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Canada

Canada is the world's largest exporter of uranium and operates nuclear reactors including on the Great Lakes. Attempts are underway to introduce nuclear power to the province of Alberta and to use nuclear reactors to power oil extraction from the tar sands.

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Monday
Jan162017

Environmental coalition legal challenge against unprecedented highly radioactive liquid waste shipments coming to a head in D.C.

Political cartoon by Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News. Buffalo, NY, as well as Thousand Island, NY, are the two most likely border crossings for these shipments, although others could also be used. DOE has invoked security-related secrecy on the routing and timing of the shipments.A Canadian-U.S. environmental coalition, including Beyond Nuclear, has been resisting unprecedented shipments of highly radioactive liquid waste, from Chalk River, Ontario, Canada to Savannah River Site, South Carolina, U.S.A., since they were first announced in spring, 2013. Last August, the coalition filed a federal lawsuit, demanding an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be conducted. Various court filings have gone back and forth since, between the coalition and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

In the latest round of legal filings, on Jan. 10, 2017, attorneys for DOE and the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a Defendants' Combined Reply in Support of their Motion to Strike and Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion to Supplement the Record and to Submit Extra-Record Documents.

On Jan. 12, 2017, Terry Lodge of Toledo and Diane Curran of Washington, D.C., the environmental coalition's legal counsel, responded, filing Plaintiffs' Reply to Defendants' Opposition to Motion to Supplement the Record and to Submit Extra-Record Documents.

On Jan. 18, 2017, at 10am Eastern, Lodge and Curran will square off against DOE/DOJ, and argue the environmental coalition's case at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse, 333 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20001.

If the environmental coalition prevails in the expedited legal proceeding, the court will order DOE to carry out a long overdue Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), significantly delaying or perhaps even aborting the truck shipments. If the DOE prevails, it could start trucking highly radioactive liquid wastes by mid-February, 2017. See Beyond Nuclear's Waste Transportation website section for more information.

Wednesday
Jan042017

Beyond Nuclear media statement re: Ontario Power Generation’s doubling down on Great Lakes shoreline radioactive waste dump scheme

News from Beyond Nuclear

For Immediate Release, Jan. 4, 2017

Contact: Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Beyond Nuclear,

(240) 462-3216, kevin@beyondnuclear.org (Kamps also serves as board of directors member for Don’t Waste Michigan, representing the Kalamazoo chapter)

Media Statement of Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear,

re: Ontario Power Generation’s Doubling Down on Great Lakes Shoreline Radioactive Waste Dump Scheme

Takoma Park, Maryland—“Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has doubled down on its insane scheme to bury radioactive waste on the Great Lakes shoreline, and our Canadian-U.S. environmental coalition will redouble its efforts to stop it. We have resisted the DUD (short for Deep Underground Dump) for more than 15 years now, ever since OPG first declared this war on the future of the Great Lakes. After Flint, we won’t let them nuke the Great Lakes next!

OPG has refused to name the specific sites it has so hurriedly studied as alternative dumpsites to the Great Lakes shore, despite Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna’s explicit instructions in her request for additional information. For this reason alone, OPG must be given a failing grade, and its coveted Great Lakes shore DUD rejected outright.

OPG’s hypothetical alternative dumpsites analysis is all the more dubious, in that it was conducted in ten short months, as opposed to the 15 years it has spent targeting the Lake Huron shore at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in Kincardine, Ontario, Canada.

As U.S. Representative Dan Kildee (Democrat-Flint) has stated, ‘Surely in the vast land mass that comprises Canada, there must be a better place to permanently store nuclear waste than on the shores of Lake Huron.’

In fact, Canada has the second largest land mass of any country, after Russia.

We thank Rep. Kildee, as well as Michigan’s U.S. Senators, Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, for leading the bipartisan congressional coalition opposing OPG’s Great Lakes radioactive waste dump.

OPG’s claim -- that a national Canadian high-level radioactive waste dump nearby, in addition to the proposed DUD for all of Ontario’s so-called “low” and “intermediate” level radioactive wastes -- would not represent significant cumulative environmental impacts, would be laughable, if it weren’t so seriously dangerous. Three municipalities near Kincardine, under the influence of OPG and Bruce Nuclear Generating Station inducements, are still in the running for Canada’s national high-level radioactive waste dump. This is an environmental injustice, given the adjacent Saugeen Ojibwe Nation (SON) territory, and other Native American First Nations' treaty rights downwind and downstream, such as to hunting and fishing.

And OPG’s false assurances, echoing the Joint Review Panel’s that rubber-stamped the DUD, that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will oversee mitigation of cumulative environmental impacts over time at the DUD, is fatally flawed. CNSC, including its President, Michael Binder, is a completely captured agency, in collusion with the nuclear power industry it is supposed to regulate.

The Japanese Parliament concluded, after an independent investigation, that such collusion between regulators, the nuclear power industry, and elected officials, was the root cause of the ongoing Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. We must prevent a Fukushima on the Great Lakes shoreline!

As Beverly Fernandez, spokesperson for Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump, has said, ‘Water is Life.’ Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump has been instrumental in securing 186 municipal resolutions, representing nearly 23 million residents in each Great Lakes state and province, opposing OPG’s so-called “Deep Geologic Repository” for “low” and “intermediate” level radioactive waste burial, or any radioactive waste dump in the Great Lakes Basin, including Canada’s national high-level radioactive waste dump.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s leadership in defense of the Missouri River, drinking water supply for 17 million people downstream in multiple states, against the risk of crude oil leaks from the Dakota Access Pipeline, is an inspiration. We must similarly protect the Great Lakes, against leaks of hazardous radioactivity from OPG’s DUD. After all, the Great Lakes are the drinking water supply for 40 million people in eight U.S. states, two Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations. Not just is the drinking water supply for current generations put at risk by OPG’s DUD, but so too for all future generations, for radioactive waste is deadly forevermore. As the Sioux say, 'Mni Wiconi,' Water is Life!

OPG’s DUD is all the more unacceptable after the lead poisoning of Flint, Michigan via the drinking water supply. Lead and radioactivity have a lot in common. There is no safe level of exposure – any exposure carries a health risk. The higher the dose, the higher the risk. The risks accumulate over a lifetime. And children, especially the fetus in the mother’s womb, are the most vulnerable of all.

In fact, the very agencies of the U.S. federal and state governments responsible for the lead poisoning of 9,000 children in Flint via the drinking water supply – the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and his Michigan Department of Environmental Quality -- have yet to do anything to protect Michiganders and other Americans downstream against OPG’s Lake Huron shore radioactive waste dump scheme. Most ironically, now that Flint is again getting its drinking water supply from a safe, clean source – Lake Huron – OPG is threatening it with hazardous radioactive contamination.

And tellingly, the congressional leaders who have led the fight against the DUD -- Sens. Stabenow and Peters, and Rep. Kildee -- are the very congressional leaders who have worked so tirelessly to deliver long overdue funding to begin to heal the wounds in Flint.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s why we need to nip the DUD in the bud, before hazardous radioactivity ruins the Great Lakes drinking water supply forevermore.”

--30--

See Kamps’ essay, published at Counterpunch, entitled “After Flint, Don’t Nuke the Great Lakes Next!”

Based in Takoma Park, Maryland, U.S.A., Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abolish both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic.

Saturday
Dec242016

Binational environmental coalition defends its legal appeal, seeks to block Fermi 3 proposed new reactor in Michigan

Terry Lodge, legal counsel for the environmental coalition resisting Fermi 3

A Canadian-U.S. environmental coalition, including Beyond Nuclear, Citizen Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, and several other groups, is entering its 10th year of resistance (2008-2017) against Detroit Edison's proposed new Fermi Unit 3 reactor in southeast Michigan on the Great Lakes shoreline.

On Dec. 23rd, Toledo-based attorney Terry Lodge filed a Reply Brief, in defense of a legal appeal originally filed in October, at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the second highest court in the land, just below the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Reply rebuts challenges to the appeal brought by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Detroit Edison (DTE).

The appeal challenges NRC's exclusion of the transmission line corridor from the Environmental Impact Statement, a violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The appeal also challenges DTE's violations of NRC's quality assurance (QA) regulations (Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates, Inc. serves as the coalition's QA expert).

More.

Wednesday
Dec212016

Coalition defends legal challenge against unprecedented high-risk truck shipments of highly radioactive liquid waste

Attorneys Terry Lodge of Toledo, OH, and Diane Curran of Washington, D.C., legal counsel for an environmental coalition that includes Beyond Nuclear, have filed a Reply Memorandum to the D.C. Circuit Court in defense of a lawsuit against unprecedented truck shipments of highly radioactive liquid waste (also referred to by the U.S. Department of Energy, obscurely, as irradiated target material, or, even more obscurely, as HEUNL, short for highly enriched uranyl nitrate liquid).

The 100 to 150 high-risk truck shipments would travel more than a thousand miles, from Chalk River Nuclear Lab, Ontario, Canada, to Savannah River Site, South Carolina, U.S.A. The shipments would most likely cross the international border at Buffalo or Thousand Islands, NY.

See the PLAINTIFFS' REPLY MEMORANDUM, here.

And see the related PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO SUPPLEMENT THE RECORD, here.

More.

Wednesday
Dec142016

SRS Watch: Internal DOE Documents Reveal Details of Highly Unusual Canadian Spent Fuel Dropping Incident at Savannah River Site

[Please note that the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Savannah River Site (SRS) and Canada's Chalk River Nuclear Labs are also proposing truck shipment of highly radioactive liquid waste from a medical isotope production reactor in the province of Ontario, to South Carolina, U.S.A. In fact, the highly radioactive liquid waste is bound for reprocessing at the H-Canyon at SRS, just as was the solid irradiated nuclear fuel bundle dropped at SRS's L-area spent fuel facility -- until it was dropped, that is. This begs the question: is DOE ready to safely ship, and SRS ready to safely handle, highly radioactive liquid waste? The likely motivation for the highly radioactive liquid waste truck shipments in the first place is to keep H-Canyon reprocessing capability on life support, thanks to the $60 million SRS would be paid, compliments of the Canadian government (unwitting Canadian taxpayers, that is!)]

Savannah River Site (SRS) Watch released the following press release:

Savannah River Site Watch

For Immediate Release

December 14, 2016 

Internal DOE Documents Reveal Details of Highly Unusual Canadian Spent Fuel Dropping Incident at Savannah River Site; Squabbling Amongst SRS Officials over Follow-Up Meetings

SRS Official States Delay in Shipment of Liquid High-Level Waste from Canada has DOE Headquarters “In a Lather”

FOIA Documents & Photos Received by SRS Watch on December 13, 2016 are Linked Here

Columbia, South Carolina – Details about the unexpected dropping of a highly radioactive spent fuel bundle in the L-Reactor storage pool have come to light in documents released under a Freedom of Information Act request by Savannah River Site Watch (SRS Watch).   The incident, which occurred on July 12, 2016, involved a drop of Canadian NRX research reactor spent fuel as it was being moved in the storage pool in the old L-Reactor, where spent nuclear fuel from research and medical isotope reactors is stored. The incident resulted in a “timeout” in spent fuel handling operations. During evaluation of the incident, DOE expressed concern about the situation impacting the shipping schedule of more NRX spent fuel from the Chalk River Labs in Ontario.   An “L-Area Technical Review Board” was convened the review the incident, which appears to have been caused by lifting cables twisting and falling free from lifting slots in the fuel assembly, causing the fuel to release and fall back into a storage basket.  Though the event was unanticipated and could have damaged the fuel, DOE has reported no such damage and no release of radioactive materials. The height of the drop is unclear but appears to be between 8-10 inches and 2 feet.

“As damage to the spent fuel could have had negative impact to workers and operation of the L-Area spent fuel facility, it is imperative that DOE adjust its procedures to make sure such a potentially harmful incident never happens again,” said Tom Clements, director of SRS Watch.  “DOE must now fully inform that public as to what steps it’s taking to improve spent fuel handling procedures in the aftermath of the incident involving dropping of the Canadian spent fuel.”

An “Occurrence Report” dated July 13 called event the “Inadvertent NRX Fuel released from Fuel Tool.” That report summarizes the event:

On July 12, 2016, during the unloading and bundling of National Research Experimental (NRX)-5 fuel from the NRX basket in the unloading station, an NRX fuel assembly was being removed from basket position 4. After the fuel assembly was raised 24 inches for fuel identification per procedure, the assembly became disengaged from the NRX tool and fell back into its original basket position. Fuel handling was stopped and a timeout was called. Limiting Conditions for Operations 3.1.4 was entered to allow Spent Fuel Project (SFP) Engineering and Nuclear and Criticality Safety Engineering to determine status of compliance with the nuclear safety data sheet. SFP Engineering is inspecting the NRX tool in use to help determine the cause of the disengagement.

After the timeout – “Limiting Condition for Operation” (LCO) was called, the “Spent Fuel Project (SFP) Engineering” and “Nuclear and Criticality Safety Engineering” groups were called in to analyze the situation and determine the cause for the fuel to be dropped.  Their final report was not released in the FOIA documents sent to SRS Watch.

The FOIA documents reveal a testy email exchange between DOE officials ensued after the incident as there was argument over who was authorized to attend incident-review meetings and if the incident would impact NRX spent fuel shipments from Canada.  The internal squabble arose as the L-Basin is operated by DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) and the spent fuel “take-back” program in under the DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), causing officials to clash over their respective jurisdictions.

Of note, in a July 15 email from the NNSA official, concern was expressed about attention being drawn to the issue of shipment from Canada of NRC and NRU reactor spent fuel and that of liquid high-level nuclear waste, which DOE calls “Target Residue Material” in order to downplay the fact that it is a deadly brew of highly radioactive isotopes:

“My HQ is always very interested in the NRU/NRX and TRM shipment schedule and perceived hiccups.  The TRM delays are what’s really got them in a lather, unfortunately that means the NRU/NRX program is getting a little additional attention.  Once the TRM gets going, I’m hopeful NRU/NRX will fall a bit off the radar (fingers crossed).”

###

Notes:

FOIA documents and photos on NRX spent fuel incident, received vial mail on December 13, 2016, are linked here:

http://www.srswatch.org/uploads/2/7/5/8/27584045/foia_nrx_spent_fuel_incident_dec_1_2016.pdf  

Contact: Tom Clements Director,

Savannah River Site Watch Columbia, South Carolina

tel. 803-834-3084

cell 803-240-7268

srswatch@gmail.com

http://www.srswatch.org/

https://www.facebook.com/SavannahRiverSiteWatch