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At around 34 miles from River Bend Nuclear Power Station, LSU is well within the 50 mile fallout zone designated by the US government for a nuclear disaster, as seen on the map further below. Exactly where radioactive materials fall in a nuclear disaster depends upon things such as wind direction and rain.
This post was prepared for a July 2018 comment deadline regarding the relicensing of River Bend Nuclear Power Station near Baton Rouge. While the relicensing was unfortunately approved, River Bend can, and should, still be shut down. It requires a team effort. Hopefully LSU and others will wake up, especially LSU Athletics. The value of LSU to the local and regional economy, and the value of LSU Athletics to both LSU and to the local and regional economy are discussed further below. Now that LSU has another Heisman Trophy winner, Joe Burrow, the value of LSU and LSU Athletics to the economy will be even greater. They may also win the 2020 College Football National Championship. Why jeopardize that for a nuclear power station that could immediately be replaced by natural gas, and later with renewables?
At around 34 miles from River Bend Nuclear Power Station, LSU is well within the 50 mile fallout zone designated by the US government for a nuclear disaster, as seen on the map further below. Exactly where radioactive materials fall in a nuclear disaster depends upon things such as wind direction and rain. LSU had 30,863 students in 2017 and has over 16,000 faculty and staff. The smaller Southern University is even closer to River Bend. It had 6,508 students in Fall 2017 and 1,600 faculty and staff. There is also the newer Baton Rouge Community College with approximately 8,000 students. Rather than evacuating LSU, Louisiana apparently plans to have some of those within the 10 mile fallout zone evacuate to LSU for decontamination, etc.
River Bend and other nuclear power stations are legally allowed to discharge radioactive materials into the environment on an ongoing basis, even when there’s not an accident. Some of these continue to accumulate in the environment. What are the cumulative impacts of the routine nuclear discharges?
In their Generic Environmental Impact Statement, p. 3-13, the US NRC discusses (illegal) tritium spills on site, but pretends that it is ok, since it is moving toward the Mississippi River to float on downstream toward Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and on into the Gulf of Mexico. The tritium forms tritiated water, which means that the water itself is radioactive, as opposed to radioactive materials in the water. It will be present in fog from the river, as well, rain, and general humidity. With a half-life of 12.3 years, it will remain radioactive for almost 200 years (See links and chart at post bottom.)
As of 2013, “The total economic impact of local LSU institutions on the Baton Rouge metropolitan statistical area, or MSA, is $2.1 billion in sales, $764 million in earnings and more than 21,400 jobs.” http://www.lsu.edu/budget/docs/2013-LSU-System-Impact-Study-Report.pdf This appears to exclude LSU athletics which generate hundreds of millions for the Baton Rouge area and which even give millions back to LSU for its academic programs. Pretty amazing! http://www.lsusports.net/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=209460108 All of this may have to be abandonned for a nuclear power station which could easily be immediately replaced by natural gas, which is already produced in Louisiana, and in the near future by renewables.
LSU has historic buildings and ancient American Indian mounds, now known to be over 5,000 years old. The River Bend Nuclear site itself, has multiple mounds-mound complexes, which are believed to be around 1000 years old, but could prove to be as old as the LSU mounds. The true age of the LSU mounds has only recently been discovered. The River Bend mounds are ignored by the US NRC which claims there is nothing important closer than one mile away (p. 3-97), although they are discussed by Entergy: “Cottonmouth Mound (16WF61), a previously unknown prehistoric mound site, dates from the middle Coles Creek to Mississippian period. The site is located on a narrow, heavily wooded, finger ridge overlooking Grants Bayou (Figure 3.7-11). It consists of a virtually intact platform mound, a small conical mound, rich intact middens, and an extensive surface and subsurface artifact scatter covering the entire width of the finger ridge. The Cottonmouth Mound site (16WF61) is considered to be potentially eligible for listing in the NRHP, but requires further study. (CEI 2015) The Causeway Site (16WF84), a previously unknown prehistoric site, dates from the Baytown to Mississippian period. This site is located on a ‘ridge southwest of the nearby Cottonmouth Mound (Figure.3.7-11). The site was delineated with 36 shovel tests, 21 of which were positive for artifacts. Insufficient information was gathered to determine if the site is eligible for listing in the NRHP, and its NRHP eligibility status· remains unknown. (CEI 2015)” Pages 3-183 to 3-184
River Bend, Appendix E , Applicant’s Environmental Report, Operating License Renewal Stage“: https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1717/ML17174A531.pdf (The map which they reference has not been released to the public, suggesting that they are hiding something major.)
All of this, and much more, is placed in jeopardy 24/7 by the nearby River Bend Nuclear Power Station. Entergy throws LSU comparatively tiny sums, apparently to buy silence about the risks. River Bend is so old (mid 1980s) that if it were a car one would be wary of driving it, but it’s a nuclear power station and it ages faster due to the impacts of radiation on materials.
An environmental impact study is supposed to include socio-economic impacts, and should include the impact of a nuclear disaster upon LSU, but it does not. Glaring omissions from both the US NRC and Entergy’s Environmental Reports are the impacts that a nuclear disaster would have upon LSU – around 34 miles away from River Bend Nuclear Power Station, upon Southern University which is smaller, but also closer (around 23 miles) to River Bend Nuclear Power Station, as well as upon Baton Rouge Community College.
In the event of a major nuclear disaster, the entire region could become a no-go exclusion zone for hundreds of years, perhaps thousands of years or more. The US government recognizes a 50 mile radius fallout zone where food should not be eaten. LSU is well within this zone, as are some petrochemical facilities. In the event of a major nuclear accident at River Bend what happens to all of the petro-chemical plants in the region at the time and in the future? What would shutting down the Mississippi River, railways, and the interstate highways to traffic, during and after a nuclear disaster, do to the local, state, and US economy? It would be bad, but neither the US NRC nor Entergy examine the impacts, though relevant documentation on the economic importance of these economic and transportation corridors is readily available. Both the US NRC and Entergy fail to properly evaluate alternatives, whether renewables or fossil fuels. They pretend that neither are options, but they clearly are. Solar and/or wind and other renewables could easily replace River Bend. In the meantime, however, a natural gas pipeline passes near the site and should be used to replace River Bend nuclear, though the nuclear waste would need to be secured far enough away. The natural gas is being produced in Louisiana and part exported. Instead of exporting unused amounts, the amount needed to replace River Bend, should be kept in state.
Comment Due Jul 23, 2018 11:59 PM ET (10:59 CDT). It is easy and can be anonymous: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NRC-2017-0141 Comment is upon the US NRC’s Environmental Impact Statement for relicensing River Bend Nuclear Power Station near St. Francisville and Baton Rouge Louisiana from midnight August 29, 2025 to 2045. Include Docket ID NRC-2017-0141 in the subject line of your comment. Related: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2018/07/18/environmental-impacts-of-river-bend-nuclear-power-station-near-st-francisville-baton-rouge-louisiana-comment-deadline-july-23rd-at-1059-pm-cdt/
1 Ci is 37 billion disintegrations (radioactive shots) per second, i.e. 37 billion Bequerels (Bq). Cesium 137 mapped below has a half-life of 30 years, meaning that Cesium 137 will remain radioactive for hundreds of years – much longer than LSU has existed. However, it isn’t the only radioactive material present. Note the scale on the map in miles and kilometers. 34 miles is 55 km.
“Radiation contamination from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in May 1986 has lasted, and will last, longer and spread further than most of us can imagine. After explosions at the plant, people in the surrounding area were evacuated and had to settle elsewhere. An exclusion or no-go zone was established in Ukraine and Belarus that stretches over 4,700 km2 (1,814 square miles). Much of this vast area cannot be repopulated for tens of thousands of years.” http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/nuclear/nomorechernobyls/exclusion-zone-comparison-map.
The size of the Chernobyl Exclusion No-Go Zone is 1,814 square miles or 1,160,960 acres. Entergy pretends that to replace River Bend with solar that it would take over 20,000 acres of new land for solar panels. This isn’t true, because solar panels can go on rooftops and cover parking spaces, and the efficiency of solar cells is improving. However, even if it were true, this is less than 2% of the acreage of the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Additionally Entergy fails to consider that the capacity factor of this old nuclear power station will likely continue to decline due to more outages for minor accidents and repairs, and that by the time River Bend is due to be relicensed that solar cells will have improved even further and so only 10,000 acres, or less, may be required. Also, Entergy fails to recognize the on and offshore wind potential and mixing of renewables. As fossil fuels are produced and processed in the region anyway, these clearly could be used as an alternative, rather than exporting them to be burned elsewhere. Offshore wind would have the bonus of replacing some jobs for those who work with the offshore oil industry.
More Details of Economic Benefits of LSU to the Baton Rouge Area
River Bend is in West Feliciana Parish.
As of 2013, “The total economic impact of local LSU institutions on the Baton Rouge metropolitan statistical area, or MSA, is $2.1 billion in sales, $764 million in earnings and more than 21,400 jobs…. The Baton Rouge MSA is home to LSU, the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, the LSU AgCenter, and the Pennington Bio-medical Research Center. The nine parish region, which includes Ascension, East and West Baton Rouge, East and West Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, and St. Helena Parish, houses more than 8,300 (62.7 percent) full-time LSU employees. Overall, the LSU institutions located within the Baton Rouge MSA and auxiliary services generate more than $2.1 billion in sales for the MSA, $764.1 million in earnings for the MSA, and 21,432 jobs within the Baton Rouge MSA…. With the highest employment and enrollment, the main LSU campus has the largest impact on the region’s economy of the LSU institutions in Baton Rouge. The LSU AgCenter and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center are both responsible for bringing in numerous federal grants and projects into the region. While the Paul M. Hebert Law Center is the smallest of the Baton Rouge institutions, the economic benefits of the institution include more than $44 million in new sales, $16 million in new earnings and 459 new jobs.“. http://www.lsu.edu/budget/docs/2013-LSU-System-Impact-Study-Report.pdf
More Details of the Economic Benefits of LSU Athletics to the Baton Rouge Area
The above appears to be apart from LSU Athletics which “generated $397.5 million in new sales to Baton Rouge area firms, including $119.7 million in new household earnings, in 2012… the LSU Athletic Department generated close to $98.7 million in direct revenues from areas such as ticket sales, concessions and gift center, and television contracts, with the Tiger Athletic Foundation adding another $56.1 million and LSU sports camps contributing $2 million… for a typical game in Tiger Stadium the average fan from outside of the Baton Rouge Metro area spends $160.59 in the state with $121.98 of that spent in the Baton Rouge community. Over a seven-game home season, total spending by fans from outside the Baton Rouge area is $62.8 million in Louisiana with $47.7 million of that being spent in the four-parish Baton Rouge Metro area. Scott said that on any given Saturday night during the fall, there are more fans in Tiger Stadium than the number of people living in 49 of the 64 parishes in Louisiana…. The LSU Athletic Department continues to be a self-sustaining entity that relies only on self-generated funds. The LSU Athletic Department receives no tax dollars or money from the state and takes no money from the academic area of the university.” It “also contributes over $7 million annually to the academic side of the university.” http://www.lsusports.net/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=209460108
Louisiana State University’s Tiger Stadium is the 9th largest in the world by seating capacity. In 2012 the LSU Board voted for an $80 million south end-zone upper deck expansion which brough the official seating capacity to 102,321. This was completed in 2014. Starting last year, Tiger stadium added the “Skyline Club” with a beer garden and food buffet. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_Stadium_(LSU)
Ole Miss and Mississippi State fans had better ask themselves what fun it would be not to have their historic football enemy to play and if they want the entire Baton Rouge area moving on up that way and bringing crime with them. Depending on the wind direction and rainfall, Ole Miss and MSU could have major impacts too. Note the distance scale on the Chernobyl map. Chernobyl even impacted far away Scandinavia, many hundreds of miles away.
More about River Bend Nuclear Power Station
River Bend is here:
“Near Misses at U.S. Nuclear Power Plants in 2015“. http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear-power/whos-responsible-nuclear-power-safety/near-misses-2015 http://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/attach/2016/03/Near-Misses-US-Power-Plants-2015-full-report.pdf
And here: “UCS Annual Review of U.S. Nuclear Reactor ‘Near Misses’ Finds More than 60 Percent of Safety Violations at Entergy Plants, Faulty Repairs Threaten Aging Reactors“, March 16, 2016: http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/annual-nuclear-safety-review-0680
“Special Nuclear Inspection: River Bend Loss of Shutdown Cooling
DAVE LOCHBAUM, DIRECTOR, NUCLEAR SAFETY PROJECT | MAY 24, 2016, 5:41 PM EDT, http://allthingsnuclear.org/dlochbaum/special-nuclear-inspection-river-bend-loss-of-shutdown-cooling
“Special Inspection at River Bend: The Chiller Thriller”
DAVE LOCHBAUM, DIRECTOR, NUCLEAR SAFETY PROJECT | FEBRUARY 24, 2016, 4:51 PM EDT http://allthingsnuclear.org/dlochbaum/special-inspection-at-river-bend-the-chiller-thriller
River Bend fined $140,000 because control room operators were surfing the internet: https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1200/ML120090313.pdf
A lightening strike caused a scram shutdown of River Bend in 2016 and it lost cooling, which appears to have been a near-miss – it could have led to a nuclear disaster:
A quick Google search from last Fall turned up the following small amounts which Entergy gives LSU. They appear very self-serving to Entergy, as well.
“Entergy News Release – Corporate
Entergy › news_room › newsrelease
Jul 6, 2011 · The event featured Dr. Michael Martin, LSU Chancellor; Bill Mohl, president and chief executive officer … The charging stations were donated to LSU through a $160,000 grant by Entergy’s …
Give to LSU – Louisiana State University
Louisiana State University › giving
Philanthropic support of LSU fuels our success in and out of the classroom—success that continues because of your generosity. Your gifts fund excellence in the areas most important to you through scholarships, facility …
Louisiana Business Emergency Operations Center Opens – SDMI – Louisiana State University Louisiana State University › sdmi › louisi…
Jun 2, 2010 · BATON ROUGE – LSU has teamed up with several public, private and academic partners in Louisiana … “Entergy’s donation of $250,000 is an investment in preparation and collaboration as we respond …
Entergy donates $1 million to LSU College of Engineering for teaching complex NOLA.com › index.ssf › 2014/04 › enter…
Apr 1, 2014 · Entergy is joining several companies in donating to LSU’s renovation of its Patrick F. Taylor Hall and College of Engineering expansion. The state’s flagship university announced Tuesday (April 1) …
Entergy Foundation Supports Health Professions Pipeline Program – LSU Health New Orleans LSU Health Sciences Center › newsroom
Entergy supports LSUHealthNO pipeline program … “Entergy donations have supported such projects as rebuilding the Isidore Cohn, MD Student Learning Center after Katrina, providing mammograms to low-income …
LSU Football image was released to public domain via Wikipedia. Text was added.
Southern had 10,000 in the past and expects it to reach those numbers again in the future: http://www.wbrz.com/news/southern-university-sees-a-rise-in-enrollment-numbers/