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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
Apr102014

Resolutions to stop the Great Lakes nuclear dump spreading!

This map from Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Waste Dump shows the growing number of resolutions, representing many millions of Americans and Canadians, opposing Ontario Power Generation's proposed radioactive waste dump targeted at the Lake Huron shoreline.

Please get your community, county, and/or state to pass a similar resolution. Use the ones that have already passed as a model.

Wednesday
Apr022014

Did short cuts on safety testing waste barrels contribute to WIPP's radioactivity leak?

As reported by the Albuquerque Journal, short cuts on safety to save money -- doing away with headgas space between a waste barrel's contents and its lid -- is a potential explanation for the Feb. 14th radioactivity release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico, although this has yet to be determined. The concern is that inappropriate gases pent up in a waste barrel may have breached a lid, releasing radioactivity that then escaped up WIPP's ventilation system to blow downwind and fallout. WIPP's been closed since.

Environmental watchdogs and the State of New Mexico resisted the regulatory rollbacks at the time. The rollbacks were pushed by U.S. Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), perhaps the single most pro-nuclear Member of Congress of the past generation.

An investigative team set to descend into WIPP's depths to try to get to the bottom of the radioactivity release has been postponed, due to the delayed arrival of needed radiation monitors. The workers will have to take elaborate precautions against radioactive exposures while underground, due to the ultra-hazardous nature of transuranics. A single speck of plutonium in the human lung can initiate cancer over time.

Monday
Mar312014

"Measured Progress on Nuclear Security," or a "World Awash in Nuclear Explosive"?

The Nuclear Genie, as depicted in Walt Disney's 1950s pro-nuclear propaganda book "Our Friend the Atom"The New York Times editorial board has cited "Measured Progress on Nuclear Security," given Japan's pledge to turn over a small fraction of its potentially weapons-usable plutonium and highly enriched uranium to the U.S. for "disposal."

But as the Center for Public Integrity and Truthout have warned in an article by Douglas Birch and R. Jeffrey Smith entitled "The World Awash in Nuclear Explosive?", we have a frighteningly long way to go in our attempts to put the nuclear weapons proliferation genie back in the bottle.

Ironically enough, Tom Cochran at NRDC warns that the imminent opening of Japan's Rokkasho commercial irradiated nuclear fuel reprocessing facility could set the stage for catastrophic nuclear weapons proliferation.

Thursday
Mar272014

JRP announces additional hearings on OPG's DUD

The proposed location of the DUD at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, less than a mile from the Great Lakes shore in Kincardine, OntarioThe three member Canadian federal Joint Review Panel (JRP) overseeing Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) environmental assessment regarding its proposed DGR (Deep Geologic Repository, or, according to critics, DUD -- for Deep Underground Dump) has announced additional hearings to be held at a date still to be announced. The JRP's announcement is below.

If you haven't already, please join over 50,000 others by signing the Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump petition, and widely share it with your contacts! Also, please consider urging your town, county, and state to pass resolutions opposing the DUD, as have dozens of municipalities across Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario. The Great Lakes are a planetary treasure -- 20% of the world's surface fresh water, drinking water supply for 40 million people in 8 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations -- and must be protected for the future!

JRP announcement, March 26, 2014:

Interested Parties:

The Deep Geologic Repository Joint Review Panel has requested additional information from Ontario Power Generation and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. The requests are available on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry Internet site at http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/documents/p17520/98790E.pdf and http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/documents/p17520/98789E.pdf.  

Once the Panel has received adequate responses to its information requests, it plans to schedule additional hearing days. The purpose of the additional hearing days will be to provide the Panel and Interested Parties with the opportunity to address any outstanding questions in relation to the subjects addressed in information requests issued by the Panel since November, 2013. Details related to the focus, procedures, deadlines and scheduling of the additional hearing days will be provided in the near future.

Interested Parties are encouraged to check the public registry for the information requests that have been issued by the Panel to date and the responses that continue to be received.

Also, please be reminded that the Panel continues to apply criteria to all submissions that it receives to decide whether or not it will accept that submission for consideration in the review. The Panel has decided to clarify section 8.11 of the Public Hearing Procedures. At this stage of the process, the applicable criteria are:

Ø  Whether similar submissions have been made by others;

Ø  Whether the submission contains new information that is within the mandate of the Panel and not already on the record; or

Ø  Whether the submission is from a group or individual that has not previously participated in the review.

Joint Review Panel Secretariat

160 Elgin St., 22nd Floor

Ottawa ON K1A 0H3

Tel.: 1‐866‐582‐1884 or 613‐957‐0301

Email: DGR.Review@ceaa-acee.gc.ca

Tuesday
Mar252014

Gundersen: Forever deadly radioactive waste, versus renewables

Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer, Fairewinds Associates, Inc.As Fairewinds Associates, Inc.'s Chief Engineer, Arnie Gundersen (photo, left), concluded his keynote presentation at the Beyond Nuclear/FOE/NEIS "Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High" conference in Chicago in Dec. 2012:

"What we're seeing is that the cost of solar is plummeting while nuclear is rising," Gundersen said, adding that he often hears the rebuttal that the sun doesn't shine day and night. "But if you believe that man can build a repository to store nuclear waste for a quarter of a million years, surely those same people can find a way to store electricity overnight." ---GAZETTENET.com, November 16, 2012

Gundersen serves as the expert witness for an environnental coalition (Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and Sierra Club, Ohio Chapter) that has challenged the risky, experimental steam generator replacements at Davis-Besse.

An overlapping coalition (including the Green Party of Ohio) has raised the radioactive waste dilemma and the renewables alternative as major arguments against the 20-year license extension at Davis-Besse.