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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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Saturday
Nov232013

West Lake Landfill: A Radioactive Legacy of the Nuclear Arms Race

Robert Alvarez, Senior Scholar, Institute for Policy StudiesRobert Alvarez (photo, left), Senior Scholar at Institute for Policy Studies, has prepared a report entitled "The West Lake Landfill: A Radioactive Legacy of the Nuclear Arms Race."

In 1973, the West Lake Landfill, in the Missouri River floodplain, and just upstream from a drinking water supply intake for St. Louis, became the illegal dumping ground for part of the Belgian Congo uranium wastes, leftover from the Manhattan Project, the race to build the first atomic bombs, tested in New Mexico, and dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945. These wastes are loaded with Thorium-230, an alpha-particle emitting radioactive substance regarded as comparable, in radiological hazard, to Plutonium-239.

On Nov. 21st, Alvarez, along with Dr. Robert Criss of Washington University and Peter Anderson (Executive Director, Center for a Competitive Waste Industry), keynoted a presentation, sponsored by Missouri Coalition for the Environment, about an underground garbage dump fire now threatening the radioactive waste buried at West Lake Landfill. (See the event announcement and action alert). St. Louis Public Radio, KSDK, KMOV, KMOX, and the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported on the event. A video recording of the Westlake Landfill community meeting has also been provided by Missouri Coalition for the Environment.

Criss prepared a report earlier this year entitled "Risk and Character of Radioactive Waste at the West Lake Landfill, Bridgeton, Missouri."

Kay Drey, a Beyond Nuclear board member, has long watchdogged the high-risk situation at the West Lake Landfill, along with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.

Rolling Stone reported on the West Lake Landfill fire earlier this year, in an article entitled "St. Louis Is Burning." The article quoted Drey, Criss, Anderson, Ed Smith of Missouri Coalition for the Environment, as well as local residents.

Tuesday
Oct012013

State of MI legislators speak out against Great Lakes radioactive waste dump in Ontario

As reported by CTV, Michigan State Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood and Representative Sarah Roberts spoke out today in Kincardine, Ontario against Ontario Power Generation's proposal to bury radioactive wastes along the Lake Huron shore.

Hopgood's resolution against the DGR (for Deep Geologic Repository, or DUD, for Deep Underground Dump) passed the Michigan State Senate unanimously. Roberts has introduced a companion resolution in the MI State House of Representatives.

Hopgood and Roberts testified today before Canada's federal Joint Review Panel hearing concerns about the DUD. The legislators issued a press advisory, as well as an endorsement of a call by 28 U.S. and Canadian environmental groups (including Beyond Nuclear) "Request for Ruling," that the JRP require OPG to come clean on whether or not it intends to double the capacity of the proposed DUD from 200,000 cubic meters of so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive waste from operations and refurbishment at 20 Ontario reactors, by adding another 200,000 tons of L&ILRWs from decommissioning activities over time.

Sen. Hopgood and Rep. Roberts also submitted written testimony. Attached to Sen. Hopgood's written testimony are statements of opposition to the Great Lakes radioactive waste dump provided by: Michigan United Conservation Clubs (with 42,000 members); Michigan Boating Industries Association (comprised of 300 marine businesses); Michigan Charter Boat Association; Michigan Steelhead & Salmon Fishermen's Association (the largest sport fishing organization in the Great Lakes Basin); Michigan Environmental Council (a coalition of more than 70 organizations); and Michigan Clean Water Action (boasting 200,000 members).

Saturday
Sep282013

Momentum building of international opposition against OPG DUD

The Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump petition now has nearly 35,000 signatures! If you haven't already signed it yourself, please do. And please continue to circulate it to everyone you know! Beverly Fernandez, spokesperson for Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump, gave powerful testimony last Saturday in opposition to the proposal to "bury poison next to the well" of 40 million people, the Great Lakes, drinking water supply for 8 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American/First Nations.

On September 23rd, Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Kevin Kamps, also testified against Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) proposal to bury all of Ontario's so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes (L&ILRWs), from 20 atomic reactors across the province, within a half-mile of the Lake Huron shoreline (see image, left).

OPG refers to its proposal as the DGR, for Deep Geologic Repository. But critics use DUD, for Deep Underground Dump, an apt appellation coined by Dave Martin of Greenpeace Canada.

Dave, along with Irene Koch of Nuclear Awareness Project, published a map of Nuclear Hotspots on the Great Lakes in 1990. It gave an overview of the vast number of uranium fuel chain activities taking place in the bio-region, including scores of atomic reactors on the shorelines. Anna Tilman of International Institute of Concern for Public Health recently updated the map, to include the proposed DUDs. Both maps helped frame Kevin's testimony to the JRP regarding the DUDs.

Kevin's testimony focused on the woeful inadequacy of OPG's environmental assessment of cumulative impacts, as well as synergistic effects, of radiological and toxic chemical hazards in the Great Lakes bio-region caused by nuclear power facilities, as well as other dirty, dangerous and expensive energy industries, such as fossil fuel burning power plants.

The Canadian federal Joint Review Panel, comprised of a majority of two members from the CNSC (Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission), and one member from the CEAA (Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency), have posted the transcript of Kevin's testimony (beginning at Page 112, or 116 of 350 on the PDF counter). The JRP has also posted the video recording of Kevin's testimony (beginning at time code 2:26, for two hours 26 minutes into the segment). Kevin's Power Point presentation was based on his previously filed written submission.

More.

Wednesday
Aug212013

OPG radioactive waste dump a "declaration of war against the Great Lakes"

As reported in last week's Beyond Nuclear email bulletin, resistance is mounting on both sides of the Great Lakes international border to Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) plan to bury radioactive wastes on the Lake Huron shoreline.

On Aug. 19, Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Kevin Kamps, was honored to be invited to speak at the ‘Save the Great Lakes from Nuclear Waste’ town hall meeting at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit. Michigan State Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor, and State Rep. Sarah Roberts, D-St. Clair Shores, organized the event. In May, Hopgood introduced a resolution, which passed the Michigan State Senate unanimously, urging the U.S. House and Senate to oppose the plan. Roberts is poised to introduce a similar resolution once the Michigan State House legislative session resumes.

Hopgood and Roberts, along with a panel of experts, which included Ed McArdle of the Sierra Club's South East Michigan Group, as well as Beverly Fernandez of the Ontario-based group Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump, provided information about OPG's proposed deep geological repository at the Bruce Nuclear Power Plant on the Lake Huron shoreline, and the impact it could have on Michigan’s water, economy, fishing, tourism, health and future.

Those opposed to the DUD plan are urged to sign Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump's online petition.

As reported by the Detroit Free Press:

'Opponents of a proposal to build an underground nuclear waste dump less than a mile from the shores of Lake Huron railed tonight in Detroit against a project they called a declaration of war against the Great Lakes...

Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste specialist for Takoma Park, Md.-based Beyond Nuclear, said the project would be unprecedented because nuclear waste has not been stored underground in the Great Lakes region and could be dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years.

“This proposal is insane. It’s a declaration of war against the Great Lakes,” Kamps said...'.

The Macomb Daily Tribune also reported on this story.

On August 12th, the Macomb Daily Tribune ran another comprehensive article about the proposed Canadian radioactive waste dump, and opposition to it downstream in eastern Michigan.

Ontario's Lucknow Sentinel also reported on the town hall meeting.

Monday
Jul292013

Mayor, environmentalists declare victory of people power over nuclear power

Sarnia Mayor Mike BradleyAs reported by the Sarnia Observer, the Mayor of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, Mike Bradley (photo, left), has declared victory in a years-long campaign to block the shipment of radioactive steam generators, by boat on the Great Lakes, from Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in Kincardine, Ontario, across the Pacific, to Sweden. 

“It's a real testament to citizen power,” said Bradley, who has been a vocal critic of the move, along with a growing list of Ontario mayors, coalition groups, environmental activists, and U.S. Senators. “We're fighting a very large and powerful organization.”

First Nations, including the Mohawks, as well as hundreds of municipalities in Quebec representing millions of citizens along the targeted shipment route, made the difference for the resistance.

Kay Cumbow, the nuclear power watchdog in Michigan who first discovered the risky shipping scheme through her research, then warned and activated others, has said "Thanks to everyone who wrote letters, signed petitions and helped get the word out about the dangers of this scheme that would have put the Great Lakes at risk, endangered workers as well as communities enroute, and would have put radioactive materials into the global recycled metal supply."

Maude Barlow, national chairwoman of the Council of Canadians, was quoted by the Ottawa Citizen: "This is a huge victory for communities around the Great Lakes...The Great Lakes belong to everyone and communities have a right to say 'no' to any projects that will harm them."

As indicated by Mayor Bradley in a separate Sarnia Observer article, the next big fight against "nuclear madness" brewing at Bruce involves proposals by Ontario Power Generation, the Canadian Nuclear Waste Management Organization, and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to bury all of Ontario's so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes -- from 20 atomic reactors across the province -- within a mile of the Lake Huron shoreline. Several communities near Bruce, largely populated by Bruce nuclear workers and in effect company towns, have also volunteered to be considered for a national Canadian high-level radioactive waste dump (for 22 reactors).