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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
Sep152016

DOE opens another round of public comment on draft 'Consent-Based Siting'

Concerned citizens and environmental groups have been expressing their non-consent to bad, dangerous radioactive waste policies for a very long time. This photo was taken at NRC HQ in Rockville, MD in Nov. 2013, as representatives of an environmental coalition protested NRC's Nuke Waste Con Game (Nuclear Waste Confidence, or Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel) policies, allowing unlimited generation of irradiated nuclear fuel, and its unsafe storage in pools and dry casks for decades, and even centuries, to come. Photo credit: Erica Grey and Dave Martin.On the very eve of its September 15th public meeting in Washington, DC -- to summarize public comments received between Dec. 23, 2015 to July 31, 2016 re: so-called 'Consent-Based Siting' of radioactive waste dumps -- the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced yet another public comment opportunity (see the DOE's last minute announcement, reproduced below, in italics).

DOE also published its draft summary of public comments (84 pages long), after 7pm Eastern on Sept. 14th, less than 24 hours before its meeting just scheduled two weeks earlier (only announced Sept. 1st), to take place in Washington, DC beginning at 2pm Eastern on Sept. 15th.

DOE has also published for the first time links to this year's public comments themselves, generated by such groups as Beyond Nuclear, NIRS, Public Citizen, Sierra Club Nuclear-Free Campaign, etc. As can be seen, the public comments have been high quality, and submitted in very large numbers (measured in the thousands, all told).

We must continue to hold DOE's feet to the fire, by submitting another flood of high quality public comments, making clear WE DO NOT CONSENT to DOE's parking lot dump plans, its Mobile Chernobyl plans, nor to U.S. House Republican plans to resurrect the cancelled Yucca Mountain, Nevada burial dump.

Nor do we consent to the ongoing risks associated with "wet" pool and dry cask storage of irradiated nuclear fuel at nuclear power plants -- and continue, after a decade and a half of doing so, to call for Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS), as well as the cessation of production of high-level radioactive waste (that is, we demand atomic reactors permanently shut down)!

Beyond Nuclear will release another round of sample talking points in the near future, as well as the addresses (online, snail mail, fax, etc.) to which to submit comments. You can use the sample talking points to fashion your own, for submission to DOE.

Here is DOE's announcement, including a link to the DOE draft summary report (on which it has requested further public comment by Oct. 30th):

Hello,

The draft report titled Designing a Consent-Based Siting Process: Summary of Public Input is now available on the Department of Energy consent-based siting website here.

To launch the consent-based siting effort, DOE issued an “Invitation for Public Comment to Inform the Design of a Consent-Based Siting Process for Nuclear Waste Storage and Disposal Facilities” in the Federal Register on December 23, 2015. The comment period was open through July 31, 2016.

Comments received throughout the Invitation for Public Comment and public meetings are summarized in a draft report, titled Designing a Consent-Based Siting Process: Summary of Public Input.  The draft report will be available for public comment for 45 days via a Federal Register Notice beginning September 15, 2016 and concluding on October 30, 2016.  In addition, public comments received on the December 23rd Invitation for Public Comment are now publically posted at here and comments received via regulations.gov are available at here.

Thank you to everyone who attended our public meetings, provided comments, and participated in this important first step. 

John Kotek

Acting Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy

U.S. Department of Energy

Thursday
Sep012016

U.S. Dept. of Energy's Public Meeting on September 15th in Washington DC [also viewable via Webinar]

On Sept. 1st, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sent out the following announcement:

Good Afternoon,

On Thursday, September 15th, 2016, the Department of Energy (DOE) will host a public meeting in Washington, DC to summarize feedback received as part of the December 23, 2015 Invitation for Public Comment and subsequent public meetings on consent-based siting.  The meeting will also provide an opportunity to discuss next steps in consent-based siting with participants.

DATE AND TIME: The meeting will take place on Thursday September 15, 2016 from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.  Department officials will be available to discuss consent-based siting during an informal open house 30 minutes before and after the formal meeting.

LOCATION: The meeting will be held at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Washington D.C. Convention Center at 900 10th St NW, Washington, DC 20001.  The entire meeting will be available live via Live Webstream Link

REGISTRATION: Registration is encouraged to assist with planning efforts. Registration Link

BACKGROUND AND AGENDA:  DOE is designing a consent-based siting process to establish an integrated waste management system to transport, store, and dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high level radioactive waste.  In a consent-based siting approach, DOE will work with communities, tribal governments and states across the country that express interest in hosting any of the facilities identified as part of an integrated waste management system.  As part of this process, the Department issued an Invitation for Public Comment in the Federal Register on December 23, 2015 and hosted eight public meetings across the United States in 2016 to seek input on the elements that should be considered in the development of a consent-based siting process.  This September 15, 2016 meeting will summarize feedback received and provide an opportunity to discuss next steps in consent-based siting For more information, and to view the agenda, please visit our website at energy.gov/consentbasedsiting.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Please send requests for further information to consentbasedsiting@hq.doe.gov.

We look forward to your participation and hope to see you in [sic] online or in Washington!

John Kotek

Acting Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy

U.S. Department of Energy

Monday
Aug222016

"Nuclear accident in New Mexico ranks among the costliest in U.S. history"

DOE photo of recovery operations after the radioactive barrel burst in WIPP's underground. Workers entering contaminated areas have had to wear triple layer haz mat suits, as well as respirators.As reported by Ralph Vartabedian in the Los Angeles Times, regarding the Valentine's Day, 2014 radioactivity release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP):

The early federal statements gave no hint that the blast had caused massive long-term damage to the dump, a facility crucial to the nuclear weapons cleanup program that spans the nation, or that it would jeopardize the Energy Department’s credibility in dealing with the tricky problem of radioactive waste.

But the explosion ranks among the costliest nuclear accidents in U.S. history, according to a Times analysis. The long-term  cost of the mishap could top $2 billion, an amount roughly in the range of the cleanup after the 1979 partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania.

Many months ago, the L.A. Times reported that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) had estimated the recovery costs for the WIPP barrel burst would be $500 million. The paper editorialized that the price tag could easily surpass a billion dollars, which it now reports has been clearly established.

The article quotes Don Hancock of Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC):

“There is no question the Energy Department has downplayed the significance of the accident,” said Don Hancock, who monitors the dump for the watchdog group Southwest Research and Information Center.

...Hancock suggested that the dump might never resume full operations.

“The facility was never designed to operate in a contaminated state,” he said. “It was supposed to open clean and stay clean, but now it will have to operate dirty. Nobody at the Energy Department wants to consider the potential that it isn't fixable.”

Thursday
Aug182016

Protect the Great Lakes march & rally, GLEA, Port Huron, MI, Sat., 8/20, noon to 5pm!

DO sign the petition: https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/stopthegreatlakesnucleardump.html. And, if you or folks you know are near enough Port Huron, please attend this second annual event! Please spread the word!Join us, Saturday, August 20,
2016 in Port Huron, Michigan!


Protect the Great Lakes Walk & Rally!
Celebrating grassroots efforts to keep
our Great Lakes clean!


The Walk begins at 12 Noon at the Flag Plaza under the Blue
Water Bridge
(Thomas Edison Parkway). The Walk will follow the
St. Clair River south to Prospect Place, turn west to Pine Grove Ave.,
then enter the park from Pine Grove Avenue.

We walk to raise awareness of the importance of protecting our water!

The Rally takes place from 1 to 5 PM at the Pine Grove Park in
Port Huron, 1204 Pine Grove Avenue, Port Huron, MI 48060.

Map to the International Flag Plaza posted here:
http://www.bluewaysofstclair.org/recreation.asp?ait=av&aid=957

Map to Pine Grove Park posted here:
https://www.mapquest.com/us/michigan/business-port-huron/pine-grove-park-304145455


Harold Watts, Local Woodland Metis member,
will offer a special smudging ceremony before our program.

We will have live music and welcome speakers from many
organizations, including:

LeeAnne Walters, the Mom from Flint who helped expose the Flint Water Crisis 

Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Specialist of Beyond Nuclear,
www.beyondnuclear.org/  

Jill Taylor, President of SOS - Great Lakes,
www.sosgreatlakes.org/

Joshua Radhs, Michigan Clean Up Our River Banks,
https://www.facebook.com/groups/MICUORB/

And speakers from other great groups!

We’ll also hear from Save Lake St. Clair, https://www.facebook.com/SaveLakeStClair/  and BikeLine5, www.biketheline.org/

Live Music from Little Big Band!

Contact Elizabeth Lloyd <2BethLloyd@gmail.com> for more information.


See the March/Rally flier here!

Thursday
Aug182016

'Radioactive material' container found on WI river beach

Photo accompanying articleForum News Service reports:

NEAR SUPERIOR, Wis. – A mysterious container warning "caution radioactive material" was found on a Wisconsin beach on Wednesday morning.

The U.S. Coast Guard reported that the responding agencies determined that the container, found on a beach near the mouth of the Poplar River, didn't contain radioactive materials.

Left unexplained is whether the empty container meant the previously enclosed radioactive materials had been released into the environment, or not. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, or its Agreement State colleagues, are supposed to regulate nuclear and radioactive materials, including in industry and medicine, not just in the nuclear power industry. But they often fail at their crucial task.