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Native America

Native American land has been targeted for decades for uranium mining and, more recently, for radioactive waste dumps. Native Americans have disproportionately been affected by the serious health consequences from uranium mining and have struggled for compensation and restitution. The Navajo Tribe has now banned uranium mining on their land.

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Saturday
Dec222012

PFS pulls the plug on parking lot dump targeted at Skull Valley Goshutes in Utah

Skull Valley Goshute Margene Bullcreek has led the fight against the dump targeted at her community. Photo by Gabriela Bulisova.As reported by the Salt Lake Tribune, the Private Fuel Storage (PFS) Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) has given up on its plans to turn the tiny Skull Valley Goshutes Inidan Reservation in Utah into a parking lot dump (or "centralized interim storage facility") for commercial high-level radioactive waste. At one time, PFS was comprised of more than a dozen nuclear utilities, led by Xcel Energy of Minnesota, with Dairyland Power Co-Op as a front group.

In 2005-2006, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) granted PFS a construction and operating license, despite objections by traditionals with the Skull Valley band, nearly 500 environmental and environmental justice organizations, as well as the State of Utah. The plan was for 40,000 metric tons of irradiated nuclear fuel to be "temporarily stored" (for 20 to 40 years) in 4,000 dry casks on the reservation. However, as the ultimate plan was to transfer the wastes to the Yucca Mountain dump, when that proposal was cancelled in 2009, this would have meant the wastes would have been stuck indefinitely at Skull Valley.

In 2006 a very unlikely coalition, involving the likes of Mormon political leaders and wilderness advocates, succeeded in creating the first federal wilderness area in Utah in a generation. This created a "moat" around the Skull Valley reservation, blocking the railway needed to directly deliver the waste. And, after lobbying efforts at the top echelons of Republican Party decision making circles by U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) as well as Utah Governor Huntsman, the George W. Bush administration's Department of the Interior refused to approve the lease agreement between PFS and the Skull Valley band, as well as the intermodal transfer facility on Bureau of Land Management property which could have allowed heavy haul trucks to ship the waste containers the final leg of the journey to the reservation.

The Skull Valley Goshutes were first targeted by the nuclear power establishment more than 20 years ago. Altogether, 60-some tribes have been actively targeted for high-level radioactive waste parking lot dumps. All the proposals have been stopped, as through the work of Native American grassroots environmental activists like Grace Thorpe, working in alliance with environmental and environmental justice organizations.

Thursday
Oct112012

Leona Morgan of ENDAUM speaks on Democracy Now!

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.

Thursday
May242012

Sign petition to block uranium mines poisoning Navajo water

Former uranium mine worker and Navajo leader, Larry J. King (pictured), has gathered 10,000+ signatures and growing on a petition to stop new uranium mines that will contaminate Navajo drinking water supplies. Hydro Resources requested a permit 23 years ago to mine from an aquifer at four sites in two New Mexico towns: Church Rock and neighboring Crownpoint. It has since received permits from the EPA, the NRC and the state. The Easterm Navajo Dine Against Uranium Mining has been fighting the plan since 1994. The site is on private land but within the Navajo community. The Navajo Nation has banned uranium mining on its own lands. Mining from the aquifer for uranium will pollute the water under the two towns and make it undrinkable. Chuch Rock does not use the aquifer currently but views it as a future water source. Read more and please sign the petition to the Environmental Protection Agency which is revisiting its decision to grant Hydro Resources a permit.

Thursday
Apr122012

"Fighting the Legacy of Enrico Fermi"

NRC file photo of Fermi 2Michael Leonardi of Occupy Toledo has published an essay in Counterpunch, re-run at Ecowatch, about the resistance to the Fermi nuclear power plant on the Lake Erie shoreline near Monroe, MI. Leonardi links to Beyond Nuclear's involvement in "Freeze Our Fukushimas" efforts to shutdown Fermi 2 (see photo, left), the largest Fukushima Daiichi twin GE Mark I reactor in the world, with around 550 tons of high-level radioactive waste stuck in its storage pool, more than Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4 put together.

Leonardi also mentions the struggle to nip the proposed new "Fermi 3" reactor, a GE-Hitachi "Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor" (ESBWR), in the bud. Beyond Nuclear's website hosts the compiled submissions by the the environmental coalition resisting Fermi 3, submitted in response to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Beyond Nuclear, along with Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario (CEA), Don't Waste Michigan, and the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter -- represented by Toledo attorney Terry Lodge -- continue to officially intervene against Fermi 3 in the NRC's Atomic Safety (sic) and Licensing Board proceeding.

The Fermi nuclear power plant represents an international risk, as reflected by CEA's involvement: Ontario is a short 8 miles away from Fermi, across Lake Erie. In addition, the Walpole Island First Nation is only 50 miles away.

Most ironically, when the first self-sustained nuclear chain reaction was achieved by Fermi at the University of Chicago as part of the Manhattan Project on December 2, 1942, a coded phone call was made by one of the physicists, Arthur Compton, to James Conant, chairman of the National Defense Research Committee. The conversation was in impromptu code, reflecting Fermi's Italian identity:

Compton: The Italian navigator has landed in the New World.

Conant: How were the natives?

Compton: Very friendly.

This is documented at the U.S. Department of Energy's "CP-1 [Chicago Pile] Goes Critical," The Manhattan Project: An Interactive History.

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