Some people thought they were safe living near Chernobyl, some are deceased or still suffering today.Redford is close to FERMI, are we safe? Want to know more?
You can listen to a hearing before the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board set for Wednesday, June 10th, at 10 a.m.
You will hear Jessie Pauline Collins, Redford resident and Editor of CRAFT published in Redford, Jim Sherman, and Jesse DeerInWater, plaintiffs oppose changes in the nuclear power plant regulations argued for by DTE about changes in licensing agreement.
ASLB Phone Hearing on June 10th
The Atomic Safety an regulations d Licensing Board has set Wednesday, June 10th, at 10 a.m. as the phone conference to hear oral arguments from CRAFT, DTE, and the NRC Staff on why DTE should not be given their c.
DTE has 6 lawyers working on this and the NRC Staff has 3, so CRAFT will have three defenders: Jessie Pauline Collins, Jim Sherman, and Jesse DeerInWater. Only those listed can speak, but anyone can listen in on a separate line.
The number for anyone who wishes to listen in is 888-323-9709 and the passcode is 7846712. If you have trouble accessing the call, please contact the ASLB Law Clerk, at Taylor.Mayhall@nrc.gov or call him up at 301-415-3027.
Tom Henry of the Toledo Blade did a great article about the upcoming hearing. Here’s the link.
Article and photo by Tom Henry, Toledo Blade
Fed board grants hearing to activist group challenging Fermi 2 license extension
A group concerned about the stability of spent nuclear fuel stored inside DTE Energy’s Fermi 2 nuclear plant has been granted a hearing to explain its point of view to a federal licensing board.
Citizens’ Resistance at Fermi 2, also known as CRAFT, has been notified in writing by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board that a panel set up by the ASLB will hear oral arguments at 10 a.m. on June 10.
The NRC describes the ASLB as an independent, trial-level adjudicatory body of the agency. Each panel assembled to hear a case usually consists of one attorney and two scientific or technical experts.
The board said in its order it will establish a bridge line for this telephone conference, with three lines provided for each participant. The public can get listen-only telephone access information, including the phone number and passcode, by contacting the board’s law clerk, Taylor Mayhall, at 301-415-3027 or via email at Taylor.Mayhall@nrc.gov, the order states.
Each of the three participants — CRAFT, DTE, and the NRC — will be allowed an opening statement of up to 10 minutes, then field questions from the three-member ASLB panel.
The order, signed by ASLB Chairman Paul S. Ryerson, said the board wants to first establish if the activist group has standing for such a complaint, and if so decide if more involved proceedings are warranted.
NRC staffers oppose the group’s claim to standing in this case, even though they agreed in two earlier matters that CRAFT members living within 10 miles of the plant satisfied standing requirements. DTE lawyers also claim CRAFT has no standing, according to the group.
In a recent news release, CRAFT said it wants the board to consider what it believes is a substantial change to a commitment DTE made four years ago regarding spent fuel while it was in the process of getting the NRC to extend Fermi 2’s operating license another 20 years.
When the license was extended in 2016, DTE had agreed to remove and replace Boraflex neutron absorbing materials, or NAMs, from Fermi 2’s spent fuel pool before the plant’s original license expires in 2025.
Recently, the utility asked for and received permission from the NRC to use a less-expensive alternative to replace the existing Boraflex.
“Things are missing from DTE’s arguments, and we need a public hearing to find out what is missing,” Jesse DeerInWater, CRAFT community organizer said. “It could change the outcome.”
In a statement to The Blade, Stephen Tait, DTE spokesman, said the utility asked for the change because“a different technology is available that is safer to install and is proven in the industry.”
“We requested last year a license amendment with the NRC so we could install that technology in our used fuel pool,” Mr. Tait said. “This aligns with our commitment to our top priority of safe operation of the plant.”
He described the NRC’s license amendment process as “rigorous,” one that will “ensure the request is consistent with its mission to protect the health and safety of the public.”
Viktoria Mitlyng, NRC spokesman, concurred that the outcome of the upcoming oral argument will help the ASLB decide if a more formal hearing is in order.
Another NRC spokesman, Prema Chandrathil, said the June 10 oral argument is “the first step in the NRC hearing process,” and that granting more formal proceedings would result in “a trial-like process.” If the ASLB rules against continued proceedings, that decision can be appealed to the NRC’s governing commission.
Fermi 2’s existing neutron-absorbing materials are degraded, according to CRAFT.
The group contends they cannot be depended on to keep the highly radioactive spent fuel stable for the life of the plant, which was extended out to 2045 with the license extension.
The spent fuel is stored beneath water, inside a specially designed pool that’s inside a highly secure part of the plant.
DTE originally committed to removing all of the Boraflex and replacing it with Boral, which CRAFT believes is a better performing type of neutron-absorbing material.
That was the agreement until the utility got permission from the NRC to switch over to a different replacement product last year.
In a 1996 generic letter sent out to all licensed operators of nuclear plants back then, the NRC said that it found Boraflex degrading in spent fuel pools across the country as far back as 1987.
Subsequent studies were done in 1993 and 1995. Documents show one of the industry’s chief consultants, the California-based Electric Power Research Institute, had been studying the issue for years.
In the letter from 24 years ago, the NRC said that “no safety concern exists that warrants immediate action” and that Boraflex dissolution “appears to be a gradual and localized effect.” Another document stated it takes decades for the degradation to occur.
But a year earlier, in a 1995 memo to licensed operators, Dennis M. Crutchfield, who at the time was the NRC’s division of reactor program management director, characterized the issue of Boraflex degradation as “a potentially significant problem.”