March 16th, 2011 – Merrill Lynch VP asks former USNRC director “What do you make of the Japanese reactor situation?”

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Merril-Lynch Vice President George Vassiliou

Merril-Lynch Vice President George Vassiliou is a Financial Advisor in the Washington DC Merrill Lynch office. He focuses on total wealth management and provides solutions for multidimensional personal and business finances and planning.

George used to work as a Senior Scientist in scientific research support of NASA, the Naval Research Lab and NOAA, in projects in the Earth and Planetary Sciences.

On March 16th, 2011, George sent a brief message to Dennis K Rathbun, former Nuclear Regulatory Commission Director which curtly queried, “What do you make of the Japanese reactor situation?”

The former regulator was very oratory in his response, describing well his understanding of not only the shortcomings of nuclear energy, and the lack of power to control natural events, and similarities between “our (reactors)” and “theirs” in response to station blackout events.

Rathbun even notes “This (Fukushima event) will by it’s nuclear and engineering nature drag on for painful weeks if not months. The all things considered conditions hole is so big, involving so many moving parts —- that would be my notion.”

Rathbun further shared some juicy first-hand details about preparing for and coping with Hurricane Katrina stating, “Not like Katrina when NRC mangers were demanding to know where those underwater nuclear materials all were.

Those guys had some advance notice and time for the Gulf reactors to shut down and get ready. But for the many nuclear materials people demanded to know where all the nuclear materials stuff was.

Well, La and Miss are NRC Agreement states. Thus we have a hold over them. Literally and legally. Well the state program directors in Jackson and La do not much appreciate pressuring calls from Washington when there offices are underwater, no lights, no phones etc etc. Like get out of my face till I can breathe again. And they speak English.”

The letter ends with a forward-looking observation of the perceived regulatory response, and an ominous financial investment fact.

“So we will learn from what they tell us and what can happen around here. Beyond that we have to make our own decisions based on us. We are not them and vice versa.”

“For me personally I do not think I want waterfront property anywhere on the Pacific rim. Chile, Japan, Alaska, or California.”

After sending the message to Vassiliou, Rathbun forwarded the e-mail chain to NRC staff-members to reminisce over former collegues but even added that things were “in fact likely to get worse — for no other dumb reasons than that there are so many avenues for more bad things to happen.”

I for one would have agreed.

Dennis Rathbun Merrill Lynch Conversation – Pages From C142383-03B-2

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