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This week: Leak of the Week; Rivera Controversy "Ludicrous"; Obama Disappointing

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Thursday, February 03, 2011

Leak of the Week

Darn it! There's a new leak at Vermont Yankee.

Imagine a football field with end zones. That is roughly how far away this new leak is from the old one found last year that Entergy has been remediating ever since.

Dang, it was in another calm, late Friday afternoon announcement that Entergy released the latest leak-of-the-week. No one knew much about it, not even Larry Smith, spokesperson for the reactor. (Where's Rob Williams?)

My, oh, my, I remember fancy hydrologists and geologists and other fill-in-the-blank-ists Entergy trotted out to the open house last year to assure us public folk (aka "stakeholders") how much control Entergy had over the massive leak of last year. That was the one from the pipes underground, below grade, buried or out of sight, about which Entergy had told the Public Service Board (state regulatory body), the Department of Public Service (supposedly the ratepayer advocate, yet certainly another beast under the former Douglas administration), the citizen oversight panel, and the public, "There is only one pipe underground that used to carry radionuclides. It was capped years ago. We consider that issue closed."

Gosh, just a couple of weeks ago in 2011, Entergy tried to explain to the regulatory board that it wasn't the pipes that had leaked radiation into the soil, it was the cracked concrete trough in which the pipes sit.

Jeezum crow, maybe I just don't get it. Is Entergy now going to search for a new broken concrete trough buried underground or below grade, or will it be searching for the source of the leaking tritium, strontium, cesium, cobalt, etc. that is nowhere near where the experts had thought Tritium would show up if it is related to the earlier plume? I had always thought this country made really good concrete back in the days of plenty ('60s and '70s). Another illusion from my youth bursts before my eyes.

Shucks, just to clarify a gray area between the only federal regulator of nuclear safety, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (the group likely to approve the relicense bid because they have denied none so far), and the quasi-judicial PSB here in Vermont, the NRC does not differentiate between below grade concrete troughs and buried pipe, yet this is the way Entergy tried to spin it to convince us Vermonters that Entergy had not intentionally misled the PSB when it said there were no underground pipes.

By golly, truth& untruth. Lead & mislead. Vermont owns the ground under the reactor. Entergy does not. Leak after leak, this is not law-abiding behavior. Who enforces the laws? Apparently no one. After all, it is only radiation. It changes the gene pool, if the experts remember.

Gary Sachs
Brattleboro

*

Rivera Controversy "Ludicrous"

So I saw the article by Maureen Turner about Amaad Rivera becoming the latest Springfield City Councilor due to the resignation of Keith Wright ("Baptism by Fire," January 6, 2011). I have to say, given the sometimes racist and homophopic undertones and behavior during the election, I was not surprised to see there was some "debate" over his induction.

That said, I find the latest "controversy" over questions of his "ability to serve the ward effectively" ludicrous. I first encountered him at a public event in Holyoke during what was supposed to be a question-and-answer session which he essentially turned into a debate in which he went toe to toe with Governor Patrick on Massachusetts economic policy. From my experience, this young man has often been, as they say, the "smartest person in the room."

Which leads me to my question about Tim Rooke's involvement in the inquiry about Amaad's residency. Is this the same Tim Rooke who endorsed and supported a Republican candidate in the last gubernatorial race? If he wants to talk about rules, I could have sworn there were provisions within the Democratic Party system to expel any member who endorsed a candidate from outside the party.

Now, I don't want to be accused of picking on Tim, as half of the politicians who call themselves Democrats in Massachusetts are by any measure anything but, particularly if you actually compare their "positions" to the Democratic plank which some may recall certain leadership in the party tried to disassemble at the convention in Springfield several years ago.

In the end, I just have to ask when the Democratic Party will actually grow some balls and really start standing up for the values they claim to when it counts, not just when they are seeking election or re-election.

Ronald Rene Patenaude
President, UAW Local 2322

Editor's note: The bylaws of the Massachusetts Democratic party state that a member of the state Democratic Committee can be removed for "public support for or financial contribution to an opponent of a nominee of the Democratic Party which nominee publicly supports a majority of the platform of the Democratic Party as adopted at the most recent state and national Democratic conventions." However, there is an escape clause: "A member for whom a long and deeply held belief would be violated by support of the nominee shall not be removed under this section."

*

Obama Disappointing

I voted for President Barack Obama so that he would carry out the business of governing. He seems to have abandoned this fundamental duty of the presidency. It appears he has decided he will govern business.

The federal government is spending itself out of existence. It has poured money into states and is now attempting to charge interest on the money sent to the states. Michigan is a prime example but not the only one.

Unemployment benefits have been extended time and again because money was sent from the federal government to the state governments. Now the federal government is expecting to get that money back with interest.

In order to "help" these states, the federal government is examining whether or not it will allow states to go bankrupt in order to restructure their debt. This is insane.

To top it off, the President is relying on an "Economic Panel" that is now headed by the CEO of General Electric. In exchange for four or five thousand jobs, GE is being allowed to provide dangerous technology to the Communist Chinese.

This president, when confronting corruption and ignorance on the part of Wall Street banks, insurance companies and stockbrokers, decided the way to fix the problem was to throw Americans out of their homes and give cash to the thieves. It is unfortunate. He has such great promise as a president and then he surrounds himself with parasites and fools.

Alfred Brock
Wayne, Mich.

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