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May 15, 1979 - Image 8

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1979-05-15

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Page 8-Tuesday, May 15, 1979-The Michigan Daily%
Three Mile instrument unreliable,

(Continued from Page 1)-.
Carl Michelson, a nuclear engineer
for the Tennessee Valley Authority and
an NRC consultant, wrote in January
1978 that "the pressurizer level is not
considered a reliable guide as to core
cooling conditions."
Furthermore, he said in a 29-page
report, reliance on the instrument
"may convince the operator to
trip-shut down-the HPI emergency
cooling system pump and watch for a
subsequent loss of pressure level."
That, say government and industry
sources, is exactly what happened
March 28 at the Three Mile Island reac-
MICHELSON SAID in a telephone in-
terview from his home in Oak Ridge,
Tenn., that his report was sent to Bab-
cock & Wilcox on April 27, 1978, but he
did not get a reply until early this year.
The existence of the Michelson report
was mentioned during NRC hearings
last month. However, those hearings
did not indicate that Babcock & Wilcox
and some NRC officials were made
aware of the findings in early 1978 but

chose not to alert reactor operators at
that time.
Babcock & Wilcox in a Jan. 23 letter
from James McFarland, senior project
manager, said the company agreed the
pressurizer level is "not a relible in-
dication" of water level in the core. But
the company said the use of the in-
strument along with other available in-
struments "will provide sufficient
guidance for operator action."
NO FURTHER action was taken on
the matter.
The pressurizer, located inside the
reactor's containment building, is
designed to control the pressure of the
coolant within the reactor itself. High
pressure must be maintained to keep
the water from boiling at the high tem-
A source who has seen transcripts of
NRC staff interviews with plant
operators on duty at the time of the ac-
cident, said the workers were under the
impression that a high reading on the
pressurizer level indicator meant high
levels of water in the reactor core.
JESSE EBERSOLE, who before his

retirement in 1976 was Michelson's boss
as TVA's chief nuclear engineer, said in
a telephone interview that if the
report's findings had been made
available to Babcock & Wilcox plant
operators, "I doubt that it (the core
damage) ever would have happened"
at Three Mile Island.
There was no immediate comment
from Babcock & Wilcox. Frank
Ingram, an NRC spokesman, .said he
was unaware that the commission had
the Michelson report before the Three
Mile Island accidents, but that he would
investigate the report.
Also, in Oklahoma City, the tape-
recorded voice of the late Karen Silk-
wood, again alleging that the Kerr-
McGee Corp. employed workers who
"don't know what radiation is,"
echoed through a hushed federal cour-
troom yesterday.
GERRY SPENCE, lawyer for the
Silkwood estate, played a recorded
conversation between Silkwood and an
Oil Workers union official as Spence
delivered his closing arguments in the

report said
$11.5 million plutonium contamintion
The case is expected to go to the jury
In the tape, Silkwood also said
workers at the company's nuclear fuel
plant near Crescent, Okla., were ap-
proving all fuel rod welds "no matter
what they look like."
BUT BILL PAUL, chief counsel for
Kerr-McGee, argued that Silkwood was
"used brutally during her lifetime" by
union officials who sent her undercover
to document her allegations that Kerr-
McGee was falsifying quality reports
on critical nuclear reactor fuel rod
And Paul told the jury of three men
and three women that circumstantial
evidence proves Silkwood stole
plutonium and contaminated herself.
Silkwood's survivors are suing Kerr-
McGee for $11.5 million, contending
that the company was negligent in her
plutonium contamination. She was
working as a lab technician at the
Crescent plant when she died in a
single-car crash in 1974 at the age of 28.

AM objects to Kennedy's
sponsor in the House, Rep. Henry dustry, but the health care industry as a
Waxman, (D-Calif.), chairman of the whole." Dole, a candidate for the
House Commerce subcommittee on Republican presidential nomination,
health, agreed it will be a long, tough said the Kennedy bill would ultimately
congressional fight, especially against constrain the availability of health care
those members who want to cover only services in the nation because it works
the expenses of catastrophic illness. from a "limited health budget."
BUT THE PLAN came under im- HEW SECRETARY Joseph Califano,
mediate fire from the American Jr. said he welcomed the introduction
Medical Association, which said the of Kennedy's bill, but insisted that a
"inevitable result" of Kennedy's more limited approach to national
proposal would be "rationing of health health insurance - like the ad-
care services, new federal regulations, ministration's plan - is needed to win
and huge new costs." passage.
Dr. James Sammons, AMA executive Califano noted that there have been
vice president, said, "The AMA con- "decades of failure" in past efforts to
tinues to believe that consumer choice, achieve national health insurance and
private insurance and limited gover- he pointedly noted that Kennedy has co-
nment regulation should be at the heart sponsored other national health plans in
of our health care system." past sessions that went nowhere.
In a separate statement, Sen. Bob But Califano told reporters at a news
Dole, (R-Kan.), called Kennedy's idea conference that apart from the "basic
"a first step toward federal regimen- difference in approach," the Carter
tation of not only the insurance in- administration and Kennedy "are ad-

national hea
dressing the same problems and we
have many of the same goals."
ACCORDING TO cost estimates
figured by Kennedy's staff, the new
plan would be more expensive in its
early years than the present health
care system. But they said four years
after congressional passage the nation
would spend less on health care that if no
legislation were enacted.
The Kennedy-Waxman bill would
slap strong cost controls on hospitals
and physicians. There would be full
coverage for inpatient hospital ser-
vices, physicians' services in and out of
hospital, X-rays, and laboratory tests.
It would also pay for catastrophic
illnesses. Medicare would be upgraded
for the elderly and cover hearing aids
and prescription drugs for them.
Coverage for the poor also would be
expanded, but states would contribute
only what they are presently spending
on Medicaid. Certain items would not
be included in the health plan, such as
dental care and cosmetic surgery.
TO PAY FOR the health care plan,
employers would pay a premium on a
percentage related to their total wages.
Unless other arrangements are made
between labor and management, em-
ployees would pay up to 35 per cent of
the premium costs.
Premiums for the unemployed would
be paid first by the former employer
and later, if the person found no job, by
the federal government. The self-
employed also would be guaranteed
coverage. The program would be ad-

lth care plan
ministered by a National Insurance
Board, which would contract with each
state to help run the health insurance
Kennedy aides said benefits would
begin in the third year after the bill is
enacted and the first two years would
be used to establish the administrative
mechanisms to get the plan rolling.

Also, Wed., May 16
for more info 994-5360
o F


World War III predicted
by conference speakers
. ontined fom Page'
is to maintain military superiority," he "The SALT agreements are partial
said, and temporary," he continued. "Each
"I don't think you'll find more than a super power can point to SALT to give
handful of crazies who want war - but the illusion they can work it out
an awful lot want preparation for war," peacefully."
Singer continued. "Sometimes they (people) do or don't
Workshop leader Randy Schwartz, a see the threat of a world war," said
member of the Arbor Alliance, Clark. "A year ago people did think you
disagreed with Singer, saying, "The were a little nutty -now they don't,"
SALT talks are a way to prepare for she added.
war. '" .

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