BP Ducks Investor Suit for Prudhoe Bay Spill

(CN) – The 9th Circuit on Wednesday dismissed a securities-fraud complaint against BP Exploration related to the oil company’s 2007 conviction for negligently discharging oil into Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay.

This decision from the federal appeals court in Seattle unanimously reverses a federal judge’s finding that BP’s contractual filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission laid adequate foundation for securities fraud.

BP Exploration pleaded guilty in 2007 to violating the Clean Water Act after some 200,000 gallons of oil befouled Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope. The company admitted that the spill resulted from internal corrosion in its pipelines. In its plea agreement, BP said it knew about accumulated sediment had caused the corrosion, but it had neglected to fix the problem.

Claude Reese led a federal class action, claiming that BP’s negligence amounted to securities fraud, as the spill had caused the company to temporarily shut down its operations in the bay and costing investors billions of dollars.

Despite knowledge of the corrosion, BP failed to take action or notify investors, Reese argued. He also claimed that the oil company’s executives had made misleading statements about the operation, and that BP continued to mislead investors though its SEC filings.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman in Seattle tossed most of Reese’s claims for failure to meet the heightened standards of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. But the judge said Reese could move ahead with the claim that accused BP of defrauding investors through SEC filings.

On appeal, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit reversed, finding that the filings were forward-looking contractual promises, the breaking of which did not amount to fraud.

“The breach of a contractual promise of future performance typically does not constitute a misrepresentation that will support an action for fraud,” Judge Ronald Gould wrote for the panel. “BPXA’s contractual promise to act as a prudent operator did not expressly or implicitly assert that BPXA was in full compliance with its obligations thereunder, and we do not view the public filing of the ORC Agreement as the sort of traditional fraudulent misrepresentation of fact that could induce investors mistakenly to buy securities. We hold that, in this case, the public filing of a contract containing a promise of future compliance did not, upon the contract’s breach at a time after execution, provide an actionable misrepresentation for the purposes of a private damages action for securities fraud.

SOURCE: http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/06/29/37791.htm

Santa Monica’s Famous ‘Chain Reaction’ Sculpture Corroding

A temporary fence was placed around the Civic Center sculpture Chain Reaction earlier this week while engineers assess the structure’s integrity.

The sculpture by political cartoonist Paul Conrad was dedicated in 1991 and is made of copper tubing over a fiberglass core with an internal stainless steel frame that rests on a concrete base.

Upon observing members of the public, including children climbing and interacting with sculpture, Ron Takiguchi, Santa Monica building officer, was impelled to make an examination of the structure’s safety and noticed signs deterioration, said Jessica Cusick, cultural affairs manager for the city of Santa Monica.

“We hope to have [an estimated date for the removal of the fence] in a week or so,” Cusick said.

To protect the public, officials have constructed a temporary fence for both the safety of the structure and those that congregate around it, she said.

While conducting his examination, Takiguchi found that many of the fasteners which attach the copper tubing chain of the fiberglass core are missing or not fully imbedded and some exhibit severe corrosion, according to a statement released by the city.

The city is planning a review of the structure which will be conducted by an independent structural engineer and coordinated by the building officer and a qualified arts conservator.

After evaluating the structural integrity of the sculpture, the team will recommend how to best proceed, according to officials.

The sculpture was a gift to the city and was approved by Santa Monica City Council in 1991 after public process and debate, according to officials. The work was funded by a private donation to the Santa Monica Arts Foundation.

SOURCE: http://santamonica.patch.com/articles/santa-monicas-chain-reaction-sculpture-under-evaluation

Aging U.S. 2 trestle gets needed corrosion repairs

With thousands of vehicle trips daily, U.S. 2 gets needed repairs

EVERETT (WA) — Concrete is falling off in chunks, rebar is rusting and thousands of people drive over the westbound U.S. 2 trestle every day.

While the girders on the trestle’s underbelly have been slowly deteriorating for more than 20 years, state transportation officials say there’s no doubt the bridge is safe for drivers. Repairs are being made this summer and fall.

About 37,000 vehicles per day use the trestle in one direction or the other.

“There’s no problem with people driving on the structure,” said Chad Brown, project engineer for the trestle repair. “The structure is safe.”

Workers are restoring the exposed rebar, replacing the concrete on the girders and sealing them to keep them waterproof. The repairs are expected to preserve the girders on the now 43-year-old span until 2026 or longer. The $8 million project began earlier this month and is expected to be finished in the early fall.

The roadway on the trestle is built atop girders made of concrete and rebar, running lengthwise with the roadway, sitting atop crossbeams that in turn sit on pillars. The eastbound half of the trestle was built with timber in the 1930s and rebuilt in sections in the 1990s, according to the state. The westbound side was built in 1968.

By 1987, crumbling began to show on the concrete beams on the underbelly of the westbound structure, and the bridge was declared “structurally deficient.” The term is a federal designation meaning that a bridge has a part or parts that will eventually need to be repaired, not that it is unsafe, according to the state. Washington currently has 143 bridges in this category, including seven in Snohomish County.

Under the state’s routine inspection program, bridges are examined every two years. Some with more structural issues are put on a yearly schedule, and the trestle has been inspected every year since 2003.

The section currently being repaired was done four years after the other section because of funding issues and environmental regulations involved in working over Deadwater Slough, officials said.

The current repairs are being done in the same manner as in 2007. The bridge at the far west end of the trestle, over the Snohomish River, is newer and won’t be repaired in this cycle.

Engineers are confident the moisture has not further penetrated the beams. So far, the farthest into any beam that weak concrete has been found is a couple of inches.

Traffic on the westbound trestle will be shut down for up to 65 nights through early October for the concrete and carbon-fiber mesh work. These phases have to be done when there’s no traffic on the road so vibrations won’t prevent the concrete from setting properly or keep the mesh from bonding to the concrete, engineers said.

The trestle was closed for three nights on June 9, 14 and 16 while two sections were repaired. It’s possible the work will take less than the 65 nights. The next closure is planned for July 12.

If the girders are not repaired, beams and the rebar would continue to deteriorate, and longer closures would be needed, engineers said.

Nancy Singer, a spokeswoman for the Federal Highway Administration, said federal engineers say the work being done on the trestle appears to be appropriate.

“State departments of transportation are the owners and operators of infrastructure and are in a position to select the best approach to addressing the needs of a bridge,” she said in an email.

“The U.S. Route 2 project that calls for replacing old cracking concrete, removing corrosion from the steel frame, and reinforcing the girders on the underside of the viaduct seems to be based on sound and established approaches to bridge repair and rehabilitation.”

SOURCE: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20110627/NEWS01/706279969

Bridge collapse “linked to excessive Four Rivers dredging”

www.hani.co.kr reports that dredging to expedite operations around a pier allegedly exposed a Korean bridge to corrosion which ultimately led to its collapse.

The Waegwan Railroad Bridge in Yangmok Township, Chilgok County, North Gyeongsang Province (also known as the “Bridge of National Defense”), after standing solidly for the last hundred years, collapsed in light monsoon rain.

The bridge, which, after being built across the Nakdong River in 1905, had withstood not only major typhoons such as Maemi and Sara but also the greatest Korean flood in the 20th century, in 1925, is a registered modern cultural property.

The bridge collapsed at around 5.15am on June 25. The Nakdong River had swollen due to rain that had been falling since June 22, when the bridge’s second pier suddenly collapsed, leaving a 100m stretch of the bridge stuck in the water.

Several thousand people cross the bridge, now used by pedestrians only, every day, but the fact that the collapse occurred in the early hours of the morning meant that there were, luckily, no injuries.

“It appears that this occurred because of heavy rainfall, which led to higher water levels and a higher rate of flow,” the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs (MLTM) said on June 25 regarding the cause of the accident.

At the time of the collapse, dredging as part of construction for the Four Major Rivers Restoration Project was in full swing. The swollen water was forming eddies above the riverbed, into which dredgers had dug deep. The rapid currents hit the piers supporting the bridge hard. It appears that the pier had been weakened.

“This is because dredging for Four Major Rivers Restoration Project had taken place around the pier, just like everywhere else. If the riverbed is excavated to a significant depth around a pier, the base of the pier is exposed and begins to be eroded by the flowing water,” the report claimed.

Protective work to reduce corrosion had not taken place, moreover, on the second pier. An environmental impact assessment and reinforcement plan for Waegwan Railroad Bridge submitted by Busan Regional Construction Management Administration (BRCMA) stipulate that construction work to shore up all seven piers of the bridge must take place.

“Last year, when we ran out of places to process the huge amounts of dredged matter, we reduced dredging volumes and the plans for dredging around Waegwan Railroad Bridge were also changed,” said an official at BRCMA. “We made the judgment that there was no need to shore up the second pier because the plans to dredge around it were canceled.”

Despite the changed plans, BRCMA did not notify the local environment office at Daegu. The work went forcibly ahead with no assessment of safety and the river brought down the second, and weakest, pier.

Park Chang-kun, professor of civil engineering at Kwandong University, said, “The construction work went forcibly ahead in order to meet the deadline, with no alternative sought despite an important change in plans.”

SOURCE: http://www.sandandgravel.com/news/article.asp?v1=14773

Klamath Falls Mini Marts pay $30,000 penalty for failing to check tanks for leaks

The owners and operators of three AMA Mini Mart gas stations in Klamath Falls, Oregon, have agreed to pay $30,000 for failing to properly monitor seven underground petroleum storage tanks (USTs) for leaks for over two years.

Under federal and state rules, owners and operators of USTs are required to test tanks for leaks on a monthly basis in order to protect groundwater from pollution.

According to Edward Kowalski, EPA’s Director of the Office of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle, leaking tanks can also endanger drinking water.

“Out of sight should not mean out of mind when it comes to underground fuel storage tanks,” said EPA’s Kowalski. “Groundwater is often a community’s only source of drinking water. Owners of tanks must do their part to prevent oil and gas leaks and help protect people from polluted water.”

EPA inspected the AMA Mini Marts in October 2009 and found that all of the USTs at the three sites lacked the required monthly release detection for the tanks and annual testing required for the associated piping, a violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

EPA alleges that AMA Mini Mart owner Anesti Audeh was in violation from at least October 2008 through March 2011. The owner has since taken action to bring the three AMA Mini Mart facilities into compliance and has agreed to submit compliance documentation to EPA for the next six months.

SOURCE: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/22ec8716534b5e36852578b80064646a?OpenDocument

Gardiner structurally sound, experts say, after chunk smashes onto road

TORONTO: City crews will be examining sections of the Gardiner Expressway after a 4.5-kilogram chunk of concrete fell onto Lake Shore Blvd. W. earlier this week, hitting a guardrail and ricocheting into the road.

The slab, about four centimetres thick and over a meter long, was sloughed off the bottom of the elevated section, its steel reinforcing bars corroded by road salt.

No cars were hit and no one was injured. Two lanes of westbound traffic just east of Bathurst St. were temporarily closed.

The incident is the fourth in recent memory, but does not mean that drivers should steer clear of Lake Shore, city staff said.

“There really shouldn’t be any concern,” said Mike Laidlaw, Toronto’s acting manager of structures and expressways.

Aside from the dangers inherent in a chunk of concrete weighing almost as much as a bowling ball falling from the sky, the expressway itself is sound, experts say.

“The stuff on the outside, most of it could fall off without affecting the structural integrity,” said R. Doug Hooton, a civil engineering professor at the University of Toronto. “(The overpass) is not in danger of falling.”

Laidlaw said the city will be conducting extra inspections around the area. Toronto is also putting out a call for proposals from engineering firms for a complete inspection within two years.

City crews inspect the Gardiner yearly — “sounding” the concrete for unstable pieces and removing them with a hammer — and conduct visual inspections at least every six months.

“If they do see any areas of concern they’ll look after it immediately,” said Laidlaw.

In January 2007, a piece of concrete about the size of a basketball fell onto Lake Shore near York St. and narrowly missed hitting a car. A small piece fell near Spadina Ave. in February 1999 and near York St. in January 1997.

“It is a concern for anybody underneath of it,” said Laidlaw.

Hooton said the Gardiner was designed before Ontario began salting roads in the winter, so it wasn’t constructed to withstand the salt that seeps through the roadway and into the steel reinforcing bar.

The salt rusts the rebar which then expands, cracking the concrete and pushing the outer layer off. Repair work was done years ago to the road’s drainage system to prevent salt from seeping into the concrete.

“It’s not happening as much as it would have if they hadn’t done those repairs,” said Hooton.

Police said no one reported any damage to a vehicle and there were no injures.

By 3 p.m. Monday, city crews had cleared debris off the road and unblocked all westbound lanes on Lake Shore Blvd.

The incident called to mind a horrific accident in Quebec five years ago. Five people were killed when a 40-year-old Laval overpass fell onto a highway on Sept. 30, 2006, crushing several vehicles.

A year later, a commission report into the accident blamed shoddy workmanship, insufficient oversight and deficient maintenance.

SOURCE: http://www.thestar.com/news/transportation/article/1011934–gardiner-structurally-sound-experts-say-after-chunk-smashes-onto-road?bn=1

Austal defends work after corrosion reports surface

Austal Ltd. defended its work in response to earlier reports of corrosion issues on the first littoral combat ship built at the company’s Mobile shipyard.

The Australia-based company’s chief executive officer, Andrew Bellamy, told the Sydney Morning-Herald that any corrosion on U.S.S. Independence was the fault of whoever is operating and maintaining it.

“We have built 230 vessels of this type that have not suffered from this type of problem … where the operator and the maintainer of the ship have followed the procedures in a thorough way,” Bellamy told the newspaper. “I suspect there is a problem in the area of operational maintenance if there is a galvanic corrosion issue.”

Bellamy told the newspaper that the issue was a “storm in a teacup” and unlikely to threaten Austral’s contract with the U.S. Navy to build more of the speedy, shallow-water combat ships.

The Navy did not immediately respond to questions today about Independence’s maintenance.

Austal on Friday confirmed media reports that Independence experienced “galvanic corrosion” in its propulsion system.

Chris Johnson, a Navy spokesman said in a written statement Sunday that the Navy blamed the corrosion issue on dissimilar metals used in the ship’s construction.

Austal specializes in aluminum-hulled ships, while the Navy has traditionally bought steel ships.

The problem was discovered in 2010, before the ship was delivered to the Navy, said Jim DeMartini, a spokesman for Maine-based Bath Iron Works. Bath is the prime contractor for the first two littoral combat ships built at Austal, Independence and Coronado, which is set for delivery in summer 2012.

Austal in December won a $3.6 billion contract to act as the prime contractor building 10 more littoral combat ships.

Johnson said that the Navy in 2010 started developing both short- and long-term fixes to the problem. The service will, by the end of July, install “doubler plates” around portions of the Independence propulsion system, which will make it safe to operate in the near future, he said.

Next year, when the ship is dry-docked, the Navy will install a cathodic protection system as a long-term fix to the corrosion problem, Johnson said.

Such an anti-corrosion system is going to be added to Coronado before it is launched, Johnson said. And Austal included the protection system in its prime contracting bid, so no changes to the design of those ships need to be made, Johnson said.

Austal is Mobile’s largest industrial employer with about 2,200 workers at its Mobile River shipyard. It expects to nearly double that number in the next few years as it ramps up construction of both littoral combat ships and high-speed transport ships for the Navy.

In a written statement issued today, Austal officials said the company is “intimately familiar” with how to properly deal with galvanic corrosion. If Austal is chosen by the Navy to provide post-delivery support for its aluminum littoral combat ships, it will be “a straight-forward process” for the company’s engineers to handle such upkeep. Austal said that it has six maintenance hubs worldwide that can handle the work.

“An integral part of any post-delivery support program for a high-performance, high-speed vessel .¤.¤. is to provide a cadre of qualified maintainers who can help our Navy partners,” the statement read in part.

Austal’s statement also said the company wants to be included in the investigation of the corrosion, but has not yet been involved in that process.

SOURCE: http://blog.al.com/live/2011/06/austal_defends_work_after_corr.html

Regulators Concerned About Canadian Oil Corroding U.S. Pipelines

U.S. regulators express concern that diluted bitumen from Canadian oil sands may be corrosive to pipelines and risk should be assessed.

The United States is benefiting greatly from the Canadian oil sands, providing abundant fuel from a friendly neighbor to the north, thus reducing dependence on foreign oil from nations with a less-friendly attitude toward the U.S.  One would assume that U.S. regulators would be happy to get their oil from Canada, but not so fast.  Apparently U.S. lawmakers are expressing concern that the diluted bitumen derived from Canadian oil sands may be corroding U.S. oil pipelines.

U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman, the leading Democrat on the House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee, is worried that regulatory oversight isn’t keeping up with an increasing amount of diluted bitumen being transported via U.S. pipelines. “I’m concerned that the industry is changing, but the safety regulations are not keeping up with the changes,” he said at an Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing. “That could be a recipe for disaster down the road.”

Anthony Swift of the Natural Resources Defense Council said at the hearing, “It is in the public’s best interest for our pipeline safety for regulators to evaluate the risks that high volumes of heavy, corrosive and abrasive crudes, such as diluted bitumen, will have on the U.S. pipeline.”

A number of pipeline accidents in the U.S. Midwest have some questioning whether diluted bitumen may be to blame. TransCanada’s existing Keystone pipeline leaked 10 barrels of oil, due to a faulty fitting at a Kansas pump station last month. That accident followed a 500-barrel spill at a pump station in North Dakota in early May.

The committee last month passed a bill requiring the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to study the impact of diluted bitumen on U.S. pipelines.

Even Republicans think the issue should be investigated. “I think it is something we need to look into,” said Republican Representative Joe Barton.

However, President of the Association of Oil Pipelines Andrew Black disputes any claims that diluted bitumen is contributing to pipeline corrosion, saying, “Diluted bitumen has been moved through pipelines for many years.”

At any rate, what harm could come from assessing the risks?  If there’s no problem, then we continue to take advantage of Canadian oil.  If there is a corrosion problem, we invest in pipeline infrastructure to reduce corrosion.  It would be nonsensical to risk losing the pipelines, which cost billions to construct, simply because we didn’t take action early on.

SOURCE: http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Regulators-Concerned-About-Canadian-Oil-Corroding-U.S.-Pipelines.html

Navy Finds ‘Aggressive’ Corrosion on New Ship

The U.S. Navy has discovered “aggressive” corrosion in Austal Ltd. (ASB)’s first new combat ship designed for operating close to shore.

The corrosion is in the propulsion areas of the USS Independence, the Littoral Combat Ship built by the Mobile, Alabama-based subsidiary of Australia’s Austal and General Dynamics Corp. (GD)

“This could be a very serious setback,” said Norman Polmar, an independent naval analyst and author in Alexandria, Virginia. “If the ship develops a serious flaw, you’re not going to continue producing them.”

Permanent repair will require drydocking the ship and removing its “water jets,” a key component of the propulsion system, the Navy said in a written statement to congressional appropriations committees provided to Bloomberg News.

Aluminum-hulled ships such as Austal’s tend to rust faster than steel-hulled ships, Polmar said. “But I’m surprised it happened so early,” he said. “This ship is brand new.”

The corrosion discovery in a ship that was commissioned in January 2010 marks another blow to the Littoral Combat Ship program, planned to ultimately consist of 55 ships. In February, the Navy discovered another ship in the series, from another construction team, had a crack through the hull.

Close to Shore
The Littoral Combat ships are designed to operate closer to shore than the rest of the Navy’s surface fleet. They would make up about 17 percent of the Navy’s planned 313-ship fleet. Missions include clearing mines, hunting submarines and providing humanitarian relief.

The Navy in December awarded contracts for as many as 10 Littoral Combat ships to each of two teams of builders, led by Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) and Austal.

Austal won a $465 million contract that could reach as much as $3.78 billion if all options are exercised, the Navy announcement said. Building all 55 ships will cost the Navy at least $37.4 billion, according to a Pentagon report released in April.

Officials were concerned about the potential for corrosion during construction of the ship because of “dissimilar metals,” particularly near the steel propulsion shafts, the Navy memo said.

Temporary repairs will allow the ship to operate safely in the interim, the Navy said. The Littoral Combat Ships are designed to last about 25 years. Each ship is expected to cost about $36.6 million a year to operate and support.

Two Versions
The Navy is buying two versions from two teams of builders. The other team consists of Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed and Marinette Marine Corp. of Marinette, Wisconsin.

The first Lockheed ship developed a crack as long as six inches through its hull during sea trials in February, prompting a Navy investigation of the design.

Calls to Austal and calls and e-mails to General Dynamics weren’t immediately returned.

The Austal ship is now in Mayport, Florida, undergoing additional testing, the Navy said in its statement. A permanent repair of the existing corrosion damage would be conducted next year, the Navy said. The Navy statement did not provide an estimate of the cost of the repair work.

SOURCE: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-17/navy-finds-aggressive-corrosion-on-austal-s-combat-ship-1-.html

75 percent of US nuclear sites have corrosion issues — leaking tritium

BRACEVILLE, Ill. (AP) – Radioactive tritium has leaked from three-quarters of U.S. commercial nuclear power sites, often into groundwater from corroded, buried piping, an Associated Press investigation shows.

The number and severity of the leaks has been escalating, even as federal regulators extend the licenses of more and more reactors across the nation.

Tritium, which is a radioactive form of hydrogen, has leaked from at least 48 of 65 sites, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission records reviewed as part of the AP’s yearlong examination of safety issues at aging nuclear power plants. Leaks from at least 37 of those facilities contained concentrations exceeding the federal drinking water standard – sometimes at hundreds of times the limit.

While most leaks have been found within plant boundaries, some have migrated offsite. But none is known to have reached public water supplies.

At three sites – two in Illinois and one in Minnesota – leaks have contaminated drinking wells of nearby homes, the records show, but not at levels violating the drinking water standard. At a fourth site, in New Jersey, tritium has leaked into an aquifer and a discharge canal feeding picturesque Barnegat Bay off the Atlantic Ocean.

Any exposure to radioactivity, no matter how slight, boosts cancer risk, according to the National Academy of Sciences. Federal regulators set a limit for how much tritium is allowed in drinking water, where this contaminant poses its main health risk. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says tritium should measure no more than 20,000 picocuries per liter in drinking water. The agency estimates seven of 200,000 people who drink such water for decades would develop cancer.

The tritium leaks also have spurred doubts among independent engineers about the reliability of emergency safety systems at the 104 nuclear reactors situated on the 65 sites. That’s partly because some of the leaky underground pipes carry water meant to cool a reactor in an emergency shutdown and to prevent a meltdown. Fast moving, tritium can indicate the presence of more powerful radioactive isotopes, like cesium-137 and strontium-90.

So far, federal and industry officials say, the tritium leaks pose no health or safety threat. Tony Pietrangelo, chief nuclear officer of the industry’s Nuclear Energy Institute, said impacts are “next to zero.”

EAST COAST ISSUES

One of the highest known tritium readings was discovered in 2002 at the Salem nuclear plant in Lower Alloways Creek Township, N.J. Tritium leaks from the spent fuel pool contaminated groundwater under the facility – located on an island in Delaware Bay – at a concentration of 15 million picocuries per liter. That’s 750 times the EPA drinking water limit. According to NRC records, the tritium readings last year still exceeded EPA drinking water standards.

And tritium found separately in an onsite storm drain system measured 1 million picocuries per liter in April 2010.

Also last year, the operator, PSEG Nuclear, discovered 680 feet of corroded, buried pipe that is supposed to carry cooling water to Salem Unit 1 in an accident, according to an NRC report. Some had worn down to a quarter of its minimum required thickness, though no leaks were found. The piping was dug up and replaced.

The operator had not visually inspected the piping – the surest way to find corrosion- since the reactor went on line in 1977, according to the NRC. PSEG Nuclear was found to be in violation of NRC rules because it hadn’t even tested the piping since 1988.

Last year, the Vermont Senate was so troubled by tritium leaks as high as 2.5 million picocuries per liter at the Vermont Yankee reactor in southern Vermont (125 times the EPA drinking-water standard) that it voted to block relicensing – a power that the Legislature holds in that state.

In March, the NRC granted the plant a 20-year license extension, despite the state opposition. Weeks ago, operator Entergy sued Vermont in federal court, challenging its authority to force the plant to close.

At 41-year-old Oyster Creek in southern New Jersey, the country’s oldest operating reactor, the latest tritium troubles started in April 2009, a week after it was relicensed for 20 more years. That’s when plant workers discovered tritium by chance in about 3,000 gallons of water that had leaked into a concrete vault housing electrical lines.

Since then, workers have found leaking tritium three more times at concentrations up to 10.8 million picocuries per liter – 540 times the EPA’s drinking water limit – according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. None has been directly measured in drinking water, but it has been found in an aquifer and in a canal discharging into nearby Barnegat Bay, a popular spot for swimming, boating and fishing.

SOURCE: http://gazettenet.com/2011/06/17/75-percent-of-nuke-sites-have-leaked-tritium