Officials deny USA's N-plants are unsafe

  Paul Leavitt


  USA Today


  Page 03A

  (Copyright 1991)


  Government and nuclear industry officials Thursday disputed a private advocacy

  group's report that questions the safety of the nation's 111 atomic power plants.

  Those facilities are safer than ever, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission

  spokesman said. The U.S. Council for Energy Awareness said there were 80%

  fewer emergency shutdowns last year than in 1980. Reportable incidents declined

  from 2,362 in 1989 to 1,921 last year. The unfavorable report by Public Citizen

  ranked nuclear plants on the basis of safety, operational cost and hazardous waste

  generated. Worst: Brunswick Unit 2 in Southport, N.C.; Arkansas Unit 1 in

  Russellville, Ark. Best: Prairie Island Units I and II near Minneapolis; Seabrook

  Unit I in Seabrook, N.H. AIDS TRIAL: A jury deadlock caused a mistrial in the

  case of three hemophiliac brothers - Ricky, Robert and Randy Ray - whose

  parents contend the boys got AIDS virus from contaminated blood products.

  Jurors in Tampa federal court could not agree whether Cutter Laboratories and

  Armour Pharmaceutical Co. were negligent for not warning of AIDS. The boys'

  mother, Louise Ray, said she was disappointed there was no verdict. A retrial is



  CUTLINE:LOUISE RAY: AIDS patients' mother


  GATES STAYS: Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates will remain the city's top

  police officer at least until May 1, when a court hearing resumes on whether to

  enforce a 60-day furlough. The hearing recessed Thursday after 3 1/2 hours of

  testimony. The Police Commission furloughed Gates April 4 while it investigates

  complaints that he allowed racism and brutality in the department, contributing to

  the March 3 police beating of motorist Rodney King.


  PAP SMEAR: Illinois Masonic Medical Center officials in Chicago

  acknowledged that a woman had been given a Pap smear with swabs that had

  been used on an AIDS patient. Medical resident Omar Gaeda was suspended

  after he gave a woman a Pap smear April 17 with a cotton swab used by another

  resident to take skin samples from the rectum of a man infected with AIDS,

  hospital officials said. The other resident also has been suspended. The woman,

  in her 30s and mother of two, has sued the hospital. She is taking anti-AIDS drug

  AZT but it's too soon to tell if she has AIDS.


  WEAPONS PLANT SAFETY: The Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant in

  Golden, Colo., plans to reopen some buildings that engineers say are unsafe, The

  Associated Press reported. The Department of Energy has said plutonium

  production won't resume until safety problems are corrected. Rocky Flats closed

  for maintenance in 1989.


  WORKER SAFETY: A Chicago judge acquitted five Chicago Magnet Wire

  Corp. officials on charges they intentionally subjected 37 workers to toxicity

  exceeding federal standards. He said the executives were careless - not

  intentionally negligent. Officials say it's the second criminal prosecution of

  executives for worker-safety violations. WARMUS CASE: Jurors in White

  Plains, N.Y., deliberating a ninth day in the murder trial of Carolyn Warmus,

  told Judge John Carey they were deadlocked. He ordered jurors to continuing

  deliberating. They ended the day without a verdict and will resume deliberations

  today. The split wasn't known. Warmus, 27, is accused of killing her lover's wife

  in a case of obsessive jealousy similar to that in the movie Fatal Attraction. Her

  lawyer says she was framed.


  CUTLINE:WARMUS: Claims she was framed




  - TAX BOOST: California Gov. Pete Wilson proposed increasing taxes $6.7

  billion - the biggest tax hike in state history - to help alleviate a $12.6 billion

  budget shortage, The Associated Press reports. The plan would up sales tax by 1

  1/4 cents per dollar and cut $611 million from health and welfare programs for

  fiscal year '92 that begins in July.


  - GUARDIAN NAMED: A Minnesota judge appointed a neutral guardian to care

  for brain-damaged Sharon Kowalski, 34 - left retarded since an '83 drunken

  driving accident - ending a five-year custody battle between her parents and her

  lesbian lover, Karen Thompson, 43.


  - FORCED DRUGS: Louisiana can force insane, death row inmate Michael

  Owen Perry to take a powerful drug so he will be competent for execution, a

  state judge in Baton Rouge ruled. States are not allowed to execute insane

  people. Perry killed five relatives in 1983.


  - HABITAT SUPPORT: Former president Jimmy Carter will lead a Habitat for

  Humanity building trip in June, despite dissatisfaction with the group that builds

  homes for poor. Founder Millard Fuller, 56, resigned this week after female

  workers accused him of sexual harassment.


  Montana workers strike over pay


  The Montana National Guard was deployed to continue essential services after

  4,000 state workers walked off the job in a pay dispute. Troops replaced

  correctional officers and nursing home workers - two groups that joined in the

  strike. Most state troopers left, leaving only supervisors to respond to

  emergencies. Snowplow drivers also walked out, as a major winter storm began

  to dump an expected 3 feet of snow on the state. Classes were canceled at the

  University of Montana after teachers walked out. Union officials said 4,000 of

  the state's 14,000 workers were on strike. State officials said the number was

  closer to 1,200. Negotiations continue today. The contract expires June 30.


  CUTLINE:WALKING THE LINE: State employees picket state offices over pay

  in Kalispell, Mont. From left: Linda Ruther, Tammy Harmon, Gloria Stimson,

  Nancy Heyne.


  Contributing: David Fenner, Mark Mayfield and Jonathan T. Lovitt .