Howard Shaffer

Radiation as a force for good in fight against cancer

My condolences on the loss of your husband. I have had a mother, father-in-law and brother-in-law die painfully of cancer. My wife and I have both had cancer but were cured by early detection and treatment. We know it is painful.

Radiation was discovered in the 19th century. Early users were enthusiastic, but soon cancers of limbs showed up. The first international conference on protection standards was in 1928! There has been oodles of research on the health effects and beneficial uses of radiation over the years, and it continues. Science knows the safe limits.

For example, we use radiation for killing hundreds of times each day - in radiation treatments to cure cancer.

Now we can detect the tiniest amount of radiation with the advanced electronic instruments that we have available. Just because something is detected does not mean there is enough of it there to cause harm! Look up the limits on strontium-90.

Read More

The physics I took says SAFSTOR is safer

More scare stories! No basis in physics for waiting? The physics I took says that radioactive elements decrease in intensity and potency with time, as they give off their radioactivity. Every radioactive element eventually results in non-radioactive lead, through a long chain. Waiting years will decrease the potential exposure...

Read More

There will always be some radiation; the question is, ‘How much?’

Per the data in the press, the Strontium-90 found at Vermont Yankee is already diluted to below the safe level. The site could be a playground now, as far as Sr90 is concerned. The playgrounds in Brattleboro have Sr90 now from weapons testing fallout. The river has uranium from...

Read More


Decreasing radioactivity, decreasing risk

The scientific basis for decommissioning is the continually decreasing hazard from any plant doing it. As the hazard decreases, the size of the Emergency Planning Zone can shrink. At any time, the potential hazard comes from the radioactive atom splitting products. In operation, there is a steady, large amount of radioactive products. Once operation stops, the amount of radioactive products decreases continually. The radioactivity creates heat in the fuel and surroundings, enough to require water cooling for five years. After...

Read More

With both sides believing they are right, one will lose

Great editorial. Is every company that donates to charity using it as a cudgel? I was there at a Nuclear Regulatory Commission meeting when dry compost was thrown. I don't remember any meeting with garbage dumped. Of course, the conflict was bound to be bitter. The founders of the New England Coalition are scared of nuclear power and made up their minds it was dangerous to them and not needed before Vermont Yankee's groundbreaking. The utilities that built the plant...

Read More

Fire protection can be reduced once VY fuel is removed from reactor

If Brattleboro had a town garage where all the trucks were kept and serviced, with all the repair facilities, the fire protection system in the building would have to be designed for the potential hazard of gasoline in trucks (that might leak or spill), of gas bottles (for cutting torches), etc. If a new garage is built and the old one converted to storage of metal furniture, then the fire protection could be reduced. A nuclear power plant is the...

Read More

In nuclear debate, just who has been disrespectful?

Who has been disrespectful in the nuclear debate? Is it the people who shout out at public meetings and use up the time for those of differing opinions to speak? Is it the ones who teach their children to tell other children that their parents are baby killers because of where they work? Who would want to come to a county and start a business with people like that not being corralled by their neighbors and the law?

Read More

Where’s the proof?

I was there at Vermont Yankee as a startup engineer. Where is the writer's proof that “toxic” materials were intentionally buried at the site? Where did these materials come from? The site was farmland before. Did the construction crew bury some construction waste that was legal to bury then, but is now illegal? Where on the site is it? How long does the writer think an emergency plan with a 10-mile evacuation zone for the plant will be needed? A...

Read More