This morning we drove to Breitbeck Park to begin the walk. We met up with Jessica of the Alliance for a Greener Economy and a few other disarmament activists. One of them was Sue, a former nuclear inspector.
We stopped for a snack break about 3 miles from the Oswego Plant at a bus terminal in Oswego.
We sat down in the shade on their front lawn and almost immediately the two men working inside came out.
They were curious about our walk and incredibly friendly!
As we rested Sue spoke a bit about her career in the nuclear industry.
She used to inspect the shop welds. She said that every shop weld she inspected was defective, not only defective because of time and age, but defective on installation – this equipment was not built properly.
As she said this another local jumped in and told us that the nuclear reactors at Oswego were built at 14 times the original cost.
Because of this massive price increase the company (knowingly) bought and used defective parts.
In the mid 70’s there was a big accident at Oswego when the feed water pipe broke. The entire reactor shook and had it failed it would have taken out all of Oswego County.
Sue also told us that the letter she wrote to the NRC was reviewed by the higher ups at the reactor and denied. They wrote another letter that did not state the welding was “defective” or “failing”, but rather that it had been “had work done to it”. They had her sign the letter.
After interviewing her to be sure she knew her answer to any NRC questions (ask my supervisor) they let her take part in the investigation.
The facility passed the inspection, and immediately after Sue was offered a large bonus.
This was when she quit her job at Oswego.
Oswego Reactor currently has three operating plants.
Nine Mile 1 and 2 and Fitzpatrick.
Wednesday, June 21st (our first night on the walk) at 2am there was a fire in one of the reactors causing it to be shut down. Apparently there was a problem with one of the vacuums that caused the fire.
We continued walking and stopped 1 mile from the reactor at a UU church in Oswego.
It seemed there was no reprieve from the sun.
A woman Jen Chambers was called and quickly contacted the UU church a mile from the reactor.
Two members of the church, Anne and Nancy answered the call. They opened up the church to us as a lunch spot with shade and bathrooms and after hours in the blistering sun, it was paradise.
We all gathered and spoke a bit about the reactors and Fukushima during lunch.
As we ate Jun san told a few of us the story behind the Hiroshima Flame* and the Hiroshima Flame Walk in 2001. There were many many connections.
After about the third seemingly random connection Jun san said, “Stories like this never end.”
We were all a bit speechless.
The word synchronicity comes to mind.
We left the church and continued our one mile walk up to the Oswego facility.
They’ve basically bought out an entire road, so the chances of getting arrested were much higher.
The Entergy sign was about half a mile (or more) from the actual facility.
We stayed near the entrance sign and had a small water ceremony and offered prayers.
Today Andrea carried a banner that was offered at the UN NPT (Non Proliferation Treaty) conference in 2010. This banner was created by children from around the world. Or, it was one of many banners created by children from around the world. I’m not entirely sure.
This morning Clara tied a Hawk feather to the banner and said a strong woman should carry it – Andrea took on this task.
As soon as we started the water ceremony a hawk flew overhead.
We started driving back to St. Peter’s church where we will be spending the evening and we were suddenly cut off by a man on a blue motorcycle. He stayed in front of our car and two other motorcycles cut off the other end of the road for oncoming traffic.
At least 100 bikers drove by.
It was a huge biker gang heading out of town. It was outstanding.
We laughed and were sure that they were welcoming Jun san.
We are back at the church now and where we got a surprise visit from Sue who brought us some locally grown veggies that we can use for the next few days.
She also told us a bit more about her work as a nuclear inspector. More on that later.
Organizing Ontario and making rice balls.
*Hiroshima Flame story will be explained when not so exhausted. Cheers!