ATTEND, COMMENT: Decommissioning Meetings across the country

NRC announced 11 public meetings regarding establishment of local community advisory boards (CABs). These meetings run from August through October, 2019 and are in places where reactors are decommissioning. NRC will accept written comments through mid-November 2019 if you cannot attend a meeting in person.

The initiative began with an August 8th NRC webinar. These proceedings were recorded by Nick Maxwell at WeTheFourth in New Mexico.

The first of 11 meetings, on August 21, discussed Palisades nuclear facility in Michigan. Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear's radioactive waste specialist, testified along with other concerned groups and individuals.

The next group of meetings will be in California if you want to attend in person:

August 26 (Humbolt Bay);

August 27 (Diablo Canyon);

August 29, (San Onofre)

Click links for times and locations.

COMMENT electronically using the questionnaire NRC has provided. You may also complete a paper copy of the questionnaire then scan and email to NRC, or mail a hardcopy of the questionnaire to Kim Conway, U.S. NRC, 11545 Rockville Pike, Mail Stop T-5 A10, Rockville, MD 20852. Deadline for written comments in mid-November, 2019.

More than 200 environmental organizations have endorsed Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS), a highly radioactive irradiated nuclear fuel management alternative, during decommissioning. More


NRC ASLB admits single contention in WCS/ISP CISF licensing proceeding

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) has ruled in the Waste Control Specialists/Interim Storage Partners (WCS/ISP) consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) licesning proceeding.

The ASLB has acknowledged legal standing for Beyond Nuclear, Fasken Oil, and Sierra Club. All other intervening parties' legal standing was rejected (namely, a seven-group, national grassroots environmental coalition, represented by Toledo, OH attorney, Terry Lodge).

However, only a single contention by Sierra Club was granted a hearing on the merits. Beyond Nuclear's and Fasken's (represented by Lawrence, KS attorney Robert Eye) contentions, despite acknowledgement of the groups' legal standing, were rejected as not meriting a hearing. Sierra Club is represented by legal counsel Wally Taylor of Cedar Rapids, IA.

See the ASLB ruling, here. See NRC's press release, here.

Most to all opponents to WCS/ISP's CISF -- Beyond Nuclear included -- plan to appeal their rejection by the ASLB within 25 days, to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners themselves, by the NRC's deadline.

Then, if ruled against by the Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners, Beyond Nuclear -- and perhaps other parties as well -- will appeal to the federal courts.

Similar appeals are already underway in the Holtec International/Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance CISF licensing proceeding in New Mexico, just 39 miles from WCS/ISP's Andrews County, West Texas location.

In both the WCS/ISP, TX and the Holtec/ELEA, NM CISF proceedings, Beyond Nuclear's legal counsel are Diane Curran of Harmon Curran in Washington, D.C., and Mindy Goldstein of Turner Environmental Law Clinic at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.

To learn more, visit our Centralized Storage website section.


Einstein's atomic regrets

On August 2, 1939, Albert Einstein sent a letter that triggered the Manhattan Project to construct atom bombs "before Nazi Germany did. And it led to a widening of nuclear technology and what has been called the 'Atomic Age,'” writes Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, author of several books, and Beyond Nuclear board member.

"Einstein regretted signing the August 2nd letter and was critical, too, of how atom bombs had led to civilian atomic energy. He also wrote in Out of My Later Years: 'Since I do not foresee that atomic energy is to be a great boon for a long time, I have to say that for the present time it is a menace.'" More


Test of Russian atomic-powered rocket engine explodes in missile test range above the Arctic Circle

On August 8, 2019, a test of a Russian nuclear-powered rocket engine for the “Skyfall” or Burevestnik cruise missile program exploded on its launch platform at the Nynonksa test range above the Arctic Circle on the White Sea.  At least five scientists and workers have been killed and dozens injured. Sustained gamma radiation was measured at multiple monitoring stations for 40 minutes to an hour, eighteen miles away in the closed military city of Severodvinsk (pictured by Михаил солобаев for Wikimedia Commons). The radiation is reported to have spiked six to twenty times above normal before documentation was shutdown.  As concern grew over the potential radiation exposure to the 500 residents of Nynoksa, the village nearest the explosion, on August 13th the Russian military ordered their evacuation but  rescinded it only hours later. Since the accident, the 180,000 residents of Severodvinsk have been seeking and ingesting potassium iodide (KI) to block the uptake of cancer-casuing radioactive iodine to the thyroid gland. Saturating the thyroid with stable iodine is a critical prophylactic for the limited radiation protection it offers the most vulnerable population (infants, young children and pregnant women). According to the American Thyroid Association, KI should always be used  as an "essential adjunct" to prompt evacuation or limited sheltering-in-place and restricted ingestion of contaminated food and water.

The Skyfall nuclear-powered cruise missile system is part of Russia’s newly developed experimental warfighting strategy where nuclear weapons could be launched and held aloft indefinitely, evasively traveling over the global at hypersonic speed by an atomic-powered ramjet propulsion system. Skyfall initially uses conventional liquid jet fuel for launch but as the cruise missile reaches supersonic speed, the air is drawn into the missile system and super-heated by the nuclear reactor to rapidly expand and discharged for hypersonic thrust. Because the super-heated air comes in direct contact with the reactor, it would be highly radioactive.  The Burevestnik cruise missile, aka Skyfall, is similar to what the United States Air Force contemplated before it abandoned nuclear-powered rockets in “Project Pluto” during the Cold War. The weight of a reactor engine raised questions. Oddly,  U.S. scientists were concerned about the populations and the environment in the nuclear weapon's flight path being irradiated by the radioactive exhaust enroute to target.

Putin's Kremlin has conducted numerous Skyfall tests estimated at 16 to 20 to date. All of the missiles have failed to sustain flight and crashed as radioactive reactor fragments and nuclear waste in northern Russia’s Arctic territory and sea.

At publication, there are no reports of elevated radiation being detected outside of Russian territory. However, this is a matter of ongoing discovery and concern.


Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui's peace declaration on August 6

We offer here the opening paragraphs of Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui's (pictured) remarks on the anniversary of the atomic bombing of his city. Click at the end to read the full statement:

"Around the world today, we see self-centered nationalism in ascendance, tensions heightened by international exclusivity and rivalry, with nuclear disarmament at a standstill. What are we to make of these global phenomena? Having undergone two world wars, our elders pursued an ideal -- a world beyond war. They undertook to construct a system of international cooperation. Should we not now recall and, for human survival, strive for that ideal world? I ask this especially of you, the youth who have never known war but will lead the future. For this purpose, I ask you to listen carefully to the hibakusha of Aug. 6, 1945.

A woman who was five then has written this poem:

Little sister with a bowl cut / head spraying blood

embraced by Mother / turned raging Asura

A youth of 18 saw this: "They were nearly naked, their clothes burned to tatters, but I couldn't tell the men from the women. Hair gone, eyeballs popped out, lips and ears ripped off, skin hanging from faces, bodies covered in blood -- and so many." Today he insists, "We must never, ever allow this to happen to any future generation. We are enough." Appeals like these come from survivors who carry deep scars in body and soul. Are they reaching you? 

"A single person is small and weak, but if each of us seeks peace, I'm sure we can stop the forces pushing for war." This woman was 15 at the time. Can we allow her faith to end up an empty wish?" Read More

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