C.C. reader. ([Middletown, Pa.]) 1973-1982, December 06, 1982, Image 9

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    nuclear restart at TMI
Unit 1 came out from the non
binding referendum...the NRC
has to take that referendum in
to consideration."
Last May, Dauphin County
citizens voted on a non-binding
referendum on whether to
restart Unit 1. The result was a
two-to-one vote against restart.
Finally, Hurst said, "They
(NRC) are going to have to put
health and safety factors ahead
of money to regain the people's
trust. If the NRC operates their
decision in concurrence with
the law,their decision will be
Even if the NRC lifts the 1979
shut down orders, GPU must
contend with several other pro
blems before it can be authoriz
ed to reopen Unit 1.
Among those problems are
leaks in the steam generator
tubes in the Unit 1 reactor;
cheating on operator licensing
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exams; and a U.S. Appeals
Court order, now being con
sidered by the Supreme Court,
that requires the NRC to assess
psychological stress to area
GPU is currently contending
with repairing the first of these
problems—leaks in Unit l's two
steam generators. The repair
technique has also brought
about controversy. The techni
que is known as kinetic expan
sion and is designed to repair
the 31,000 tubes in the two
steam generators of Unit 1 that
were damaged when the plant
was shut down.
The expansion technique uses
a controlled explosive charge
inside each tube.
An anti-restart organization,
Three Mile Island Alert
believes that the controlled ex
plosive technique has not been
proven safe or effective.
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Photo courtesy Press And Journal
In addition, the group said the
federal NRC staff approved the
repairs without a public hear
ing. Earlier this year, an inter
nal NRC memorandum said the
repairs would require an
amendment to the plant's
license and would be subject to
public hearings.
GPU officials say the techni
que 'has been used safely at
other plants, namely Salem
Units 1 and 2 and the Clinch
River Breeder Reactor Project,
but they say is has never been
used on so large a scale at a
plant that was in service for
five years.
Doug Badell reported that,
"these repairs began over 3
weeks ago and are expected to
be completed by the end of
January." Altogether,.it may
cost 25 million dollars.
The second issue that will in
hibit the immediate restart of
Unit 1 is cheating by TMI per
sonnel on their licensing exams.
This issue currently stands
before the Atomic Safety and
Licensing Appeals Board
(ASLAB), who will make an
analysis and report to the NRC
for final consideration.
As of now, there is no defined
date, when the ASLAB will
finish their analysis and it has
not beeii determined what ef
fect that will have on the
restart of Unit 1.
The last and most com
plicated restart issue stands
before the United States
Supreme Court.
The case is entitled, The
United States NRC and The
United States Government v s
In deliberating the case, the
Supreme Court must decide
whether possible psychological
harm to nearby residents must
be considered before Unit 1 is
allowed to restart.
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In the lower court opinion,
"We cannot believe that the
psychological aftermath of the
March 1979 accident falls out of
the National Environmental
Policy Act."
Reagan administration
lawyers say that the lower
court ruling could unduly delay
the licensing of other nuclear
power plants as well.
GPU's Doug Badell agreed:
"If psychological stress is taken
into consideration it will greatly
complicate licensing techni
ques," he said, adding:
"If the Supreme Court
upholds the lower court's deci
sion, it will raise all sorts of
problems and considerations on
all sorts of federal bodies."
PANE's Treasurer, James
Hurst, explained that it's a mat
ter of defining the word
"They (NRC) have always
considered physical health and
defined health as—if you can't
kill them—we do not have to
contend with the issue of
psychological ill harm."
Giving some background on
PANE's legal battle to fight for
this issue, Hurst said, "we had
no idea at the time that it would
turn into a three-and-a-half
year battle that would go to the
Supreme Court."
Hurst estimates that the
Supreme Court will make their
decision by mid-83, and that it
will cost PANE another $25,000
before this thing is finished."
Taking all these factors into
consideration, GPU's Doug
Badell believes that Unit 1 will
be capable and authorized to go
into operation near that time as
well—mid 83.
This week's decision,
however, is the first roadblock
that GPU must conquer if Unit
1 is ever to restart.
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