Keeping Peace of Mind Living Near Nuclear Power Plants

Keeping Peace of Mind Living Near Nuclear Power Plants

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Nuclear Power Plant

Nuclear Power generates 1/5th of the energy used in the USA today.

Nuclear power is one of the main sources of electrical power generation in use today, and by all accounts it is also some of the safest and most environmental friendly.  Coal, for example, producing the majority of electrical power we use today, but it also producing carbon emissions as dramatically high rates.  Wind and solar power, while on the rise, don’t come near to producing the amount of energy necessary to support our large nation.

Even with the safety record of nuclear power in the United States, one doesn’t have to go far to see examples of disastrous outcomes following meltdowns and other disasters across the world.  It is important to keep a level head when approaching the topic of nuclear safety and not choose one side staunchly over another.  Opponents will site the disasters that have occurred throughout the world, such as Chernobyl and, more recently, Fukushima, but may not offer viable options to producing the amount of energy necessary to support the general public.  Proponents will likely claim it is the safest form of energy in use today, while not giving credence or voice to the legitimate concerns around disaster.

Washington State is home to Columbia Generating Plant (formerly known as WNP-2) which is the last surviving of 5 power plants originally planned for use within the state.  It is licensed to operate through 2023, and the use of it’s energy has grown steadily over the past decade to now approaching 10 Million Mega-Watt Hours.  It’s obvious that this is a large part of the states energy infrastructure and it isn’t going away anytime soon, so residents need to be aware and comfortable with its presence as well as it’s safety concerns.

There are many ways in which the safety of the workers, employees and general public is insured when it comes to nuclear power facilities.  There are many different nuclear power outfitters that provide safety equipment and high grade tools to help handle the radiation levels that are present when dealing directly with the reactor core, in addition to providing safety throughout the premises in order to avoid potential problems with overheating, etc.

It’s important to realize the Fukushima was the result of a natural disaster, and while this isn’t a comforting thought to most, the reaction from the professional community has been a good one.  More preparation for potential outlier events such as earthquakes, tidal waves or other acts of God have started to make their way into the standard operating procedures for nuclear power facilities.  This provides much needed peace of mind with regard to the safety and security of the nuclear reactors in our State and throughout the USA.

While the presense of nuclear reactors and the use of nuclear energy is still occuring throughout the US, the rise of alternative energies such as solar and wind is also on the rise.  This will likely surmount nuclear, coal and other fossil fuel energy sources in the coming decades.

 

Emergency Preparedness

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Cougars vs. Huskies – The Apple Cup (Washington College Football)

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Washington State Cougars vs. Washington Huskies in this years Apple Cup

The Washington State University Cougars faced off against the Washington University Huskies in the annual “Apple Cup” this past Friday.  The yearly Washington College Football showdown proved to be a disappointment to Cougars fans, who saw their teem fall by a significant margin of 45-10.  The Huskies took advantage of some recent injuries to the opposing quarterback (an apparent concussion occurring in last week’s game) and were able to solidify a lead early on.

The Cougars ended up with seven (7) turnovers, which is the most the team has given up in over 6 years, dating back to their 2009 game against Hawaii.  Several of the turnovers were a result, directly or indirectly, of the inexperienced 2nd string quarterback for Washington State.  While the Freshman Luke Falk did throw for 288 yards, they failed to take advantage of several scoring opportunities in the first half alone.

This game saw it’s share of injury as well, with Washington State wide receiver (WR) Gabe Marks suffered an apparrent right knee injury, after being bent awkwardly during a play.  This play was followed quickly by another scoring drive by the Huskies.

The Cougars will still be going to a bowl game again this year (making it two years in a row under their current coach), but they were plagued by turnovers and missed out on a 10 win season.  Interceptions and fumbles were both returned, for 69 yards and 28 yards respectively, by Huskies’ Jones and Gardenhire.  One certainly has to wonder if anyone picked either of these teams in their daily fantasy football league, and how they felt about the outcome, it certainly couldn’t have been pretty for Cougar fans.  The Huskies were favored in the game, but certainly not by such a large margin.

The Apple Cup has been around for over 100 years, and this years game is just the latest edition.  It is customary for the game to be the last game of the regular season, usually on or around thanksgiving, and they alternate which stadium to play the game it (with Washington taking the Odd years, and Washington state taking the Even years).  This years results are no surprise to historians of Washington State Football, as the Huskies lead the rivalry decidedly with a 70–32–6 record over the last century plus.

The winner of the cup is presented with a trophy from the Governer of Washington State, in fact for many decades the trophy was simply called “The Governors Trophy”, but was renamed to give a nod to Washington States large production of apple crops.  Looks like WSU will have one more year to hold the trop (in addition to bragging rights), the Cougars will have to wait until next year.

Fallen Heroes – SPC Samuel D. Stone

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SPC Samuel D. Stone
died of injuries sustained in combat logistical patrol accident on May 31st 2009

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The Washington National Guard regrets to announce the death of one of its members serving on federal active duty in Iraq.

Specialist Samuel Donald Stone, age 20 from Port Orchard, a machine gunner assigned to Troop C, 1st Squadron, 303rd Cavalry Regiment, a part of the 81st Brigade Combat Team, died May 31st, 2009 as a result of a vehicle accident during a mounted combat logistical patrol near Tallil, Iraq.

Governor Chris Gregoire and Major General Timothy J. Lowenberg, The Adjutant General, have spoken with SPC Stone’s parents to offer their support and condolences during this time of bereavement. “I am deeply moved by Samuel Stone’s service and the impact he had on those around him. The people of Washington join me in honoring his sacrifice and expressing our condolences to his family, friends and community,” said Governor Gregoire.

“SPC Stone was an outstanding soldier who served with distinction with his primary aviation unit (the 66th Theater Aviation Command) and his “adopted” unit (the 81st Brigade Combat Team) for this combat deployment. We miss him tremendously and will always remember his commitment to his state, nation and fellow soldiers,” said Maj. Gen. Lowenberg.

Samuel Stone graduated from Wellpinit High School, in Wellpinit, Washington in March of 2003. He enlisted in the Washington Army National Guard on March 21, 2007 as a CH-47 Chinook Helicopter Repairer and was the Distinguished Honor Graduate in his training class. A well-respected member of the 66th Theater Aviation Command, SPC Stone was highly regarded for his technical proficiency and his can-do attitude, as evidenced by his award of the Basic Aviator Badge. In August of 2008, he volunteered to deploy with the 81st Brigade Combat Team for its second combat deployment to Iraq. During his tour of duty there, his proficiency and excellence earned him a promotion to the rank of Specialist in April.

SPC Samuel Stone was born in Bremerton, WA on June 10th, 1988. He worked as a construction worker and a carpenter by trade. He is survived by his parents Nancy & Stephen Stone of Port Orchard, WA, his sister Sarah Sorensen, and his brothers Jay Stone and Todd Conrad.

Photo Courtsey KOMO4 TV – Posted June 2009spc_stone

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WADS Receives Organizational Excellence Award

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Story & photo by Maj Herb Porter

The Western Air Defense Sector (WADS) McChord AFB, Tacoma, WA, recently celebrated another milestone in its illustrious career as it was awarded the WADS_Med1998 Air Force Organizational Excellence Award. Being one of only eight Air National Guard units to win such a coveted honor, the members of the WADS proved once again that the Air National Guard is truly a world class organization.

Maj General. Paul A. Weaver Jr., Director of the Air National Guard, congratulated the sector on such a prestigious award. “The competition was extremely keen,” he stated, “and the winner is commended for having been selected from an outstanding group of nominees. The dedication….of the members of this unit enables the Air National Guard to fulfill its commitment to the missions of peacekeeping, humanitarian relief, domestic improvement, and most important of all, the defense of America”.

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Similarly, Colonel John L. Cromwell, WADS Commander, added his accolades, further praising the sector’s men and women. “The WADS has uniquely distinguished itself with exceptional service in support of the Air Force, the Air National Guard, the state of Washington, and the local community.

Col Cromwell added, “We have developed an outstanding reputation from the primary customers at the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the joint community in general, for our service support, technical innovation, and overall commitment to excellence. I am really proud of our people…they truly deserve this honor.”

The Commander of the Washington Air National Guard, also lauded WADS’ accomplishments. Maj General Frank Scoggins stated: “In dozens of major exercises, the unit has been lauded with praise, congratulations, and compliments from major command commanders, inspectors general, civilian drug enforcement officials, and sister service senior leaders”. General Scoggins further added: “The sector sets the standard for continuous volunteerism and its outstanding support for real-world air defense missions.”

The sector is the Air National Guard organization responsible for the air sovereignty of the western 63% of the continental United States. More than 300 Washington Air National Guard members at WADS have operational control of fighters on continuous alert, keeping track of 1.9 million square miles of airspace, from Texas to the Pacific Coast, across to North Dakota. WADS works directly with three alert bases, where pilots wait for the call to identify unknown aircraft that could be a threat to the nation’s air sovereignty. In the award-judging period from May 15, 1996 to May 14, 1998, the sector “scrambled” jets 129 times to identify these “unknown riders”. The WADS scrambled jets another 42 times against potential and actual drug smugglers to support the Domestic Air Interdiction Coordination Center and U.S. Drug Enforcement agencies.

To hone its air sovereignty skills, the sector participated in numerous deployments and exercises during the judging period, including the Felix SPADE – Simulated Penetration Air Defense Exercises — program. During SPADE, the sector practiced 46 live no-notice airspace penetrations. The exercise tested WADS’ ability to detect, intercept, and identify a simulated unknown aircraft trying to violate national sovereignty. The sector was 100 % successful. These exercises paid off in the real world, according to Colonel Cromwell. The sector assisted civilian law enforcement agencies in their arrests of drug smugglers and the seizures of more than 900 kilos of marijuana and 400 kilos of cocaine worth more than $140 million. It also deployed mission-ready personnel for command and control duties to Croatia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Central and South America. Further proof of the sector’s excellence was demonstrated during its most recent operational inspection. WADS achieved the highest rating possible given by the Office of the Air Force Inspector General during its most recent Organizational Readiness Inspection (ORI).

WADS Airman Selected as Airman of the Year

Air Guard Outstanding Airman Of The Year For 1998 Selected

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Story by Maj Herb Porter – Photo courtesy WADS

Subsequent to this article SSgt Moore went on to be selected as the top Airman for the entire Air Force (active and reserve component). Well done SSgt Moore!
MOOREThe Air National Guard recently selected Staff Sergeant Jay Moore, a Weapons Director Technician who serves with the Western Air Defense Sector (WADS), located on McChord Air Force Base, Tacoma WA, as its Outstanding Airman of the Year for 1998. SSgt Moore was select from amongst competing Air Guard Airmen and NCO’s from throughout the United States.

Staff Sergeant Moore joined the Washington Air National Guard in 1996 and was stationed at the Western Air Defense Sector at McChord AFB. Previously he had been assigned to Fort Lewis, WA as a Carpentry and Masonry Specialist with the 864th Engineer Battalion, having served in Desert Storm. He first enlisted in the military in 1986 in the Air Force Reserve, as a member of the 307th Red Horse Squadron. He was promoted to Staff Sergeant in December 1998.

To win such a prestigious honor, Sergeant Moore consistently demonstrated extraordinary performance in many diverse jobs, fulfilling a wide variety of responsibilities, while supporting the WADS air defense mission. He was the only airman who was qualified as a WDT consistently excelling at coordinating with air traffic control agencies for transferring aircraft control responsibility and conducting effective intercept missions. Sergeant Moore further demonstrated his outstanding operational expertise by timely coordination and superb situational awareness during several WADS evaluation exercises. In addition, he exceeded Air Combat Command’s Graduated Combat Capability standards by over 600%, completing more intercept training missions that 92% of any other WDT in the sector this year. And on top of that, Sergeant Moore is only one of three airmen qualified on two operational duty sections, maintaining a second qualification as a Tracking Technician, responsible for detecting and tracking airborne objects within the WADS 1.9 million miles of airspace.

Being the Air National Guard’s top airman is quite an accomplishment. Many echoed that sentiment upon learning of his selection for such an honor. Former State Command Chief Master Sergeant Marvin King aptly summarized it. “To have SSgt Moore recognized as the most outstanding airman in the entire Air National Guard is a tribute, not only to him, but to all the enlisted men and women of the Washington Air National Guard”. He further added, “It is also a tribute to the outstanding leadership at WADS which fosters and environment that reflects the Air Force core values. I personally salute Sergeant Moore on his achievements and I thank him for being the kind of person who will be a model airman for our future”. Another accolade of praise came from Sergeant Moore’s flight superintendent, Senior Master Sergeant Dave Gorham; “Sergeant Moore is constantly hungry. He is always looking for new challenges. I wish I had twenty more like him”.

When asked about his selection, joining such a unique circle of individuals, Sergeant Moore took it all in strive, saying: “It is a really good accomplishment for me. I am shooting for Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year next year”. In terms of other immediate goals, Sergeant Moore plans to also complete his Associate Degree in Criminal Justice. He is also the cornerstone of the Sector’s Honor Guard, having served as a member of the flag detail in numerous official functions. His dedication and enthusiasm is further evident by his support of unit and base intramural activities, including the WADS football and Over-30 basketball team.

As a result of his selection, Sergeant Moore will be the Air National Guard’s nominee for the Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year Competition. He was also the Washington Air National Guard’s Airman of the Year and the WADS Airman of The Quarter for 1998.

Additional WADS Articles: 50th Anniversary & Organizational Excellence Award