but not all aspects of its operations secret raises questions about to what extent the NRC maintains recordkeeping of radiological surveillance of its licensees other than licensee REMPs which have always been traditionally available in the Public Document Rooms (PDRs) associated with each licensee. To what extent does the NRC maintain a "private document room" or database containing controversial information about licensee "radiological incidents," events, spills, stack releases, and accidents which have not yet been made public? Does the NRC have additional information about the recently disclosed liquid effluents spill at MYAPC? Was the soil contamination documented north of the MYAPC Forebay from one incident or a result of a chronic loss of radiological controls? Has the NRC sponsored independent radiological surveillance of its licensees as a cross check on their annual environmental monitoring reports? To what extent has the NRC documented the cumulative impact of reactor operations? Why are there no bibliographic references to any such surveillance or database in the many reports the NRC issues including those cited in this report?
As noted, one of the strong points of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is its excellent public documents room and the fast and efficient information retrieval services the courteous and responsive PDR staff provides. Also praiseworthy are the extensive efforts the NRC has made to allow electronic access to a wide variety of its activities and its records. As with other government agencies such as the Department of Energy, this freedom of information provides a stark contrast to the legacy of Cold War secrecy that is still an inherent component of operations at both agencies. To what extent is the NRC perpetuating the deficiencies in its radiological surveillance programs by withholding data and documents pertaining to the lack of radiological controls at some or all of its licensees? One of the ironies of this report may be that the Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company is in the top percentile of NRC licensees with respect to minimizing effluent releases to unrestricted areas. (Update: the contents of the Characterization Survey Report reveal that this is not the case. This survey documents a large release of liquid effluents to soils on the west side of the MYAPC reactor as well as extensive soil contamination in the RCA (0100), Bailey Cove (0500) and Foxbird Island (1000).
14. The Role of the Media in the Decommissioning Process
Both Maine and national media have traditionally functioned as the most important information outlet for the nuclear industry which has been able to control or influence almost every aspect of reporting on nuclear energy topics. A number of developments have gradually eroded the ability of NRC licensees such as MYAPC to control the content of media reporting on licensee activities. Questions raised by the whistleblower as well as design, safety, and operational deficiencies at MYAPC and other New England reactors have received extensive press coverage. The rapid increase in the instant electronic availability of information including the NRC's own comprehensive website and excellent public document access services are important components of this change. Maine media, however, continue to play a key role in exacerbating the impact of the collapse of the MYAPC pyramid scheme by avoiding commentary on almost all the key issues which will affect Maine ratepayers and tax payers in the future. Selective coverage of the deficiencies, irregularities, omissions, evasions and unfunded waste disposal and decommissioning costs noted in this report ensure the perpetuation of two classes of persons characteristic of failure of due process: those privy to the details of and benefiting from the traffic of nuclear waste (MYAPC owners, stockholders, employees, politicians, large corporations, MPBN and the local residents of Wiscasset) and those who will bear a disproportionate cost of this enterprise, the working people of Maine and their descendants. Maine media are the lynch pins of the currently successful effort of MYAPC and its stockholders and ratepayers to avoid public scrutiny and discussion of uncollected funding of decommissioning and waste disposal costs evaded during the decades of reactor operations. The generation of nuclear waste has in fact been a lucrative activity for ratepayers as well as the Maine Public Broadcasting Network (MPBN), which has received in excess of 10 million dollars of the profits derived from the generation of these wastes.
The question lingers as to the relationship of MYAPC funding of MPBN and the unfortunate coincidence of selective reporting of MYAPC related issues. Two incidents serve to illustrate the propensity to not report news that may not be in the interests of MYAPC to have aired. A decade ago, MPBN gave live coverage to federal attempts to site high-level radioactive waste in Maine. MPBN is currently maintaining near total restrictions on news and public discussion pertaining to MYAPC's current plans to transport its 706 ton reactor vessel covered with a 300 ton concrete shield to an uncontained landfill in Barnwell, S.C. with its highly radioactive GTCC internal components intact (+/- 400 million Ci and 2 years cooling.) They have also declined to report the discovery of extensive contamination in soils in survey packages 0100, 0500, 0900, 1000 and 2501. Also not mentioned are the potential environmental impact of the reactor containment decontamination flush or the refueling (reactor) water storage tank release.
The reactor vessel also contains dross containing unknown quantities of long-lived spent fuel fragments, hot particles, CRUD, sludge and other corrosion products. A similar observation can be made pertaining to a recent reactor containment decontamination (a chemical decontamination of various reactor systems) and the resultant flush of liquid effluents into Montsweag Bay. This once in a lifetime reactor flushing has the objective of removing at least some of the contaminants noted above, which then must be carefully filtered during the flushing process. Inevitably, significant quantities of fission products, and possibly hot particles as well will be released as liquid effluents to Montsweag Bay. It is particularly newsworthy that clam flats in Bailey Cove were recently reopened after decades of closure and contamination by reactor-derived effluents. Not only were sediment samples from Bailey Cove taken before the decontamination flush as well as before the total discharge of the refueling water tank contents, but routine data from MYAPC and the NRC documenting the fission product inventory of the reactor flush was not available. MPBN and other Maine media had recently given wide coverage to the possibility that slightly contaminated trash had been disposed of in the Wiscasset landfill (100 to 1,000 nanocuries.) Either the reactor decontamination flush or the refueling water tank discharge could easily produce effluents within the same order of magnitude or greater than the recent annual liquid effluent releases to Montsweag Bay (+/- 200 million nanocuries/year). These and many other topics pertaining to MYAPC-derived radioactive wastes including the deficiencies in radiological surveillance programs discussed in this report are unfortunately not considered newsworthy by the narcissistic public broadcasting network. This criticism is especially directed at Maine Public Television which has been notorious for its selective coverage of MYAPC-related issues. Other Maine media, which are not the recipients of MYAPC generosity, also share this propensity to avoid the more unpleasant and controversial aspects of MYAPC operations and decommissioning. This selective reporting may serve to assist the licensee in the short term. This aversion to unpleasant news also serves to postpone, perpetuate and then acerbate the economic and public safety consequences of the collapse of the nuclear energy pyramid scheme in Maine.
Unfortunately, Maine ratepayers are no longer receiving the benefits of nuclear electricity at the discounted rate of 3 cents per kilowatt hour. Maine media now have the difficult task of explaining how the generation of such cheap electricity could create such a huge deficit for future collection and why these costs must be paid by those who didn't profit from this deception.
15. A Representative Small Business as Beneficiary of the Traffic in Nuclear Waste
The Liberty Tool Company occupies a four story balloon frame building in the village of Liberty, Maine, and was a customer of the Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company beginning in 1976 until plant closure in 1997. The Liberty Tool Co. is engaged in the sale of used tools and books and serves as a representative example of how a typical small business benefits from the traffic in nuclear waste in Maine. The Liberty Tool Co. has no hot water or electric heat and its only use of reactor-derived electricity is for lighting. Liberty Tool Co. is located 40 miles north west of the reactor; the Central Maine Power Company is the vendor of electricity in this area and owns 38% of MYAPC. The twenty year average of electric bills between 1976 and 1997 was $140.00 a month; total expenditures for 240 months amounted to $33,600.00. The Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company generates approximately 1 curie of high-level waste for every $20.00 in sales. (See RADNET: Nuclear Information on the Internet: Section 12: Collapse of a Pyramid Scheme: The Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company: Public Safety Issues: Radioactive Waste Inventories: Sales to high-level waste production ratio. </cbm/Rad9a.html>.) Taking the MYAPC reactor as the sole source of electricity sold in Liberty, Maine, the Liberty Tool Co., a beneficiary of the generation of nuclear electricity at 3 cents per kilowatt hour, generated approximately 1,680 curies of high-level waste in the 20 year period between 1976 and 1997.
The 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act requires that 0.01 cents per kilowatt hour be collected by the federal government to finance the construction and use of a final geological depository for spent fuel generated by NRC licensed nuclear reactors. Prior to the acceptance of the spent fuel by the Department of Energy (they failed to meet a February 1, 1998 deadline and are now being sued by a number of utilities including MYAPC), all spent fuel handling, storage, packaging, administrative, transportation, monitoring, security and monitored retrievable storage costs are explicitly excluded as decommissioning costs, and are therefore operating expenses of the utility that generated the waste. The Mill Rate fund had collected significantly less than 20% of the total costs of final disposal of spent fuel in a geological repository at the time MYAPC closed. None of current and future licensee operating costs for an independent fuel storage facility or for spent fuel costs in general have been collected. Approximately 50% of the moneys collected by the federal government in the Mill Rate fund have been utilized for other purposes such as balancing the budget.
Analysis of the total amount of the high-level waste generated by one small Maine business establishment, the storage and disposal costs of which are nearly unfunded, graphically illustrates the extent to which the business community in Maine has benefited from what is in essence the traffic in nuclear waste. The fact that one curie of high-level waste is generated for every $20 in revenues illustrates the extent to which nuclear utilities have shared the profitability of the creation of nuclear waste with the Maine business community through the medium of discounted electricity billings. Had the true costs of all waste storage and disposal etc. been collected at the time this electricity was sold to customers such as the Liberty Tool Co., the actual total cost for 20 years of use of nuclear electricity would have been significantly higher than $33,600. This discrepancy is a clear illustration of the failure of due process in the administration and oversight of the generation of nuclear electricity. Two classes of individuals are created; one of which benefits from the traffic in nuclear waste via the reduced cost of the electricity derived from the heat generated by the creation of nuclear waste e.g. Liberty Tool Co., MPBN, etc. The other class of individuals are those who will bear much of the burden of the costs of the long term storage of these wastes and who are not for the most part beneficiaries of the electricity generated by the creation of these wastes. The majority of Maine citizens voted on three occasions in favor of nuclear electricity at 3 cents per kilowatt hour. The benevolence of the nuclear energy pyramid scheme in Maine has ended; the only remaining question is what are the true costs of the legacy of this debacle? The irony of the three referendums in which the voters expressed enthusiastic support for MYAPC is that this expression of popular support for nuclear generated electricity also constituted a vote in favor of Maine Yankee as a permanent nuclear waste storage facility. Only the selective and/or evasive reporting of Maine media provide a more eloquent (silent) advocacy for keeping nuclear wastes in Maine.
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