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"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.

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Wednesday
Feb252015

Urge President Obama to oppose burial of TransCanada's radioactive wastes on Great Lakes shore!

Successul resistance to TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands crude oil pipeline must now shift to fend off the dumping of TransCanada's radioactive wastes on the Great Lakes shore!

As reported by the Associated Press, on Feb. 24th, President Obama vetoed Senate Bill 1, which would have rushed the immediate construction of TransCanada Pipelines' Keystone XL tar sands crude oil pipeline. Our friends and colleagues at 350.org called for a rapid response action at the White House, at 5pm, just hours after the veto. As we have many times in the past -- on tar sands, fracking, and other environmental issues -- Beyond Nuclear answered the call, and stood in solidarity with our allies. We have also joined a unity statement with a large number of other groups, calling on President Obama to reject TransCanada's Keystone XL Pipeline once and for all.

Take action against another of TransCanada's dirty, dangerous and expensive scheme: the plan to bury radioactive waste on the Great Lakes shoreline! Urge President Obama to block this insane proposal!

Wednesday
Feb112015

Illinois speaks out against Canadian Great Lakes shoreline radioactive waste dump proposal

OPG's proposed so-called Deep Geologic Repository for radioactive waste burial would be located less than a mile from the Great Lakes shoreline.Today, DuPage County, the second most populous in Illinois, announced the passage of a resolution in opposition to the proposal by nuclear utility Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to bury radioactive wastes from 20 atomic reactors across the province at its Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, on the Lake Huron shore in Kincardine, ON (see photo, left). The radioactive wastes would be so-called "low" and "intermediate" level. Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump shared the good news in a press release, with the DuPage Co. resolution attached.

Cook County, IL, the state's most populous, has also passed a similar resolution (see entry immediately below).

On Feb. 6th, the City of Chicago also passed a similar resolution. As reported in the Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump's press release, the Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, said: “The Great Lakes hold 84 percent of North America’s fresh water and Chicago’s position as the paramount Great Lakes city makes OPG’s proposed nuclear waste repository a threat to both public health and our environment. As shown by our City Council’s unanimous approval of a resolution opposing the repository, as well as the many voices throughout the United States and Canada, passionate support to protect our Great Lakes spans across North America and cannot be ignored.”

As tallied at the Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump website, the 142 resolutions, and counting, passed to date by tribes, states, counties, cities, towns, and villages across the Great Lakes Basin, represent a combined population of 17.9 million residents. Altogether, the Great Lakes provide drinking water for 40 million people in eight U.S. states, two Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations.

What's especially significant about DuPage County's and Chicago's resolutions, is the fact that these are themselves "nuclear municipalities." DuPage County hosts the national HQ of Exelon in Warrenville, the biggest nuclear utility in the country, with 23 atomic reactors in its fleet. And Chicago, encircled by Exelon reactors (including identical twin designs to Fukushima Daiichi), gets around 80% of its electricity from nuclear power. Yet, these municipalities have spoken out against the insane proposal to bury radioactive waste on the Great Lakes shore.

As Dave Kraft, director of Nuclear Energy Information Service of Illinois, has pointed out, if burying radioactive waste on the Great Lakes shore is a bad idea, it's also a bad idea to be generating and storing it there in the first place.

Thursday
Oct092014

Cook County, Illinois Joins Call to Stop Proposed Nuclear Waste Dump beside the Great Lakes

Official seal of Cook County, IllinoisAs shared by Dave Kraft, Executive Director of Nuclear Energy Infomation Service in Chicago (Cook County), Illinois:

"We share this important good news that the Cook County Board unanimously passed a resolution in support of banning the construction of a low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste disposal facility on the shore of Lake Huron on the Bruce Peninsula in Canada.  Ontario Power Generation of Canada has proposed building such a facility near its Bruce nuclear generating station in Kincardine, Ontario.  The proposal has engendered the opposition of over a hundred municipalities on the Great Lakes, including the City of Toronto, and numerous First Nations tribal governments.  The Cook County Resolution was initiated by Commissioners Joan Patricia Murphy and Peter N. Silvestri; and supported by the entire Cook County Board.  The Resolution applies to any attempt to propose a radioactive waste disposal facility in the Great Lakes Basin, and was greeted enthusiastically by Stop The Great Lakes Nuclear Dump [STGLND], the citizens organization in Canada opposing construction of the Kincardine dump. [See the STGLND press release here.]  Recognizing that placement of a radioactive waste dump on the shores of the drinking water supply for over 40 million people is a bad idea, it can only be a matter of time before public officials acknowledge that 38 nuclear reactors on both sides of the border between the U.S. and Canada creating even more toxic, radioactive and long-lived "high-level" radioactive waste 24/7/365 is not such a good idea, either.  Our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to the Cook County Board for its courageous position."
As reported by STGLND on its website, Cook County's resolution joins 135 other village, town, city, county, and even state resolutions. Cook County's 5.2 million residents now means that these resolutions represent a total of 16.3 million Great Lakes residents, on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border.
In addition, over 70,000 individuals have signed STGLND's petition against the DGR. If you haven't signed yet, please do. And if you have, please spread the word to everyone you know to sign the petition too!
Thursday
Oct092014

Beyond Nuclear's closing remarks opposing Great Lakes radioactive waste dump

OPG's proposed Deep Geologic Repository would be located less than a mile from the waters of the Great Lakes, amidst the Bruce NGSBeyond Nuclear has submitted closing remarks opposing the radioactive waste dump (or "DGR," for Deep Geologic Repository) targeted at the Ontario shore of Lake Huron, thus meeting the deadline set by the Canadian federal Joint Review Panel (JRP) overseeing the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposal.

Beyond Nuclear has opposed the insane proposal since the organization was founded, in 2007, providing staff testimony twice, in person, in Kincardine, Ontario before the JRP, as well as numerous written submissions.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) proposes burying all of the province's so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes -- from 20 reactors -- on the Great Lakes shore. The proposed burial site is at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station (NGS), itself one of the world's single largest nuclear power plants, with a total of nine reactors on site.

OPG's proposal has generated a groundswell of opposition throughout the Great Lakes Basin, on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border. The Great Lakes provide drinking water for 40 million people in 8 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations. The Great Lakes comprise 95% of North America's, and 20% of the planet's, surface fresh water. They are the life blood of one of the world's largest regional economies.

The JRP will now prepare its EA conclusions in the near future, and report to the Canadian federal Environment Minister. She will then make a recommendation to Prime Minister Harper's Cabinet, bypassing Parliament.

As Beyond Nuclear concluded its closing remarks, Dave Martin of Greenpeace Canada dubbed OPG's DGR the DUD -- short for Deep Underground Dump, but also succinctly summing up the inanity and insanity of the proposal!

Thursday
Oct092014

Dr. Frank Greening's closing remarks to DGR JRP

Dr. Frank GreeningDr. Frank Greening, a scientist who worked at Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and its predecessor (Ontario Hydro) for decades, has submitted his closing comments to the Canadian federal Joint Review Panel (JRP) overseeing the Environmental Assessment (EA) on the proposed Deep Geologic Repository (DGR). Closing comments are due on October 9, 2014.

The DGR would be located at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station (NGS), on the shore of Lake Huron in Kincardine, Ontario, Canada. It would bury all of Ontario's so-called "low-level" and "intermediate-level" radioactive wastes (L&ILRWs), from 20 reactors across the province.

Dr. Greening, whose previous submissions to the JRP have revealed major underestimates by OPG and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) regarding such basic issues as the radioactivity content of the waste, has here focused on two mass-exposure accidents at OPG (and Ontario Hydro's) commercial nuclear facilities: 55 workers exposed to internal Carbon-14 contamination at Pickering NGS in March, 1985; and 557 workers exposed to internal alpha-particle contamination at Bruce NGS in November and December, 2009.

Greening argues that those accidents, as well as the February, 2014 radioactivity release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico, should serve as a serious warning against rushing ahead with this ill-considered DGR proposal.

Greening ends with this powerful conclusion:

What concerns me most about the proposed DGR is OPG’s level of ignorance about its size, about its radionuclide inventory, about how it will operate and about the potential for things to go horribly wrong through unexpected synergisms, as in the tragic Lac Mégantic disaster where a combination of relatively minor problems led to a major catastrophe. It is quite evident that OPG’s DGR proposal is based on only a pretense of knowledge of all possible risks within the proposed facility. As a result OPG ignores true uncertainty, as defined by U.S. economist F.H. Knight, which is something that is not susceptible to measurement and can never be eliminated from human endeavor. Or as J.M. Keynes eloquently described it: “... matters where there is no scientific basis on which to form any calculable probability whatever. We simply do not know.”

Therefore I strongly urge the JRP to reject OPG’s DGR proposal. We know so very little about the long-term safety of a DGR and the American experience with the WIPP facility shows why we should err on the side of caution before proceeding with such a venture. After all, it took only one bad waste container to spoil an entire DGR facility! And besides, it is evident that a lot more research and development is needed before DGR technology could be declared to be safe and reliable. But in the meantime, we certainly do not need the existing WWMF [Bruce NGS's Western Waste Management Facility] to become home to a deep underground nuclear waste disposal test-bed on the shores of Lake Huron. Only fools rush in where angels fear to tread....".