The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, January 09, 1980, Image 3
WEDNESDAY. JANUARY 9, 1980
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Nuclear waste ban requested by Clements
United Press International
AUSTIN — Calling methods of
storing nuclear waste at Todd Ship-
yard’s temporary site on Pelican Is
land “an absolutely deplorable situ-
tion,” Gov. Bill Clements has re
quested a ban on further shipments
of nuclear waste until the site is
The government requested the
ban in a letter Monday to state
Health Commissioner, Dr. Robert
Bernstein, suggesting that Todd be
directed to clean up conditions at the
island site north of Galvtston Island
and to begin shipments of waste to
out-of-state permanent dsposal sites
He asked Bernstein tolirect Todd
to “receive no additional shipments
of radioactive waste of any form” and
to remove immediately all nuclear
waste material in storage for more
than a year.
Clements asked that he ban re
main in effect until the Galveston
facility comes into full compliance
with the terms of its licerse and state
The governor said Todd Shipyards
management officials admitted to a
representative of his energy office
Friday that the operation currently is
in violation of its license issued by
the state Department of Health.
The governor expressed alarm the
Todd facility has more than 11,000
drums of nuclear waste on hand —
some of which have been in storage
for several years, although the
license governing the site states that
no drum shall be stored for more
than one year.
He said the facility also stores ab
out 345,000 gallons of cooling water
from a nuclear reactor in Sacramen
to, Calif., and has been storing water
from an Arkansas nuclear reactor
“This is an abosultely deplorable
situation, and one which must be
rectified immediately, the governor
Clements also asked Bernstein to
begin an early review of all storage
sites operating in Texas.
“The proper handling of our low-
level nuclear wastes is absolutely
essential in order to assure that our
medical facilities in Texas can con
tinue to provide life-saving services
through nuclear diagnoses and ther
apy,” Clements wrote Dr. Bern
“Low-level nuclear equipment
used by industry in Texas is also cri
tically important to our economy,”
fie wrote. Having recognized the
economic and health necessity of
nuclear technology in Texas, I be
lieve we should strengthen our waste
disposal program to protect to the
maximum extent possible the public
health and safety.”
Oil rig collapses off Galveston coast;
no injuries or pollution reported
United Press International
GALVESTON — An offshore oil
rig preparing to drill a test well lost
support in “one or two of its three
legs” and collapsed into the Gulf of
Mexico before dawn Tuesday. The
35crew members evacuated without
Coast Guard spokesman Laurel
McMarlin said the exploration rig
Triton II, owned by Western
Oceanic Inc. of Houston, collapsed
70 miles southeast of Galveston ab
out 5 a.m.
The jack-up rig, a 250-foot-long
barge-like platform with three crank-
down legs, had been raised 5 feet
above the waves to test its footing on
the seafloor when it collapsed into
A Western spokesman said the rig
fell such a short distance that the
crew was able to evacuate “using
normal evacuation systems” without
United Press International
AUSTIN — Directors of American
Atheists have approved a resolution
to severely and publicly criticize
President Carter for what the group
- lied his “unjustifiable intrusion of a
Ntant appeal to religious prejudice
n his Jan. 4 address to the nation.
In that speech, Carter referred to
the Russian invasion of Afganistan as
a deliberate effort of a powerful
atheist government to subjugate a
The atheists contended on Monday
that Carter does not make deroga
tory references to the Shiite Muslim
religion when commenting on the
( Ayatollah Khomeini, and demanded
be stop referring to the Russians as
Madalyn Murray O'Hair, presi
dent of the atheist group, said use of
the reference is offensive to atheists,
who she said now comprise about 23
to 27 percent of the U.S. population.
The group demanded that Carter
publicly apologize to American
atheists for the reference.
jumping or falling into the 58-degree
McMarlin said there were no in
juries and no reported pollution. The
rig was reported with one end awash
but still partially supported by its
“We believe one or two «f its three
legs went through the ocean floor
causing the starboard coner of the
rig to tip slightly into thewater,” a
Western spokesman said.
Western Oceanic president James
Huie said the rig, under »ntract to
McMoran Co., had been noved into
the area shortly before the collapse
and was being tested for Sart-up of
exploration drilling when the col
Huie said the crew had lowered
the legs to the seafloor andjlcked the
rig slightly above the waves to test its
footing. Normal drilling height is 25
feet or higher.
He said the crew was pumping
seawater ballast aboard to increase
the rig’s weight gradually when the
“We put a lot of weight on there
with seawater to be sure the bottom
will bear the weight,” Huie said.
“During this, one of the legs appa
rently broke through the sea floor or
something else happened.”
He said “weather was not a fac
tor,” but the exact cause remained
under investigation. He said,
however, that the procedures being
followed were designed to minimize
the risk of loss from such an occurr
“Really, what you could say hap
pened is exactly what was designed
to happen,” Huie said. “We had no
injury and no loss oflife and the rig is
not submerged. It is still being sup
ported by the legs.
Huie said divers would be re
quired to determine the damage to
the fully-insured rig. He said he did
not know whether it could be re
paired on the site or would have to be
Last May another jack-up rig, in
full operation, collapsed into the
Gulf 12 miles south of Galveston,
killing eight crew members.
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