Thursday, July 05, 2007

Secrecy Shrouds Accident at Nuclear Plant

From the NY Times:

A factory that makes uranium fuel for nuclear reactors had a spill so bad that it kept the plant closed for seven months last year and became one of only three incidents in all of 2006 serious enough for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to include in an annual report to Congress. After an investigation, the commission changed the terms of the factory’s license and said that the public had 20 days to request a hearing on the changes.

But no member of the public ever did. In fact, no member of the public could find out about the changes. The document describing them, including the notice of hearing rights for anyone who felt adversely affected, was stamped “official use only,” meaning that it was not publicly accessible.

What the?

...the Energy Department, reached an agreement with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that any correspondence with Nuclear Fuel Services would be marked “official use only.” The plant processes high-enriched uranium for Navy submarine propulsion reactors.

The memorandum that declared such correspondence to be “official use only” was itself designated “official use only.”

Where are we drawing the line about what the government can keep secret? I think we passed that point years ago. How in the world can a notice of a public meeting be too sensitive to be released to the public? I'm sure George Orwell is somewhere saying I told you so.

I'm of the generation that has a way to go before being convinced of the safety of nuclear power, and I see a big, new push toward expanding it's use in the near future, so it disturbs me to see a worrisome secret ooze out so long after the fact. It's liable to make a girl think they're hiding something so the unwashed masses don't get nervous about nuclear power. Not that I'm suspicious or cynical or anything. Much.


Blogger nunya said...

A friend's dad worked at San Onofre.

He made it to 55.


7/05/2007 11:43:00 PM  

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