Maryland ASTAR Judges Visit Calvert Cliffs

ASTAR Judges visit Calvert CliffsSeveral Maryland judges visited Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Lusby recently as part of the ASTAR (Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource) program. ASTAR provides a high-level scientific, technological, and medical curriculum to trial court judges to better equip them to understand and preside over cases that involve such issues.

By Court of Appeals Judge Glenn T. Harrell

Over Sept. 27-30, 2012, a number of Maryland’s ASTAR judges (and Dr. Lisa Gangi of the Judicial Institute) attended a three-day program in Albuquerque, New Mexico, titled ‘Ionizing Radiation and Environmental Calamities.” Taught by scientists and lawyers from the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories, as well as distinguished New Mexico judges and nationally-recognized legal academics (and organized by the New Mexico Office of the Courts), the course addressed the theory and realities of nuclear power and such nuclear disasters (and resultant liability issues) as Fukushima, Japan; Goiania, Brazil; Chernobyl, Russia; and Three Mile Island, U.S.A.

Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant logo

Following up on this experience, several of the Maryland ASTAR attendees took an excursion Aug. 9, 2013, to the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Lusby to observe how a local nuclear power generating plant puts into practice the engineering, safety, and security principles learned at the New Mexico program. We met a host of nuclear professionals who shared with us the history of the Calvert Cliffs plant, its regulatory status, its operational capabilities and characteristics, and how the on-site workers are protected as they go about their work days.

Although it was a hot and humid day for the walking tour of the plant, we forgot about that travail upon entering the turbine building where the temperature was almost 120 degrees and the noise level rivaled a Guns N´ Roses concert. The group photo shows Dr. Gangi and the judges at Calvert Cliffs — Harrell, Debelius, Solt, Caroom, Silkworth, Wallace, Sherbin, Murdock, and Ross.