Tumbleweed (Helena, Mont.) 1975-1977, September 30, 1975, Image 5

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THE TUMBLEWEED C o n c e r n e d a b o u t N u c l e a r P o w e r ? Tuesday, Sept. 30, 1975 Page 5 R o n a l d R e a g a n OnSeptember 17, the “ Tumbleweed” intervlewedtwo very well organ­ ized and very active groups. The one group, “ Western Bloc” is a na­ tional organization. The second is “ Montanans for safe power,” a state wide organization. “ The Western Bloc” was started November 17, 1974 in Washington D.C. The Western Bloc can best be defined and visualized as a group of independent local community organizations throughout 19 states who are dedicated to bringing safe power to their communities, the nation, and future generations. The community organizations, refer red to above, in Montana is “ Montanans for Safe Power.” The representatives from these two organizations are- Matt Jordan, (Montanans for Safe Power), Ed Dobson (MFSP), Ed Maschke (MFSP) and Roger Telschow, from the Western Bloc. EXCLUSIVE Q. Now, i f your objective is to get safer regulations put on nuclear reactor power plants, just how are you going to get these regulations written into the law? A. We are going, not through the legislature, but directly to the people whom nuclear reactors affect - EVERYONE! We are working through what is called, “ the initative process.” It is a tool that can be used by people, through petitioning, to propose and enact laws independent of a legislature. There are 22 states which have the constitutional authority to use the initative process, to propose laws directly to the voters. These are the 22 states that we are working in and Montana is one of them. Q. Petitions will soon be coming out on nuclear power plants, if I sign one, does that mean I have agreed that all nuclear power plants be com­ pletely outlawed? A. Absolutely not. The purpose of the petition drive is simply to get enough signatures so we can have issue of nuclear power plants’ SAFE- ty on the ballot in ‘ 76. In another words when you step into a voting booth in ‘ 76 you will be saying either of two things- 1. YES- I want safer regulations on nuclear reactors. 2. NO- 1 don’t want any regulations on nuclear reactors. So in other words the petitions are not a final yes or no, it’s just to get the issue to a vote. Q .It seems like you never hear of any progress in finding safer ways to operate nuclear reactors. Why is this? A. Well, mostly because, the way its set up presently, the owners of NRs have no risk whatsoever as far as being sued because of a radia­ tion emission etc. Thi is true because of what is called the “ Price- Anderson Act” . This act states in short that the government (you and I ) will insure the N.R.s against liability up to $560 million. I f the suit exceed this amount the government simply declares the owners of the nuclear reactors not liable. You can see because of this that the owners of N.R.s. have no cause to spend money to find safer means of running their plants. It’s no skin off their backs if someone sues them. Q. Isn’t $560 million plenty of insurance though? A. Not when you are dealing in nuclear reactors. In 1965 the Atomic Energy Commission made a study and it indicated that a single major accident might kill 45,000 people outright, would injure 100,000 people and cause $17 billion worth of property damage. I am sure that i f you would add the $17 billion and the amount that would result from 145,000 claims that the total would exceed the $560 million lim it. When the Uranium nucleus splits, it produces two new neutrons. Each of these new neutrons then, would split two mor atoms, which would produce four new neutrons. These four neutrons would split four more atoms which would produce eight new neutrons etc. etc. Scientists call this process a chain reaction. Thi s is, theoretically, exactly what takes place in atomic bombs and in nuclear reactor power plants. The type of fuel used in a nuclear reactor then, is obviously Uran­ ium. There are basically two types of uranium atoms. One type is U-238 and the other is U-235. The only difference between the two is that the U-235 atom has a fewer numbers of neutrons in its nucleus. The problem with there being two kinds of Uranium is that te U-235 is the only kind which can be split when struck by a neutron. The U-238 will simply turn into a different element called plutonium. The U-238 atom absorbs all the fast-moving neutrons, which would prevent them from hitting and splitting U-235 atoms. Thus the cahin reaction would stop before it every really started. An interesting fact later discovered in that the U-238 atom (non- fissionable) will absorb FAST moving neutrons. Contrary to this, U-235 atom (fissionable) will only be split by a SLOW moving neutron. Therefore, if the neutrons were slowed down by passing them through water or graphite, they would be going too slow for the U-238 atom to absorb them, so they would consequently strike U-235 atoms. So by passing neutrons through water or graphite before hitting a uranium atom a chain reaction IS possible in a natural block of Uranium. Very simply then a nuclear reactor is a steel container housing Uranium. The Uranium is packed in long narrow tubes and assembled in bunches which are called “ fuel assemblies” . The chain reaction taking place among the uranium produces an immense amount of heat and without a form of control the temperature would continue to rise until it would explode. There are presently two ways to cool a nuclear reactor. One way is by control rods and the other way by water. Both of these systems must be in perfect working order. I f one were to fail the other would not be able to control the immense temperature. The “ control rods” are long, narrow rods made of Cadmium, a mat­ erial which absorbs a great deal of neutrons. They are placed evenly through out the fuel assemblies. When the temperature is extremely high, these rods are lowered in among the fuel and they absorb the neutrons before they strike the U-235 atoms, which lowers the temp­ erature. By means of lowering and raising these rods, the temperature is held at a constant level. The other way in which the reactor is kept cool is by pumping water in, among and out of the reactor. When the water comes in contact with the hot fuel assemblies, it absorbs a great deal of heat which causes it to boil instantly, creating a very large quantity of steam. From this point the nuclear reactor power plant is just like a coal generator. The steam is drawn off which turns turbines and the turning turbines creat electricity for your electric toothbrush. It is our sincere hope that this article has stimulated many questions about nuclear power and that it will motivate you to come to the open discussion with the “ Montanans for safe power” on Wednesday Oct. 1st in the Lower Commons. Your comments on this type of article would be appreciated. By John R. Davis dan Smith, PBC Rocky-Mountain Coordinator, had a recent run-in with the form er Governor o f Cali­ fornia. Here’s how Dan tells the story- “ Ronald Reagan, on a re­ cent pre-campaign junket to Mon­ tana, was told of the PBC Decla­ ration of Independence survey of government employees In Wash­ ington. When asked to affirm his own support for the Declaration by signing a copy himself, he at first refused, calling the circula­ tion of our founding document for signatures “ a gimmick.” After checking with an aide. Reagan was assured that the document before him was indeed the Declaration. He then signed, but only after speaking out against the whole project, and the PBC in particu­ lar. “ I f this Is the same group who had 20,000 people at Concord Bridge when President Ford was there, I know something about them,’ he charged witout elabor­ ating, *1 do not support them, or anything they do!’ ” Dan also re­ ports that only 730 people paid the $5 charged for Reagan’s Bozeman speech, although local Republican organizers admitted expecting upwards of 7,000. In his speech, the form er Governor and would- be President, repeatedly charged that the only evil in Am erica to­ day is big government, lauding Big Business and corporate exe­ cutives who “ could save this country i f only given the power” . When asked at a later press con­ ference about the charge by the head of the Justice Department’s Anti-Trust Division that corpor­ ate monopolies cost Americans $80 billion in lost productivity every year, Reagan lashed out. “ That sounds like some of Ralph Nader’s charges that are usually unsubstantiated,” he said. Q. In getting back closer to home now, when is this petition drive here in Helena going to get under way? A. The petitions are presently being printed up and should be ready by Oct. 1. Q. Now just how many signatures do you need here in Montana? A. We need a total of 22,000 signatures in the state, which means only 2276 signatures here in Helena. To make it sound even easier, if ten people carried petitions for 40 days they need 6 signatures per day. Q. Have you already gotten ten volunteers to carry petitions, or do you still need concerned citizens to help out? A. Yes we still need volunteers to help out. This is a grassroots organ- this country a safe place to live. Matt and Ed will be back on Oct. 1 to talk with people interested in the nuclear energy issue. Come and meet with them in the lower commons. Why is it that there has been very little public criticism of the atomic power program? There are many safety questions whichare unanswered about nuclear power. Most people who are not nuclear scientists tend to think that these questions are beyond their grasps. They believe that they are incapable ment experts knowwhattheyaredoing.Doyou suppose the experts also knew what they were doing with the DDT we had for dinner? The Planet Earth, with its inhabitants, has been used as a guinea pig much too often. The general public must stand up and voice its opinions on events taking place in this country, and throughout the world, for in one way or another these events effect us all. This is the first of two articles which deal with the controversial issue of nuclear reactors.lt is close to impossible for a person to understand how a nuclear reactor can mal-function, if he o r she does not know how article deals entirely on “ How” a nuclear reactor operates. This is simply to prepare you for the next article which will point out some of the controversial questions about the safe guards of nuclear reactor power plants. In the year of 1934, a man by the name of Enrico Ferm i split the Ur­ anium atom, but did not realize it at the time. It was not until 1939 did scientists realize that fission (the splitting of an atom resulting in the release of large amounts of energy) had actually taken place. I am sure that the people of HIroshema truly regret the discovery made by M r. Ferm i because it is from his discovery which atomic bombs stem. Atomic bombs are not all that use the process of fission. Nuclear reactor power plants also are based on the same process. The Uranium atom contains, as does all atoms, a nucleus, When this nucleus is struck by a neutron which is shot out of a neutron gun, it splits. It becomes two instead of one. FREAKS FOUGHT WITH FILTH The Town Council, fearful of an invasion this summer like the one that brought 16,000 youngsters trampinginto the district last year, is dump­ ing sewage around tents and caravans of Jesus freaks. But the youths refused to move. Taj Drexel, an 18-year-old girl who lives in a cara­ van on the outskirts of town, where legend has it Jesus Christ visited his youth, said- “ I ’ ve been in poor health since the council dumped the stuff. It’s enough to make anyone sick.” Town Clerk Geroge Har- land explained- “ The dumping is a preventive action. We’ve been warn­ ed that this summer the town will be invaded by hundreds of hippies. They can be a danger to health.” O F S C I E N C E New Concept In Headphones If you’re one o f those people who loves to hear good music well-reproduced (and that includes just about everybody), you’ll probably be interested in an entirely new concept in high fidelity stereo headphones. Scientists have now been able to utilize an unusual phenomenon o f electrophysics called piezo­ electric effect. Translated in­ to the listener's terms, this means silkier, more lifelike sound reproduction with ex­ tremely high efficiency. A v a ila b le at franchised Pioneer high fidelity dealers across the country, the head­ phones are safe because there is no need for polarization voltage, so there’s no need to worry about dangerously high voltage. “ Mad as a March hare” comes from the fact that hares are unusually shy and wild in March, which is their rutting season. If you sleep 12 hours per day and i f you live to be 80 years old, you will have slept for forty years! By John R. Davis F l o ’ s C h e e s e S h o p Assorted Cheeses 4 2 8 4 2 8 Broadway P h o t o g r a p h y R e t r e a t Presented by TOM McBRIDE oct. 4 & 5 OCT. 11 & 12 Plan to attend both sessions Tom McBride is a nationally known outdoor and wildlife photographer. He was Montana’s Professional Photographer of the year for 1973. Both Sessions - $90.00 One Session - $50.00 Price includes board and room. Bring your sleeping bag, camera, lenses, tripod, etc. and samples of your work. For further Information call Tom Ryan at 442-8196.

Tumbleweed (Helena, Mont.), 30 Sept. 1975, located at <http://montananewspapers.org/lccn/Tumbleweed/1975-09-30/ed-1/seq-5/>, image provided by MONTANA NEWSPAPERS, Montana Historical Society, Helena, Montana.