It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


NEWS: Nuclear Plant Spills Concern Illinois Citizens, Lawmakers

page: 1

log in


posted on Mar, 4 2006 @ 09:54 PM
Recent disclosures of spills from Exelon Corp.'s Braidwood, Dresden, and Byron twin-reactor nuclear plants have fueled serious concerns among those who live near these Illinois nuclear facilities. The spills date back as far as 1996 and some are concerned that the latency of reporting might be indicative of a systemic cover-up. Some have even suggested complicity between the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the the plant owners. U.S. Rep. Edward Markey has been highly critical of President Bush's plans to build a new generation of nuclear power plants, calling the plans "misguided."
Years of radioactive waste water spills from Illinois nuclear power plants have fueled suspicions the industry covers up safety problems and sparked debate about the risks from exposure to low-level radiation.

The recent, belated disclosures of leaks of the fission byproduct tritium from Exelon Corp.'s Braidwood, Dresden, and Byron twin-reactor nuclear plants -- one as long ago as 1996 -- triggered worries among neighbors about whether it was safe to drink their water, or even stay.

Cosgrove and some scientists and anti-nuclear activists who monitor health issues related to nuclear power say the delay in reporting the spills is indicative of industry and regulatory obfuscation bordering on cover-up.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

There seems to be a huge controversy brewing over these disclosures and that most of the spills involve tritium, which is a form of hydrogen that becomes radioactive when it contacts the atmosphere, but tritium releases are not required by law to be reported. Clearly, there is a huge disconnect between what government regulators and industry officials deem hazardous and what the public feels comfortable with and the lax oversight and reporting delays are not making anyone feel any more at ease.

[edit on 2006/3/4 by GradyPhilpott]

[edit on 2006/3/4 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Mar, 5 2006 @ 08:06 AM
Tritium may not be "all that dangerous" on its own - but the real problem with evironmental pollution is that different contaminants interact with one another.

And that can be VERY dangerous.

posted on Mar, 5 2006 @ 08:55 AM
Okay damocles - no problem.

Great addendum.

Does anyone here have quick access to references/links or the time to research possible interractions between tritium and common environmental particles, components and contaminants? ...I don't.

posted on Mar, 5 2006 @ 10:23 AM
damocles - that sheet is NOT for tritium - it's for a product that uses tritium.

Here are some other links:

EPA; the text was last updated on Sunday, March 5th, 2006. Ahem.


Global Security

NOTE: None of the sites consider interractions with other contaminants or pollutants.

posted on Mar, 5 2006 @ 11:22 AM
You know what's weird? Is that I live only about 40 miles from the Byron plant. I've even played against their high school's scholastic bowl team, so I've been in their high school. And yet this is actually the first I've heard of this. Might just be me not paying enough attention, but locally this story doesn't seem to have spread around very much.

I'm betting that a few higher ups are trying to keep this quiet.

posted on Mar, 5 2006 @ 01:56 PM
Clearly, the issue here is not so much the material being leaked, but the fact that there are leaks and they are not being readily reported, leaving the public in the dark, so to speak.

The spilled tritium was destined to be discharged as effluent in rivers anyway, authorities said, and they were not explicitly required to notify the public about it -- a reporting loophole Illinois congressmen want closed.

"It's not like people are going to start dropping like flies from this level of radiation," said Arjun Makhijani of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research.

"What I am alarmed by is the number of years it has taken, and how lax the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been, and how lax the corporation has been in informing the community fully" about the spills, he said.

However, there are those who are concerned about the levels of radiation that the public is exposed to.

A local doctor and his wife, Joseph and Cynthia Sauer, whose daughter contracted brain cancer when they lived near the Dresden plant, have collected data about heightened rates of cancer and birth defects near the Illinois plants in the period after the spills began. They say they were brushed off by the NRC.

The industry and the NRC say existing medical research shows people living near nuclear plants are safe and limits on discharges of radioactive liquids and gases are adequate.

But some scientists and at least one congressman want a conclusive investigation of the health risks. They say that while tritium is like water, if ingested some of it may remain in the body where it can damage cells, leading to cancers, birth defects and miscarriages.

And, of course, there is always the specter of conspiracy and cover-up.

Years of radioactive waste water spills from Illinois nuclear power plants have fueled suspicions the industry covers up safety problems and sparked debate about the risks from exposure to low-level radiation.

"I don't say that people don't have concerns, but any suggestion that we are in cahoots with the industry to suppress (information) is baseless," NRC spokesman Jan Strasma said.

Not to mention, a little demagoguery.

U.S. Rep. Edward Markey has been unable to secure government funding for a health study on people living near nuclear plants, and the Massachusetts Democrat says he opposes U.S. President George W. Bush's prescription to build a new generation of nuclear reactors to lessen reliance on fossil fuels until more is known.

"The president's plan is misguided. It presents health risks, creates additional nuclear waste that we have no long-term solution for, creates additional terrorist targets that we do not adequately defend, and costs an enormous amount of money. (Bush's) phrase 'clean, safe nuclear power' is oxymoronic," he said.

posted on Mar, 5 2006 @ 02:38 PM
In my personal opinion the "Anti-Nuke Power" groups in the U.S. and around the world have suceeded in making just about everyone a little bit paranoid concerning any kind of radioactivity. The simple fact is that nuclear power is far cleaner and poses much, much less of a public health risk than conventional power generating plants. The problem is that risks associated with nuclear power generation tendf to be concentrated in one small area (relative to conventional power generation). This makes building a nuclear power plant at a specific location significantly more difficult than a conventional plant.

Most people will readily agree that nuke power is cleaner and poses less risk to the public's health than conventional power; however, they don't want the nuke plants built anywhere close to where they live because of their irrational fear of radioactivity. It does no good to cite the overall safety record relevant to nuclear power generation relative to conventional power generation because people have a gut feeling that something is going to come out that will make them sterile, or cause mutant monsters to be born, or cause them to lose their hair & get cancer. In this respect the anti nuke lobby has been very successful.

Tritium is a gas and it glows in the dark. Chances are your watch may have tritium vials embedded in the hands. Tritium can be dangerous if concentrated enough and gets ingested or breathed, but the amounts created during nuclear power generation are not large and mostly they can be released into rivers without any harm to anyone. Further, the half-life of tritium is relatively short (about 10-12 years), so it doesn't stick around in the environment for decades or generations the way many people think.

[edit on 5-3-2006 by Astronomer68]

posted on Mar, 5 2006 @ 02:58 PM
My real concern with nuclear power is waste disposal. Global warming doesn't scare me. Smog doesn't do much more than irritate my eyes and lungs and I can take measures to control the symptoms, but the waste issue nags at me every time it comes up. I think every byproduct of our progress is reversible in the geologic short term. Nuclear waste, however, is a whole 'nother subject, not that I'll be around long enough to actually experience the outcome.

What light can you shed on that Astronomer?

posted on Mar, 5 2006 @ 03:13 PM
None really. Nuclear waste (in the form of spent fuel rods mostly) is dangerous scary stuff. A good deal of research has been done over the last decade or so concerning containing such nuclear waste in ceramics, glasses, metals, and plastics and progress at creating better containment vessels has definitely been made. None of the current plans though are 100% safe and the same irrational fear of radioactivity that haunts the building of new nuke power plants haunts the creation of a waste storage facility somewhere.

The whole concept of storing nuclear waste is based upon the perceived need to get the stuff off site and away from concentrations of people. It is assumed that the technology to deal with the stuff will come about in the future if we just keep plugging away at it--and it probably will.

For now, any proposed solutions would only sound like science fiction. For example, if our rockets could be made to be super reliable we could just send the stuff into the sun, or if and when we ever get a space elevator we could also send it into the sun without any risk to the inhabitants down on the surface of Earth, etc., etc......

One thing we should all remember though is that it takes a long time to build a nuke power plant and if we wait until fossil fuels are just about gone we probably will not be able to build enough of them fast enough to satisfy the power requirements of our country.

For those who fear a repition of the 9/11 scenario (i.e., planes flying into the plants), the containment walls of a nuke plant probably would not even know they had been hit. I can get you a link to a video showing an F4 slamming into a section of one at 500+ mph with no apparent damage to the wall.

[edit on 5-3-2006 by Astronomer68]

posted on Mar, 5 2006 @ 03:51 PM

Nuclear waste (in the form of spent fuel rods mostly) is dangerous scary stuff. None of the current plans though are 100% safe and the same irrational fear of radioactivity that haunts the building of new nuke power plants haunts the creation of a waste storage facility somewhere.

Well, I wouldn't call a fear of "dangerous scary stuff" irrational, but I guess the reality is that either we go ahead with nuclear power or we decide to go back to a more primitive existence.

posted on Mar, 5 2006 @ 05:26 PM
It is irrational in the sense that we have containment materials right now that we know will hold the stuff sealed inside for a couple of hundred years even if its storage site got flooded. Hell in a couple of hundred years we will have a much better containment vessel available and can redo it. But no, people want something right now that will guarantee its containment for the next 10,000 years or so. If we could take our best containment material now and build a big pyramid (like in Egypt) with it, it would barely show any wear over the same lifetime the pyramids have been around.

[edit on 5-3-2006 by Astronomer68]

posted on Mar, 5 2006 @ 05:48 PM
Well, I think what people want is something that will contain the material for the length of time that the radioactivity is at dangerous levels, which I think is on the order of 10.000 years. A couple of hundred years could yield better containment methods, but what if they don't? Two hundred years is a long time in human events, considering all the turmoil our species produces, but two hundred years is nothing when you're talking about radioactive material.

But, I can only speak of such things in hypothetical terms, as I have no stake in the future beyond my own lifetime and beyond the power vested in me by our Constitution, I have no control over such matters, so while all the methods of disposal sound recklessly insane to me, I'm not going to give it much thought from now on, as long as I can be assured that the material will be isolated for my lifetime.

[edit on 2006/3/5 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Mar, 5 2006 @ 06:07 PM
If a couple of hundred years don't yield better containment vessels then they don't, but with the rate of progress in nanotechnology and everything else around I can't believe such would be the case. Besides, unless we go solar, with orbiting power plants, what real alternatives do we have? The human race is very power hungry and becoming more so all the time.

posted on Mar, 5 2006 @ 06:26 PM

Originally posted by Astronomer68
Besides, unless we go solar, with orbiting power plants, what real alternatives do we have? The human race is very power hungry and becoming more so all the time.

I certainly don't have any answers and we certainly do keep increasing our dependence upon electricity, so I guess we really don't have much choice. All those who complain about nuclear energy now will most certainly be the ones who complain the most when the computer, TV, and the refrigerator cease to function.

posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 03:30 PM
EPA (has lost reputation since 1992)
FDA (has sold out to cattle and GM food producers)
NRC (apparently no longer the hard A** that they used to be)

Many more soon to be added...
wow, our letters are dieing faster than we can put them together in capitalized abbreviations...

compromising values/safety for money/policy, or moderating worries with knowledge/logic...

I am thinking the former...

posted on Mar, 6 2006 @ 03:40 PM

Originally posted by Damocles

but i still like wind power alternatives.

Look further... You would be surprised...
the facts are plain, but you have to consider everything...
it is way cheaper to invest the same dollars in Wind, vs coal, or any other type.

The payoff comes at the end. Most American companies are not built to survive for 10-20yrs before a noticable profit... even if the profit is 100-200% than 10yrs of profit for a coal/other operation.
For our country to NOT do this, would require the government not having faith that America will be here in 20yrs... or just plain greed for the money now, than later...
Maybe a smart and greedy person will come along, and be put in charge of energy policy for the next decade... better than that... make it a 20yr office, so that long term thinking can become an option.
As it is right now... it was decided by Cheney and all his power/energy buddies... and unfortunately... none liked wind.

posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 09:17 PM
Not something I want to hear, Im only about 30 miles form byron and I am downwind from the plant. Well, I guess I can pack up my daughters nightlight

posted on Mar, 16 2006 @ 04:27 PM
Media coverage of problems with nuclear power operations is dropping, now that the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) is increasingly using "deferred prosecution agreements" rather than public trials to resolve even very serious mismanagement in nuclear power plants. For example, the following link reports a January 20, 2006 story in the Corporate Crime Reporter where just such a "remedy" was applied by the DOJ after proving misrepresentations were made to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company concerning the safety of its northern Ohio Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station:

new topics

top topics


log in