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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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Monday
Nov052012

Radioactive steam generators from San Onofre, CA heavy haul trucked through 3 States, dumped in UT

The almost 800,000-pound piece of "slightly radioactive" steel from the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station will be moving to a disposal site in Utah through California and Nevada. / KCBSAs reported by KCBS News, a radioactive steam generator has been heavy haul trucked from the southern CA coast, across NV and into UT, before being dumped at the EnergySolutions "EnviroCare" so-called "low" level radioactive waste dump in Clive, UT, not far from the Skull Valley Goshutes Indian Reservation.

The heavy haul truck trailer measured 400 feet long. Heavy haul truck shipments are usually of much shorter duration, as they can only travel at speeds in the single digits of miles per hour.

This shipment's route was kept secret for "security reasons," officials said.

Although Southern California Edison claims little to no radiological risk associated with the shipment, a dental x-ray per hour at a distance of 5 to 10 feet still represents a gamma ray hazard for workers, inspectors, innocent bystanders, and passers by. As NAS has long affirmed, any exposure to radioactivity carries a health risk for cancer, and these risks accumulate over a lifetime.

And, as documented by Dr. Gordon Edwards of Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility regarding radioactive steam generators at Bruce Nuclear Complex in Ontario, the radioactive contaminants inside steam generators are significantly hazardous.

As mentioned in the news coverage, the sheer size of the load is also a hazard. At 800,000 pounds, or 400 tons, this shipment is among the heaviest out there on the roads. In 2003, a 290 ton radioactive reactor pressure vessel traveling from northern MI to SC by train so damaged the tracks in SE MI, as well as in the Carolinas, that follow on trains derailed in its wake.

Update, Easter Day, 2013:

A 500-600 ton load dropped by Entergy at its Arkansas Nuclear One plant has killed one worker and injured 8.

Friday
Sep282012

Deep Trouble -- Nuclear Waste Burial in the Great Lakes Basin

The Great Lakes comprise 20% of the world's surface fresh water, and provide drinking water to 40 million people in 8 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American/First NationsBrennain Lloyd of Northwatch and John Jackson of Great Lakes United will speak at an event, Deep Trouble -- Nuclear Waste Burial in the Great Lakes Basin, sponsored by the St. Clair County Community College and the Blue Water Sierra Club on Sept. 30th in Port Huron, MI. 

The nuclear industry in Canada is currently pursuing approval of their plan to bury 200,000 cubic meters of radioactive waste below the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station on the eastern shore of Lake Huron, and is studying 21 different communities -- 15 of them in the Great Lakes basin -- as possible burial locations for all of Canada's high level nuclear fuel waste.

The presentation will include descriptions of the burial schemes, the hazards for the Great Lakes community, and possible transportation risks, and linkages to U.S. nuclear waste issues.

For more information, please contact Kay Cumbow, Blue Water Sierra Club, (810) 346-4513 or kcumbow@greatlakes.net.

More.

Monday
Sep032012

Saugeen Ojibway Nations challenge the targeting of their traditional territory for a high-level radioactive waste dump

Saugeen First Nation logoThe Saugeen Ojibway Nations (SON, the Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation and the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation) live on the Lake Huron shoreline of Ontario. Their Communal Lands are just 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from the Bruce Nuclear Complex. With a total of 9 atomic reactors (8 operable, 1 permanently shutdown), as well as "centralized interim storage" (including incineration!) for all of Ontario's 20 atomic reactors' "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes, Bruce is amongst the world's single largest nuclear sites. 

But now a Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) for burying all of Ontario's "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes has been proposed by Ontario Power Generation (OPG), owner of Ontario's 20 atomic reactors. 

As the SON have submitted to the Canadian nuclear establishment, the likelihood that its traditional lands are also targeted for Canada's national HIGH-level radioactive waste dump (for all of Ontario's, Quebec's, and New Brunswick's irradiated nuclear fuel) means that OPG's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the DGR is illegally deficient, failing to consider the cumulative impacts associated with the potential for this high-level radioactive waste DGR in the immediate vicinity of Bruce.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), comprised of Canada's nuclear utilities, has been hired by OPG to represent it in the "low"/"intermediate" DGR Environmental Assessment proceeding, and is also in charge of the high-level radioactive waste dump site search in Canada. NWMO has entered into ever deepening stages of consideration for locating Canada's national high-level radioactive waste dump at any of five municipalities surrounding the site of the proposed Bruce DGR, namely: Saugeen Shores, Brockton, Huron-Kinloss, South Bruce and Arran-Elderslie.

Monday
Sep032012

Dr. Gordon Edwards speaks against Canadian national high-level radioactive waste dump on Great Lakes shoreline

Dr. Gordon Edwards, president of CCNR.As reported by the Saugeen Times, Dr. Gordon Edwards (pictured, left), president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, spoke at an event sponsored by Southampton Residents Association-Save Our Saugeen Shores (SRASOS) on the Ontario shoreline of Lake Huron near the Bruce Nuclear Power Complex. He was joined by John Jackson, acting Executive Director of Great Lakes United. SRASOS opposes the Canadian national high-level radioactive waste dump targeted at Saugeen Shores, Ontario, as well as number of other communities nearby Bruce. In addition to the targeted communities on Ontario's Lake Huron shoreline, additional Canadian communities on Lake Superior's shoreline have also been targeted, as well as yet more in Saskatchewan. The selected high-level radioactive waste dump would then permanently host all of the irradiated nuclear fuel from all of Canada's nuclear power plants (20 reactors in Ontario, 1 in Quebec, and 1 in New Brunswick).

This proposed high-level radioactive waste dump is supposedly different than and distinct from the "Deep Geologic Repository" (DGR) for "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes, also targeted at the Bruce Nuclear Complex itself by Ontario Power Generation, the provincial nuclear utility which owns 20 atomic reactors. But of course, how different and distinct can two such dumps be, located so close together?! And with DGR "storage space" astronomically expensive, as shown by the proposed Yucca Mountain, Nevada, high-level radioactive waste repository and its estimated nearly $100 billion price tag, how could two DGRs located very close together, rather than just one consolidated DGR, be economically justified?!

Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps, a long-time member of the Great Lakes United (GLU) Nuclear-Free/Green Energy Task Force, is serving as an expert witness for GLU in the environmental assessment proceeding regarding the proposed DGR.

To confuse the two proposals yet more, the Nuclear Waste Management Organziation (NWMO), comprised of Canadian nuclear utilities, is in charge of both the high-level and DGR dump proposals.

Friday
Aug172012

"Ukrainian environmentalist brutally beaten to death"

Volodymyr GoncharenkoEJOLT (Environmental Justice Organizations, Liabilities and Trade) reports the horrific news that, four days after conducting a press conference to warn that 180 tons of dangerous chemical and radioactive industrial waste had arrived at the city of Kryvyi Rih (in the Dnipropetrovsk area of Ukraine), which was likely to be "recycled" into the consumer product stream, 57 year old Volodymyr Goncharenko (photo, left) was brutally beaten to death. He was the Chairman of Social Movement of Ukraine: For the Rights of Citizens to Environmental Security.

As reported by EJOLT, "According to Goncharenko, during the past several years, scavengers have removed from the Chernobyl exclusion zone 6 million metric tons of scrap metal that was subsequently smelted at metallurgical combines and reprocessed into new metal. While in theory each metallurgical combine should be equipped with radiation-monitoring equipment to check all incoming scrap, financial shortfalls have meant this was rarely the case. In 2007 Ukraine ranked eighth in global steel production and steel is Ukraine’s leading export. One can only guess how much radioactive scrap metal has ended up in exported steel."

Pavlo Khazan of the Ukrainian Green Party stated: “We collaborated with Volodymyr for 15 years in professional and public areas. The Ukrainian Green Party has no doubt that the murder was linked to his professional activities.” Although the Ukrainian police have opened an investigation into Goncharenko's murder, Khazan feels that to deliver justice in this case, international attention and pressure will be needed.

Please contact the Embassy of Ukraine, urging a thorough investigation of Goncharenko's murder, as well as for an end to the "recycling" of radioactive metals and other materials into the consumer product stream. In the U.S., the Embassy of Ukraine can be written at 3350 M Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007, faxed at (202) 333-0817, or phoned at (202) 349-2920. Embassies and Consulates of Ukraine elsewhere in the U.S., or in other countries, can also be contacted.

Thanks to Nuclear Energy Information Service in Illinois for alerting us to this story.

Click here to learn more about anti-nuclear resistance to attempts at "radioactive recycling" in North America.

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