Groups Want Dye Markers In Nuclear Plant Emissions

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will receive a letter Wednesday asking for four new regulations to better protect the health, safety, and security of the American people.  Among the requests was one to require distinctive visual dye-markers (like natural gas and propane odor markers), so that all radionuclide emission releases become readily identifiable as such, in order to protect the public from this very real public health danger. 

Twelve environmental organizations have signed on to this letter initiated by Bellefonte Efficiency & Sustainability Team (BEST/MATRR), a chapter of Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League. 

“We put odor in gas and hear pollen counts on weather reports for our protection, but when it comes to radiation emissions from nuclear power plants, we don’t know when, where or how much.  The public has a right to know when we are being exposed to radioactive releases and dye-markers can make these poisons visible,” said Gretel Johnston, BEST/MATRR member living in Scottsboro, Ala.  “The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not adequately protecting the public.”  

In the letter, NRC is urged to cease the 50-year old commercial nuclear plant experiment which produces radioactive waste piles that remain toxic for 100,000 years and require expensive management and security.  With cheaper and safer power available, nuclear power does not justify the cost to people or the environment.  The letter notes that one in three Americans now live within the 50-mile danger zone of a nuclear plant and are unknowingly being exposed to nuclear radiation every day in addition to the usual background radiation.  It points out that nuclear plants are vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires, containment metal-fatigue, loss of coolant backup power, and/or terrorist attacks. 

In addition to the request for visible dye-markers in radiation emissions, the letter lists three additional requests:

1.  Require that the public be alerted via news reports (like pollen alerts) to exposures to all radiation releases.

2.  Require that all radioactive trash be stored using the safest known technologies.

3.  Resolve to phase out the production of more radionuclides by not granting any more commercial reactor licenses, either for new or extended operation. 

Organizations signing on to the letter are:

Mothers Against Tennessee River Radiation

Bellefonte Efficiency & Sustainability Team

Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League

Neighborhood Environment Watch

Tennessee Environmental Council

Mountain Justice

Deep Green Resistance

Safe Alternatives for Future Energy Carolinas

Georgia Women’s Actions for New Directions

Citizens to End Nuclear Dumping in Tennessee

Nuclear Watch South

Concerned Citizens of Shell Bluff

People Against a Radioactive Chesapeake

Individuals may also sign the letter at


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