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Markey to NRC: There is a crisis in the control room at the Palisades nuclear power plant

U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA)On June 22nd, U.S. Representative Ed Markey (D-MA), Ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, issued a media release regarding a letter he had written to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman Greg Jaczko with deep concerns about the situation at Entergy's Palisades atomic reactor in Covert, MI on the Lake Michigan shoreline. Markey's letter was prompted by a June 14 letter (attached to his letter to Chairman Jaczko) by D.C.-based attorney Billie Garde, who has long worked with nuclear whistle blowers. Garde's letter revealed that a radioactive water leak has been ongoing in the Palisades control room for a year; "catch basins" are used to collect the radioactive water leakage, although it is unclear how the radioactive water is disposed of after it is collected.

Garde also revealed a total collapse in "Safety Culture" at Palisades: most workers fear retaliation if they question management decisions. Less severe Safety Culture collapse at Millstone nuclear power plant in Connecticut led to its shutdown by NRC in 1996, according to Garde.

Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps and a coalition of two dozen environmental allies and concerned citizens met with NRC Chairman Jaczko on May 25th after he toured the problem-plagued Palisades atomic reactor. On June 12th, the radioactive water leakage surpassed 31.4 gallons per day, at which point Palisades shut down and the problem was first revealed to the public. However, Garde's letter revealed that the leakage had already been occuring at a rate of 15 to 20 gallons per day, for many months on end.

The coalition wrote Jaczko on June 14, asking if he had not known about the leak, or had known but failed to tell the public about it on May 25.

The Kalamazoo Gazette has reported on this story. So has the St. Joe Herald-Palladium.