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6C Â· Northwest Arkansas TIMES, Sunday, Oct. 13, 1974 FAVITTKVH.LI, ARKANSAS Despite High Hopes Of AEC Safety, Future Of Nuclear Powered Generators Cloudy EDITOR'S NOTE - Arc the nation's nuclear power plants safe? What about those to bu built In the next decade? Theoretically, they're safe. But theory has not yet been fully tested In experiments. And day-to-day operation of some reactors is turning up problems no o n e thought would occur. By WILLIAM STOCKTON WASHINGTON fAP) -- By 1985, nearly one-third of the nation's electricity is to be produced by nuclear reactors. But their safety is in doubt and might remain in doubt for years. More than 110 reactors across the country now are operating or being built. By the early 1980s, there are to be 250 of the costly installations producing 29 per cent of the nation's electricity. Despite the Atomic Energy Commission's assurances that the reactors are safe, critics say the notion is staking much of its future energy supply on a technology that might in time be proven unsafe. Most of what is novy known about reactor safety is based on computer analyses and simulations of reactor behavior. There have been no lull-scale tests of reactor safety systems under emergency conditions. These experiments won't take place until 1977. Even then, disagreements may continue because -some experts contend the experiments overlook potential reactor accidents. The complex controversy has attracted new attention in re cent weeks. On Sept. 20, the SEC prderec 15 reactors shut down within days so that inspections -- last ing a day or two -- can be made of small auxiliary pipes that are part of larger pipes which carry cooling water tc reactor fuel. Cracks in pipes a two reactors have been found. EXPERT QUITS Also in September, Carl J Hocevar, a reactor safety ex pert, resigned his post at the AEC's Idaho Falls, Idaho, reac tor test facility where much safety research has been con ducted. Hocevar's letter of res Ignation said he was .quitting 'in order to be free to tell the American people about the po- entially dangerous conditions n the nation's nuclear power ilants." Dixy Lee R a y , the AEC chairman, dispatched the agen- :y's top safely research adinin- stralor in late September to ncet with scientists at Idaho 'alls and discuss their concerns. The reactor safety con- roversy usually pits the Alom- c Energy Commission and the nuclear power industry against small citizens' groups around .he country. Prominent seien- isls have lined up on both sides of the debate. The New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution, with 100 members, is typical of the doz- in or more organizations seek- ng to prevent construction of nuclear power plants. The central issue is whether the giant reactors can be operated without dsngerous re- eases of radiation. These could come through small daily emissions or because of a non-nuclear explosion caused by a mechanical failure that no one thought would occur. Nuclear reactor safety and the problems with which it plagues the reactor industry are symbolized by the Vermont Yankee reactor in Vernon, Vt., a rural village of 200 people on the banks of the Connecticut River. During 23 months of operation, Vermont Yankee has shut down 17 times because ol accidents, equipment failures lightning strikes, or to correcl dangerous conditions. VALUE FAILS The safety experts centerei their attention recently on Valve V10-25A, a steel alloy valve, larger than a man, deep inside Vermont Yankee. Se cured behind locked doors in ; room of concrete walls fille with oppressive heat and ma chinery noise, V10-25A hangs in silent repose anticipating the catastrophic accident everyoni hopes will never occur. Valve V10-25A is part of Ver mont Yankee's emergency sys tern, AEC rules require month ly tests of the 1,0000-pounc valve, which releases cool wa ter into the reactor if the pri water cooling system The debate about cat astro- fuel quickly would melt the fuel to flood reactor cores with wa- mary ails. But last March 4 when engineers in the reactor control oom three floors above flipped a black toggle switch to open '10-25A, nothing happened. The /alve gate was stuck. The elec- ric motor supposed to crank it ipen- quickly burned out. Vermont Yankee officials aid the valve failure wouldn't lave threatened safety if the P ommand to open had come luring an emergency. Other emergency systems would have aken over, preventing the reactor from overheating to the point that fuel rods melt and radioactivity is released. But the failure was another a 'string of problems plaguing the $217 million reac- or since it slarted up late in 1972 after five years' construction. Problems with nuclear fuel rods have caused higher than expected releases of radioactive gases. Through operator error the Â·eactor was partially started up ast year while the reactor pressure vessel was open anc workers were inside the reactor containment building. Automat- c safety equipment took over and shut down the plant. No one was injured. MANY PROBLEMS In all, Vermont Yankee reported 39 abnormal occurrences to the AEC in 1973 and 12 more through the first seven months of 1974. Vermont Yankee's difficulties are typical of those besetting many nuclear reactors. The AEC compiled 861 abnormal occurrences in 1973 for all reactors and a similar number the year before. Taken singly, the problems haven't threatened public safety. Nuclear power advocates point to the industry's safety record -- no member of the public ever has been injured. However, several plant workers have been hurt by radiation. Reactor manufacturers and the public utility companies that operate the plants contend the problems . are an inevitable result of working the bugs out of a new, highly complex technology. Â· ter. some exceptions, most experts agree the emergency systems would supply the necessary water if all components a sharp dis- the Nuclear critics claim that emergency flood water flow patterns would bo different, producing hot spots in the fuel rods. Melting could result, further disrupting water flow and. producing more melting. The nuclear reactor industry contends this won't happen. It bases its confidence on complex caleulations and computer-generated mathematical models of reactor behavior., Noting the high incidence of abnormal occurrences at nuclear reactors, an AEC task force this year called for tougher inspections throughout the reactor industry. To prevent prob- lems like Vermont Yankee's stuck valves, the task force said, the quality of reactor design, construction and operation should be more closely monitored. ' Emphasizing during an interview that he spoke only for himself, Herbert J. C. Kouts, head of the AEC's reactor safety research program, called for creation of rigorous standards that would assure the use of "nuclear grade" equipment in key reactor areas. "Just because a valve has worked well in a chemical plant doesn't mean it's O.K. for a nuclear reactor," Kouts said. Old Doc Noss' Gold Still Haunts Army EDITOR'S NOTE -- The deep shaft is there all right, in the desert peak, jusi as Ihe legend 'says. But is the hidden hoard of gold at the bottom? Enough evidence that it's (here has excited a battalion of claimants, as well as the U.S. Army, and soon they all may get their answer. By LARRY CALLOWAY Associated Press Writer WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M (AP) -- Old Doc Noss is haunting the U.S. Army again. His tale of a cavern of ; gold bars in the New Mexico desert won't rest. Â· The part-Cheyenne Indian '. wanderer and occasional foot doctor, whose legal name was ; Milton Ernest Noss, has been . dead these 25 years. But the ; story of his gold is perpetuated ; by Ova Noss, his first wife, and , : by others who still seek the ; treasure. :; Lately P. Lee Bailey, the ; well-known Boston lawyer, has ; joined with the believers. Bail; ey says his secret clients have ; found gold hear the Noss claim. Â· Fearing an unscientific, un- Â· military gold rush, the Army Â· has placed an entire basin in " the moonlike San Andres Moun} tains under 24-hour armed ; guard. r In the center of the basin Â·j stands the lone peak where Â· Noss said he found and lost his ;Â· fortune in the late 1930s. He de '' scribed thousands of gold bars J stacked in a cavern like cor Â· dwood, chests of coins and jew- J els, church relics, armamen' Â· and 27 tied and tortured humar ; skeletons. ; That's what Ova Noss, now : 78, told an Albuquerque Trib ; une writer in an interview in Â· her trailer home in Cloyis ' N.M., before her attorneys iso j laled her from the press. She ', showed two old swords, a silver napkin ring with an 1868 date ; and a two-handled silver bow Â· engraved "Brazil." 'Â· FOUND CAVERN ; Doc Noss found the cavern Â· at the bottom of a natural Â· shaft, while hunting in 1937 ; Mrs. Noss recalled the day a ; few weeks later when her hus : band climbed out of the cavern. Â· dropping a metal bar at her Â· feet. "That's the last one of Â· those I'm going to haul out." "Why, Doc -- that's yellow -; it must be gold!" !Â· And Noss, shouting in th'_ ; desert: "If that's gold we can .; make John D. Rockefeller look ; like a tramp!" Â· In the next two years, Mrs : - Noss related, she and her chil 'r dren by a previous marriage ; helped Noss pull heavy sacks ' out of the shaft, but he never ; allowed them or anyone else to -'. see the cavern. She said some ; of the gold bars were buricc Â· elsewhere by NOSS, and others Â· he sold. In 1939, as in so many lost .mine tales, the treasure cave :was lost. With the help of an ; engineer, Noss placed dynamite T charges at a narrow place ; about 180 feet down the shaft ;.Tne miscalculated blast cavec ;itin. ; Noss spent much of his re maining 10 years chipping at he cave-in, looking for lateral isssages and improving two jther'"timbered shafts on the mountain. CLAIM REFILED In January, 1949, Ova Noss .:nd a partner refiled the Noss claims on Victorio Peak in heir own names. By this time he couple was divorced and Noss had remarried. He ihowed up soon after with Texas businessmen Charley Ryan and Roscoe Parr as partner-hackers. One unverified land office report s a y s Ova Mandatory Measures Could Stop Imports WASHINGTON CAP) -- The United States might be able to slop importing oil by 1985, but m a n d a t o r y energy-saving measures would be needed to accomplish the feat, the Federal Energy Administration says. Outlining preliminary "Project Independence" findings Friday, the FEA estimated that some 2.1 million barrels per day could be saved by 1985 if mandatory controls were imposed . President Ford called Tuesday for voluntary conservation steps that he said could save one million barrels a day by the end of 1975. The FEA said that if the government takes no new steps to speed domestic energy production, the nation still would have to import anywhere between 3.5 million and 10.2 million barrels of oil a day in 1985, depending on the price of oil. Present imports average some 6.5 million barrels a day. For the short run, the FEA said, U.S. domestic production cannot substantially affect the Ijvel of imports. By 1985, the agency projected, development of the Naval Petroleum Reserve in northern Alaska could provide 2 mil- lien barrels of oil a day; offshore leasing, in the Pacific Ocean could provide 1.2 million barrels; development of oi" shale could add 750,000 barrels and oil leasing in the Atlantic could provide 500,000 barrels. It said shale oil, synthetic pi! arid geothermal power woulc not be significant energy sources before 1985, while solar energy would come into use in the 1980s and 1990s. Energy savings equal to 2.1 million barrels a day could be achieved through such requirements as a 20-mile-per gallon furl-consumption standard for automobiles; standards for home and office insulation commercial lighting, appliances and power plants; tax credits for improving the energy efficiency of dwellings and commercial buildings and research to improve industrial processes the FEA said. The TIMES Is On Top of The News Seven Days a Weefel Noss kicked him off the peak. Ryan rented a house at iatch, N.M., and Noss visited. lim there March 5, 1949. An ar- _ument over the gold developed and witnesses said Noss ran out of the h o u s e to his pickup ruck, where there was a re- /olver. Ryan shot twice from he porch. The career of the 44- ear-old foot doctor-prospector ended with a bullet in the back of his skull. Police found $2.16 in his yorkclothes pockets. Ryan was tried and acquitted. The Army acquired Victorio eak several years after Noss' death and for nearly two decades has stood between the mountain and the civilian heirs to the Doc Noss dream. "Allowing access to treasure s e e k e r s coujd result in Breaches of national security as well as exposing the searchers :o dangerous levels of radiation and possible detonations," says an Army fact sheet. In conversation, information officers add snakes and scorpions. GOLD FEVER But the Army also admits to an embarrassing spell of military gold fever at the peak 13 years ago. Bailey says, "I'm satisfied that some Army personnel have looked for the gold in the past and probably still are." Lt. Col. Donald Keller, range information chief, responds: "Anyone who thinks the Army is officially up there scratching around for a legendary treasure doesn't have his thinking in perspective. We're just flat not in that business." The business here is testing missiles and studying war. The security-restricted range is 100! miles long and 40 miles wide, and the desert is wired with $1.1 billion in scientific equipment. The place is so desolate it hid the world's first nuclear explosion in 1945. Bailey says his clients have found treasure and want only to bring it out legally, present it to a New Mexico State court and prove their finders-keepers ownership. The timing is 'good. After Dec. 31, Americans will no longer be prohibited from own* ing gold bullion. New Mexico Ally. Gen. David Norvell l a s t year signed an agreement giving Bailey's; clients immunity from state prosecution for trespass if they gave 25 per cent of the gold to the state. Then he went on to' sue the Army to let the gold ctaimers in. The Norvell suit raised an old accusation that the Army is conducting "un-i authorized and unlawful covert operations" at Viclorio Peak. Ova Noss said the same thing: 13 years ago. At first the range commander, Maj. Gen. John Shinkle, denied the story. But in the face of evidence, the general eventually admitted that "a joint effort of the Army and the Treasury" had taken place at the peak. In the end, the venture proved inconclusive. The peak has been officially undisturbed for 11 years. MONDAY phic accidents centers upon the nuclear fuel inside metal rods quantities ol deadly radiation to the pressure vessel and the re- sure vessel. The pressure ves- actor containment, a concrete dome surrounding the pressure functioned properly. Hydrogen gas might be gen erated in the process. If it ex- carried away by water flowing water would prevent a reactoi ploded, the containment might be ruptured, releasing clouds of meltdown. The most produces steam to spin turbines radion-laden steam. Adverse meteorological tense arguments are about how that generate electricity. ditions might loss of life. Â· SAFETY SYSTEMS when the emergency flood wa nuclear engineers imagine ter- ters pour over them. The rods' geometry Is com- minalion of the flow of cooling water. They call it a "Class 9" plex. The flow of water over emergency systems, similar to them during ordinary reactor Heat from fissioning nuclear Vermont Yankee's, stand ready operation must be exact. K MART'S ADVERTISED MERCHANDISE FOIICY LOUNGER PILLOW Men's Plain Vinyl COATS Smoke Grey with Pooch l 20-Count PENCILS Res. 68c STRIPED DENIM JEANS 44 K WIT TOPS'N VESTS Our Reg. 8,97 2 Days Only 6 Men's Sizes Our Reg. 3.88-4.57 2 Days Only Charge it! Everything about these western flare carpenter jeans Perky short-sleeve slip-ons and vests that will is designed to be man-pleasing! The style's right. The spark op your wardrobe just like magic! Easy-to- indigo-an'd-white stripes are right. No-iron poly- care-for polyester or nylon knits in solid colors ester/cotton denim is simply great for casual wear! and jacquards. Versatile dressing. Misses'sizes. 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