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It seems almost inconceivable that in this era of nuclear disillusionment  (almost three years to the day after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima permanently wiped parts of that city off the map), the Obama Administration is pursuing an agenda of nuclear deregulation.  In a new proposal, the Administration seeks to dramatically weaken nuclear cleanup standards in the event of a nuclear accident or act of nuclear terrorism within the United States.

Under the EPA's Superfund regulations developed in the 1980s, nuclear cleanups are required to ensure that only 1 in 10,000 people would be anticipated to develop cancer after a serious domestic nuclear incident and cleanup.  At the last minute in 2009, the Bush Administration attempted to weaken this cleanup standard, but the incoming Obama Administration halted the proposed change.  But now, five years on, Obama is himself poised to dramatically lower cleanup standards in the same manner that Bush had originally proposed.  Under the new proposed guidelines, the Obama Administration suggests that an extraordinary 1 in 23 cancers after a nuclear cleanup is acceptable.  This is an incredible proposal--to go from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 23.

Setting aside whether you are "pro-" or "anti-" nuclear, we should all agree that Obama's attempts to weaken cleanup standards for nuclear accidents and/or attacks is unacceptable.

Think a dirty bomb in a New York subway and then the Federal Government deeming the area safe after a cleanup that leaves the risk of cancer at 1 in 23 for every person who thereafter enters the subway--it's simply outrageous.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You don't mind (4+ / 0-)

    if I actually read what the new standards are before condemning them. For all I know the new standards may reflect  new science on the best way to do clean-ups.

    If you are against sane gun regulations then by definition you support 30,000 deaths a year by firearms.

    by jsfox on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 02:20:51 PM PDT

  •  New Yorkers will choose. (0+ / 0-)
    Think a dirty bomb in a New York subway and then the Federal Government deeming the area safe after a cleanup that leaves the risk of cancer at 1 in 23 for every person who thereafter enters the subway--it's simply outrageous.
    whether it was good enough.
  •  This is cleanup level after a dirty bomb (5+ / 0-)

    This doesn't relate to a nuclear plant at all - these are possible standards for cleanup after a dirty bomb:

    http://www.nti.org/...

    Also, the 1 in 20 estimate relates to 2,000 millirem over 30 years .  You would certainly get ongoing cleanup and so those high levels would certainly not be maintained for decades

    •  Why not? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      S F Hippie, quill
      and so those high levels would certainly not be maintained for decades
      Japan and the US simply redefined "unsafe" upward, by a huge factor, after Fukushima. I'm not seeing the reason they won't do it again as they find it convenient. You won't see people falling over dead in the subways after all, they'll just be sick at home.


      If Republicans said every 3rd person named "Smith" should hang, we'd bargain them to every 7th. Then we'll see apologia written praising this most pragmatic compromise. There's our losing formula.

      by Jim P on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 02:46:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think I'll wait to read the proposal as well (5+ / 0-)

    Your example:

    Think a dirty bomb in a New York subway and then the Federal Government deeming the area safe after a cleanup that leaves the risk of cancer at 1 in 23 for every person who thereafter enters the subway--it's simply outrageous.
    seems to be an exaggeration. The excess cancer risk from that level of exposure (probably to contaminated soil, with an assumed amount of ingestion and skin adhesion), is predicated on living in a location for 30 years, which is not the same exposure one would get from passing through a subway area for an hour or two a day, several days a week. One is residential exposure, the other would be either a modified commercial worker or trespasser exposure.

    And Superfund also has the concept of ARARs (applicable, relevant, or appropriate requirements), which means cleanup to higher standards than federal rules require may be necessary if more stringent state regulations or laws are ARARs. This happens already, where EPA can live with an excess cancer risk between one in ten thousand and one in one million under Superfund, but some states have statutes (such as Oregon Revised Statute 465.315(1)(b)(A)) stipulating the more stringent one in one million as the floor.  

    Just a month ago in the Duwamish Waterway in Seattle, EPA's Proposed Plan for cleanup cited the State of Washington's state cleanup law (Model Toxics Control Act) as an ARAR for determining the cleanup level for polychlorinated biphenyls in sediment.

  •  Yes, it is very conceivable. I really wouldn't (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quill, Sandino

    at this point have expected anything different.  I've lived and learned.

    It seems almost inconceivable that in this era of nuclear disillusionment  (almost three years to the day after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima permanently wiped parts of that city off the map), the Obama Administration is pursuing an agenda of nuclear deregulation.
    Yep, no surprise here.
    The White House has endorsed a plan to relax long-held standards for cleaning up radioactive material released by a nuclear power plant disaster or act of terrorism, a group of federal officials say in a new draft report.

    As expected, the recently completed draft report on radiation remediation parts ways with standard U.S. practice and suggests guidelines under which as many as one in 23 people would be expected to develop cancer from long-term radiation exposure. The claim that the White House has agreed to abandon standard protocol in some instances is new.

  •  Sounds good! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alain2112, Blubba, Andrew F Cockburn

    One in 23 people developing cancer is WAY better than the current rate w/o nuclear contamination, which is about 1 in 3.

    It must be radiation hormesis kicking in!

  •  Umm, I think you forgot something (5+ / 0-)
    after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima permanently wiped parts of that city off the map),
    There was this thing called an earthquake followed by this other thing called a tsunami and they killed 20,000 people.  In addition, this natural disaster caused these nuclear power plants to loose their power sources and radiation escaped.

    Everything else you say has exactly zero credibility after you spin the story your way.  

    We, as a matter of fact do NOT agree that Obama's changes amount to efforts to "weaken" cleanup standards or that even if they do they are necessarily wrong.  Obama usually does things that are rational, reasonable and safe.  I suspect the same is true in this case.

    Someday soon Republicans are going to drown Grover Norquist - in a bathtub.

    by nuketeacher on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 04:42:16 PM PDT

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