Friday, June 21, 2013

Booting NRC Chairmen MacFarland Out Of NRC

BS grandstanding for her San Onofre audience... 
The Senate has confirmed Allison Macfarlane for a new term as chairwoman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Macfarlane, a geologist, has led the commission since last year.
She said in a statement that she was honored to be nominated for a full five-year term as chairwoman and grateful for the Senate vote Thursday night to confirm her. She pledged to make the commission transparent and open to public engagement.
Macfarlane has sparred with Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California over access to commission documents related to the San Onofre nuclear plant in California. The plan's operator said earlier this month that it will shut down operations after a series of problems

Personally I don’t think she deserves a second term.

I’d seen the secrecy of the NRC intensify over the last two years and their extreme insecurity...
Basically the theme or system is…they got four or a majority of extremist right wing nuclear apologist as commissioners. The weak nuclear apologist gets thrown out of the nest to keep the agency disruptive and unorganized. That is what the nukies boys are looking for.
I’ll bet you the extremist commissioners are voting to withhold information to the Senator Boxer…thereby scapegoating the chairman. It is the same deal with how they got rid of Jascko.
So here we are 5 years into the Obama administration…with safety being checkmated by the right wing majority leaning nukie commissioners. Right, the go with the flow Obama and the ineffectual democrats...the fear of standing up to what your beliefs are…this is the world  they all brings us.
Macfarlane’s administration has been really weak because she never had deep knowledge of how nuclear power works…this past year she has been in training. So in order to survive, she had to take counsel with the polluted agency heads.
So Obama will replace her with another extremist nukie republican…just because it is the politically expedient way to go. It is the game he played all throughout his administration.   
So what will we happen if she gets booted? Personally I think Boxer is politically posturing…like she has been all through the San Onofre debacle. These plants have been spinning wildly out of control before the steam generator issue and she has had a inability to use her political power to bring the NRC under control to protect her population. Right, she only jumps in after the billion dollar accident to get her face into the media.
I honestly don’t know if Boxer’s tactics are bettering or obstructing the NRC. Sometimes your friends are really your enemies!
1)    Boxer will cave because all she wants is to get her name in the media.
2)    So I think Obama and Reid with have to get an extremist nukie in order to get nominated for the commission. With that, it is highly improbable she would gain the votes because all the republicans want to do is obstruct the administration.
3)    So they will go through till after the midterms with only four members…probably go through the next three years with only four commissioners.
4)    I would nominated Svinicki because she is the weakest…the nukie establishment will get blamed for the destruction or meltdown of a nuclear facility. Ostendorff is a close second because he would be attached to the nuclear establishment.
5)    The anti-nuclear establishment is dumber than rocks and they should get off the heavy use of pot.

June 20, 2013, 10:00

Tussle Over Nuclear Plant Documents May Sink N.R.C. Appointment

The botched repair job that doomed a California nuclear plant has created a political whirlpool that may be close to claiming another victim: the chairwoman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The issue is no longer the plant itself, San Onofre, which the majority owner, Southern California Edison, announced on June 7 it would permanently close. The problem now is that Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, who is chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and a longtime critic of nuclear power, has been seeking documents from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about the work the utility did and how the commission oversaw that work.
The chairwoman of the commission, Allison M. Macfarlane, agreed during her confirmation hearing to a blanket request to provide documents. Opponents of nuclear power say that some of the San Onofre documents could raise safety issues about plants that are still running. Ms. Boxer’s office said they could also influence California regulators as they decide who should pay the nearly $1 billion cost of addressing the failed repair.
The Senate committee and the nuclear commission are locked in a dispute over the documents, and Dr. Macfarlane’s term ends on June 30. President Obama — who appointed her to fill out the term of the previous chairman, Gregory B. Jaczko, who resigned under pressure last year — has nominated Dr. Macfarlane for a full five-year term, but Ms. Boxer is refusing to have the committee vote on the nomination until the argument over the documents is settled.

The Senate has only three meeting days left before June 30. Dr. Macfarlane, a geologist, has told friends that she has been offered a university teaching position and will accept it if she is not confirmed for a full term.
According to both sides, negotiations between the nuclear commission and the committee are continuing. The commission has been tight-lipped about the nature of the requests and the dispute. Eliot Brenner, a spokesman for the agency, said that Senator Boxer had asked for a variety of documents and that the commission had been “working diligently to provide her what we can.”
According to a spokeswoman for the Senate committee, some of the documents would come from investigations by the nuclear commission’s Office of Investigations and its inspector general, both of which could result in criminal charges. The commission is particularly circumspect about releasing such documents, but Congressional aides maintain that oversight committees have full access to them.
The commission says that some of its members have not approved the release of the documents, according to Senate committee staff members. Collegiality has been a particular goal of Dr. Macfarlane as she attempts to show a deliberate contrast to her predecessor, Dr. Jaczko, who was accused of acting unilaterally. But the extent to which she, as chairwoman of the commission, needs the concurrence of the other commissioners is also disputed.
One of the issues in the demise of San Onofre is the system that the nuclear commission uses to supervise major repair projects. If the new equipment has the same form and function as the old equipment, the review is far less deep than if it is a new type of equipment. In the San Onofre case, giant heat exchangers called steam generators were replaced, and the new generators differed enough from the original ones that they developed vibrations and one of them leaked.
Dozens of reactors have replaced their steam generators, and many more will probably do so in the future. Some nuclear advocates fear that if the documents cast doubt on the oversight process at San Onofre, they will also raise questions about safety at other reactors.
The prospect of losing Dr. Macfarlane has created an odd dynamic, and some experts with a long history of criticizing nuclear power are alarmed by the prospect. “I think that Macfarlane is the best thing to happen to the N.R.C. in a long time,” said Peter G. Crane, a former official in the commission’s legal office who has pressed the commission on several emergency preparedness and radiation safety issues. He praised Dr. Macfarlane’s openness and said, “The dispute over the San Onofre documents is of too little importance in the greater scheme of things for the chairmanship to stand or fall because of it.”
Of the other four members of the commission, two are Democrats and thus probably in line to be appointed chairman if necessary. The senior member is George E. Apostolakis, a risk assessment expert and nuclear engineer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

NRC’s Safety Culture Policy Statement

What does this mean... Enforcement
NRC’s Safety Culture Policy Statement

Sets forth the Commission’s expectation that individuals and organizations performing regulated activities establish and maintain a positive safety culture commensurate with the safety and security significance of their actions and the nature and complexity of their organizations and functions.
What does "commensurate with the safety and security significance" mean?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Licenced Operators Medical Qualification Problem

Licenced Operators Medical qualification problem.

You see how long it takes to come to terms with these problems beginning in 2007 in both Susquehanna and Pilgrim.

Why did these come out on this time...

Submitted by NUCBIZ on June 18, 2013 - 15:31

Since 2008, PPL has been issued three Severity Level (SL) IV violations and one SL III violation related to the medical qualifications of its licensed reactor operators. As a result of these, and other licensed operator reporting issues (some licensee-identified), PPL staff completed a detailed evaluation of these repetitive problems, PPL staff reviewed the medical records of all of its licensed operators and, as a result, on July 20, 2012, submitted ten medical updates to the NRC. Four of the ten updates involved permanent changes in medical conditions that had not been previously submitted within the required 30 days. The other six submittals involved conditions that PPL initially stated were being provided to the NRC “for information only.” However, the NRC independently identified (i.e., as a result of reviews conducted by the NRC contract physicians) that three of these six “Information Only” submittals actually involved operators with permanent changes in medical conditions. These medical conditions did not meet the minimum standards to conduct licensed activities and, therefore, the affected operators should have been removed from licensed activities or conditions added to their licenses before being permitted to continue watch standing. In addition, in December 2012, PPL submitted updates to the NRC for three other individuals that had medical conditions (sleep apnea) that had not been reported in a timely manner as required. Based on questioning of the Medical Review Officer (MRO) and examining physician, NRC inspectors in consultation with NRC contract physicians determined that the individuals did not have the requisite knowledge of the American National Standards Institute/American Nuclear Society (ANSI/ANS) 3.4-1983, "American National Standard Medical Certification and Monitoring of Personnel Requiring Operator Licenses for Nuclear Power Plants."

I think because there is knowingly no consequences over these happened.

This usually occurs because the utilities get behind in generating licences...then they can't afford to lose any.  
The first apparent violation being considered for escalated enforcement involved multiple examples occurring at various times from March 2008 through October 11, 2011, of PNPS licensed operators not meeting certain medical prerequisites for performing NRC-licensed operator activities, and the licensed operators engaging in NRC-licensed activities without ENO obtaining prior NRC approval, as required by Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Section 55.33. Specifically, in one example, a licensed reactor operator, during a medical exam on December 1, 2010, had a blood pressure reading that exceeded the limit specified in ANSI/ANS 3.4-1983, “Medical Certification and Monitoring of Personnel Requiring Operator Licenses for Nuclear Power Plants,” which is the standard to which PNPS certified it conducts its medical exams. The NRC inspectors determined that the Pilgrim Medical Examiner (ME) who conducted the exam was not knowledgeable of the ANSI standard or the minimum acceptable criteria contained therein. As a result, in spite of the RO’s high blood pressure reading, the ME determined the operator to be medically qualified to continue to conduct licensed activities based on his own medical opinion, although the ME did not document a basis for this determination. The ME also failed to notify the facility licensee of the RO’s medical condition. Therefore, the facility licensee did not obtain from the NRC a conditional license for the RO indicating that, in order to continue to conduct licensed activities, the RO must take medication as prescribed to meet the minimum medical requirements.
The NRC also identified examples involving five licensed operators (3 ROs and 2 senior reactor operators (SROs)) who, at various times from March 2008 through October 11, 2011, were not administered stamina tests as part of their required biennial exams and, therefore, did not receive complete biennial exams. The stamina test should have been conducted to assure the operators met the ANSI/ANS 3.4-1983 respiratory and cardiovascular requirements that licensed operators respectively have the capacity and reserve to perform strenuous physical exertion in emergencies and have a tolerance to postural changes and capacity for exertion during emergencies. However, the NRC inspectors identified that the ME did not administer thestamina tests to these licensed operators at the time of their biennial examinations because of various ailments and disabilities reported to him by the operators at the time of the exams. The ME did not document the basis for these decisions or notify the facility licensee of the operators’conditions.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Palisades Nuclear Plant Is Back?

So they were at 3% last night at midnight...

Palisades Tank Leak Repaired — Safe to Restart

by Moderator
Prema Chandrathil
Region III Public Affairs Officer
After intense NRC scrutiny that confirmed the plant is safe to operate, the Palisades nuclear power plant in Michigan restarted yesterday after more than a month shutdown.
In total 10 NRC inspectors performed a wide range of inspections to ensure the leak in a refueling water tank, the reason for the shutdown, was fixed.
Entergy employees identified a leak from the tank on May 5.The leak exceeded the level Entergy had committed to the NRC, which required the plant to shut down to ensure structural integrity of the tank...
So from May 6 to today is about 41 another month of shutdown...
Isn't that pathetic with all that work they can't guarantee no more leaks...
If small leaks are discovered we expect Entergy to evaluate them according to the NRC’s rules, and take appropriate action
 43 days!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Entergy-Pilgrim Nuclear Plant SRVs Again

The old NRC two step with not answering me? I ask for it to be put on the docket...sound like it won't.

I bet you they don't like me pointing fingers on the guy who signed the LER....

This is a habit of the NRC... minimizing the NRC's profile...not giving me a reason for it.

From: "Guzman, Richard">
To: 'Michael Mulligan'
Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2013 6:20 PMSubject: RE: 2.206 Petition re: Pilgrim Nuclear Plant SRVs - PRB Teleconference 6/11/13, 3  
Mr. Mulligan, 
The PRB has received your messages below and it will be included in the Board’s consideration of your 2.206 petition request. 
Rich GuzmanSr. Project ManagerNRR/DORL/LPL1-1US NRC
So they interpret "deliberate" and "intent" is all a educated word game...they make these regulation unenforceable. They use regulations in a way that doesn't control the bad behavior of the licencee or the NRC itself. The hurdle of the standard is so high you need the culprit to admit his intent and it being deliberate...that is how the industry weakened federal oversight. 

The NRC needs unattainable proof of deliberateness and intention... 

§ 50.9 Completeness and accuracy of information.
(a) Information provided to the Commission by an applicant for a license or by a licensee or information required by statute or by the Commission's regulations, orders, or license conditions to be maintained by the applicant or the licensee shall be complete and accurate in all material respects

§ 50.5 Deliberate misconduct.
(a) Any licensee, applicant for a license, employee of a licensee or applicant; or any contractor (including a supplier or consultant), subcontractor, employee of a contractor or subcontractor of any licensee or applicant for a license, who knowingly provides to any licensee, applicant, contractor, or subcontractor, any components, equipment, materials, or other goods or services that relate to a licensee's or applicant's activities in this part, may not:
(1) Engage in deliberate misconduct that causes or would have caused, if not detected, a licensee or applicant to be in violation of any rule, regulation, or order; or any term, condition, or limitation of any license issued by the Commission; or
(2) Deliberately submit to the NRC, a licensee, an applicant, or a licensee's or applicant's contractor or subcontractor, information that the person submitting the information knows to be incomplete or inaccurate in some respect material to the NRC.
(b) A person who violates paragraph (a)(1) or (a)(2) of this section may be subject to enforcement action in accordance with the procedures in 10 CFR part 2, subpart B.
(c) For the purposes of paragraph (a)(1) of this section, deliberate misconduct by a person means an intentional act or omission that the person knows:
(1) Would cause a licensee or applicant to be in violation of any rule, regulation, or order; or any term, condition, or limitation, of any license issued by the Commission; or
(2) Constitutes a violation of a requirement, procedure, instruction, contract, purchase order, or policy of a licensee, applicant, contractor, or subcontractor.

[63 FR 1897, Jan 13, 1998]

From: Michael Mulligan 

To: "Guzman, Richard"
Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2013 5:19 PM
Subject: Re: 2.206 Petition re: Pilgrim Nuclear Plant SRVs - PRB Teleconference 6/11/13, 3-4p

Mr Guzman,

In addition:

So I am saying Entergy’s Ralph A. Dodds, III (Director, Nuclear Safety Assurance) intentionally materially mis-represented the facts and falsified a federal document with a signature…in that he stated there were “no” three stage SRV leakage problems anywhere out in the nuclear industry in LER 2011-007-00.

I request that the NRC charge him with falsification?

LER 20011-007-00
“There are no previous first stage leakage occurrences with these safety relief valves since all four Safety Relief Valves were newly installed in April/May, 2011, during Refueling Outage 18."
"However, the industry has experienced leakage with otherTarget Rock Model safety relief valves at other plants."
This below sentence in 2013-02-00 indicts Mr. Dodds in LER 2011-007-00. Doesn't this whole deal with the SRVs remind us of the Palisades SIRWT? In the LER letter dated of Feb 27, 2013, “he knew or should have known” that many plants with Target Rock three stage SRV where leaking. Including new valves upon first startup.

"The industry has experienced numerous instances where SRV leakage has occurred at other plants with other Target Rock Model three stage safety relief valves"
You should consider a model of a SRV valve as having three stages and near identical design independent of size…
As a note, per 10 CFR 21 bellows failure event report number # 4896, this implies they are the same model and all leakers.
"The following plants are running with bellows P/N303480-1 installed: Limerick 1 & 2, Pilgrim, and J.A. Fitzpatrick."
It is neat how he restructured the below is close, but with a completely different meaning. It is not new information!
2013: "The industry has experienced numerous instances where SRV leakage has occurred at other plants with other Target Rock Model three stage safety relief valves"

...2011: "However, the industry has experienced leakage with other Target Rock Model safety relief valves at other plants."
I never have any anonymity or confidentially needs!

He lied about no past "leakage" in VY SRVs and no leaks in three stage relief valves...


I get it, the NRC won’t find anyone to indict themselves or their buddies in the group. Not enough evidence Mike, again.

The documents are contaminated much like a brain surgeon using the bathroom and then not washing his hand…then going back to your open brain surgery and sticking his ungloved fingers in your open brain.

It is as dirty as that…with as much consequences and significance…

From: Michael Mulligan
To: "Guzman, Richard"
Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 12:16 PM
Subject: Re: 2.206 Petition re: Pilgrim Nuclear Plant SRVs - PRB Teleconference 6/11/13, 3-4p

Mr Guzman,

Could you add this as an addendum to this 2.206? (Allegation). I am trying to better explain the question posed to me in the 2.206 yesterday.

The intentional falsification was…Entergy intentionally gave incomplete information to me and the public to make the leaking problem seem smaller than it really was from 2011-007-02. The quality of the information on the first LER and its update is pathetic.

This is a highly technical and complex endeavor. You could swamp the good citizen with a technical nuance they wouldn’t understand that is technically correct…but on big picture it could be a flagrant falsification with tricky technical wording.

The pattern is, they submit a abysmally inaccurate first LER..they slowly correct  it over many years. Or some of the misinformation. The product of the misinformation isn't newly developed is just sloppiness.

The truth was there were three leaks…two from the C second stage and one from the D pilot valve in LER 20011-007-00. In LER 2011-007-00 Entergy only admitted to one leak.

The first LER states only that the 3D pilot valve was repaired/ replace and retested…no talk with fixing the 3C second stage. No correcting it on the update. Trying to make a San Onofre low profile…like to get them to the outage and forgo a public hearing? We know there is no hearing with Pilgrim…but does Entergy has the San Onofre disease of doing whatever they can to limit public exposure up to and including severely sabotaging themselves.

Yea, wink, wink, we believe you four month later you actually fixed just forgot to put it in the federal documents.

What was the motivation to only admit one leak?

So why didn’t Entergy state honestly in 2011 that these are all the leaks we had to date: two with the 3C second stage and one leak with the 3D pilot valve?

I think they were being intentionally word tricky…gaming language in the ends of obscuring the truth… with only admitting the first stage leak. And then not to admit the second stage leak until many months later? Is it going on throughout the industry thanks to The Three Wise Monkeys "see and hear no evil" NRC.

LER 2011-007-00
“There are no previous first stage leakage occurrences with these safety relief valves since all four Safety Relief Valves were newly installed in April/May, 2011, during Refueling Outage 18.”

LER 2013-002-02
"On May 18, 2011 and November 25, 2011, SRV RV 203-3C second stage pilot valve minor leakage was observed."

Is this below called being a professional engineer or a highly competent safety engineering organization? How can you trust the honesty Entergy…did they address the 3C or didn’t they?

LER 2007-007-00 says the second stage wasn’t addressed. Why didn’t the NRC make them fix the inaccuracy? If they can't keep their federal safety paperwork straight...should they operate a nuclear plant? You can't yank a license for the NRC to oversee nuclear power plant? We think the first LER is the most important.

Again, it is beyond atrocious since 2011 the NRC allows Pilgrim get away with not understanding what has caused these "new" leaking valves, with all the shutdowns and power reductions.

LER 20011-007-00
“The identified condition is a leaking SRV pilot. Based on a review of plant data, the only pilot to exhibit signs of leakage is RV-203-3D. The leaking pilot has been replaced."

"The pilot stage of RV-203-3D was removed. Following the shutdown, RV-203-3D was repaired with a new pilot valve and the plant was returned to full power operation."

LER 2013-002-02
“On December 26, 2011, SRV, RV-203-3D first stage pilot valve experienced leakage that exceeded the operability criteria while operating at full power. Plant was shutdown as required by TS 3.6.D.2, RV 203-3C and 3D were repaired and the plant returned to full power operation.”

Entergy is implying the three stage SRV shows no indication of ever having leakage. This is how college educated do falsifying federal document? Hyper technically correct, but holistically on the big picture lying through their teeth?

It depends on what the meaning of is, is? Or “model” or when to insert “three stage relief”?

The first implies there is no concern of industry wide issue with the three stage SRV valves, the second implies there are widespread issues with leaking three stage relief valves.

Adding three stages to the sentence on 2013-02 flagrantly changes the meaning of the sentence. These guys are college educated and their bosses….I don’t buy it this is unintentional. The intent was to use sparse technical working that maybe a technical insider would understand…but outsiders would interpret it in a different fashion. Its intent was to be deceptive to outsiders and prevent them from participating in licensing and operating safety issues.

I could give the NRC other examples, exactly like this on inaccurate LERS …the VY SRV treaded seal?

LER 20011-007-00
"However, the industry has experienced leakage with other Target Rock Model safety relief valves at other plants."

LER 2013-002-02
‘The industry has experienced numerous instances where SRV leakage has occurred at other plants with other Target Rock Model three stage safety relief valves”

The only way you can make this below statement true is see and calculate the whole cohort of risk with leaking SRV valves. Like testing and measuring in all leaking SRV valves the opening set point inaccuracy throughout the industry…does leaking SRVs cause set point inaccuracy and figure out the prevalence of it to put into the risk analysis calculation?

Again they are using isolated single event risk when everyone knows it is a common mode failure for all four SRVs…admitted in this LER. They have no idea yet what was the casual factor with the leaking valves or bellows failure.

Any safety risk analyses engineer worth is salt would know the 1.OE-7 number is a complete falsification and is totally inaccurate within this issues with leaking SRV global safety. The idea you could “bound safety” without understanding the issues that caused this. These guys are “superstitious witch doctors” not based on science!

A well trodden tool to knowingly overstate safety at a nuclear plant.

LER 2013-002-02
"The impact of setpoint drift (0.8% below the 3% tolerance) is considered to be bounded by delta change in core damage frequency of less than 1.OE-7."

"Pilot S/N 23 RV-203-3B
SRV Position 23 RV-203-3B
As-Found Deviation 23 RV-203-3B"

Again, this below admission in this late stage was to prettify 2011-007-00. It takes them basically two inaccurate LER federal documents and four months to come clean.

LER 2013-002-02
“During the outage for RV-203-3D, the entire RV 203-3C was replaced with a new valve.”


Mike Mulligan
Hinsdale, NH

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Officials Discuss New Hinsdale-Brattleboro bridge

June 7

Told you...the battle of the dead and dying NH bridges...

"I bet you it will only be a matter of days before Bellow Falls comes begging to the Reformer to create a article about their bridge woes."

Vt. town considers meeting on closed bridge

Posted: Jun 07, 2013 7:15 AM EDTUpdated: Jun 07, 2013 7:15 AM EDT

ROCKINGHAM, Vt. (AP) - A Vermont town selectboard is thinking of holding a public meeting on a bridge that's been closed for four years to bring more attention to it.
The well-traveled Vilas Bridge over the Connecticut River was closed in 2009 after an inspection found continued deterioration of the bridge deck.
The bridge, which Bellows Falls, Vt., to Walpole, N.H., was built in 1930. It's been on New Hampshire's Red List of troubled bridges for more than 20 years, but there are no immediate plans to repair it, partly because of funding challenges and nearby travel alternatives, such as the Arch Bridge.
The Claremont Eagle-Times ( reports the selectboard in Rockingham brought up the idea at a board meeting this week. Officials would also invite selectmen from neighboring Walpole and North Walpole, N.H.
Information from: Eagle Times,
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
See, the political code language of the DOT an the state got to get red listed before they will even think of replacing the bridge..
The N.H. Department of Transportation will hold a public information meeting June 12 about a proposed Keene bridge rehabilitation project on Elm Street. The bridge carries Routes 9 and 10 over Elm Street. 
The meeting, which will be part of the City Council’s municipal services, facilities and infrastructure meeting, will give information about the proposed project to residents and public officials. Public input is encouraged.

The bridge is one of 10 in Keene that have been “red-listed” by the transportation department,

Typical Reformer...too lazy to get a current picture. I bet you it will only be a matter of days before Bellow Falls comes begging to the Reformer to create a article about their bridge woes.

Out delapatated bridge wars between Hinsdale/Bratt and Bellow Falls...
Officials discuss new Hinsdale-Brattleboro bridge

By DOMENIC POLI / Reformer
Posted: 06/04/2013 03:00:00 AM EDT
June 4, 2013 11:1Updated: 06/04/2013 07:12:10 AM EDT
  (Zachary P. Stephens/Brattleboro Reformer)

Tuesday June 4, 2013
BRATTLEBORO - Representatives from Vermont and New Hampshire on Monday decided a timeline must be carefully mapped out in order to start building a structure replacing two bridges that are considered "functionally obsolete," yet still safe for traffic.
Fourteen people convened in a second-floor room of the Brattleboro Municipal Center to discuss strategies for improving the bridge project's readiness and prepare arguments for the project's inclusion in the New Hampshire Ten Year Plan.
Attendees included JB Mack, the principal planner for the Southwest Region Planning Commission, Hinsdale Selectman Jay Ebbinghausen, N.H. State Rep. Bill Butynski (D-Hinsdale, Chesterfield, Winchester), Vt. State Rep. Mollie Burke, a Brattleboro Democrat and a member of the State House Transportation Committee, and Mark Richardson, Administrator Bureau of Bridge Design at the N.H. Department of Transportation.
Danny Landry, project manager at the Vermont Agency of Transportation, took part in the discussion via speakerphone.
The next significant milestone for the project is a public hearing regarding the environmental assessment document, which Landry said should be ready within the next week or so. There will be another meeting similar to Monday's following the public hearing, which is expected to be held this month.
Brattleboro is now connected to Hinsdale, N.H., by two Pennsylvania truss bridges that were built in 1920. The Anna Hunt  Marsh Bridge connects Brattleboro to Hinsdale Island, which is connected to Hinsdale by the Charles Dana Bridge. Mack previously told the Reformer that federal highway standards dictate the bridges are too narrow and have insufficient weight limits and vertical clearances.

According to New Hampshire's website, the purpose of the Ten Year Plan is "to develop and implement a plan allowing New Hampshire to fully participate in federally supported transportation improvement projects as well as to outline projects and programs funded with State transportation dollars." The plan would be used to rehabilitated the two existing bridges.
Everyone at the meeting agreed Vermont and New Hampshire cannot afford to have the two bridges "red-listed," or closed due to deficiencies within the next 10 years. Therefore, everyone said it is vital to start constructing a bridge that will replace them. It would begin near the stop light at the former Walmart location, span the Connecticut River, the southern portion of Hinsdale Island and the Merrill Gas Company tank farm on Vernon Road and then touch down near Brattleboro's "malfunction junction." The older bridges would be rehabilitated and would still be used for pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
Domenic Poli can be reached at, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.