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July 08, 1992 - Image 2

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1992-07-08

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2 -The Michigan Daily Summer Weekly - Wednesday, July 8,1992
NRC nvestigates procedures Continued from page 1
- minating their pregnancies.
t Unv rs W u le rre c o Smote Rep. Perry Bullard (-Ann
tArbor)said the decision resulted from a
Universityenucleaoreactorromises.3
by Emily Fries incidentimmediatelytotheNRC.After have changed the procedure to intro- series of compromises.
Daily Staff Reporter consulting with the University's Safety duce absolute communication," each side of the abortion debate won on
The U.S.Nuclear Regulatory Com- Review Board, the reactor staff instead Fleming said. "We are not proud that some issues and lost on some issues,"
mission (NRC) is currently completing decided to enter the incident in the long- this happened at the Ford facility, but I he said. "The compromising resulted in
investigations of operating procedures term log. am proud of what we are doing." aruling which pretty much leftthings as
attheUniversity'sPhoenix ProjectFord "We should have been informed. University and NRC officials agree they were."
Nuclear Reactor. The decision to inform us was late. (It that at no time during the incident was Bullard sponsored Michigan's act
Operatorsofthefacilityoneofeight took) nine days versus the one day we therearisktothehealthandsafetyofthe regulating abortion, which included
small, non-power generating reactors would have expected to hear," said general public. similar compromises.
located on university campuses across Cindy Pederson, the NRC's Region III Robert Bum,managerof the reactor But both abortion advocates and
thecountry, strayed fromNRCprotocol chief of reactor support programs. facility, said "There have been tests opponents say some stipulations of the
last month while attempting to com- After being informed of the incident done at [another reactor] which show ruling negatively affect their causes.
plete a routine fuel movement. The re- June 17, the NRC sent a team to inves- that the maximum radioactivity of this Lynn Mills, director of Michigan
actor is used for training of reactor tigate. The commission requested that elementis lower than one which in atest Operation Rescue, said that any lessen-
operators, radiation treatment of food the University shut down the reactor caused no core damage." ing of restrictions is inappropriate.
and medicine, and research. until the investigation could be com- Charles Norelius, a representative "The Courthad a valuable opportu-
On June 8, while the reactor was at pleted. from NRC Region III headquarters nity to right a major wrong in our soci-
criticalmass,oneof the operators began In its review of the incident, the agreed, "There was nothing that caused ety," she said. "Not only did they fail to
to pull the fuel element from the core investigating team mentioned several a health or safety risk to the general overtum Rocv.Wade,theydidnothing
before the control rods had been com- areas of concern - primarily, that ex- public.".. oraies."u
pletely inserted. perienced operators had become com- Despite the procedural violations, unboMills said her organization does not
Another operator noticed the error placent about carefully following the the NRC has already granted the Uni- consider the decision a victory, andhas
before any damage could occur and NRC protocol for fuel movements. versity permission to restart the reactor. no plans to decrease its protests of clin-
yelled, "Stop." A different operator "They relied on memory. They The NRC investigative team will ics which perform abortions.
immediately took overmanual control weren't using the procedure actively," returnto the University campus July 17
of the element and drove the control Pederson said. to discuss with the management of theR T
rods into the core in order to proceed The NRC team mentioned the tim- Ford facility the findings of the NRC REACTIONS
safely with the fuel movement. The ing of the fuel movement in its discus- review board as wellas any civil penal- Continued from page 1
reactor then went sub-critical, prevent- sion of possible safety violations. ties which may be assessed by the fed- "The ruling may motivate some
ing any further reactions from occur- "The operatorswere trying to hurry eral govemment. people(intothinking)that allmannerof
ring. (the movement)along in order to finish bigotry is condoned and that's a real
During an open discussion between itbeforetheirshiftended-theyrushed. CO E worry for me," Harrison said. "But I
an NRC investigative team and the The NRC is worried that the workload CODE believe you fight bad ideas with good
reactor's staff, Ronald Fleming, direc- is too high," Pederson said. Continued from page 1 ideas, and we'll be better off if we
tor of the reactor facility, said that al- The NRC also perceived a lack of If theUniversity adopts another in- engage the widestpossibilities."
though the procedure was violated, communication among the operators at terim policy, public hearings in the fall SpealMng from a personal perspec-
safety was never an issue. key times during the incident and its would be scheduled in advance, Hart- ave, LesJian-Gay Male Programs Co-
WhileFlemingadmitted,"Removal resolution. ford said. CordinatorsJimpToialsosagreedbanson
g hate speech were "unconscionable."
of fuel with (control) rods in (the rear- Finally, the investigating teamcon- "My feeling is that (these hearings) However, he added, "If hate speech
tor)isthecardisnalruleofreactorsafety," cluded the University was lax in its would be publicized through personal is accompanied by an incitement to
he added,"Ican'timagine any scenario follow-up of the situation. "There was mailings.Oneof the tenetsinthis policy violence or threats to person or prop-
whereby one removes fuel from a criti- no thorough review and analysis by the is that students have the right to know erty, I would hope such accompanying
cal reactor and thereby creates some- University of the implications of the what the policy is," she said speech could be considered as action-
thing that is unsafe." incident and the necessary corrective Hamtfordy ss, he s ib able."
. Although thereactorrespondedasit actions," the team said. adne suggested the possibility But Michigan Student Assembly
was designed and no radiation was Afterthereport,Fleming wasgiven ofastudentreferendummearlyWinter Vice President Hunter Van
emitted, members of the NRC felt an achance to respond to the allegations. Term 1993, after a semester of public Valkenburgh doubted the ruling would
investigation was necessary. "We have the long-term goal of hearings and publishing information affect students.
In additionto thebreachof protocol, being aresearch facility and we want to about previous cases. "The University has a lot of discre-
the University also failed to report the make the Phoenix facility stronger. We tion as to whether something is punish-
able or not," Van Valkenburgh said.

Pro-choiceadvocatesalsoexpressed
disappointment with the rating.
RobynMenin, executivedirectorof
PlannedParenthoodof Ann Arbor,said
the small gain - the abolition of spou-
sal consent - was far overshadowed
by the other elements of the decision.
"It could have been much worse.
Women were able to retain some of
their reproductive rights," she said.
"However, I'm certain that it will be-
come more difficult for women to ob-
tain safe, legal abortions as a result of
this decision."
Menin specifically criticized the
Court's decision to make abortion
records available to the public.
"Publicexposure toabortionrecords
is perhaps the most dangerous aspectof
this ruling," she said. "It breaks the
code of doctor-patient confidentiality
to open up these documents like this."
Menin added that women running
for political office stand to be nega-
tively affected by this law.
"Next time a woma is running for
office, heropponentcaneasilyeheckto
see if she's ever had an abortion, and
use the information as a smear tactic to
damage her reputation," she said.
She added that no other medical
recordsaretreatedaspublicdocuments.
"he President's personal power is a
bigger threat than any code."
In addition, AIDS Coalition to Un-
leash Power member and graduate stu-
dent Pattrice Maurer questioned the
motivation behind the Court's ruling.
"The decision about whatisor is not
protected speech hinges on determin-
ing what does or does not violate rights
or order," Maurer said. "That decision
is a political decision - it's not an
objective standard that these justices
have called upon to formulate an opin-
ion."
JohnMatlock, DirectorofOfficeof
Minority Affairs, reflected on the
ruling's impact on gains attained
through past civil rights legislation.
"What people are experiencing is
that things that they fought for are being
reversed and used against them. Affir-
mative action is now reverse discrimi-
nation.It'sdisheartening,"Matlocksaid.
"With so many roads we have yet to
take, we have to go back to roads we've
been down before."

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