Reagan’s executive order used by the Navy to ignore nuclear safety

by Major John P. Shannon

The exemption that the Navy claims is actually no exemption at all.
The exemption the Navy claims comes from Executive Order 12344,
written by none other than Ronald Reagan [the hero of the right wing
nut cakes].

The Executive Order, 12344 (XO for short) is nothing more than a
document written to show where the Naval Reactor program fits into
the DOE organizational chart, and who should head the program [Namely
a Navy Admiral]. Not a single word mentions exemption of any kind.
The Navy ( specifically the Naval Reactor organization – NR) took the
organizational exemption and inserted a reference to XO 12344, to all
DOE orders that apply to all other DOE organizations, and exempted NR
from having to comply with those orders.

I doubt that a single member of the House or the Senate has ever read
a DOE order or XO 12344 for that matter. The net effect is to
guarantee that NR has no oversight at all. The NR Program needed
these exemptions since even a cursory investigation would have forced
a shutdown of the entire program. NR runs land based power plants [ 2
at the last count] without the benefit of containment vessels,
emergency core cooling systems, pressure suppression systems, or
separate operating rooms for the reactor operators [ the operators
die at the same moment that the plants have a loss of coolant
accident – so who is left to explain what went wrong ].

All Nuclear Powered Surface Ships and Submarines enter and leave all
American and Foreign Ports under Nuclear Power Generated steam [i.e.
the Nuclear Reactors are operating].

All Nuclear Powered Surface Ships and Submarines are refueled [old
core taken out – new core put in] within a baseball throw of most
cities located in or near a shipyard, Cities such as Norfolk
Virginia, Pearl Harbor, etc.

With the lack of even rudimentary safety measures the Nuclear Navy is
run under no oversight, and no legal protection for those Nuclear
Power experts who work for Naval Reactors. No one will dare raise a
voice [except the undersigned], and NR keeps on rolling along just
like old man river.

The King has no clothes, in this case the King[s] are the President,
the Senate, the House, all Navy Officers, All Marine Corps Officers,
all Army Officers, all Coast Guard Officers, the DOE, the NRC, the
National Resource Defense Council, River keepers, all Judges within
the Northern District of the Second Circuit Court, basically everyone
in Washington with any power knows about the outrageous behavior of
the Nuclear Navy. I think it’s fair to say that we live in a land of
cowards and blind men. I keep getting notices that one or more of the
sirens at Indian Point have been found to be not working, or a guard
has fallen asleep, etc. ad nauseam. Who cares when the Navy is
running around the Oceans with hundreds of the most unsafe Nuclear
Power Plants in the World and no one raises a bleep? A Navy that
refuels ships within spitting distance of grade schools, high schools
City Halls, etc..

I have heard the arguments that Navy Nuclear Plants run at only about
10% of commercial plants. So what. The comment is irrelevant because
any Nuclear Power, including Navy plants, during an accident scenario
can easily raise to 10 times, 100 times, 1000 times or even 1,000,000
times rated power and the consequences are the same. Commercial or
Navy. Catastrophe beyond description. And deaths and injuries beyond repair.

No one in the industry can contradict me because all Nuclear
Engineers/Nuclear Physicists [even those who work for NR] are
familiar with the equations for a power excursion. Ignoring the fact
does not make the fact disappear.


Major John P. Shannon
Nuclear Physicist/Nuclear Engineer Retired

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