Probably no press will now be interested because fortunately the PI "big bang" and maybe "casks tip over" are stories that didn't happen. I just talked to a person from Prairie Island. He says a few homes in the village were flooded, but most are on higher ground, and have not been flooded; the town (except for those few lower-lying homes) was not evacuated. To the best of what he can see, the nuke itself is ticking along. he cannot see what's happening in casks, but believes them dry behind earth berm. Water level appears to be going down slowly, i.e. major cresting has probably passed Prairie Island.
The below info is therefore notes for a "think piece" that I do intend to write, and still remains valid in terms of the general situation and siting both of the nuke and the ??? radioactive storage casks of used radioactive fuel rods on their flat cement platform. There is still no mention whatsoever of Prairie Island on any media. Some of my worries seem silly in today's bright sunlite, but all the reasons for those worries haven't changed.
Granite Falls, a non-Indian town in western MN was flooded several days ago, and there's been quite a bit of news about that town. and its losing struggle with the rising waters/ No news about the Upper Sioux Indian reservation nearby, which most people usually also call "Granite Falls." I recently learned by phone this rez was pretty much flooded out, all people evacuated. That non-coverage is just media ignoring effects of the flood on Indians. Prairie Island non-coverage it seems to me still has been censorship, because of the location of the nuke and the casks of radioactive material on the river sandbar island. I.e. it's "naturally news" for the major media to keep track of it, and there has been absolutely none. I wonder if I should now take this down as "alarmist" or leave it a while?
Paula Giese's notes, background sources, pix for own story on Prairie island nuke, casks, Dakota people in MN spring floods, April 1997. Indian journos may use source material freely pix credits below where known. Backgrounder for Indian journos: conta ct Akwesasne notes 1-518-358-9531, Ft. covington NY. Get Double issue Fall 1995 my article "the burial ground no one wants to save" pp 33-39 for whole situation, good explanation of reactor, storage casks, everything except Chernobyl possibility which I didn't mention then. Author ID is by me, sez "non-Indian of some Anhisnaabeg heritage" (nonstatus, grandfather from Beaver Lake band, Sask.). I said non-Indian then, perhaps I should say Indian, dunno., seemes so many fakes, with a little "Indian blood" somewhere back. If I'm Indian it's not really from that. anyway.
Indian journos freely given permish to use anything from Notes article and roughs and sources collected below. Pix will be low-rez for printing because of web low resolution.
See also my web page about PI/MN:
Has map of MN reservations, click Prairie Island for more info (& links) before the flood situation. Notes below very speculative, some very long source material included here. Contact Paula Giese 612/872-2352 (Minneapolis). I am webmistress of the Indian educational site on which this info was posted and the PI and MNrezmap appears, and author of the materials therein unless otherwise attributed in page credits (in case this thing gets separated from my posting).
Latest: 4 p.m Sat april 12: Called Volunteer centers asked about sandbagging at Prairie Is. Ind community. She asked supervisor who had no info. Told her that yesterday's DEM situation report had just been posted said near end that as of Fri, PI Ind comm homes were said to be under 1-6' water, I assumed Indians were evacuated, where? Nobody any info, however oads coordinator told me roads "around" PI and RedWing were open and a bridge (I think near Hastings) was being sanded to be kept open as long as possible.
Flood crest from Minnesota River expected to hit Lock & Dam #3 (the nuke, essentially, PI rez is between the nuke and the dry cask hot waste barrels) Mon. MN River crest running 7.2 feet above previous record flood levels. (actually that's 17.2 feet apparently) Mississippi river expected crest may hit a little earlier (Sunday, passing through St. Paul right now -- Sunday afternoon). No info on the "extended crest" or "secondary crest follow on that DEM (emergency management) has been discussing with its staff via web. Miss. River running well above some flood stages of past but cannot find out how much. If both crests hit lock&dam #3 will whatever the army did to secure the casks hold? The nuke plant?
How will the plant behave when the crest(s) hit? Containment domes intended to keep things in, but at least it has a foundation down to bedrock (sandstone unfortunately). Of water gets in how will that affect safeties etc? If dome leaves foundations? I know too little about the mechanics of this to see how to compare it to Chernobyl except that the energy equivalent must be around 8 times larger, if it goes a much bigger blast (there are 2 reactors at PI). Blast would be a wateburst, firestorm last several days, pouring up live steam containing very finely powdered hot particles, much worse for country side and everything tha t breathes. No one in Redwing would survive, cannot estimate what "blast" type effects would be too many unknowns. Electronics in Twin Cities would surely be knocked out (for good) no phone radio cars, TV planes helis etc, anything with a chip in it is junk. Mp trtanmsport, no communications, no heavy construction equipment, no electrical pwoer 9grid electronics will go). This is the effect of burst radiation, not temporary like static, the electronics is ruined. 100% "no news" about nuke and casks makes me very apprehensive, obviously this is "so the public won't panic" but what if we know about this kind of thing already? I'm not exactly panicked, but sure don't like it.
Some pix, Army Corps of Engineers flood info pages (not restricted but not public as to URL's either):
Overview of the whole river basins area around here, Army Corps of engineers pages. Shows Minnexzota river coming in just above (upstream) of lock& dam #3. Nuke and rez right above dam there. St Crois r. comes in just below lock & dam #3
Locksmap.gif shows string of locks running from just above Mpls on Mississippi south through lock& dam 3 (nuke) and futher downstream. This map[ shows MN river coming in *below* #3. both from same Corps pages, plled from databae query form. Not too encouraging Corps knows what it's doing.
Photo by NSP of the whole PI site complex, taken from "tour of nukes" environmental page., http://www.cannon.net/~gonyeau/nuclear/prairie.htm. If you look closely at the photo, you can see the PI Dakota village in the background, left we are looking northward here,. Cannot see casks. think sweatlodge on Amos's land is specks left of radio tower, i.e. couple houses there where sweat was.
Overview of the whole river basins area around here, Army Corps of engineers pages.
lock and dam 2 upstream from #3 which couldn't find pic of. From Army Corps Engrs database.
At this point, the below items are very rough notes for an article I myself hope to be able to write for Akwesasne Notes, as discussed by phone with ed. on Wed, April 9. This will be a FU to mine of Fall special double issue given the stupid catchy tito]le "The Burial ground nobody wants to save" re Prairie Island nuclear "dry cask" storage and its broader implications. That article is good bG for this FU., especially "how a nuke works". And how it can turn into a bomb, 2 bombs in this case, aspect not there discussed at all. That article was written and submitted around march, 1994, and there have been many events since its publication and now. In my 1995 article, I gave no attention at all to PI as a big atomic bomb, i.e. the so-called meltdown situation as we must see it worst-case since Chernobyl.
In the event I am unable to write this article, and communications with this area (Twin Cities MN) appear somewhat strange, this info on the Fond du Lac tribal college server near Duluth should survive & be available. In the event of a worst0-case, all electronics in the vicinity of the blast and most likely the Twin Cities will be non-functional -- i.e. comptuer,s comm systems, telecoms, and also anything with any electronics in it.
Situtation here is such that at present I am having to use the "Sherlock Holes method of 'the dog that didn't bark in the night,' where a murder had been committed that required the murder to past a v. large, able, active, alert& doud watchdog. No barking was heard, mystifying all. The dog's owner was of course, the killer, as Holmes concluded. In this instance, the floods coming downstrdeam on the Mississippi and MN rivers (converging right above Lock & Dam, the nuke plant) have been widely and carefully reported, and there are also publicly accessible websites by the emergency management team: State DEM, Army corps of engrs, etc. *All* have focussed on fact, human interest, bigger pic (disast4er area) and human interest stories upstream. Very little on Twin Cities, not even arrival of floodcrest estimates in public. (But many local roads-under-water bridges out reroutings of traffic here already.)
Very tight censorship appears to be in place through the area, as massive floods continue along the Minnesota and Miss. River basins, approaching us in the Twin Cities. The reason I think this -- hypothesis of tight censorship "to avoid public panic" is reasonable is that the PI nuke has been *much* in the news, even lately, with the filing of lawsuits, special investigative and negotiating committies, etc. All of these with regard to the dry cask storage discussed in my 1995 Notes article. Safety on sand in floods on a floodplain river island has always been upfront in opponents of the casks at PI. I.e. total blackout on any public mention of Prairie island makes no news sense, and implies total censorship.
The average, reasonable person in the circumstance of so much attention to the spring thaw-snow-rain floods moving downstream in an elevated and prolonged cresting must surely to be a few moments of wonder "What about that nuke/those casks?" Since ther ehas been no attention wshatever to NSP's nuke in the cernobyl sense -- that is that "meltdown" is kind of a euphemist for "nuclear bomb" a little "slower" than a weapon burst, but ultimately perhaps more destrutive for that, public attention might wander to "those casks tipping over in floods" since that was a focus of a certain amount of attention, once (chf my article about undermining of the flat slab they sit on in the event of flood conditions on the sandy, low-lying island in the Miss. R.). Just about any media journo would at least take a crack at "What's the story on protecting those *casks* and the question "...and the nuke itself?" would surely arise. There has been nary a peep. Phone service to PI is not interrupted, in the sense you get any error msg. Known phones there simply ring unanwered. (Same thing at the Upper Siouxz Indian community near Granite Falls, where heavy human interest and other reporting of dike-building, failures, staying or abandoning homes, etc. has been going on. The whole area -- Yellow Med. Co, Lac Qui Parle, is a declared disaster area, most evacuations, Montevvideo etc. are the small white towns along the river.
The Army Corps of Engineers and the Minnesota Disaster Emergency Management both have "public" but unpublicized websites, on which certain info and situation reports are being published and updated, including "volunteer" call numbers, army assembly points, deploymenty of pumps and heavby equipment. The *only* mention of PI during this period was anywhere was on 4/8 (DEM situation reports page) , where "vounteers" for sandbagging (dikes) at the PI community's sewage treatment ponds was mentioned. 175,000 sandbags delivered there were to be emplaced -- 75,000 the first day of work. The following day's situation report said 600 volunteers had been sent to various 'sandbagging' sites that included PI. This means the max possible volunteer work crew couldn't do very much of the pr9oposed job. There was no mention of PI in the last available situation report, Thursday, 4/11. Situation report for Friday 4/11 is not posted a note says it will be today (Sat) and Sat's will be posted Sun.
A call to the volunteer info number, saying I as an Indian wanted to volunteer specifically for sandbagging at Pi produced the response that site had sufficient volunteers. I also called road conditions public number to inquire if I could go down to PI and bring some relatives back with me. I was told all roads to the PI site are closed and the nearest I would be able to get was RedWing the nearby white minicity, where NSP PI nuke employees live. (Goodhue Co MN). In some report I saw mention of evacuees in shelters in Redwing. I believe the PI rez may have been evactuated., but that is speculative, upon the evidence cited. I have also been unable to establish the status of the "Grainite Falls" (i.e. Upper Sioux Sisseton-Wahpetonwan Dakota rez) despite all the attention given to the heroic dike sandbag efforts that are "losing" at Granite Falls. The same situation of phone ringing endlessly occurs.
[Aside: 2 pix of casks and 1 of the nuke, and some BG may be found on my PI rez page, click on the MNREZMAP here at PI). A better one may be uploaded, and some links as well, I also ahve a large relatively hirez of Lock& Dam #2).
Communications emergency management system: A couple yea4rs ago a Leech Lake friend who works for Mpls sent me some government computer job notices that had come her way. One highly poaid one was for a computer network systems ad programmer for the civilian communications emergency system. An unusual feature of this very highly-paid job (about twice scale) was that the person would go "somewhere" and live in a highly shielded secret-location "hole in the ground" for some months at a time to carry out his duties. I talked and laughed by phone with the person who'd sent it to me, and said they would never hire *me* (security risk -- AIM background) but that I might apply to try to find out more about the system. Upon later calling to set up an interview, was told auite curtly "the job is no longer open." Neverthelss the description had a lot of info. The general idea is the emerge4ncy backup can "take over" not only from downed surface/air comm but also can 'take it over" *any time*. Of course it would control alternate channels of communication, but it would also be in control of anything "it" wanted to be of existing equipment and connections. the model was obviously the military one (hole in the ground, takeover comm) and I speculated those dopes were implementing a system designed for cold war days, when nuclear attacks (the commies) were thought to be imminent.
I now think the system was designed particularly for the area, because of the PI nuke, i.e. in the event a disaster turns it into a Chernobyl-like bomb. (No disaster has to occur for the comm takeover of course).
I speculate the crest may have hit yesterday, sparse reports of sandbagging "upstream" on the Miss R and what appear to be some really frantic sandbaggings on the Minnesota. One of the Corps of engineeer mpas I snaffled (Miss R. basin) shows the confluences of respective rivers -- right where max backup into the areas of the nuke (US Lock & Dam 2) occurs. No it didn't. It probably hit around 4:30 eqrly Monday, 4/14 when the lights were flickering a lot.
Below are copies of "background" notes gathered from web pages whose URL's are below the respective notes. Fulltext form most of those should be available no matter what occurs here, since their servers are not local here.
Friday situation report (MN DEM) just posted Saturday afternoon, note near the bottom 3' of water in PI Indian Community" and Goodhue Co request for flyover, total nothing about either nuke or casks. What follows below is a bunch of captures. usually I gave URL's for where it came from.
DAMAGE ASSESSMENT: Beginning Monday April 14, FEMA will send inspectors to do a Preliminary Damage Assessment in those counties that have already experienced significant damage in Categories C through G (road damage, facilities, public utilities, etc.), so that costs in those categories are eligible for federal and state reimbursement. Documentation of costs related to flood fight activities is vital (i.e., regular employeesı overtime, any additional staff costs, contractor costs, supplies, etc.) Counties that wish to be added to the major disaster declaration need to complete a damage assessment. Damage assessment forms may be obtained from the DEM regional program coordinators. If the cost of recovery from this disaster is clearly beyond the resources available within the county, the county board should pass a resolution requesting that the county be declared a major disaster area. A sample resolution was attached to Flood Situation Report #10 dated April 11, 1997. The resolution plus the completed damage assessment forms should be sent to DEM. If you need more information about this process, contact a DEM regional program coordinator. VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: The Volunteer Coordination Unit at the State Operations Center referred 30 volunteer workers to one site in St. Paul on Friday. If you need volunteers for a mission, please call the Minnesota Duty Officer at 1-800-422-0798. WEATHER: Latest weather forecast calls for statewide lows in the mid teens to mid 20s, highs from mid 30s to mid 40s. Other than scattered snow in the extreme south this morning, no precipitation is forecast. The Minnesota River is cresting at 32.2 feet in Jordan today and near 718.5 feet in Shakopee tomorrow. The Mississippi River is cresting near 23 feet in St. Paul on Sunday or Monday. The St. Croix River is cresting at near 91 feet in Stillwater on Sunday and Monday. The Red River crested in Fargo-Moorhead Friday but will remain steady at high levels for several days. The Red will crest a second time near 18.5 feet this weekend in Breckenridge. Other points along the Red River will not crest until mid to late April. MISCELLANEOUS: The Interprovincial Pipeline from Canada to the United States has been shut down. This is one of the crude oil supply sources into both Koch and Ashland refineries in Minnesota. This pipeline also serves the Chicago area. Koch and Ashland do have other sources of crude oil, but this may be a reason for some companies to raise the price of gasoline. The Mid-America Power Pool (MAPP) headquartered in Minneapolis said yesterday that the region has lost only one generation plant due to flooding: Dairylandıs Alma plant in Wisconsin. Only a few small plants are sited along the Red and Minnesota rivers, and they are still available. Many large plants are located along the Mississippi, and to date they are all still operating. The major regional damage was the result of the ice storms in the Dakotas and northwestern Minnesota. There was significant damage, and crews are still working to restore service. The American Red Cross reported that 59,422 meals have been provided to date. The number of fixed feeding sites has decreased to seven. There are five mobile feeding sites in operation. A total of 147 people are housed in three shelters currently. Tim Hunt, director of emergency management in Otter Tail County, has agreed to share a plan he drafted for reentry into flooded areas. If you are interested in receiving a copy of this plan, contact your DEM regional program coordinator. More than 500 applications for assistance have been made through the FEMA teleregistration program. Assistance that may be available includes: Disaster Housing Grants to cover temporary rent or make essential repairs to your home Small Business Administration loans to repair homes, personal property and businesses Grants for serious needs not met by other programs Persons who live or work in one of the declared counties may apply by calling toll-free teleregistration at 1-800-462-9029. For those who use TTY: 1-800-462-7585. FEMA is conducting a concentrated community outreach program in the declared counties. REGIONAL UPDATE: Paul Jacobs, Regional Program Coordinator for the northwest region, reported that Norman County is evacuating Hendrum Township located west of Ada on the Red River. This follows the evacuation of Shelly which was accomplished yesterday. In Ada, the water has gone down, and Department of Transportation plows are trying to push the ice off the streets. More than 1,500 persons have been evacuated from Ada, and 800 homes have sustained damage. Residents are being allowed limited entry to their homes, but electricity has not been restored. Re-entry will begin on the west end of the city and will be accomplished on a block-by-block basis. Inspectors will need to accompany residents so that a safe reentry can be accomplished. Electric power in the region is being restored. However, repair crews are having difficulty reaching the damaged poles and lines because of closed roads and water-filled ditches. Thief River Falls in Pennington County lost power yesterday, but it had been restored as of this morning. Pennington County is continuing to monitor the river levels and is sandbagging some areas. Oak Port Township located north of Moorhead in Clay County has been cut off by rising waters. Extra pumps have been ordered. Roy Holmes, Regional Program Coordinator for the northeast region, reported that the Rainy River in Lake of the Woods County is okay. The dam activity has been decreased. Congressman Collin Peterson will do a flyover of the area. Roseau County is continuing to monitor the river and is sandbagging. Red Lake County is getting more sandbags and reported one road washed out. The northeast area of the state is reporting no problems. Judy Rue, Regional Program Coordinator for the west-central region, reported that Breckenridge is preparing for a second crest of 18 to 18.5 feet on Saturday. Four communities in Big Stone County are flooding. Twelve families are out of their homes in Stevens County. Duane Hoeschen, Regional Program Coordinator for the southwestern region, reported that reentry is being accomplished in Montevideo and Granite Falls. Homes are being inspected before power is turned on. The water levels are down to the 1969 flood levels now. The contamination of the water supply has been confirmed in both Montevideo and Granite Falls. Residents have been advised to vigorously boil the water for five minutes before using it for drinking or cooking. The National Guard sent two water buffalo into Montevideo on Thursday, and Ahnheiser Busch has volunteered to supply cans of drinking water to both communities. Highway 23 is now open. Craig Strand, Regional Program Coordinator for the southeastern region, reported that communities along the Mississippi River are all experiencing some localized flooding Six homes are surrounded by one to three feet of water in the Prairie Island Indian community. Goodhue County has requested a flyover of the river. Wabasha has five to 10 homes affected, and Lake City has 10 homes affected. In Winona, the major problem will be seepage. Some 75 homes are affected by minor flooding in Houston County, while three families have been evacuated. NOTE: MN river crest not yet over to there. Supposed to crest in Shakopee tomorrow (Sunday) not far from PI (crest could arrive PI Sunday nite). Not clear if Mississippi crest there yet or not. If not, MNriver & MI River crests will hit about same time. If Mis River has already hit, may be passing or past by time MN River crest hits. Total silence on nuke and casks. Chernobyl... 10 Years On On 26 April 1986, the world's worst nuclear accident occurred. The No. 4 reactor of Russia's Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded. The explosion and fire sent streams of radioactive material into the atmosphere above the USSR and across Europe for more than a week. Ironically, the accident occurred in the course of a safety test. The damaged reactor core and graphite surrounding it began burning at a temperature of around 1600oC). Radioactive nuclei like 90Sr, 131I, 134Cs, and 137Cs vapourised and were carried away with the combustion gases. The fatal effects of the accident were to prevail for many years to come. t was calculated that the reactor came close to exploding like a nuclear bomb. The energy released caused a steam explosion that lifted the lid off the reactor. Radioactive nuclei like 90Sr, 131I, 134Cs, and 137Cs were released in the accident. After the accident, the Soviet Health authorities found out that there was a great increase in thyroid cancer, especially in children. How does this link to the Chernobyl accident? Ten years have passed since the Chernobyl Incident, but its effects are still felt, especially around Chernobyl itself. A recent newspaper article in the Straits Times (3 April 1996, Pg 25) entitled 'Fear was the Deeper Wound 10 Years after Chernobyl' reported that "Fewer than 500 people died as far as a direct result. By contrast, the chemical leak at Bhopal, India, in 1984 killed at least 2,000 people and injured 200,000. But in terms of political significance, economic dislocation and absolute and enduring fear, Chernobyl stands alone." The Chernobyl incident was due to miscalculated human error, causing grave repercussions. Besides being released by accidents, radioactive nuclides may also be released by planned human actions. The recent nuclear tests carried out by the French government between September andMay despite protests from environmental bodies is a relevant example. [PG NOTE: Water burst: this is like the ocean bomb tests somewhat, but Miss (and MN) rivers are moving (fast) in "trenches" pouring more in. ] The blast from the nuclear test explosion in French Polynesia was over in a nanosecond, causingno more visible effects than the momentary frothing and churning of the turquoise waters around Mururoa atoll... While the medical consequences of exposure to radioactivity is known, little is known about the potential effects of nuclear testing on nearby island populations. 1.The blast from the nuclear test explosion raised a dome of water and turned the surfacewhite. Suggest why. Forgot to record URL for above, it was from a course to encourage tech students to "think about" and research using web and pull it together. INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE: ONE DECADE AFTER CHERNOBYL Summing up the Consequences of the Accident Vienna, Austria 8-12 April 1996 Sponsored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), European Commission (EC), and World Health Organization (WHO) in co-operation with the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs (UNDHA), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, and the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Highlights of Conclusions and Recommendations I n accordance with a dynamic approach to safety all nuclear power plants that do not meet an internationally acceptable level of safety need appropriate upgrading or should be shut down. In 1991, the IAEA conference The Safety of Nuclear Power: Strategy for the Future formulated a consensus that "safety standards of older operating plants should be reasonably compliant with current safety objectives". Active commitment to this objective remains of prime importance for ensuring an acceptable level of safety for nuclear installations and for increasing public confidence in nuclear energy. 48.The main causes of the Chernobyl accident was the coincidence of severe deficiencies in the reactor physical design and in the design of the shut-down system and the violation of procedures. The lack of 'safety culture' in the responsible organisations of the Soviet Union led to the inability to remedy such design weaknesses, even though they had been known before the accident. [PG NOTE: them commies is just like ants, no safety culture.] 49.In addition to those features of direct relevance for the causes of the accident, the original design of RBMK plants was affected by further deficiencies. In particular the original design of the first RBMK generation falls short of current safety objectives. Remaining deficiencies such as the partial containment concept require further attention. 50.A significant number of nuclear safety remedial measures were undertaken during the past decade at the existing RBMK plants: technical and organisational measures taken immediately after the accident, as well as safety upgrading performed between 1987 and 1991 essentially removing the design deficiencies contributing to the accident. Progress has also been achieved in areas such as plant management, training of personnel, non-destructive testing, and safety analysis. As a result, a repetition of the same accident scenario seems practically no longer possible today. However other accidents with substantial releases can not be excluded. 51.Some of the concerns regarding safety might also apply to other reactors designed to earlier standards if no sufficient improvements have been performed in the meantime. The importance of recurrent safety reviews is widely recognized in this regard. 52.For all RBMK plants there exist plans for further safety upgrading regarding those RBMK design deficiencies that are not directly related to the Chernobyl accident. The implementation of these plans is essentially behind the needs because the new independent states lack the necessary resources due to their tremendous economic problems. 53.Accelerated implementation of what is agreed necessary and has already been planned has been identified as a top priority for the national nuclear programmes as well as for international co-operation: - necessary safety improvements must be carried out independently from consideration of early decommissioning of the plants; - more resources must be made available for the safety of the RBMK plants currently operated; - strengthening the status of national regulatory authorities and their support organisations. 54.Similar backfits as for other RBMK units were also performed at the Chernobyl NPP. However, safety concerns with these units are not only related to the remaining generic design deficiencies, e.g. to the quality of equipment. 55.The Ukrainian decision to shut down the remaining units should not result in neglecting safety needs and backfits during the remaining time of operation. Sarcophag