All posts by Daniel Hoviss

VY cannot be ruled out as the source of radioactive contamination of fish

Why did Bill Irwin, the radiological and toxicological
sciences program chief for the Vermont Department of
Health, say in Field and Stream, 2/8/12, “What we
thought, that that plant has not yet leaked any kind
of radioactive materials of this nature into the
environment where it could harm public health, is
currently true”?

Concurring with Bill Irwin, Larry Smith, spokesman for
the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon,said
in the Burlington Free Press 2/8/12 the results, (of
the fish in Lake Carmi testing positive for Strontium
90) backs up the company’s argument that “Vermont
Yankee poses no threat to the public health of the
Connecticut River.” Smith says in an August 4, 2011 AP
article by David Gram “Entergy remains firm in its
conclusion that Vermont Yankee operations cannot be
linked to the recent identification of (SR 90) in fish
tissue from a fish sample obtained by the state” and
again in the same article, Smith states there was
“absolutely no evidence to suggest that Vermont Yankee
is the source for the SR90.”

Irwin and Smith contend that SR90 found in fish in
both Lake Carmi and the Connecticut River proves that
radioactive materials in both fish populations come
from above ground weapons testing or the Chernobyl
nuclear disaster and not from Vermont Yankee.

The problem with Smith and Irwin’s reasoning comes to
light with Gram’s investigation of SR 90 releases from
Vermont Yankee. Gram found in the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission’s files that the plant itself reported
releases of SR 90 into the environment in at least one
of the quarters each year from 2002 to 2005. An
investigation by David Lochbaum, director, Nuclear
Safety Project of the Union of Concerned Scientists
found that the NRC was informed by Entergy on
5/11/2011 that Vermont Yankee released measurable
amounts of SR90 during 2010. Lochbaum states that,in
fact, past reports show that Entergy routinely
released SR90 into the environment.

Lochbaum concludes that, despite what Irwin and Smith
say, VY cannot be ruled out as the source of
radioactive contamination of fish in the Connecticut

On Vermont Public Radio news, 2/7/12, Dr. Harry Chen,
Vermont State health commissioner says that, although
the Lake Carmi results indicate that those fish may
have absorbed background radiation levels of
radioactivity from global sources, he cannot rule out
Vermont Yankee as the source of contamination in the
Connecticut River.

I cannot square Dr. Irwin’s nonsensical assertions
about radiation in the Connecticut River fish with
Lochbaum and Chen’s separate analyses.

Why does this matter? Simply stated, SR90 is the worst
of the radioisotopes found to have leaked from Vermont
Yankee. It is bone seeking and water soluble and poses
a significant public health hazard. It is linked to
both cancer and leukemia. There is no threshold below
which it can be considered safe.

Vermont Yankee has leaked significant levels of SR90
into the groundwater, river and air, which is now
being discovered in fish in close proximity to Vermont
Yankee. Thus a public health hazard now exists for not
only the fish, but individuals, particularly pregnant
women and young children who eat the fish.

We cannot continue to tolerate being poisoned by
Vermont Yankee. It must be shut down now.
Hattie Nestel

New Containment Flaw Identified in the BWR Mark 1

Repinted with permission…

Fairewinds shows that the nuclear industry’s plan to vent the containment at Fukushima Daiichi could not have prevented a containment failure and the ensuing explosions. Look at the graphics from the containment stress tests conducted more than 40 years ago at a US nuclear reactor identical to Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1. This video and its graphics provide important clues about why Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 exploded.

Arnie Gundersen: Hi, I’m Arnie Gundersen from Fairewinds. Feb. 6, 2012

I have been thinking a lot lately about what happened in the first day of the nuclear accident at Fukushima. I think I have come up with some interesting information that I wanted to share with you. The facility at Fukushima was one of the largest nuclear reactors in the world. I am sure you have seen the videos of it when it was functioning and it was truly an impressive facility. Everyone has also seen the pictures of the facility after the explosions. In that period of a couple days, it went from a several billion dollar asset to a hundreds of billion dollar liability. And I believe it is the single biggest industrial accident in the history of the world.

But I wanted to focus on what happened after the tsunami but before the explosions. And I think there is some important information that can be gleaned from the historical record. I need to go back and talk a little bit about the nuclear fundamentals for a minute here though. The nuclear reactor sits inside a nuclear containment. Now the containment is, we have shown before, and the one that is on the screen now, is the Brown’s Ferry Nuclear Reactor. The top of that containment has a lid on it and it is connected by many, many bolts. I am going to use a tea infuser here to explain it another way. This is the containment, the nuclear reactor sits inside, and then that lid gets screwed to the top. So that if there is an accident and a pipe breaks inside the nuclear containment, in theory, all of the contaminated gasses stay inside that containment. Well it has been known for a long time that the Mark I reactor is a very small reactor containment. As a result, back in the 80’s, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission added a vent to it.

The reason for that is that engineers did not understand when they built this unit, that hydrogen gasses could build up after an accident. That is exactly what happened at Fukushima. At Fukushima the nuclear reactor was uncooled and the nuclear fuel became very hot; it reacted with the water to create hydrogen gas.

Now the data from the first day of the accident is troubling to say the least. The data, as I have been able to put it together, is pretty complicated, but we will work our way through it here. This is a multi-column table. The first column is the time and the day. But what I am interested in is the fourth column over. And that table is in Pascals which is a measure of pressure. I am going to convert those to pounds per square inch which most of us are more comfortable talking about.

The bottom of the table is right before the accident and the pressure was atmospheric. What that means, .1 is normal pressure, 14.5 pounds per square inch. Then the tsunami came, the plant lost it’s power, and the next data point is about 8 hours later because remember now, most of the components did not have electricity, so most of these readings were unavailable.

Well at 2 in the morning, the pressure inside the containment was almost 9 times higher, that means it was about 125 pounds per square inch. This containment was not designed for 125 pounds per square inch. To look a little further though, by 9:30 in the morning the pressure starts to drop and for the next 7 hours the pressure is much lower than it was at 2 in the morning. So the question is, how could it be that the pressure in the afternoon was lower than the pressure in the early morning? Remember, there is a violent chemical reaction going on inside the nuclear reactor where all sorts of hydrogen gas is being generated.

One possible reason for the lower containment pressure is that the containment vent was open. But that had not happened yet. So what made the pressure drop down? One possibility I believe to be the case, is something that happened 40 years ago at a plant called the Brunswick Plant in North Carolina. Now the nuclear industry in the U.S., the IAEA, the Japanese, are all aware of this, but they are all ignoring this test and pretending that it did not happen.

What happened 40 years ago was this: When a containment was pressurized, it was pressurized to just about 100 pounds and then something really strange and unexpected happened. The top, the head of the containment, began to lift off of the bottom of the containment. Getting back to my mug here, what happened was that the bolts that hold the top to the bottom, began to stretch and the top lifted and allowed the gasses to slide out. That held the pressure in here at 100 pounds even though gasses were being pumped in.

Now this was not an accident, this was pressurized with normal air, it was a test. But the containment at Brunswick began to leak at around 100 pounds per square inch. Let’s look at that table again from Fukushima. Where did Fukushima settle out at? Just about 100 pounds per square inch. What that tells me is that the head of the containment lifted up and gasses began to sneak out into the reactor building, which is that box that surrounds it, well before the containment vent was even opened.

Now another photograph of the site right before the explosion, clearly shows that the containment vent was open. You will see the stack on the right of this picture and it has steam coming out the top, smoke coming out the top. What that is is highly radioactive gasses and water vapor and it is creating that steam.

So we know that right before the explosion, the containment vent was working. Now the Japanese are saying that the containment vent was working, but the pipes were somehow or other leaking hydrogen into the plant as well and that is what caused the explosion.

To my way of thinking, the data does not support the interpretation of the nuclear industry and the Japanese. What the data does support is the Brunswick test from 40 years ago. It seems to me that for 8 hours or more, the containment at Fukushima was basically ruptured, that the top had popped up, and gasses were sliding out, so that it could not go over 100 pounds per square inch.

And hydrogen gasses were leaking out of the containment and into the reactor building for a long period of time. After that, it only took a spark to blow the reactor building up. This is a really important distinction. The nuclear industry, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Japanese are saying that we can make the vent stronger so that this accident cannot happen. But if the nuclear head is lifting up, the vent is irrelevant. The containment on the Mark I design has a design flaw that the containment vent cannot solve.

Whether or not the nuclear reactor containment at Fukushima maintained it’s integrity is a critical question to the operating fleet of BWR reactors throughout the world.

I will be working on some more information over the next week and we will have another video up shortly.

Thank you very much. I will keep you informed.


This domain is a landing page for many of you that find out about by searching for Brattleboro Vermont, perhaps it is not providing the expected material.

One would rightly expect information about our local businesses and attractions, how to get here, and where to stay. Links to the Chamber of Commerce or other commercial information. Sorry about that – it is a little inconvenient.

Similarly, finding a nuclear power plant on the lovely banks of the Connecticut River (less than 10 miles away) is not in keeping with Vermont caricature, it is not providing the expected scene; where cows are grazing on a pasture, where small towns flourish, and artists create unique works, where small shops sell hand made items, baked goods, and good beer.

The sad truth is that Entergy, owners of Vermont Yankee has cast a shadow over this town of Brattleboro and the entire region.

Who would want to come and visit?
Who would want to own property in the evacuation zone?
How can this be a business as usual web site when our entire way of life and liberty is threatened by an out-of-state rouge corporation that sues our great homeland of Vermont and with influence, wins?

How is it correct for corporations to buy our support, by donating to needy organizations?

How is it ok for corporations to lie?

Why is it not in our interest to look clearly at safety issues that effect our lives?

“How many more meltdowns do we need to have before people wake up and start shutting down these plants?”

This site is dedicated to halting operation of Vermont Yankee. We take this action because of the excessive onsite radioactive waste, excessive hot water discharge into the Connecticut river and the economic dis-incentive for building a low-carbon clean-energy future.

It can happen here.
-Daniel Hoviss 2012

Shut It Down Group Arrested for Trespass – Bringing Valentines to Entergy

BRATTLEBORO, Vermont-Lending heart to the campaign to end nuclear power forever, the nine women of the Shut It Down Affinity Group brought a Shut It Down Valentine on Monday to the headquarters of Entergy Corporation, which operates the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon.

Photo of Shut It Down affinity group, including, from left, front, Robin Lloyd, Martha Hennesey, Ruth Hooke (support), Hattie Nestel, and Connie Harvard; back row, Anneke Corbett, Susan Lantz, Mary-Ann Palmieri (support), Nina Swaim, and Deb Reger (support). Not pictured is Marcia Gagliardi, who took the photo.

Each wearing a Shut It Down Valentine for Entergy, the death-masked women processed for about twenty minutes in a silent circle in Entergy’s driveway. Every several seconds, one of the women struck a small gong to signify the death knell for Entergy, the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, and nuclear power everywhere.

Brattleboro police officers summoned by the Windham County sheriff and Entergy officials arrested the women one by one for unlawful trespass. They were transported to the Brattleboro Police Department where they were booked and each scheduled to appear at 8 a.m. March 27 in Windham County Superior Court to answer the charges.

Upon their release from jail, the women distributed their Valentines throughout the Brattleboro business district where, they said, most people enthusiastically received them and their Shut It Down Now message.

Those arrested include, from Vermont,  Nina Swaim, 73, of Sharon; Martha Hennesey, 63, of Wethersfield; Robin Lloyd, 72, of Burlington; from Massachusetts, Susan Lantz, 68, Connie Harvard,  64, and Frances Crowe, 92, of Northampton; Anneke Corbett of Florence; Hattie Nestel, 73,  and Marcia Gagliardi, 64, of Athol. Support for the women were, from Vermont, Deb Reger of Corinth and, from Massachusetts, Mary-Ann Palmieri of New Salem and  Ruth Hooke of Northampton.

“In this week of the Valentine,” reads the Valentine for Entergy, “we come to uphold all that is life and love in the beautiful hills of Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. We sound the death knell for Vermont Yankee and Entergy.

“We sound the death knell for the destruction fostered and carried out by Vermont Yankee and Entergy. We bring love and heart to the campaign to end nuclear power forever.”