BEYOND NUCLEAR PUBLICATIONS

Search
JOIN OUR NETWORK

     

     

DonateNow

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.

.................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Thursday
Aug212014

Groups urge NRC to postpone key votes in order to avoid “taint” of Magwood conflict of interest

NRC Commissioner William Magwood IV34 groups, including Beyond Nuclear, have written a letter to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Chairman, Allison Macfarlane, as well as NRC Commissioners Christine Svinicki and William Ostendorff, urging them to postpone key Commission votes until after the departure of Commissioner William Magwood IV (photo, left) for his new job as Director-General of the Nuclear Energy Agency in Paris on September 1st.

The NEA's mission statement is to promote nuclear power, while NRC's is supposed to be public health, safety, and environmental protection. The 34 groups allege a glaring conflict of interest on Magwood's part, and have previously called for his resignation, as well as retroactive recusal on all nuclear safety votes dating back to his solicitation of the NEA directorship.

The key votes, now set for August 26th, are on NRC Commission approval of NRC staff's "Continued Storage" (formerly called Nuclear Waste Confidence) Generic Environmental Impact Statement (and very likely its closely associated Rule). The Continued Storage GEIS and Rule hold that irradiated nuclear fuel can be safely, securely, and soundly stored on-site at nuclear power plants, as well as at away-from-reactor consolidated "interim" storage sites, for many decades to come, and effectively, indefinitely.

The Commissioners could also vote to lift a stay on old reactor license extensions, and new reactor construction and operating licenses, in place since the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals nullified NRC's indefensible Nuclear Waste Confidence policy in June, 2012. Via their standing as official intervenors, Beyond Nuclear and its environmental allies have helped secure stays against final approval of the Fermi 3, MI proposed new reactor construction and operating license, as well as the Davis-Besse, OH 20-year license extension, until the court-ordered revison of the Nuclear Waste Confidence policy has been finalized.

The 34-group environmental coalition, represented by attorneys Diane Curran of Harmon, Curran, Spielberg + Eisenberg LLP of Washington, D.C., and Mindy Goldstein of the Turner Environmental Law Clinic at Emory University in Atlanta, has also issued a press release.

The Hill, the Washington Post, and E&E/Greenwire, have reported on this story. The latter article, which requires a subscription to view, mentions Beyond Nuclear et al.'s request to Commissioner Magwood, filed two months ago, that he recuse himself from the Fermi 3 licensing proceeding. Magwood refused to do so.

Katherine Fuchs at FOE has posted a blog about Magwood, "Revolving doors at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission."

Tuesday
Aug192014

Environmental groups oppose Fermi 2 license extension

NRC file photo of Fermi 2Multiple environmental groups have met an arbitrarily short, 11:59pm Eastern deadline, and officially intervened against the application by DTE (Detroit Edison) to extend the operating license at its Fermi 2 atomic reactor (photo, left) for an additional 20 years. Fermi 2's operating license is currently set to expire in 2025.

DTE's Fermi nuclear power plant, most infamous for the October 5, 1966 "We Almost Lost Detroit" partial meltdown of its Unit 1 experimental plutonium breeder reactor, is located on the Lake Erie shore of southeast Michigan, in Monroe County.

Beyond Nuclear has entered into coalition with Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, as well as Don't Waste Michigan, to file four contentions against Fermi 2's license extension.

Two of the contentions concern radioactive waste. The first is about the risk of catastrophic irradiated nuclear fuel storage pool fires. Fermi 2's storage pool holds around 600 tons of irradiated nuclear fuel, more than all four destroyed units at Fukushima Daiichi put together (419 tons). The second radioactive waste contention is about the lack of safety and environmental assurances, since the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) "Nuclear Waste Confidence" policy was declared null and void two years ago by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and NRC has not yet replaced it.

Another contention concerns the General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactor, and its containment's, long-known, fatal design flaws. Fermi 2 is largest GE Mark I BWR in the world, almost as big as the melted down Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 and 2 reactor cores put together. 

The final contention is about the interconnected risks between the age-degraded Fermi 2, and the untested, proposed new Fermi 3 atomic reactor, including the vulnerability of both sharing a common off-site electricity transmission corridor.

The three groups, joined by Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, as well as the Sierra Club, Michigan Chapter, have also been intervening against the Fermi 3 proposed new reactor since March, 2009.

Both coalitions challenging Fermi 2, and Fermi 3, are represented by Toledo-based attorney Terry Lodge.

Citizens Resistance at Fermi Two (CRAFT) separately filed 14 contentions of its own against the Fermi 2 license extension. CRAFT released a press release.

Sunday
Jul202014

U.S. Rep. Candice Miller urges Sec. Kerry to activate IJC on Canadian Great Lakes radioactive waste dump

U.S. Representative Candice Miller (R-MI) has written U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, urging that he activate the International Joint Commission to review Ontario Power Generation's proposal to bury so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, less than a mile from the shore of Lake Huron. Michigan is less than 50 across Lake Huron from the targeted dumpsite, and millions of Michiganders draw their drinking water from the Great Lakes downstream of the proposed dump.

The U.S. State Department wrote Rep. Miller back, saying "The Department will review any possible role for the IJC and determine next steps."

Friday
Jul182014

"Our fresh water makes radioactive waste transport and dumping too dangerous here"

John LaForge of Nukewatch WIJohn LaForge of Nukewatch Wisconsin has taken his hometown paper, the Duluth News Tribune, to task for its pro-nuke waste dump editorial. His op-ed could be summarized "It's the water, stupid!" John points out that the Great Lakes region, including MN and WI, is significantly less "suitable" for high-level radioactive waste disposal than was Yucca Mountain, NV -- a desert region that proved to have too much underground, corrosive water than was safe for radioactive waste burial.

Despite such basic common sense, the U.S. Dept. of Energy targeted MN with 7 proposed high-level rad. waste burial sites in the 1980s, and WI with another 2.

Ontario Power Generation, and its Nuclear Waste Management Organization, has proposed not only a "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive waste burial dump on the Lake Huron shore in ON, but is also proposing HLRW dumps on the Great Lakes shore, or in its basin, at multiple sites near Lake Superior as well as Lake Huron. John LaForge has intervened against these Canadian proposals, as well.

Wednesday
Jul162014

Dr. David Suzuki speaks out against Canada's proposed Great Lakes radioactive waste dump

Dr. David SuzukiAs reported at the website of Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump:

Dr. David Suzuki, award-winning scientist, environmentalist, broadcaster, Companion of the Order of Canada, holder of 26 honorary degrees, recipient of UNESCO's Kalinga Prize for science, the United Nations Environment Program medal, the 2009 Right Livelihood Award, and Global 500 calls for halt to Ontario Power Generation proposed nuclear waste repository in Kincardine, Ontario.

Dr. Suzuki's op-ed, "Lake Huron is No Place for a Nuclear Waste Dump," appeared at Huffington Post.