"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.



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.


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.


"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.


Resistance against "radioactive recycling" across North America and beyond

As reported by NIRS, radioactive metal "recycling" activities in the U.S. have, for several years now, been concentrated in Tennessee. However, the Orwellian-named "NewGreen" has opened for business on Ohio's Lake Erie shoreline, between Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear power plants, hoping to send radioactive metal into the consumer product stream for a profit. For two and a half years, grassroots opposition from Michigan to Quebec and Europe has successfully blocked Bruce Nuclear's attempt to "recycle" 64 giant radioactive steam generators into consumer products at Sweden's Studsvik, by shipping them via boat on the Great Lakes and Atlantic. This has happened, despite the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission's rubberstamp for the plan, by blocking the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration from approving the shipment, backed by hundreds of Quebecois munipalities protesting, and Mohawks vowing to physically block the boat on the Saint Lawrence River.


Radioactive dog bowls sold at Chicago & other Illinois Petco Stores

Local Chicago television coverage about the radioactive stainless steel dog bowl scareAs reported by Treehugger and the Herald-News, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) has reported the discovery of radioactive stainless steel dog bowls at a Petco store in Chicago. It is feared that several radioactively contaminated bowls had been sold. IEMA and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission are supposedly trying to track down those purchased bowls, and IEMA warns shoppers who have purchased stainless steel dog bowls at IL Petcos to contact the store where they purchased the bowl as a precaution. The bowls are reportedly contaminated with radioactive Cobalt-60. Although IEMA was quick to trot out the deceptive "no immediate health risk" line (used by nuclear establishment spokespeople during the Three Mile Island meltdown, as documented by Rosalie Bertell, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe, etc.), as syndicated pet columnist Steve Dale asks, what about pets which have eaten or drank from the contaminated bowls?! Also, no information has been provided on the source of the contamination. However, the nuclear power industry and its friends in government have long attempted to "de-regulate" "low-level" radioactive wastes, which they consider "below regulatory concern." These radioactive wastes, such as radioactive metals, can then be "recycled" into consumer items -- such as dog bowls, or anything made of metal.

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