Re: "Don't spend BRAC money on 'Death Lane'," Local Editorial, May 20
It should be evident to anyone driving on Maryland's highways that the "engineers" are graduates from Ronald McDonald's School of Highway Design.
To wit: Off-camber decreasing-radius on ramps that require drivers to slow as they approach the highway; right-angle, no-merge-area on-ramps that require acceleration from 0 to 55 mph in zero feet; right-angle, no-deceleration-lane off-ramps that require deceleration from 55 mph to 10 mph in zero feet; U-turn lanes on high-speed multi-lane highways that put the completion of the U-turn in the high-speed lane; merging lanes on blind curves.
The list is impressively, depressingly long. What the Maryland State Highway Administration is proposing in Bethesda should come as no surprise when drivers realize the clowns have taken control.
U.S. Nuclear plants are prepared for any scenario
Re: "Evacs and drills pared near nuke plants," May 16
This Associated Press article inaccurately described the changes to the emergency preparedness regulations for U.S. nuclear energy facilities that were unanimously approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission last year following six years of technical analysis, public comment and deliberation.
Contrary to AP's account, emergency preparedness programs were strengthened to require a wider variety of scenarios in the graded exercises that nuclear facilities conduct jointly with state and local emergency response organizations every two years. This is the same frequency with which the full-scale, graded drills have been conducted for decades.
The difference is that new requirements have been added to make these important integrated exercises less predictable. The new scenarios include: terrorist attacks; fires or explosions damaging large areas of a power plant; events that require activation of emergency responders but do not yield a significant radiological release; and events that escalate within 30 minutes to the highest emergency levels.
The new requirements build on existing emergency preparedness and response capabilities to add another layer of safety that is informed by the latest science on the most effective use of protective actions like sheltering and evacuation.
Bottom line: Every U.S. nuclear energy facility has a comprehensive plan to respond to a wide range of scenarios. These plans are regularly tested in quarterly drills at each facility. They are closely evaluated by federal regulators every two years in an integrated full-scale exercise with state and local emergency response organizations.
Director, Emergency Preparedness
Nuclear Energy Institute
Plans for Metro fare hike should be more specific
The Metro Board is proposing to raise fares, but wants customer input before doing so. Like most people, I figure the rate increase will come, no improvements will be evident, and it will soon be followed by another call for higher fares.
The Metro Board should explain the amount a fare increase is expected to raise, and what it will be used for in measurable terms. For example: $5 million of the $30 million will be spent to improve escalator in-commission rates by 20 percent. Other specific metrics would also be listed until all the money has been allocated.
After an appropriate period of public comment, the Metro Board should pass the fare increase for just one year. If improvements have been made that met or exceeded expectations, continue the higher fares. If not, rescind the fare increase as an obvious waste of money and get new people on the board.