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On-Site Storage

Currently, all radioactive waste generated by U.S. reactors is stored at the reactor site - either in fuel pools or waste casks. However, the casks are currently security-vulnerable and should be "hardened" while a better solution continues to be sought.

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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.

Tuesday
Sep172013

Environmental coalition challenges NRC on risk of HLRW pool fires yet again

IPS senior scholar Robert AlvarezIt's déjà vu all over again! After announcing a public meeting on August 22nd -- supposedly intended for technical dialogue -- the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) attemped to change the rules, and unabashedly refused to respond to watchdogs' challenges to its biased analysis regarding high-level radioactive waste (HLRW) storage pool fire risks. The strong backlash by representatives of an environmental coalition, inlcuding Beyond Nuclear, has forced NRC to try again. NRC has issued a public notice, as well as slides, for its Sept. 18th public meeting.

The coalition's attorney, Diane Curran, has re-issued talking points first developed for public use in the lead up to the previous meeting. They are more relevant than ever. Curran urges concerned members of the public to register to speak by emailing kevin.witt@nrc.gov. You can phone into the meeting at (888) 324-8193 [enter passcode 4345562], and can watch the webcast at http://video.nrc.gov or https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/984626536.

On August 1st, Curran, and one of the environmental coalition's expert witnesses, Dr. Gordon Thompson of the Institute for Resource and Security Studies (IRSS), submitted a "devastating critique" regarding NRC's "Draft Consequence Study" on the risks of fire in HLRW storage pools. Curran and Thompson called for the study to be withdraw, due to its lack of basic scientific integrity and credibility.

Now Robert Alvarez (photo, above left), senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), has weighed in on the coalition's behalf. Alvarez previously served as a senior advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Energy during the Clintion administration. After the 3/11/11 nuclear catastrophe began in Japan, he published a report on the potentially catastrophic risks in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant HLRW storage pools--the largest concentrations of hazardous artificial radioactivity in the entire country.

As U.S. Senator Ed Markey has pointed out in a letter to NRC Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane, a 2003 study written by none other than Macfarlane herself (along with co-authors Alvarez, Thompson, and several others) starkly contradicts NRC's current "Draft Consequence Study" regarding pool fire risks. Astoundingly, and at catastrophic risk, NRC staff is relying on the "Draft Consequence Study" as the basis to recommend that no expedited transfer of irradiated nuclear fuel should be required as a "lesson learned" in the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe. Beyond Nuclear and hundreds of environmental groups representing all 50 states have called for pools to be emptied into "Hardened On-Site Storage" (HOSS) for well over a decade, but their calls have fallen on deaf ears at NRC.

Tuesday
Sep172013

U.S. Sen. Markey slams NRC for biased study of HLRW storage pool risks

U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA)On the eve of a public meeting at the agency's HQ in Rockville, Maryland, U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA, photo left), a long-time congressional watchdog on the nuclear power industry and its supposed regulators at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has written a blistering letter to NRC Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane regarding NRC staff's "Draft Consequence Study" of the radiological risks of high-level radioactive waste (HLRW) storage pool fires.

Markey's letter references a "devastating critique" of NRC's "Draft Consequence Study" submitted on August 1st by Dr. Gordon Thompson, expert witness on behalf of an environmental coalition including Beyond Nuclear.

Markey points out the irony of NRC's current flip disregard of pool fire risks, given NRC Chairwoman Macfarlane's co-authorship of a 2003 study, along with several others, including Thompson, as well as IPS Senior scholar Bob Alvarez, that clearly exposed the potentially catastrophic fire risks of pool storage.

Friday
Sep062013

NRC "Nuke Waste Con Game" draft GEIS published online, public comments to be accepted from Sept. 13 to Nov. 27

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Nuclear Waste Confidence draft GEIS (Generic Environmental Impact Statement) has been published online. Critics dub it a "Nuke Waste Con Game." The draft GEIS is nearly 600 pages long.

Once the draft GEIS has been officially published in the Federal Register next Friday, September 13th, a 75-day clock starts ticking. NRC will only accept public comments on the draft GEIS until November 27th.

Public comments will be accepted by NRC through various means: electronically, via fax or snail mail, or by way of oral testimony presented at a dozen public comment meetings to be held around the country from October 1st to mid-November.

Beyond Nuclear will provide the ways you can submit public comments to NRC beginning on September 13th. We will also provide sample comments, as well as talking points, to help you prepare your own written comments and/or oral testimony for the public meeting nearest you.