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Centralized Storage

With the scientifically unsound proposed Yucca Mountain radioactive waste dump now canceled, the danger of "interim" storage threatens. This means that radioactive waste could be "temporarily" parked in open air lots, vulnerable to accident and attack, while a new repository site is sought.

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Thursday
Jan242019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE-Coalition Challenges World’s Most Radioactive Waste Site Targeted at New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                       Media Contact: Leona Morgan 505-879-8547          

January 22, 2019

                                                                                    

Coalition Challenges World’s Most Radioactive Waste Site Targeted at New Mexico

Federal Hearings on Holtec License Application Begin Jan. 23 in Albuquerque

 High-Risk Shipments Would Pass Through Most States for Decades

Albuquerque, N.M.– The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is holding hearings beginning tomorrow on a proposed high level nuclear waste storage site in southeastern New Mexico. Opponents held a press conference today to outline the reasons they are fighting this application They point out that this proposal to store the nation’s deadliest and most dangerous radioactive waste between Hobbs and Carlsbad is an environmental injustice, could lead to contamination of soil and water, could disrupt the local economy, and will create grave transportation risks across the country and at the proposed site. It is highly likely this waste will be abandoned and New Mexicans will have to pay to try to take care of it for hundreds of thousands of years. Over a dozen cities and counties have passed resolutions opposing importation of this waste and more than 27,000 people submitted comments to the NRC opposing this site. The hearings will determine which parties get standing and what issues will get discussed.

Legal counsel for environmental and environmental justice (EJ) groups are squaring off against the license application for the world's largest radioactive waste dump, targeted for New Mexico. More than 40 legal objections have been filed against the Holtec/Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance (ELEA) Consolidated Interim Storage Facility (CISF) license application by the groups which are official parties in the NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) proceeding. The groups include (with representing attorneys): Alliance for Environmental Strategies (Nancy Simmons, Albuquerque, NM), Beyond Nuclear (Diane Curran, Washington, D.C.; Mindy Goldstein, Turner Environmental Law Clinic, Emory University, Atlanta, GA); Sierra Club (Wally Taylor, Sierra Club Nuclear-Free Campaign, Cedar Rapids, IA); and a seven-group coalition including Don’t Waste Michigan, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination (MI), Public Citizen (TX and DC), San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (CA), Nuclear Energy Information Service (IL), Citizens’ Environmental Coalition (NY), and Nuclear Issues Study Group (NM) (Terry Lodge, Toledo, OH). Two industry groups are also intervening in the license application.

The environmental, public-interest groups and their lawyers are challenging the fatal flaws of the Holtec nuclear dump proposal. They are charging that the entire licensing process is against current law, violates Environmental Justice principles, and threatens the environment, people and communities along the routes to and from the site and at the site.

On January 23 and possibly 24th, the NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) will hold oral arguments in Albuquerque regarding the Holtec/ELEA license application to construct and operate a CISF for 173,600 metric tons of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel and other highly radioactive waste, targeted at southeastern New Mexico. That quantity is 2.5 times the amount targeted for a permanent repository, which does not exist. This would also mean 10,000+ high-risk, high-level radioactive waste truck, train, and/or barge shipments -- over the course of not years, but decades -- on roads, rails, and/or waterways in most states, many major cities, and the vast majority (approximately 87%) of U.S. congressional districts.

The environmental coalition first filed their petitions to intervene, and requests for hearing, in opposition to the Holtec/ELEA CISF proposal, on September 14, 2018. Forty technical and legal contentions of opposition, many backed up by expert witness testimony, range from environmental justice violations, to lack of legal authorization for such a CISF, and a broad range of concerns regarding public health, safety, security, and the environment. (For the complete list of legal contentions, please see the OVERVIEW below).

Rose Gardner, co-founder of Alliance For Environmental Strategies (AFES), a grassroots group of local residents, wants to protect New Mexico. She stated that "New Mexico is a wonderful, beautiful state with its mountains, rivers, deserts and open grassy plains. We must not let a company like Holtec come in bringing dangerous, toxic and long-lasting radioactive waste from over 100 nuclear power reactors around the country to our state. We did not benefit from the generation of the nuclear electricity. Why must we accept this dangerous nuclear power waste? I do not consent!"

Noel Marquez, also with AFES stated that, “The industry and government are hiding the dangers and how long the dangers will last--which is truly many generations--a million years according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They tout false promises of jobs and economic progress that have never come to fruition at nuclear waste sites."

Nancy Simmons, attorney for the Alliance for Environmental Strategies, AFES, described the objections they filed against the license application, chief among them being that, "Holtec did nothing to investigate the impact of additional and cumulative nuclear waste dumping on the local minority and low-income community in southeastern New Mexico. Instead, Holtec exclusively targeted an isolated rural area of New Mexico as a dumping ground, in violation of federal anti-discrimination regulations and guidelines. We're asking Holtec to do its job, to do the homework they're required to do.”

"Holtec would store two and a half times more high-level radioactive waste than is targeted for burial at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. That would mean tens of thousands of high-risk shipments of irradiated nuclear fuel, by road, rail, and waterway, over decades, passing through most states, many major cities, and the vast majority of U.S. congressional districts. When it comes to high-level radioactive waste transportation, we all live in New Mexico. Holtec is a national threat," said Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste specialist at Beyond Nuclear, a watchdog organization on the nuclear power industry based in Takoma Park, Maryland.

Diane Curran, lawyer for Beyond Nuclear stated, “By planning on the U.S. Department of Energy to take ownership of spent, irradiated fuel stored at its proposed facility, Holtec is attempting an end-run around the federal Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA). The NWPA is the public’s best protection against a de facto permanent radioactive waste dump. Therefore, Beyond Nuclear is seeking dismissal of the entire proceeding.”

Wally Taylor, attorney from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, representing the Sierra Club explains, "Nuclear waste is a problem with no good solution. We need to find the least bad solution. First, we need to stop making more radioactive waste by closing down nuclear power plants and transitioning to renewable energy. New Mexico, especially, has abundant wind and sun that could make the state a leader in renewable energy. There is too much risk in transporting over 173,000 tons of radioactive waste across the country to a site that is not properly designed for long-term storage–perhaps permanent storage. We need to find better alternatives."

Terry Lodge, attorney for organizations and individuals from California to New York, Illinois and Michigan to New Mexico stated, "In the midst of the longest federal government shutdown in history, Holtec and the federal NRC deny that the required flawless oversight needed for this dangerous material will ever fail or fall victim to future shutdowns–when government commitments are not fulfilled. In this light, if this license is granted and high level nuclear waste comes in, we predict it could become the largest permanent nuclear waste sacrifice zone on the planet."

--30--

Additional Interviews & Photos Upon Request:

Diane Curran

Harmon, Curran, Spielberg + Eisenberg, LLP

240-393-9285


Rose Gardner

Alliance for Environmental Strategies

575-390-9634


Mindy Goldstein

Turner Environmental Law Clinic, Emory University School of Law

404-727-3432


Kevin Kamps

Radioactive Waste Specialist

Beyond Nuclear

7304 Carroll Avenue, #182

Takoma Park, Maryland 20912
(240) 462-3216
kevin@beyondnuclear.org

Terry Lodge

Attorney for 6 grassroots groups from New Mexico to California to Illinois, Michigan and New York, along with Public Citizen
(419) 205-7084


Noel Marquez

Alliance for Environmental Strategies

marquezarts@yahoo.com


Nancy Simmons, Law Office of Nancy L. Simmons

120 Girard SE

Albuquerque, NM 87106

(505) 232-2575

f(505) 232-2574


Wally Taylor

Sierra Club

(319) 350-5807


Thursday
Jan172019

Holtec International's Answer Opposing Motions by Sierra Club, and Don't Waste Michigan et al., to adopt each other's contentions

Thursday
Jan172019

Sierra Club, as well Don't Waste MI et al., Jan. 17, 2019 filings opposed to Holtec/ELEA's CISF

Wednesday
Jan162019

Press Advisory: Coalition Defends Interventions against Holtec/ELEA Forever Deadly High-Level Radioactive Waste Mega-Dump Targeted at Southeastern New Mexico

Press Advisory, For Immediate Release, January 16, 2019

Contact:

Legal counsel for Beyond Nuclear --

Mindy Goldstein; Turner Environmental Law Clinic, Emory University School of Law; 404-727-3432; mindy.goldstein@emory.edu

Diane Curran; Harmon, Curran, Spielberg + Eisenberg, LLP; 240-393-9285; dcurran@harmoncurran.com

Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Specialist, Beyond Nuclear, (240) 462-3216, kevin@beyondnuclear.org

Legal counsel for Don't Waste Michigan, Nuclear Issues Study Group, et al. --

Terry Lodge, (419) 205-7084, tjlodge50@yahoo.com

Leona Morgan, Nuclear Issues Study Group, 505-879-8547, protectnewmexico@gmail.com

Michael Keegan, Don’t Waste Michigan, (734) 770-1441, mkeeganj@comcast.com

 

Coalition Defends Interventions against Holtec/ELEA

Forever Deadly High-Level Radioactive Waste Mega-Dump

Targeted at Southeastern New Mexico

Environmental Press Conference Jan. 22;

NRC Hearings on Trial Issues Begin Jan. 23 in Albuquerque

WHO: Environmental, and environmental justice (EJ), groups (and their legal counsel) opposing the Holtec/ELEA consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) in NM, as official parties in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) proceeding, include: Alliance for Environmental Strategies (Nancy Simmons, Albuquerque, NM), Beyond Nuclear (Diane Curran, Washington, D.C.; Mindy Goldstein, Turner Environmental Law Clinic, Emory University, Atlanta, GA); Sierra Club (Wally Taylor, Sierra Club Nuclear-Free Campaign, Cedar Rapids, IA); and a seven-group coalition including Don’t Waste Michigan, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination (MI), Public Citizen (TX and DC), San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (CA), Nuclear Energy Information Service (IL), Citizens’ Environmental Coalition (NY), and Nuclear Issues Study Group (NM) (Terry Lodge, Toledo, OH).

WHAT: Environmental coalition press conference -- 3:30 MST, Tuesday, Jan. 22, at the State Bar of New Mexico ("Modrall Room”) , 5121 Masthead Street NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico – to address U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) oral argument pre-hearings, to be held in Albuquerque, re: the Holtec/ELEA license application to construct and operate a CISF for 173,600 metric tons of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel and other highly radioactive waste, targeted at southeastern New Mexico. (That quantity is 2.5 times the amount targeted at Yucca Mountain, Nevada for permanent burial.)

WHERE: The location of the environmental coalition press conference on Tues., Jan. 22 will be at the State Bar of New Mexico (“Modrall Room”), 5121 Masthead Street NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Streaming address (URL) for press conference on Tuesday, January 22: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQ-WzQkZ589ZLkdc7SIT0EQ?view_as=subscriber

(The oral argument pre-hearings of the NRC ASLB will be at the same location, in the auditorium, on Wed., Jan. 23 and likely Thurs., Jan. 24. The NRC ASLB has made available listen-only, call-in phone lines, for taking in the proceedings: The telephone number is 1-888-790-1895 and the passcode is 5046496).

WHEN: The time of the environmental coalition press conference will be 3:30pm MST, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (The NRC ASLB hearings will begin Wed., Jan. 23, 2019, at 9:00 am MST, and will continue on Thursday, January 24, 2019, as needed.)

WHY: The environmental coalition first filed their petitions to intervene, and requests for hearing, in opposition to the Holtec/ELEA CISF proposal, on Sept. 14, 2018. 40 technical and legal contentions of opposition, many backed up by expert witness testimony, range from environmental justice violations, to lack of legal authorization for such a CISF, and a broad range of concerns regarding public health, safety, security, and the environment. (For the complete list of legal contentions, please see the OVERVIEW, below).

A comprehensive Summary of Holtec/ELEA CISF Licensing Application Proceeding is posted at the top of Beyond Nuclear’s CENTRALIZED STORAGE website section.

--End--

Overview of Environmental Coalition Contentions Opposing Holtec/ELEA’s CISF, and the NRC ASLB Licensing Proceeding:

As detailed in the environmental coalition filings, the dozens of contentions filed on September 14, 2018 include the following categories (some of the contentions were raised by multiple intervenors; the total number of contentions filed adds up to 40+):

(1) impacts on Native American and other historic and pre-historic properties on the site;

(2) insufficient assurances of financing for construction, operation, and decommissioning;

(3) underestimation of so-called “low-level” radioactive waste volumes that would be generated;

(4) improper reliance on NRC generic Environmental Impact Statement presumptions;

(5) natural gas fracking and potash mining beneath the site;

(6) cumulative risks of future reprocessing (plutonium extraction);

(7) the public health threat from the “Start Clean/Stay Clean” philosophy’s risks of shipping damaged, leaking, or contaminated casks back to the atomic reactor of origin;

(8) incomplete and inadequate disclosure of transportation routes (road, rail, and waterway), and inadequate analyses of the substantial risks of these shipments through most states, over decades;

(9) inconsistent predicted lengths for “interim storage” period, from 40 to 100, 120, or even 300 years, timeframes that could dangerously exceed the design and surface life of the containers;

(10) unmet safety and security risk analyses for the scale of transport and storage proposed; (11) troubling geological formations and conditions beneath the site;

(12) no compelling purpose and need for the CISF;

(13) risk of the CISF becoming a de facto permanent surface storage “parking lot dump”;

(14) Holtec’s improper reliance on the Blue Ribbon Commission for America’s Nuclear Future’s 2012 Final Report;

(15) earthquake risks at the site;

(16) impacts on endangered and threatened species, such as the dunes sagebrush lizard; (17) questionable credibility of sub-contractors used in the preparation of the license application, reflected in the poor quality of the submitted documents, and charges of major fraud against Tetra Tech related to a massive radioactive contamination incident in San Francisco, CA;

(18) thermal concerns associated with corrosion of the containers;

(19) groundwater and brine concerns at the site, including threats of radioactive contamination reaching area drinking and irrigation water aquifers downstream;

(20) risks of high burnup irradiated nuclear fuel degradation and failure.

The NRC ASLB oral argument pre-hearings on January 23-24, 2019 in Albuquerque will address "standing and contention admissibility."

A comprehensive Summary of Holtec/ELEA CISF Licensing Application Proceeding is posted at the top of Beyond Nuclear’s CENTRALIZED STORAGE website section.

Wednesday
Jan162019

Licensing board announces listen-only phone lines for Holtec/ELEA CISF licesning hearing beginning 1/23 in ABQ, NM

Here is the relevant info. from the U.S. Nulcear Regulatory Commission Atomic Safety and Licensing Board:

"In connection with the oral argument scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. MST on January 23 and continue as necessary on January 24, 2019, the Board will make available listen-only telephone lines. This should allow interested members of the public—both in New Mexico and elsewhere—to hear the arguments in real time if it is not practicable to attend in person. The telephone number is 1-888-790-1895 and the passcode is 5046496."

Here is the link to the ASLB Order.

Please spread the word to your networks re: this opportunity to listen-in, to show solidarity with the opponents to the centralized interim storage facility (CISF) for 173,600 metric tons of highly radioactive irradiated nuclear fuel targeted at southeastern New Mexico!

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