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Friday
Apr012011

The single greatest security vulnerability in the U.S.-- high-level radioactive waste

CNN Money quotes Beyond Nuclear's radioactive waste watchdog, Kevin Kamps, on the need to transfer high-level radioactive waste from dangerously overfilled storage pools into hardened on-site storage in order to prevent catastrophic radioactive infernos if cooling water is lost through natural disaster, accident, or attack. The Statement of Principles for Safeguarding Nuclear Waste at Reactors, first unveiled by Michele Boyd (then at Public Citizen, now at Physicians for Social Responsibility) at a congressional hearing in September 2006, now has nearly 200 endorsing environmental organizations signed on. The phrase "hardened on-site storage," or HOSS, was first coined by Dr. Arjun Makhijani of Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) in April, 2002 at a national grassroots gathering on the risks of high-level radioactive waste, organized by Citizens Awareness Network, held at Wesleyan College in Connecticut. Dr. Gordon Thompson provided more in depth analysis on what HOSS would require in his Jan. 2003 report "Robust Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel: A Neglected Issue of Homeland Security," also commissioned by CAN. Despite repeated calls over many years by environmental coalitions, to both the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Congress, to empty vulnerable storage pools (especially the General Electric Boiling Water Reactors of the Mark 1 design, the same as are currently melting down, with pool fires, at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan) by transferring high-level radioactive wastes into HOSS, the warnings have fallen on deaf ears, and no action has been taken, nearly a decade after the 9/11 attacks.