Officials deny USA's N-plants are unsafe
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
ALSO THURSDAY ...
- 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,
Contributing: David Fenner, Mark Mayfield and Jonathan T. Lovitt .