"Low-Level" Radioactive Waste

"Low-Level" waste is a convenient classification and a notorious misnomer as many so-called "low-level" radioactive wastes are extremely long-lived and highly dangerous to health.


Entries by admin (69)


DOJ Wins Stop To $367M Merger Of Radioactive Waste Firms

A Delaware federal judge on Wednesday blocked the $367 million merger of EnergySolutions Inc. and Waste Control Specialists LLC, siding with the U.S. Department of Justice in the government's bid to enjoin the deal on antitrust grounds. [This story was broken by Law360 Environmental. The remainder of the article is behind a pay wall.]

WCS of TX had hoped EnergySolutions of UT -- its competitor in "low-level" radioactive waste dumping -- could take it over, to staunch its financial losses.

(WCS had also hoped its acquisition by EnergySolutions would allow the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing proceeding for its proposed centralized interim storage facility to resume. WCS wants to park 40,000 metric tons of high-level radioactive waste in the west TX desert. See Beyond Nuclear's Waste Transportation website section for more info. on that.)



Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) and Beyond Nuclear have submitted an Objection and Request for Reconsideration to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), protesting NRC's flippant rubber-stamp for the importation of 10,000 tons of Canadian (so-called) "low" level radioactive waste/material, into the U.S.

Once imported into the U.S. from Canada, the radioactive waste/material could then be "free-released" into commerce as "below regulatory concern" -- such as recycled into consumer products. It could also be buried in ordinary garbage dumps, as if it weren't radioactive. The radioactive wastes/materials could also be incinerated, or otherwise "heat treated" or "pyro-processed," with untold radioactive emissions to the atmosphere.

Leftovers from all these various processes in the U.S. could them be re-exported to Canada, for disposal.

Comparing the list of radioactive isotopes the radioactive waste/material firm UniTech predicts will be found in the radioactive waste/material stream, to NRC's “Illustrative List of Byproduct Materials Under NRC Export/Import Licensing Authority,” is revealing. The "Illustrative List" is a RULE, i.e., UniTech can import low amounts of these radioactive isotopes into the U.S. 

But UniTech is proposing to import the following radioactive isotopes, which are not covered by the RULE:

Lanthanum, unspecified as to isotope
Neptunium 239
Plutonium 238
Plutonium 239/40
Silver 108

It appears to Beyond Nuclear, NIRS, and their legal counsel, that there would have to be a rulemaking, i.e., that even if a general license is all NRC will do, the approval of a general license would itself have to be conducted as a rulemaking, with full rights to a public legal intervention hearing.

(See the above argument laid out on page 6 of the Objection/Request for Reconsideration.)

Terry Lodge of Toledo, Ohio and Brian Paddock of Cookeville, Tennessee serve as legal counsel for the NIRS-Beyond Nuclear environmental coalition.


Feds sue proposed Vermont Yankee disposal company

As reported by VTDigger.

The U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit to block the merger of Waste Control Specialists, LLC of Andrews County, TX and EnergySolutions of Salt Lake City, UT is certainly relevant to Vermont Yankee decommissioning, as the article reports. WCS is proposed to become a partner in the decommissioning of Vermont Yankee, by acquiring ownership and an NRC-approved license transfer from current owner Entergy Nuclear.

But the merger would also impact the entire realm of radioactive waste management and disposal in the U.S. EnergySolutions' dumpsite in Clive, Tooele County, UT is a national dump for Class A radioactive waste -- the lowest category of so-called "low" level radioactive waste.

WCS's dump in Andrews, TX accepts Class A, Class B, and Class C radioactive wastes from any state in the union.

WCS has also applied to become a centralized interim storage site (a de facto permanent parking lot dump) for up to 40,000 metric tons of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel.


Beyond Nuclear thankful for indefinite delay on Great Lakes nuclear waste dump, vows to redouble efforts to nip the "DUD" in the bud

The Great Lakes serve as 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.The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Canada's federal Environment Minister, has announced a major delay in the approval process for Ontario Power Generation's request to construct and operate a radioactive waste dump on the shoreline of the Great Lakes. Previously, Minister McKenna had set a March 1st deadline for making the final decision on whether or not to endorse a Joint Review Panel Environmental Assessment Report recommendation to allow the DGR (Deep Geologic Repository) to proceed, despite the high risks and countless uncertainties. Minister McKenna has ordered OPG to provide an estimate, by April 18th, as to how long it will need to provide the extensive additional information requested. The consequent delay in this proceeding could prove lengthy.

Beyond Nuclear, which has long helped lead the growing international national grassroots environmental opposition to the dump (which we prefer to call the DUD -- for Deep Underground Dump -- a phrase coined by Dave Martin of Greenpeace Canada), welcomed the announced delay. Beyond Nuclear released this response to Minister McKenna's announcement.

However, our coalition must remain vigilant, and use this opportunity to stop the DUD once and for all. And then move on to deepening and expanding our work to address the many other radioactive risks faced by the Great Lakes, including at the targeted DUD site itself: the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, the largest nuclear power plant on Earth, in terms of number of reactors. More.


Great Lakes Nuke Dump Decision Postponed; Critics Call for Dump's Cancellation

OPG's DUD would be built on a peninsula surrounded on three sides by water, just 3/4ths of a mile from the shoreline of the Great Lakes.The newly appointed Canadian Environment Minister, the Honorable Catherine McKenna, has postponed the deadline for deciding whether or not to approve Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) proposal to bury radioactive wastes on the Great Lakes shore at Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in Kincardine, Ontario. The deadline had been next Wednesday, December 2, 2015; she has postponed the decision until March 1, 2016.

Beyond Nuclear has issued a press release (see the Word version for live links to relevant documents). In it, Beyond Nuclear thanks a bipartisan U.S. congressional delegation of 32 Senators and Representatives for writing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and urging him to cancel the Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) outright, or at the very least, postpone the decision until they can meet with him in person to communicate the concerns and objections of tens of millions of U.S. citizens in eight Great Lakes states. Beyond Nuclear has expressed confidence that Minister McKenna's review of the 13 years of growing resistance to the DUD (short for Deep Underground Dump) will convince her to reject OPG’s proposal as unacceptably risky to the drinking water supply for 40 million people. See Beyond Nuclear's Canada website section for more information.