I am writing as a citizen of the United States of America who believes transparency, honesty even when it hurts is the best policy. As the husband of a wife who was diagnosed with Breast Cancer which I attribute to our close proximity to the problem plagued Military/Commercial Indian Point reactors owned by Entergy, it is my belief that citizens have the right to FULL DISCLOURE of all radiation leaks, even when those leaks run contrary to our Military's Operational Security...I do not believe in acceptable collateral damage in the name of nuclear convenience or National Military Superiority when the killer is invisible, and affects people years after the event that contaminated the person or area has left the scene, cannot be held accountable. Having a great familiarity with the Gaseous Diffusions Plants, being involved in the Anti Nuclear Movement now for decades, am too familiar with the means used by our government, the DOE, and DOD to do anything within their power to distance death away from the nuclear contaminants that caused it.
I provide this explanation as a means of setting the stage for the questions I am about to put forth on the USS Hartford Collision with the USS New Orleans that resulted in a 18 foot diameter hole being torn/ripped, smashed or punched into the Hull, doing significant damage to the ship, and contaminating the potable water of the world with the significant spill of some 25,000 gallons of deisel into the Straight of Hormuz.
For those of us that do a lot of Googling, the Storyline being put out by the NAVY's Press/Propaganda machine is not adding up. The visible damage we have been shown, the additional details slowly getting out paint a picture of a near catastrophic accident between these two vessels. The Press Releases (IMO) are meant to deceive, meant to distract people and the press away from the truth. Someone has very carefully stated to the media that there is no harm to the USS Hartford's Nuclear Propulsion System. That is like me driving a Chevy Vega into a brick wall and announcing to the world the tires are in perfect working order. The question, or one of them is, and should be , "is it true that cracks were discovered in the reactor cooling pipes? Checking with some friends of mine, including someone that used to do underwater welding, and has extensive knowledge in the nuclear industry have come to the conclusion that the USS Hartford cannot have been involved in the collision that it had with the USS New Orleans without doing significant, even fatal damage to the piping system that provides reactor cooling.
Those suspicions on my part were/are born out by reports coming from local sources in Bahrain that the Navy has been presented with requests for water sampling from underneath the Nuclear Submarine too ascertain the severity of radioactive leaks.
1. Did the collision between USS Hartford and the USS New Orleans (this includes all events leading up too, during and after [after to be construed as ongoing until the vessels have been repaired and returned to active service] result in the release (in any fashion or by any means) of any radioactive materials (solid, liquid, gas,particle or other means of distribution) into the environment, including within the confines of the submarine, or into the totality of the environment outside of the Submarine.
2. Were any members of the crew, other members of the military (both domestic and foreign) or civilians exposed (in any fashion, and to any limits no matter how small) to radioactive exposures of any type or kind? Please identify by number how many people were exposed, means of exposure and/or ingestion, and the amounts of exposure.
3. Are there on going and/or continuing releases of radiation contamination, and further, what tests are being conducted to test the structural stability of each and every connection, weld joint and pipe within the Cooling System.
A careful review of the photographs so far released to the public show damage to the plane, sail and other exterior structures of the USS Hartford, including but not limited to some serious damage and buckling of plating. Collisions of this nature have obvious damages, and invisible damages that are not discernible to the hidden eye, sometimes weakened welds that cannot be seen even by the most practiced professionals and engineers. In the name of CREW SAFETY, what steps are being taken during the course of investigation and repair to locate, identify and repair these hidden damages that exist on both Naval Vessels? Some additional questions:
1. How thick was the Armor Plate on the USS New Orleans at the point of impact? Further, how far into the USS New Orleans did forward progress carry the USS Hartford. Does the diameter of the point of entry, coupled with the depth of travel/interior damage coincide with the 7 knots/20 knots speed reports that are now out in the public domain?
2. Were any structural beams and/or interior support systems damaged in either or both of these vessels, and if yes, please specifically identify these damages.
3. The sail on the USS Hartford appears to have not only been bent, but actually torn from the hull of the submarine. This indicates numerous problems including a bent periscope(s) as well as the possible damage of the door that would open into the control room. Please describe the damages with specificity.
Early rumors and articles that have appeared on the Internet make it clear that the accident was/is far more significant than the Navy has admitted to the American Populace, admitted to the families of those serving on these vessels. One has to wonder if the USS Hartford can ever be made safe enough to sail again, can be made safe enough even too sail back to America...simply stated, there are too many unanswered questions, and it would be unconscionable to risk the lives of our American Sailors, asking them too board a sub that is not RIGHT, asking them to risk their lives, risk exposure to cancer causing radioactive contaminants just to limp home a critically injured, perhaps all but dead submarine.
Figures being tossed around have a low ball estimate for repair sitting at around $25 Million, and going North from there. The Fifth Fleet flew and emergency damage assessment/repair crew out of Hawaii to the tune (as we understand it) of 17 Engineers and other staff, with supposedly 24 more following them later this week. That is a MASSIVE team for TEMPORARY repairs. When you realize the hole in the USS New Orleans is almost half the size of the one terrorist blew into the side of the USS Cole, and you realize just how serious this accident is, and have to question the ability of either vessel to safely make it home under their own power. What if any steps are being considered right now to use other alternative means to return these ships to their home ports for repair and/or retirement from the fleet?
Lastly, I point out that I made a formal Allegation on 3/23/2009 that was summarily dismissed, not because it lacked merit, but because it was inconvenient to Operation Security, or more appropriately, it asked questions that the NAVY does not want out into the open arena as it would hurt the image of the Nuclear Navy, hurt the image of the nuclear industry. My question...it is SOP to dismiss the legitimate and well founded complaints of American Citizens when they follow the proper protocol, bring their concerns to the Navy's Office of Inspector General?