Charlevoix: The Big Rock Point nuclear power plant (BRP) is scheduled to cease operation in the year 2000. What happens to the physical plant, the high-level radioactive fuel in the spent fuel pool, and workers and area citizens at this juncture is enormously important both now and for future generations. The process of shutting down BRP is called decommissioning, which has begun with BRP submitting its plan to the US Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NRC) for approval. We have received the first version of the plan. While we have looked it over and have our concerns, we thought it prudent to have it reviewed by a qualified agent other than the NRC. To this end we have secured the assistance of Radioactive Waste Management Associates (RWMA) located in New York City.
RWMA is an "independent consulting firm established in 1989 to assist state and local governments and citizen organizations in dealing with waste management issues". RWMA is a team of scientists, economists, and engineers. Some of the groups RWMA has advised include: Lake Michigan Federation (dry cask storage issues at Plaisades), Greenpeace (health effects of fire on plutonium ship), and Citizen Awareness Network (decommissioning of Yankee-Rowe). The primary person we are in contact with is Dr. Marvin Resnikoff who received his Ph.D. is in physics from the University of Michigan in 1965. After several research and teaching assignments he began working exclusively on radioactive waste issues in 1974. Since then he has worked on many projects producing many reports, including two books entitled Living Without Landfills and Deadly Defense. More extensive information is available upon request.
In a phone conversation with him, we discussed the potential of his firm reviewing the BRP decommissioning plan. He expressed great interest and consented to review it for us. He estimated it would take 30 hours to review and produce a written report. Their hourly rate to governmental agencies is $130, however for citizen groups, they charge half that rate or $65 per hour. Based on this estimate we need to raise $2000. As RWMA expects to get the report back to us before the end of March and we feel obligated to pay them within 30 days of receipt of the bill, we need to raise the money by mid-April.
It is the opinion of those of us working most intensively on the decommissioning issue at BRP that we have an outside, expert opinion of the decommissioning plan. It is our hope that the plan is outstanding, but it is our fear that certain portions are not in the interest of people and the environment. We ask you to help us raise the money by mid-April by contributing what you can. In faith that there is money out there to support this fact-finding, evaluative effort and because time is short, we have already committed to have the analysis performed by RWMA. We should receive the report by the end of March. We hope you will agree with us on this essential step and support the effort. Please make your donation (sorry, they are not tax deductible) to:
Don't Waste Michigan
P.O. Box 445
Petoskey, MI 49770-0445
Return to the Index of Synapse 35, Spring Equinox 1996