"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives."


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fukushima Chronicles, the Continuing Saga - GE Mark 1 Reactors in the United States and the Costs of Nuclear Power

Update: Nov 3, 2011 Apparently another explosion in Fukushima, Reactor #2. It is reported the mass is critical, again. http://enformable.com/2011/11/breaking-fukushima-daiichi-did-unit-2-just-blow-a-hole-in-the-side-photos/

Report from Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-01/tepco-says-nuclear-fission-possible-at-fukushima-plant-2-.html

"“Melted fuel in the No. 2 reactor may have undergone a sustained process of nuclear fission or re-criticality,” Tetsuo Ito, the head of Kinki University’s Atomic Energy Research Institute, said by phone. “The nuclear fission should be containable by injecting boron into the reactor to absorb neutrons.”"

"It’s possible there are similar reactions occurring in the No. 1 and No. 3 reactors, the other cores damaged at the station," Matsumoto said.

The former Fukushima Daiichi #3 Reactor Oct 8, 2011, side view.

The former Fukushima Daiichi #3 Reactor Oct 8, 2011, overhead view.
(courtesy Cryptome Nuclear Power Plants and WMD Series http://cryptome.org/nppw-series.htm )

Official IAEA Fukushima Daiichi Status with radiation reports links: http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/2011/fukushimareport271011.html

The continuing saga of the worlds greatest commercial nuclear reactor disaster. First up will be 3 videos by Fairewinds Associates on the Fukushima Reactor Disaster and the concern over the GE Mark 1 Reactors.

Oct 31,2011 update: Radiation Exposure to the Population in Japan After the Earthquake: APHA Link to Official Document
Radiation Exposure to Population, Confirmation of Hot Particles

Scientist Marco Kaltofen Presents Data Confirming Hot Particles from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.

Concerns Over the Mark 1 Reactors in the United States.

Updates on Fukushima video.

New TEPCO Photographs Substantiate Significant Damage to Fukushima Unit 3 from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.

Next, worker interviews at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Facility.

Costs of the nuclear renaissance from the Huffington Posts Green Blog:

"Despite buzz about a "nuclear renaissance," the industry has had trouble attracting private investment, and relies almost exclusively on government subsidies and support...exorbitant construction costs remain... PDF of a report by Senior Fellow at Yale University's Institute for Energy and the Environment Mark Cooper. "

"Meanwhile in the first quarter of 2011, renewable energy production in the U.S. surpassed nuclear for the first time. All signals point to significant growth in the solar and renewables markets over the next decade, while nuclear production has remained flat for years."

"Speaking at an American Nuclear Society conference in August 2011, John Rowe, CEO of Exelon, the country's largest nuclear utility said 3 of the 4 conditions necessary for expanding nuclear cannot be met. While newer designs offer the right technology, Rowe argues that the government has not resolved waste disposal issues. Additionally, there is currently excess generation capacity because the economic recession has slowed energy consumption. While this will likely change as we retire more coal plants and the economy grows, the influx of cheap natural gas from shale has undercut nuclear's higher prices."

A thought provoking editorial about radiation reporting from Huntington, WV
"Radiation Reporting: Blind, Idiotic, Corrupt — or All Three" http://www.huntingtonnews.net/12126

Will the TVA learn the lessons of Fukushima or ignore the lessons of disaster?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Scottsboro City Council Meeting - Scottsboro Parks and Recreation Board - The Saga Continues

Tonight was a regular meeting of the city council, click on image for an expanded view of agenda.
Agenda items: 1) Museum Commission appoints 3 members for full 4 year term- a) Jim Roney, b) Debra Helms, c) Helen Kern; Robert Matthews was appointed to fulfill the term of Ms. Bennett, expires Oct. 2012. 2) 90% of City Budget approved, projected revenue-$20,163,063.00; projected expenditures-$20,159,048; this represents a $4015 surplus. 39% of city employees are topped out for pay purposes, a new step 13 pay rate was approved for those employees topped out.3) Resolution approved to vacate street next to Thompson property. 4) First reading of resolution to abolish Taxi Cab Franchise Ordinance. 5) Resolution approved to submit questions to Alabama Attorney General concerning the Scottsboro Parks and Recreation Board. Packet also forwarded to Jackson County District Attorney concerning allegations made by Mr. Arthur Davis. (questions to AG posted below) 6) Professional services agreement for airport runway approach approved, to be reimbursed from FAA funding. 7) Two persons spoke to the City council last night. a) Mr Arthur Davis: Mr Davis spoke concerning his complaint about the Scottsboro Parks and Recreation Board. He also requested of the City council, paraphrased, "can there be any action taken to keep the Plantation course open pending investigations and the Attorney Generals Opinion?" In short the answer was no. (My comment: The Recreation Board is a seperate corporate entity of the City of Scottsboro, Al. with all the corporate powers vested in a public corporate entity. Mr. Davis and others seem to have a problem in grasping the meaning of Alabama Code Section 11-60-8. GPC is not a non-profit entity, it is not some special bastardized entity of the state, it is what the law says, a seperate corporate entity of the municipality with all the privileges and responsibilities of a seperate corporate entity as described by the law. We shall see in short order if Davis' and the golfers of the "Point's" complaint holds water.

Mr. Davis is not the only player in the Point golf situation. City Council Member Keith Smith has publicly stated that he thinks the Parks and Recreation Board should be dissolved and a seperate city department created. Dec 14, 2010 article from the Daily Sentinel concerning Smith's political position.  http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_b65cb8ac-07b2-11e0-af83-001cc4c002e0.html   It is also interesting to note former City Council Member Jim Helms presence in the last 2 council meetings while the Park Board situation is being discussed.)

Davis sends letter to The Clarion: http://www.theclarion.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2682:city-council-to-seek-ag-opinion&catid=42:clarion-rotation-stories&Itemid=142  Clarion's link to Davis' letter to the City Council:  http://www.theclarion.org/files/gpletter.pdf

b) Garry Morgan presented a letter to the city council requesting the council consider an ordinance relating to financial benefits of elected and appointed public officials of the City of Scottsboro and the corporate entities there of. Letter posted below:

Questions to the Alabama Attorney General per #5 above: 1) Can a member of an incorporated Public Park and Recreation Board be removed from the Board by action of the city council during that term of office? 2) If so for what reason? 3) Can a member of an incorporated Public Park and Recreation Board be removed from the board during that members term of office? 4) If so by whom? 5) If so for what reasons and on what grounds? 6) Do the provisions of Sec 11-43-160 (Removal of Municipal Officers) apply to members of an incorporated Public Parks and Recreation Board?  7)Do the provisions of Sec. 10-3A-42 (Part of Code pertaining to nonprofit entity which has been repealed.) apply to members of an incorporated Public Park and Recreation Board? 8) Do the provisions of Sec. 10A-3-2.22 (pertains to non profit entities) apply to members of an incorporated Public Parks and Recreation Board. 9) May a municipality compel a Public Park and Recreation Board to operate said boards facilities at or during certain hours, on certain dates, or at certain times. 10) Is an incorporated Public Park and Recreation Board a political subdivision of the City or is it an entity seperate from the city? 11) Can an incorporated Public Parks and Recreation Board sell or close a facility on which the City holds a mortgage without the city's permission?

The Scottsboro Parks and Recreation Board is formed as a seperate corporate entity under the laws of the State of Alabama. " Section 11-60-2   Legislative intent; construction of chapter generally." and "Section 11-60-8   Powers of corporations generally; location of projects of corporations." Concerned persons would do well to review the provisions of this portion of the law as it applies to the Park's Board. The Board is a seperate corporate entity of the State of Alabama with all the rights of any corporate entity of the state as authorized by law. Section 11-60-8 outlines their responsibilities and rights.

The question now should be asked are specific individuals on the city council and golfers attempting to interfere with the lawful operation of the Park Board for their personal motives of playing golf at a course which is and has been a nonviable operation from day one and has cost the taxpayers over two million dollars in expenses?

There has been much said about conflicts of interest. Here's one document which contradicts the allegations made relative to an 8% loan rate and allegations that Mr. Baggett initiated loans as a Vice-President of the 1st National Bank and Park Board President. Note the signatures and the loan rate, it is not 8% nor is Mr. Baggett's signature on the loan.

My final words concerning this case.  Documents are evidence, words without substantiating evidence are nothing but words.

The intentional attack on the Scottsboro Parks and Recreation Board by golfers and one member on the City Council who plays golf at Plantation Point, reference the Daily Sentinel Dec 14, 2010 article titled "Smith says city should have control of Goose Pond Colony," is an attempt at governmental manipulation for personal gain. The gain in this case is the personal recreation afforded by the game of golf. It seems the few golfers preferring to play golf at Plantation Point rather than the Goosepond Colony course are saying, "we want our way or we will destroy the citizen's Park Board." 

Our town of approximately 15,000 cannot support the public operation of two municipal golf courses in our current climate of economic downturns. There are several other courses in competition within 50 miles of Scottsboro. Including a Robert Trent Jones 36 hole course approximately 35 miles from Scottsboro.

It is my humble opinion this entire situation, including the Attorney Generals request and the request for an investigation is the result of a few golfers (which includes one City Council Member) vendetta for the Park Board's actions regarding the part time operation of Plantation Point.

At Monday's City Council meeting it was mentioned that an employee of the "Point" has a workable plan for the course's continued operation, so said Mr.Arthur Davis;  Mr. Smith stated he had the plan  in response to Mr. Davis. Why are these concerned citizens and the council member not bringing forth these plans to the public? Instead, they continue to make allegations pointed at the Park Board who is attempting to do the best job they can for the citizens of Scottsboro.

Plantation Point's operations have cost the citizens of Scottsboro over $2,500,000 (2.5 million dollars+, including sewer improvements as a result of a broken sewer system.) in expenses during the past 5 years while demonstrating no profit to sustain its operation. Plantation Point continues to realize massive losses as demonstrated by the Park Boards audited profit and loss statements reported publicly.

Plantation Point's continued losses have the potential to jeopordize the entire park complex which this board has worked tirelessly to pull out of a desperate financial hole. This fact is evidenced by the Park Board's previously mentioned audited financial statements, not allegations by disgruntled golfers and a councilman who wish to play golf at the expense of the citizens of Scottsboro at a course which is loosing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Scottsboro Parks and Recreation Board had no other choice but to curtail operations at Plantation Point or continue to loose money and jeopordize the entire park operation.

Thank you to the Scottsboro Parks and Recreation Board and their professional management team for the outstanding service to our community. This citizen appreciates your hard work.

Monday, October 24, 2011

County Commission Meeting

Today was a regular meeting of the Jackson County Commission.

Commission Agenda posted, click on image for an expanded view.

Important issue highlights: 1) Additional Holidays approved, 23 & 24 November and 23 December, 2011 were approved as holidays. 2) Mike Medley hired to fill a Park Maintenance position. 3) Donation approved for the Fackler Fire Department of $5000.00. 4) Public Document requests will be distributed to commissioners. 5) Public meeting for North Sand Mountain Park development scheduled for Nov 10, 2011 at 3PM prior to Commission Work Session.

Jackson County Waste Management has 2 new Garbage Trucks to serve county citizens.
Commissioners, Engineer and Waste Management supervisor with the new equipment.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Scottsboro Parks & Recreation Board Meeting

The new Goose Pond Colony brochure front and back.
(Click on image, then link beside image for an expanded view, .)
Link to the Goose Pond Colony/Plantation Web site: http://www.goosepond.org/

BOARD MEETING AGENDA WITH NOTES Prior to the Board meeting board Chairperson Mike Baggett read statement. (see below)
14 citizens attended the meeting including press. 1) The financial report revealed a $5600 profit for FY 2011. The board gave credit to the complex division managers for an excellent job. 2) Cart purchase loan approved, 80 carts-70 for GPC, 10 at Plantation, (Plantation will have a total of 46 carts), 60 month loan term,  total amount $293,000, low interest bid was awarded to First Southern Bank for 4% interest. 3) Boat ramp and marina dock repairs were authorized for up to $20,000.00 4) It was reported WiFi at the marina is up and running after repairs 5) Marina lighting repair project to be bid, end dock lights were repaired by staff. 6) Cabin and campground renovation to continue. 7) Bait & Tackle shop lease bid will be made within the next 60 days. 8) The Plantation Golf Course has 2 buildings, one will be closed and all supplies or equipment is to be consolidated. 9) Goose Pond walking trail to be requested for entry on National Trails list. 10) Facility annual audit has begun, expected to be completed by January 2012. The audit firm is being peer reviewed, the Park Boards audit will be the subject of the accounting firms peer review.

A retired citizen made a suggestion that the GPC board make an appeal to the community for volunteer support for projects such as local fishing tournaments and The Plantation Golf Course, he also suggested school partnership programs. It was suggested the board has a responsibility to foster enhancement of advertising to find new ways to support the facility.

Click on image then link to left of image for an expanded view of letter.

STATEMENT OF THE SCOTTSBORO PARK BOARD CONCERNING Monday's, Oct 18,2011 City Council Meeting Work Session (Click on image then link left of image for an expanded view.)

Important points of the Park Board letter pictured above:  1) The Parks and Recreation Board was formed by law of the State of Alabama as a Corporation in 1981. 2) The board receives no compensation. 3) Goose Pond Colony/Plantation is a $3 million dollar annual business which receives no taxpayer subsidies. 4) Since 2005 the $6.5 million debt has been reduced to approximately $4.6 million debt. 5) The business decisions to cut back operations at Plantation Point has been made over the course of the year with many, many meetings and discussions with elected officials, home owners and citizens in the attempts to resolve the continuing losses at Plantation Point. 6) GPC golf has remained steady at a 66% utilization rate while Plantation course play rates have dropped 27% in the past 2 years and had a 38% utilization rate the last FY ending in September. 7) The Plantation course was purchased 12 years ago through financing that required payments of interest only as it was unable to generate revenue sufficient to pay regular principal and interest payments. since that day the Plantation course has never generated revenue sufficient to pay the interest. The GPC Golf Course, Marina, campground and Cabins make the required payments. 8) Starting in 2011 GPC was required to begin paying principle plus interest on the Plantation course purchased 12 years ago.. 9) To ensure the payments are made the GPC Board has made some very difficult decisions... 10) The decisions will allow the course to remain open and provide needed capital to perform maintenance on the entire complex that has been neglected because of the losses which had to be covered at the Plantation Course. 11) The course will be open part time, Friday Saturday and Sunday in the spring summer and fall; closed in the winter. 12) At the Monday night Scottsboro council Meeting Mr. Arthur Davis made some strong accusations toward the Goose Pond Colony Board, city council and its attorneys. 13) The GPC Board takes great exception to the accusations but welcomes any inquiries to the facilities. 14) We are audited annually and have an open door policy to anyone who wants to discuss or look at the operations of GPC/Plantation. 15) The efforts by Mr Davis to discredit the GPC Board coincide with the decision to limit operations at Plantation Point where he and his wife play golf. 16) The GPC Board cannot continue to neglect the entire complex to satisfy people such as Mr. Davis who does not like to play golf at GPC. (My comment: Mr. Davis is not the only person attempting to influence the board to make unwise decisions, Council member Smith is likewise involved. It appears this is a political move by Mr. Smith to manipulate a seperate corporate entity of the city for personal and political purposes for the benefit of the few while neglecting the overall needs of the facility and the community.) 17) The GPC Board respects the actions of the City Council and the city's managers and maintain a continuous dialog with the Mayor and the City financial Manager about the parks operations. 18) We consult with the Mayor and City Financial Manager... [we] would never be influenced by political motivations. (My comment: I have followed the GPC boards actions for many years, it is due to the due diligence of this current GPC Board and the current professional complex Management that our park complex is not bankrupt! Several years back I did not agree with the actions to place the city's Financial Director at the helm of the GPC complex and filed an Attorney Generals Complaint. If not for the actions of the past City Council, the Attorneys involved, the excellent management by the City's Financial Director and the current GPC board the citizens of Scottsboro would have suffered a tremendous loss. This citizen says thank you for the exceptional action at an exceptional time which saved the GPC facility from sure bankruptcy due to misappropriation and mismanagement which was occuring many years previous. Goose Pond colony is a wonderful asset for the city of Scottsboro. I suggest all City Council members do what is right for the citizens as a whole, not a select few.) 19) We look forward to and encourage any inquiry into the operations at Goose Pond Colony and Plantation Point. 20) GPC Park Board meetings are held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month, the park board encourages participation.

Article and discussion about the issue at The Daily Sentinel newspaper: http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_9407f2aa-f9e0-11e0-851f-001cc4c002e0.html

Comments of Mr. Arthur "Buzzy"Davis. (I had spoken with Mr. Davis about our disagreement concerning this issue. I informed him I would include his comments if he would send them to me.)

Oct 22, 2011-Mr. Morgan: I'm surprised that by inference or tacitly you approve of deceptive advertising resulting from joint funds of a Public Board,a City and a County Chamber of Commerce. Advertising TWO PUBLICLY OWNED GOLF COURSES OPEN YEAR ROUND was a clear inducement to move here. Some moved lock,stock and barrel,bought homes and spend the vast majority of their income in Scottsboro. There are 42 homes that surround Plantation Pointe G.C. Closure of that course for 4 days per week and entirely for the Winter has a real,significant effect on values. One realtor estimated that eliminating the G.C. would reduce values by as much as 40%. The closures warrant partial abatements in real estate taxes.
Some 20 members have resigned their memberships due to the uncompensated reduction in services. The City and G.P.C. have a symbiotic relationship. What one entity does that appears beneficial to the one does not necessarily benefit the other.

 You may choose to applaud that Board for their historical efforts and volunteerism and to the extent that their efforts have benefited the citizens of Scottsboro,their statutory beneficiaries,I would join you. But on this issue you seem to be viewing the Colony as a totally separate entity which doesn't consider the larger picture. It may be human nature to award points for past performance,but is it necessarily logical in evaluating current decisions and their impact.
BTW in 2008 if a couple moves to Scottsboro and buys a home from a family that moves to Grant, whose principal wage earner is employed in Huntsville is that a benefit to the City of Scottsboro? Have you weighed the value of the amount of money that a family has spent in Scottsboro since 2008 before making a judgment?
You mentioned "selfish golfers" seeking "moral justification". What is your "moral justification" for supporting the recent actions of the Goose Pond Board without determining the "moral justification" of their actions in reducing services to  customers in the middle of a contract year without offering compensation or a prorata adjustment?
You have their quoted formal rebuttal. It says :"We regret any inconvenience that this may cause but offer the Goose Pond Colony Course seven days a week and will keep it open during the winter to compensate for the days the Plantation Course is closed."

Think about that comment. Goose Pond Colony Course has been open weather permitting all winter seven days a week. Consequently it is not "compensation." It is spin. In effect you seem to be justifying the position you are taking by accepting as given all of the foregoing comments without truly evaluating meaning. This may seem trivial to you,but what you are missing is the impersonal,arrogant style of communication that this Board uses in dealing with services. It really has little to do with golf,but speaks volumes about the management style and dearth of customer relations.
If you had an annual contract payable monthly to rent two parking spaces on opposite sides of the City  and 6 months into the year were told you couldn't park in one of the spaces 4 days a week and there would be no adjustment in price,but you'd be compensated by being able to park in the other space 7 days per week,would you believe that you were being compensated? Would you continue to do business with that entity?

 What you and that Board seem to be unwilling to accept is that they have made a material change in an agreement that they have stuffed down their customers throats. It just so happens that they are a public non-profit corporation created for the purpose of serving those customers.

 I wouldn't return to any retail store that treated me that way and I wouldn't have treated my customers that way when I was in business.
I would be equally opposed to any action this board took that  reduced services in the same manner for their other customers:including,but not limited to: campers;boat slip users;lodge and cabin guests;swimmers and others.
When I moved here and joined the two golf courses as a gesture of public support I paid my full membership in advance two years running knowing there was  no discount. I could have paid monthly. I am inactive and retired,but joined the Chamber of Commerce and pay dues each year. I use all services of the City,though other competitors may charge less. Why? It's my way of showing public support.
When we receive our bill from the City on a weekday we routinely pay it that day or the next. Shortly after I moved here I made  it known verbally to the Mayor what my background was and that I would be available to serve as a volunteer. I have publicly  offered to volunteer in this connection 3 times:June;August;and September.
All I expect is objectivity from those who take public positions on issues. Characterizing former members of the "two public golf courses" as selfish may require a mirror image self review of all entities taking sides on this. Reasonable minds may differ,but  mutual communication  and continuing dialogue and not unilateral edicts that are not open to constant review should not be and cannot be tolerated from public offcials who serve citizens.
Arthur "Buzzy" Davis

My comment to Mr. Davis:
Mr. Davis until you demonstrate evidence of your claims it is just more rhetoric without a foundation.

I have stated many times in public and within media forums, "show me the evidence" and I will stand with you.  Until this occurs it is my opinion that the golfers who prefer to play golf at Plantation Point are attempting to have their way regardless of the facts and ignore the larger problems. There is more to the GPC park facility other than Plantation Point.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Scottsboro City Council Work Session

(article updated Wed., Oct 19, 2011)
Tonight was a City Council Work Session. 1) Taxi Cab discussion. The current Scottsboro Ordinance dates back to 1945 according to Mr. Kennamer, City Attorney. The history of the old ordnance relates to the bootlegging of liquor by the local taxi service. It was suggested the council repeal the current city ordinance and rely on the state law regarding insurance, license and background investigations. The Business License Ordinance will need to be updated regarding taxi cabs.

2) Discussion concerning  vacating city property next to Randy Thompson, a gravel road involving 9/1000 of an acre on the corner of Hancock Rd. and Bob Jones Rd. A public hearing on this issue will occur next Monday.

3) City Right of Way discussion by Vickie Everett involving the Willow Chase Homeowners the Everett's and the City of Scottsboro. Essentially the city owned the property and there was a problem with visual clearance. Property exists on Wynn Rd and Willow Chase.

4) More on the continuing saga of Golf, Plantation Point and Goose Pond Colony.  To highlight, Mr. Arthur Davis accused the President of the Scottsboro Parks and Recreation Board, Mike Bagget, of alleged "Criminal Conflict of Interest" as the Vice President of the First National Bank and Board President of the Parks & Recreation Board regarding loans issued to the park from the bank.
Retired Judge and golfer Arthur Davis addresses Scottsboro City Council on what he says are mismanagement problems and alleged ethics and criminal conflicts with the Scottsboro Parks and Recreation Board.

Mr. Davis and City Council Member Keith Smith have  expressed concerns because the Park Board is closing Plantation Point during the winter months and cutting hours. The Board says they can not afford to keep the Plantation Course Open. Davis and Smith claim mismanagement, lack of advertising and allege criminal conflicts.

Mr. Davis stated losses of money in areas such as the Snack Bar of $139,500 as evidence of mismanagement since 2008.  The Park Board has stated they will lease the snack bar.
                                     The Docks Restaurant
Mr. Davis mentioned another revenue loosing operation was the Docks Restaurant. He suggested the restaurant should be leased for $2000 per month, it is currently leased for $600 per month. Davis went on to say this has resulted in a loss of revenue of $154,000 over the years.

Mr. Davis also stated the current manager of the Goose Pond Colony facility is not qualified.

The bottom line, Mr. Davis called for the removal of park board members and requested the States Attorney General provide advice on removal of the Park Board. Council Member Smith also said he would request formally an Attorney General's opinion at the next meeting.

The former Judge continued on chastising the current City Attorney and the Park Board Attorney for allowing the City Finance Officer to be placed as Chairman of the Park Board 8 years ago.

8 years ago Goose Pond Colony was in serious trouble. There was missing equipment, giving away of services and goods. The complex was near Bankruptcy, according to reports, vendors refused to extend credit to the complex.

The City Council at that time developed a plan to place the City Finance Director as chairperson of the board in the attempts to "save" the complex from bankruptcy. The plan violated law, but accomplished the job. I filed an Attorney Generals complaint concerning the misapplication of power regarding the incident.  The City Finance Director performed a fantastic job of preventing the GPC complex from a sure failure. The problem at that time was secrecy, there was no explanation of why it was necessary to place the Finance Director over the park board. All of that is "water under the bridge." The current Park Board has worked tirelessly to manage the facility back into a state of finacial health from a bankruptcy situation.

I spoke to the City Council last night asking the Council to work through this problem for the benefit of the citizens. I suggested to them the council and park board form a seperate corporation to manage Plantation Point as allowed by law.

When the Council President asked if their were any questions, Council Member Keith Smith made a pointed comment to me, "I read what you write all the time (refering to me), you want to send politicians to jail, you complain about all politicians, why are you changing now?" Mr. Smith is wrong and has a problem, in my humble opinion. Unfortunately, Mr. Smith seems to forget the facts in this situation, as he was embroiled in a golf controversy while he was the police chief.

I reminded Mr. Smith he was Police Chief during the time of missing equipment and misappropriation of goods and services over 9 years ago, complaints were filed. However, the Scottsboro Police Department or the Attorney Generals Office would not investigate the problems which were occuring at Goose Pond Colony.

 It was obvious Smith did not like my suggestion the Park Board and Council resolve their problems. 

Time on the Golf Course-flashback: Former Mayor Dan Deason attempted to discipline the then Police Chief Smith. According to the former Mayor, "the police chief (refering to Police Chief Smith) spent many, many hours at the golf course when he should have been working." Mayor Deason was not successful in any meaningful personnel action to correct Mr. Smith's "working golf game."

There is more to Goose Pond Colony than Golf. Councilman Smith and others attempt to manipulate the system when it fits their personal need, this time it is golf.  For Councilman Smith manipulation has been seen previously; examples: as police chief - playing golf on public time and insubordination; as a politician - the Civic Center at Goose Pond Colony, City Audits, the North Goose Pond Island development versus industrial jobs and now golf at Plantation Point are areas where Mr. Smith has been embroiled in mud slinging for political and personal purposes.

The Scottsboro City Council and the Scottsboro Parks and Recreation Board would do well to resolve this problem in a positive fashion without a continuous creation of problems. I'm pretty sure there are cans of the "proverbial worms" relating to unethical conduct that have not been opened.

The Daily Sentinel article on Monday night's council meeting. http://thedailysentinel.com/news/article_9407f2aa-f9e0-11e0-851f-001cc4c002e0.html

Do your jobs public servants and resolve the problems at GPC and the Point for all of the citizens, not just the few golfers!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

NRC Inspection - Red Findings - TVA Browns Ferry Nuclear Facility

Nuclear Regulatory Commission, NRC,  inspectors on Monday, October 3, 2011 told TVA and the public that the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant is safe to continue operating. However, there are testing and documentation program failure problems which must be corrected. Read more from the Chattanooga Times Free Press about the RED LEVEL Inspection findings. http://timesfreepress.com/news/2011/oct/04/104-a1-browns-ferry-safe-to-operate/

                 TVA Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant near Athens, Al.

"The Nuclear Regulatory Commission in early May gave the Tennessee Valley Authority a "red" or "high safety significance" rating in connection with last fall's failure of a cooling-water injection valve at Browns Ferry on the Tennessee River near Athens, Ala." Chattanooga Times Free Press Sep 28, 2011 http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2011/sep/28/regulators-to-discuss-browns-ferry-findings/

The NRC officials stated the issue of the faulty heat removal system check valve is still an open issue that will continue to be evaluated by the NRC.

Several other issues were stated to be a problem which were discovered during the inspection process: 1)The failed valve issue remains an open issue, it was reported there was one instance that an inaccurate report concerning the questionable valve was entered. 2)  Apparently there is a question concerning the wording of the code regulating valve inspections and the issue of an open and closed valve status. 3) A continuous historical finding of no documentation in relationship of corrective actions programs. 4) Over torquing of valve, employee listed vendor document information on inspection reports that valve was operable when it was not. 5) Inaccurate information listed on inspection reports by Browns Ferry Operators concerning valves. 6) Corrective actions relied on singular procedural functions. There was no program to ascertain the cause of failures for the purpose of correction of a given problem. 7) There was no Design Basis Document concerning component proper or improper function. The NRC Inspectors stated there was no requirement for such a document. (My comment: This is a very peculiar finding, but it helps to explain the next finding. This finding is significant and disturbing as it is an indication of a general lack of concern and mismanagement concerning critical scientific and engineering controls.)  8) There is a general lack of "rigor" (rigor-Strictness or severity, as in temperament, action, or judgment;  the quality of being valid.) in corrective actions; multiple instances of a lack of engineering standards as to problem resolution and solution discovery to problems. 9) Browns Ferry management was reactive to equipment issues but had no motivation to discover the cause of problems experienced.

TVA photo of Browns Ferry Spent Fuel Pool located above the reactor pressure vessel. Below is a diagram of the General Electric Mark 1 Type of Boiling Water Reactor. The spent fuel pools are located on the left side of the diagram. Note there is only metal siding above the cooling pool level.

Segment from the Chattanooga Times Free Press article by Pam Sohn relating to the issue of the secondary reactor containment as it relates to the lack of reinforced containment above the spent fuel cooling pool level. http://timesfreepress.com/news/2011/oct/04/104-a1-browns-ferry-safe-to-operate/  "At least three residents from communities in Northeast Alabama attended Monday's meeting. Two of them, Garry Morgan and Gretel Johnston, both of Scottsboro, asked NRC officials if they will require safer containment covers to be built over spent fuel storage pools at nuclear reactors designed like Browns Ferry."

"Like the Fukushima, Japan, plant that's still in crisis after a 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in March, Browns Ferry stores its spent radioactive fuel rods in pools on upper levels of the plant. The pools are covered with heavy metal sheeting much like carports and shell buildings. Other designs cover the pools with concrete."

""What if the tornado that struck [near the plant] on April 27 had torn off that [sheeting] roof and sucked the contaminated water out and scattered it over the community?" Johnston asked. "I want some reassurance.""

"One NRC inspector told the audience that those containments were upgraded for assaults such as that on the heels of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks."

"But David Lochbaum, a former TVA nuclear engineer and a former NRC training instructor, took that answer to task. "That's not accurate," said Lochbaum, a Chattanoogan who now works for the Union of Concerned Scientists. "It may be reassuring, but it's not accurate. The 9/11 changes were only about airplanes, not multiple problems such as what the tornadoes caused or could have caused if one had made a direct hit on the plant,"  he said."

"The tornadoes did knock out much of [north and central] Alabama's and Mississippi's electric grid, stranding Browns Ferry plant for seven days on diesel power as the plant went into emergency shutdown. "

TVA's Chief Nuclear Officer Preston Swafford was present and stated, paraphrased, "An Integrated Improvement Plan will be accelerated and the TVA Executive Management concurs with all NRC findings."

To learn more about the dangers of commercial nuclear power and plans for a sustainable energy future please go to http://www.matrr.org