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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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Friday
Jul222016

Beyond Nuclear’s Top Ten List for Comments to DOE re: Irradiated Nuclear Fuel (High-Level Radioactive Waste)

  1. Stop making it. The only truly safe, sound, just solution for the radioactive waste problem, is to not make it in the first place. Electricity can be supplied by clean, safe, affordable renewable sources, such as wind and solar, and demand decreased significantly by efficiency, rather than generating radioactive waste via dirty, dangerous, and expensive nuclear power.
  2. Expedite the transfer of irradiated nuclear fuel from densely-packed “wet” storage pools into Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS) dry casks.
  3. Store irradiated nuclear fuel in HOSS dry casks, as safely and securely as possible, as close to the point of generation as possible, in a monitored, inspectable, retrievable manner.
  4. Given the unavoidable risks of high-level radioactive waste truck, train, and/or barge shipments on roads, rails, and/or waterways (Mobile Chernobyls, Dirty Bombs on Wheels, Floating Fukushimas), transport irradiated nuclear fuel only once, such as straight to a (suitable, acceptable, just) geological repository, not to so-called centralized interim storage (de facto permanent parking lot dumps, such as those currently targeted at Waste Control Specialists, LLC in Andrews County, west Texas; at Eddy-Lea Counties, near the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeast New Mexico; Native American reservations; nuclear power plants, such as Exelon's Dresden in Morris, IL; etc.).
  5. Geological repositories must be scientifically suitable (capable of isolating the hazardous high-level radioactive waste from the living environment forevermore), socially acceptable (genuinely consent-based), and environmentally just. Note that no such suitable/acceptable/just geologic repository has yet been found, in more than half a century of looking. DOE has admitted it can’t open any repository (even an unsuitable/unacceptable/unjust one) till 2048 at the earliest, more than a century after Enrico Fermi, in 1942, generated the first high-level radioactive waste, in the world’s first reactor, as part of the Manhattan Project to build atomic bombs; and more than 90 years years after the first “civilian” atomic reactor began generating waste at Shippingport, PA.
  6. Do not reprocess (extract fissile plutonium and/or uranium from) irradiated nuclear fuel. Not only would this risk nuclear weapons proliferation, and be astronomically expensive; it would also very likely cause environmental ruin downwind and downstream of wherever it is carried out, as has been shown at such places as Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington; Savannah River Site, South Carolina; West Valley, New York; Sellafield, England; La Hague, France; Kyshtym, Russia; etc.
  7. Preserve and maintain “wet” storage pools – albeit emptied of irradiated nuclear fuel -- as an emergency back up location for cask-to-cask HOSS transfers, when old HOSS casks deteriorate toward failure, and need to be replaced with brand new HOSS casks. That is, do not dismantle pools as part of nuclear power plant decommissioning post-reactor shutdown.
  8. Carefully pass information about storing irradiated nuclear fuel as safely as possible, as close to the point of generation as possible, from one generation to the next, à la the concept of “Rolling Stewardship” described by the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.
  9. Address the shortfall in funding for forevermore storage of high-level radioactive waste. Dr. Mark Cooper of Vermont Law School has estimated the first 200 years of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel storage (assuming just a single repository, although at least two will be required!) will cost $210 to $350 billion, even though there is only some tens of billions of dollars remaining in the now-terminated Nuclear Waste Fund, collected from nuclear power ratepayers.
  10. Environmental justice, in keeping with Bill Clinton's 1994 Executive Order 12898, demands that Native American communities and lands, as well as those of other low income and/or people of color communities, never again be targeted for high-level radioactive waste parking lot dumps or permanent burial sites, a shameful form of radioactive racism dating back decades in the U.S.

Speak now (before the July 31 deadline for public comments), or forever hold your peace, regarding Mobile Chernobyls through a town near you...de facto permanent parking lot dumps for high-level radioactive waste...and permanent burial dumps for high-level radioactive waste on scientifically unsuitable, socially unacceptable, and/or environmentally unjust (radioactively racist) locations!

Also see Beyond Nuclear's two-page and 13-page versions of the "We Do NOT Consent!" talking points, for more detail.

Wednesday
Jul202016

Action Alert: Minneapolis, MN DOE "Consent-Based Siting" public meeting, Thurs., July 21st

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will hold its final "Consent-Based Siting" public comment meeting in Minneapolis, MN on Thursday, July 21st. This is the ninth of nine such meetings held across the U.S. this year.

The meetings come in the context of DOE seeking "consent" for rushed centralized interim storage* (de facto permanent parking lot dumps) for high-level radioactive waste, by as early as 2021. It's important we turn folks out, both in person, as well as via the Webcast.


Whether it's the long-targeted Yucca Mountain, Nevada dumpsite, or a parking lot dump, the high-risk Mobile Chernobyl shipments launched, through most states, would be unprecedented in number.

Please see below for sample talking points you can use to prepare your own. Also see DOE's mtg. announcement, as well as backgrounders and maps we've prepared or assembled, re: transport risks, whether by road, rail, and/or waterway. Finally, a backgrounder shedding light on/asking important questions about the risk that Minnesota could be targeted once again, as it was in the 1980s, for a national high-level radioactive waste dumpsite.

Thanks!

---Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Beyond Nuclear
(240) 462-3216

*While "consent-based siting" for permanent geologic repositories (dumpsites) is also on the agenda, DOE predicts a national dumpsite won't open till 2048. However, parking lot dumps are scheduled for as early as 2021, meaning the groundwork is already being laid now. Also, this public comment proceeding will lay the groundwork for permanent geologic repository site searches to come, including the potential targeting of MN in the future. 

"We do NOT CONSENT!" Sample talking points you can use to prepare your own, to DOE, opposing the Yucca dump, parking lot dumps, and Mobile Chernobyls

 

Beyond Nuclear has prepared sample talking points, entitled WE DO NOT CONSENT!, that you can use to prepare your own public comments, for submission to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in opposition to high-risk, high-level radioactive waste shipments (by road, rail, and/or waterway) to Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as well as to "centralized interim storage sites" (de facto permanent parking lot dumps).

Full length (13-page) version: Beyond Nuclear's WE DO NOT CONSENT! sample talking points are available in PDF format (as well as Word format, with live URL links, at our Website).

Short summary (2-page) version: PDF format (and Word format, with live URL links, at our Website).

Beyond Nuclear has also prepared an even shorter version of sample talking points, a one-page, Top 10 List, of comments to make to DOE: PDF format; and posted online (with live URL links).

Please feel free to use one or more of the sample talking points (verbatim, or adapted to your own words) to prepare your own public comments, and then submit them to DOE by its July 31, 2016 deadline. Express your strong opposition to the Yucca dump, to parking lot dumps, and to Mobile Chernobyls/Floating Fukushimas/Dirty Bombs on Wheels! Also speak out against non-consent based targeting of such states as MN down the road in the future. And please, spread the word.

Wednesday
Jul202016

Eight down, one to go: DOE so-called "Consent-Based Siting" meeting in Minneapolis the last before public comment deadline

DOE's new "truth in advertizing" logo?!Eight down: Washington, D.C., Jan. 20; Chicago, March 29; Atlanta, April 11; Sacramento, April 26 (Chernobyl+30 years); Denver, May 24; Boston, June 2 (see Democracy Now! coverage, mentioning Beyond Nuclear!); Tempe, AZ, June 23; Boise, ID, July 14.

Just one last one to go:

  • Minneapolis, MN on July 21, 2016 at the Hilton Minneapolis. Please register here to attend the Minneapolis meeting in person or view the event online.

Speak now (before the July 31 deadline for public comments), or forever hold your peace, regarding Mobile Chernobyls through a town near you...de facto permanent parking lot dumps for high-level radioactive waste...and permanent burial dumps for high-level radioactive waste on scientifically unsuitable, socially unacceptable, and/or environmentally unjust (radioactively racist) locations!

Monday
Jul182016

Join the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Public Meeting This Thursday, July 21st in Minneapolis, MN

The U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy, "Consent-Based Siting" team has put out the following invitation:

On Thursday, July 21st, the Department of Energy will host a public meeting in Minneapolis on designing a consent-based process to site facilities needed to manage our nation’s nuclear waste. The Department is seeking diverse viewpoints to strengthen the design of its consent-based siting process. We hope to hear from you on issues such as:

·         fairness

·         models and experience to draw from

·         the roles of communities, states, Tribal Nations, and others in consent-based siting

·         information and resources needed to achieve informed consent

·         other perspectives and values the Department should consider

Ultimately, based on your input, the Department will design a proposed process for developing a site, which will in turn serve as a framework for collaborating with potential host communities in the future.

The public meeting will be held at the Hilton Minneapolis from 5:00 PM until 9:30 PM Central Daylight Time. Registration is encouraged in order to assist our logistics planning. To register, please visit this registration page. Those unable to attend in person can view the meeting online through a live webcast. For more information, please visit our website at energy.gov/consentbasedsiting.

We look forward to your participation and hope to see you in Minneapolis!

John Kotek

Acting Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy

U.S. Department of Energy

[The announcement included a flier, and an agenda.]

Monday
Jul182016

Environmental coalition appeals adverse court ruling re: NRC's Nuclear Waste Confidence

Representatives from a coalition of environmental and public interest groups protest NRC's "Nuke Waste Con Game" at a public comment meeting at NRC HQ in Rockville, MD in late 2013.On July 18th, attorneys Diane Curran and Mindy Goldstein filed a Petition for Review of Final Administrative Action of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission [NRC] at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The PETITION FOR REHEARING EN BANC goes to the entire pool of judges at the D.C. Appeals Court. (In law, an en banc session (French for "in bench") is a session in which a case is heard before all the judges of a court (before the entire bench) rather than by a panel selected from them.)

The PETITION comes in repsonse to a June 3rd ruling by a three-judge panel of the Circuit, rejecting an appeal challenging NRC's so-called "Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel" (formerly known as "Nuclear Waste Confidence") Rule and Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS), finalized in late 2014. On June 6th, Beyond Nuclear released a statement in response to that adverse ruling.

The legal challenge against NRC's Nuclear Waste Confidence policy was brought not only by a nation-wide environmental coalition, but also by a number of states (CT, MA, NY, and VT), and an Indian tribe, the Prairie Island Indian Community of MN. Today's PETITION was filed by the environmental coalition.

NRC does not have a right to respond to the PETITION. The court will now decide whether en banc review is warranted.

The PETITION asserts that the June 3rd panel ruling did not fairly deal with the environmental coalition's serious complaints regarding the Continued Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Rule and GEIS, nor did it address the very significant risks of irradiated nuclear fuel generation, storage, and disposal.

Curran serves as a Partner at Harmon, Curran, Spielberg & Eisenberg, LLP in Washington, D.C. Goldstein serves as Director at Turner Environmental Law Clinic at Emory Law School in Atlanta, Georgia, as well as Interim Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program.

Curran and Goldstein serve as legal counsel for a coalition of environmental organizations  The coalition includes: Beyond Nuclear, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Missouri Coalition for the Environment, New England Coalition, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Riverkeeper, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition.

The three licensing proceedings for which Beyond Nuclear provides standing are: the proposed 20-year license extension at Davis-Besse in Ohio; the proposed 20-year license extension at Fermi 2 in Michigan; and the proposed new reactor construction and operating license application at Fermi 3 in Michigan.