Nuclear utility, radioactive waste shipper, join effort to train first responders for hazmat emergencies in Northwest Ohio
January 2, 2012
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The Toledo Blade has reported that FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC), owner and operator of the problem-plagued Davis-Besse atomic reactor on the shoreline of Lake Erie, as well as CSX railway, poised to haul high-level radioactive waste across the country, have joined with a local community college as well as the State Public Utilities Commission to train local first responders in hazardous materials emergency response. Davis-Besse represents perhaps the single greatest radiotoxic risk in northwest Ohio, although radioactive waste shipments by road, rail, or waterway are especially vulnerable to radioactivity releases due to attack or accident, including as they pass through or near major metropolitan population centers.

In 2003, Kevin Kamps, now Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Specialist, was arrested, along with Toledo colleague Mike Ferner, protesting a radioactive waste shipment through northwest Ohio. The Big Rock Point radioactive reactor pressure vessel, weighing 290 tons, was being shipped by train when protestors caught up to it in a Toledo area railyard. It had already caused a derailment in its wake in southeast Michigan, where its weight apparently damaged the train tracks, causing another train that came along later to derail, according to a local fire chief interviewed on local t.v. news. The shipment continued on to cause a similar derailment in its wake in the Carolinas. It was bound for Barnwell, South Carolina, where it was buried in a ditch at a leaking "low-level" radioactive waste dump, very near the Savannah River Site nuclear weapons complex, as well as the Vogtle nuclear power plant (not to mention the African American community of Shell Bluff, GA). High-level radioactive waste shipments carried out by CSX, as well as other rail, road, and barge shipping companies, would be of much greater radiological hazard than this radioactive reactor pressure vessel (so-called "low-level" radioactive waste).

Article originally appeared on Beyond Nuclear (http://www.beyondnuclear.org/).
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