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ARTICLE ARCHIVE

Radioactive Waste

No safe, permanent solution has yet been found anywhere in the world - and may never be found - for the nuclear waste problem. In the U.S., the only identified and flawed high-level radioactive waste deep repository site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada has been canceled. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an end to the production of nuclear waste and for securing the existing reactor waste in hardened on-site storage.

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Thursday
Aug092018

Tri-City mayors worry about ‘catastrophic’ Hanford tunnel collapse

As reported by the Tri-City Herald.

As the mayors of Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, and West Richland urged the State of Washington to approve the U.S. Department of Energy's request to grout the tunnel containing highly radioactively contaminated equipment, in a bid to prevent its potentially "catastrophic" collapse, the state's Department of Ecology pushed back.

“What DOE is asking is to take irreversible action — put grout in that tunnel — before the the public process really has a chance to get off the ground,” said Alex Smith, [the State of Washington's Department of] Ecology’s Nuclear Waste Program manager.

The May 2017 collapse of a sister radioactive waste storage tunnel at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation risked a significant release of radioactivity into the outside environment, to blow downwind. In that emergency situation, DOE simply bulldozed dirt into the gaping maw of the tunnel's collapsed roof, exposed as it was to the open air.

Such ad hoc action could make future retrieval of the radioactive wastes difficult to impossible, as could grouting the second tunnel as DOE and the Tri-City mayors are urging now. This could mean locking the radioactive wastes in place, only to make inevitable their erosion into the environment (soil, groundwater, air) if the tunnels are simply abandoned as is, and as the soil cap and grout fail over long enough periods of time.


Read more here: https://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/hanf/article216352450.html#storylink=cpy
Wednesday
Jul252018

Nuclear Hotseat Special: Congress Meets Hard Nuclear Decommissioning Truths

Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps (left), with Ian Zabarte of the Native Community Action Council, at the "Zero Hour" youth climate march on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Saturday, July 21, 2018. Photo by Galen Tromble.

SPECIAL REPORT:
Two Days with Congress: DC Briefing, Education/Lobbying on Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants


This Week’s Featured Interviews:

  • Kevin Kamps is the Nuclear Waste Specialist for Beyond Nuclear, and when it comes to problems with existing radioactive waste and what’s being done – or not done – with it, there’s not much that Kevin doesn’t know.
  • Dave Kraft is Executive Director  of Nuclear Energy Information Service, or NEIS, based in Chicago. Dave gives us a picture of what nuclear reactor shutdown and subsequent decommissioning means through the experience of just one of the communities that once welcomed the nuclear industry as the answer to their economic prayers.
  • Manna Jo Green, executive director of Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, has been involved in decades worth of battles regarding New York’s Indian Point nuclear reactors, located only 30 miles as the crow flies from midtown Manhattan. Manna Jo gets into the impact of Indian Point on the ecology of the Hudson River, the ongoing legal battles, and what needs to be done to protect the people of New York from its potential use as a terrorist target.

LINK to Briefing Presser:
Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants:
What Congress, Federal Agencies and Communities Need to Know

Great, clear, concise overview of the issues.  Excellent educational tool to be used by ANY citizens group that lives near a nuclear reactor that is or will be going through decommissioning. 

LINKS to Background Materials and Powerpoint Slides:

www.eesi.org/briefings/view/071618nuclear

www.eesi.org/files/071618_Nuclear_Plant_Decommissioning_Briefing_Packet.zip

  • Complete briefing packet, enrichment materials

VIDEO of the Congressional Briefing Livestream:

 

Many thanks to the organizations active in the coalition that put together this event together: Beyond Nuclear, Clean Water Action New Jersey, Ecological Options Network, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition (IPSEC), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), Riverkeeper, Safe Energy Rights Group, Unity for Clean Energy (U4CE), Western Shoshone Nation, and many others.  With thanks for their invaluable support to EEIS – Environmental and Energy Study Institute and media representative Steve Kent.

Monday
Jul162018

Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants: What Congress, Federal Agencies and Communities Need to Know (Congressional Briefing and Lobby Day)

Watch the video recording of the standing room only congressional briefing held in the U.S. Capitol, including Beyond Nuclear's radioactive waste specialist Kevin Kamps, presenting from the 18 minute mark to the 33 minute 30 second mark of the recording.

Kevin's power point presentation, with more detailed follow-on note slides, can be viewed here.

Kevin also speaks a number of times during the question and answer period, which begins at the one hour three minute mark in the video recording. The Q & A period lasts for 30 minutes, till the end of the recording.

Beyond Nuclear board member Bob Musil, executive diretor of the Rachel Carson Council, moderated the panel, and Beyond Nuclear's reactor oversight project director Paul Gunter served on the event planning committee.

The other speakers at the congressional briefing included:

Robert Alvarez, Senior Scholar, Institute for Policy Studies; former Department of Energy Senior Policy        Advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Security and the Environment

Mayor Al Hill, of Zion, Illinois, home of the decommissioned Zion Nuclear Power Station

Ian Zabarte, Secretary, Native Community Action Council

Jackson Hinkle, Youth Activist, San Clemente High School

Geoffrey H. Fettus, Senior Attorney for Energy & Transportation, Natural Resources Defense Council

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) has posted a summary of the event at its website, as well as associated materials -- including Beyond Nuclear's "Decommissioning nuclear power stations need an 'autopsy' to verify and validate safety margins projected for operating reactor license extensions," prepared by Paul Gunter.

This briefing was made possible by generous support from the Jack & Belle Alpern Fund, Beyond Nuclear, Ecological Options Network, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Pat Marida, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), Riverkeeper, Safe Energy Rights Group, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, and other supporters. Many public interest groups and concerned citizens contributed time and expertise to help organize it.

See the EESI briefing notice for additional information.

Tuesday
Jul032018

July 14 Uranium Legacy Commemoration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 3, 2018
 
Contact: Edith Hood, Red Water Pond Road Community Association
505.905.8051 home, 505.713-4085 cell

Susan Gordon, Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment, coordinator
505.577.8438  sgordon@swuraniumimpacts.org  contact for photos or graphics
 
Red Water Pond Road Community: 39 Years Since North East Church Rock 
Uranium Tailings Spill That Was Never Investigated Nor Cleaned Up
 
  •  Uranium Legacy Commemoration, Saturday, July 14, 7 am to 3 pm
  •  12 miles North of Red Rock State Park on State Highway 566 near Church Rock, NM
The Red Water Pond Road Community on Navajo Nation will be hosting their 39th annual commemoration of the 1979 Uranium Tailings Spill that is the largest uranium tailings spill in the United States. 
   
On July 16, 1979, an earthen dam that held liquid uranium waste broke, releasing 1,000 tons of solid radioactive mill waste and more than 90 million gallons of acidic and radioactive liquids into the Rio Puerco. The contaminants flowed downstream through Gallup, NM and across nine Navajo chapters. Several days after the spill, United Nuclear Corporation sent a handful of people out with shovels and buckets in an attempt to remediate the mess. To this day there has been no reclamation, no study to see how far the contamination went and its impacts on local water systems and people’s health. United Nuclear Corporation has not been held accountable for the spill.
    
“Let us come together again and share these issues and concerns, collaborate and strategize, to push clean up of these contaminated environments among our Diné people, to restore, preserve and protect our Mother Earth,” said Edith Hood, Red Water Pond Road Community resident. “It is time for our state and tribal governments to stand up and help these impacted communities on Dinetah. There has been enough talk. It is time to take action on behalf of the people."  
    
The North East Church Rock community are concerned about the uranium contamination legacy that has poisoned Mother Earth, including our sacred waters, land, and livestock. This gathering will provide a venue to discuss and educate everyone about the impacts of uranium mining and milling and about the ongoing work to remove uranium contaminated soil from the surrounding areas to protect our families and environment. 
    
There will be a 7 am walk to the spill site to offer healing prayers. Following the walk people will gather under shade for food, community education, speeches, and a silent auction.
     
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Thursday
Jun212018

Environmental coalition urges Congress to defund environmentally unjust nuke waste dumps

As fast and furious congressional votes on annual appropriations regarding energy-related matters take place on Capitol Hill, Beyond Nuclear has joined with scores of allied environmental and environmental justice organizations in urging the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to stop funding for both the Yucca Mountain, Nevada permanent burial dump scheme, as well as the de facto permanent, surface storage, "parking lot dumps" targeted at the New Mexico/Texas borderlands. These commercial irradiated nuclear fuel dump schemes have long targeted low income, and/or people of color communities: Western Shoshone Indian land at Yucca Mountain, NV; and already heavily polluted (from fossil fuel and nuclear industries) Hispanic communities near the Holtec/Eddy-Lea [Counties] Energy Alliance, NM, and Waste Control Specialists, LLC, TX so-called "centralized interim storage facilities" (CISFs). In fact, Holtec International's previous attempt at "temporary storage" for highly radioactive waste ("Private Fuel Storage, LLC," or PFS) was targeted at the tiny, low income Skull Valley Goshutes Indian Reservation in Utah, blocked by a tireless nationwide EJ coalition campaign, led by Skull Valley traditionals Margene Bullcreek and Sammy Blackbear. In fact, southeast NM has previously been targeted for a CISF, at the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation, but traditionals Rufina Marie Laws and Joe Geronimo led the successful opposition that blocked it. The nuclear establishment -- the nuclear power industry itself, Congress, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), etc. -- has long been guilty of "radioactive racism," targeting scores of Native American reservations and lands for such dumps, but thus far have been blocked by traditionals like Grace Thorpe of the Sauk and Fox Reservation in Oklahoma.

What can you do to help stop such environmentally unjust radioactive waste dumps? Contact your U.S. Rep., as well as both your U.S. Senators, and urge them to block the Yucca dump, as well as CISFs. (You can also be patched through to your members of congress by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.) The opening of either the Yucca of CISF dumps would launch unprecedented large numbers of highly radioactive waste shipments, by road, rail, and/or waterway, through most states (including high-risk impacts on a large number of Native American reservations). And please continue to submit comments to NRC in opposition to the Holtec/ELEA CISF targeted at southeastern NM, by the July 30th deadline