First, before I break what I have uncovered so far, find it interesting that the Pro-Nuke People RACED to this blog to put up a PROPAGANDA PIECE. Now, let's share what I have found out so far.
Did We Just Dodge A Nuclear BULLET?
What's wrong with the story that there is no story in the National News when a flat bed truck carrying a container of Fuel Grade Uranium Dioxide tips over coming down the exit ramp at the intersection of I-95 and I-40 in Johnson County, North Carolina? The story briefly broke on Anderson Cooper's 360 last night with a singular photo of the truck laying over on it's side, and Anderson Cooper telling us that a truck hauling uranium fuel had tipped over, more details to follow. Problem is, those details never came forward, the story is almost NON-Existent in the news loops. Speaking with an unidentified staffer in Congressman Hinchey's office, they said they could find nothing on the accident, and only had what I had sent them.
As a grassroots person opposed to the re licensing of Entergy's failing nuclear reactors at Indian Point here in New York, the story instantly caught my attention, and when no additional reporting was forthcoming, I started to tract the story down myself...what is being found out is very disturbing, and raises serious concerns about both the NRC, and our National Security Response in the case of a NUCLEAR INCIDENT. They (NRC) seem to have dropped the ball in their own response to the accident (there was NONE) and the people at Homeland Security apparently took DRASTIC STEPS to kill the story, keep it out of the news cycle.
Lee Cox with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Health provided much of the base details of the incident and it's aftermath to me over the phone today. According to Mr. Cox, the driver of the truck (Ken Brotsche who is 63) stated in his statement on the accident, that as he began coming down the ramp the brakes went out, and when he tried to shift gears to correct the problem he over compensated and the truck went over. In speaking with David Bennett and Donny Lester of Tri-State Border Transport (They said this was the first accident of its type in the 55 years they have been hauling radioactive materials for the nuclear industry and DOE) said this was the first they had heard of the drivers comments, and suggested that there was a terminology mix up in how the driver described things. Their contention is that the driver went to apply the Jake Brake while the driver was in neutral, and that a Jake Brake will not work if the truck is in neutral. They went on further to state their oldest trucks are 2003 Peterbilt's, and that Ken Brotsche was driving a 2004 Peterbilt at the time of the incident. The driver went on to say that his wife Nancy had been sleeping in the back bunk, and though removed to a local hospital she had only received minor injuries. So, did the brakes go out suggesting inadequate maintenance, or was this driver error...where is the truck, and who is examining it?
Lee Cox went on further to state, that the materials on said truck were high level powdered uranium and not within the jurisdictional control of North Carolina as an Agreement State with the NRC, but within the control of the NRC. However because the NRC had not dispatched any one to the scene, the North Carolina Environmental Health people had acted as lead agency for the safety of their citizens and the environment of North Carolina. In short, they COVERED NRC's ASS. This was/is interesting, as when NRC's emergency response people were contacted last night around 10:30, they, when pressed, admitted that the accident had indeed occurred, but that they were not investigating it as it was the responsibility of the state of North Carolina as a Agreement State to act as lead agency. Simply put, WRONG. Once uranium becomes ENRICHED, it is the NRC's duty and responsibility...which is why the NRC in a phone conversation with Lee Cox this morning said they would be taking over as the lead agency. What is disconcerting in this, is that the NRC had a MAJOR INCIDENT going on with one of their licensee's, and never put one boot on the ground in North Carolina. What is more alarming, is this was not just ANY Nuclear Fuel, but spent fuel from a Japanese reactor...more on that later.
Digging further, it was learned that the licensee charged with the safety for these materials was Global Nuclear Fuel (GE) out of Wilmington, North Carolina. The person handling DAMAGE CONTROL is one Alan Mabbry and I believe Tom Rumsy, who admitted the truck was carrying Reactor Grade Uranium Fuel in powdered form, but that the container was not breached. Or was it? Donnie Lester from the trucking company admitted this set of facts to be the case, stating that the container had been locked down onto the flat bed trailer, and though tipped over on it's side, it had never broke lose from the lock down mechanism...the trailer was hoisted right side up by not one, but two cranes, and eventually the container of high level fuel was placed onto another flatbed. Alan Bennett said that East Bound I-40 had been shut down for safety reasons, and that the response team for this incident involved several hundred emergency responders...any one at this point wondering where video at eleven is, or something in the way of video first thing this morning? This should be FRONT PAGE NEWS across the entire United States, so who is sitting on this story? More on this later in the article, as it would take all day for that answer to emerge.
Bennett was not overly forth coming with information, and suggested I contact the trucking company...they were very frank and honest, and as I spoke with them, more details came out about the incident, and the materials in question. The materials had been picked up in Portsmouth, Virginia, and we are talking some seriously LETHAL STUFF HERE. You see, what this truck was hauling, was SPENT FUEL being sent back to Global Nuclear Fuel for REPROCESSING...but wait a minute, we do not reprocess our fuel here in the United States...Donnie Lester explained that one for me...the spent fuel was from OVER SEAS, had been shipped into America on a cargo vessel for reprocessing from some foreign country. They would not, or could not identify the country of origin for these materials, so I called back Lee Cox who verified that the material was from a reactor in Kurihama, Japan...now, explain this one to me....Lee was adamant that it was not spent uranium from the reactor, yet agreed it was here for reprocessing. Seems you cannot have your cake and eat it too. Maybe someone from the NRC who so far has had no comment, though I left my number with three people could clarify this for us?
I was still confused (as I stated earlier) though on how such an accident could occur, that CNN could briefly break it, then have the whole thing POOF up into thin air...enter Homeland Security, one incident Commander, and Lt. E Mark Dalton of the North Carolina Highway State Patrol, first on the scene. This axis of security is a perfect example of the Bush Administration's desire to keep us in the general public STUPID. These three in some combination as yet unknown, though Lee said Lt. Dalton made the call, decided to throw up and implement and EXCLUSION ZONE...now, this is a scary thing in a free society...you see, the press was CUT OFF, denied access to the scene.
Lt. Dalton so far has refused to comment, refused to let me know if this Exclusion zone included aerial access to the area, though looking at the size of the on the ground force involved in the cover up (I mean clean up), one has to assume it included keeping aerial equipment away from the scene...otherwise, how does one explain no follow up on CNN? A spokesperson for the North Carolina Highway State Patrol verified that numerous members of the press were denied access to the area, were not allowed to get even close to it. Which is odd, since Lt. Dalton had also made the decision that there had been NO BREACH of the CONTAINER, decided there was no need to evacuate any one in the general area...if it was so SAFE, why was the press kept away, other than someone(s) trying to cover up the whole event, keep it from becoming MAJOR NEWS. Was this the ACCIDENT that the Nuclear Industry and NRC have tried to convince us for years could never happen...did we just miss a disaster of biblical proportions?
There is a SKUNK in the wood pile here, and this blogger does not have the tools or manpower to get to all of it, though have uncovered what I can. To that end, I am listing here all the contacts I have so far been able to dig up, in the hopes that someone out there can get this story the coverage it deserves.
Lt. E. M. Dalton 1 (800) 412-9532 I tried this number, but it is a limited area access number than cannot be reached from my area. (fax# 919 737 9528)
Alan Maybry (With Global Nuclear) 910 675-5601
Donnie Lester and David Bennett Tri-State Motor Transport Company (417) 621-2658
Lee Cox and Beverly Hall (North Carolina Division of Environmental Health 919 571-4141
North Carolina Emergency Response Hot Line (Verified the accident) 800 858 0368
Tom Rumsy 910 646-6004
Number to access North Carolina Public Relations Department 919 733 5027
Labels: Entergy, failing reactors, Global Nuclear Fuel, Homeland Security is a joke, Indian Point, Kurihama Japan, NRC, politics, Uranium Oxide