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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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Tuesday
Mar292016

CAN TV of Chicago video record of DOE "Consent-Based Siting" public meeting

CAN TV (Chicago Access Network television), a long-time parnter with Nuclear Energy Info. Service, has yet again provided another amazing public service, by videorecording the showdown between nuclear establishment proponents of parking lot dumps and Mobile Chernobyls, and grassroots environmental and social justice activists:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUa5jZROuho&feature=youtu.be

Chicago, already ringed by nuclear power plants, would be hard hit by thousands of Mobile Chernobyls from many states, if parking lot dumps are opened. In fact, Dresden nuclear power plant in Morris, IL, just southwest of Chicago, is a top target being eyed by DOE itself for a parking lot dump.

Tuesday
Mar292016

Chicago DOE "Consent-Based Siting" public meeting break out sessions

Environmental coalition members from the Crabshell Alliance, Sierra Club Nuclear-Free Campaign, NIRS, PSR, NEIS, and Public Citizen "just say NO!" at the NRC HQ nuke waste con game public comment meeting on 11/14/13 in Rockville, MD. Photo credit David Martin and Erica GreyAt the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) "Consent-Based Siting" public meeting in Chicago on March 29th (for opening high-level radioactive waste de facto permanent parking lot, and permanent burial dumps), break out sessions were held.

The facilitation consultants called "Leadership Strategies" had one or more of its staff facilitating each of around six separate break out session discussion, held in the same large conference room, but at different tables.

Notes from brainstorm sessions and discussions were written down on butcher paper.

Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps was able to photograph most to all of the butcher paper notes from two of the break out sessions tables:

Butcher papers #1; #2; #3; #4; #5; #6; #7; #8; #9; #10; #11; #12; #13; #14; #15; #16; #17; #18; #19; #20; #21; #22; #23; #24; #25; #26; #27.

Wednesday
Mar232016

Whether in person/by Webcast, help tell DOE next Tues. in Chicago: We do NOT consent to Mobile Chernobyls nor parking lots dumps!

Environmental coalition members from the Crabshell Alliance, Sierra Club Nuclear-Free Campaign, NIRS, PSR, NEIS, and Public Citizen "just say NO!" at the NRC HQ nuke waste con game public comment meeting on 11/14/13 in Rockville, MD. Photo credit David Martin and Erica GreyPlease attend if you can, and spread the word about, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) so-called "CONSENT-BASED SITING PUBLIC MEETING," to be held at the University of Chicago's Gleacher Center at 450 North Cityfront Plaza Drive, Chicago, IL 60611, on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 from 1pm to 5:30pm Central time.

[A series of additional meetings are scheduled to be held around the country, between April and July; the DOE's so-called "Kick-Off" meeting took place in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20, 2016 -- see the  notes Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps took, in order to get an idea of what's likely to come in Chicago next Tuesday, and at the other meetings elsewhere in the months ahead.]

DOE states: Registration is encouraged in order to assist our logistics planning.  To register, please visit the Chicago Registration PageThose unable to attend can view the meeting online through a live webcast that can be accessed through the registration page or the direct link Chicago Webcast.

What is it DOE wants to site? Irradiated nuclear fuel/high-level radioactive waste parking lot dumps, as well as permanent burial dumps.

The U. of Chicago is a very appropriate location for such a meeting. After all, Enrico Fermi, during the Manhattan Project race for the atomic bomb -- later dropped, in August 1945, on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan -- fired up the first atomic reactor in the world, and created the first high-level radioactive waste, at the University of Chicago, on December 2, 1942. As the Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), Beyond Nuclear, Friends of the Earth, et al. conference "A Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High," held at the U. of Chicago on December 2, 2012, emphasized, "we need to stop making it," because "we don't even know what to do with the first cupful" of high-level radioactive waste Fermi generated 73 years ago now!

(See NEIS's web archive of that entire "Mountain of Waste" conference.)

To the contrary, DOE's twisted "mission," just like the motivation of President Obama's Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future (BRC), as clearly revealed in its Jan. 2012 Final Report, is to "solve" the "minor problem" of radioactive waste, so that nuclear power can be expanded -- which would inevitably generate yet more forever deadly radioactive waste!

The vast majority of Chicago's electricity comes from nuclear power (75-80% -- as bad or worse than the situation in "Nuclear France"!). Warrenville, in DuPage County, IL, just outside Chicago, is Exelon's headquarters. Exelon is the largest nuclear power utility in the U.S. (and now, with the Washington, D.C. Public Service Commission's controversial approval of Exelon's takeover of the Mid-Atlantic utility Pepco, the largest electric utility in the country). Illinois is already "home" to more commercial high-level radioactive waste than any other state, due to more reactors -- 14, with 11 still operating -- than any other state.

The good news about this Chicago meeting? David Kraft of Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), as well as Kim Wasserman-Nieto from Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, will present on a plenary panel.

The bad news about this "public comment period" meeting? DOE has -- insultingly -- allotted a mere 30-minutes for public comments at the end of the day! (At the Jan. 20 meeting in Washington, D.C., DOE did not allow any oral public comments whatsoever!)

However, as the DOE's December 23, 2015 "Nuclear Grinch Who Stole Xmas" Federal Register Notice stated:

You may submit questions or comments by any of the following methods: 

Email: Responses may be provided by email to consentbasedsiting@hq.doe.gov. Please include “Response to IPC” [Invitation for Public Comment] in the subject line.

Mail: Responses may be provided by mail to the following address: U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy, Response to IPC, 1000 Independence Ave SW., Washington, DC 20585.

Fax: Responses may be faxed to 202-586-0544. Please include “Response to IPC” on the fax cover page.

Online: Responses will be accepted online at www.regulations.gov. [DOE has here only provided the general website -- <Consent-Based Siting> must be entered in the search field to get to the precise site]

We must flood DOE with a large number of public comments between now and the end of the public comment period. DOE has just extended the public comment period to July 31, 2016, due to a recently announced meeting to be held in late July in Minneapolis, Minnesota (although DOE has yet to announce the exact date and location for the later meetings).

Please read on for additional information, including a summary of contextual background information, and further below, links to recent Beyond Nuclear website posts that provide yet more detailed background information.

BACKGROUND INFO.

The DOE Office of Nuclear Energy, whose "mission" is to promote nuclear power, is sniffing around the countryside for the path of least resistance, to construct and operate its long-coveted irradiated nuclear fuel parking lot dumps (de facto permanent, so-called "interim" centralized or consolidated surface storage sites), as well as one or more permanent so-called Deep Geologic Repositories (DGRs), A.K.A. permanent high-level radioactive waste burial dumps.

A number of the DOE leadership team pushing "Consent-Based Siting," and "enacting" the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future (BRC) Jan. 2012 Final Report recommendations, were, in fact, also staff on the BRC itself. No one personifies this self-serving, revolving-door relationship better than the Energy Secretary himself: Ernest Moniz was a BRC member, and now heads the agency pushing "Consent-Based Siting," deep borehole disposal, etc.

Ironically enough, though, the BRC recommended that a new entity be created to manage high-level radioactive waste in the U.S., as the DOE, through incompetence and worse, over years and decades, has earned the deep distrust of the American people. Despite this recommendation, DOE's pro-nuclear power Office of Nuclear Energy is still pushing the agenda, including this "Consent-Based Siting" proceeding. This is completely unacceptable, and calls the legitimacy of this entire "Consent-Based Siting" proceeding into question.

Tranpsort Risks

The opening of parking lot dumps (as early as 2021, according to DOE's schedule), or permanent burial dumps (by 2048, DOE estimates), would launch unprecedented numbers of risky high-level waste radioactive shipments -- potential Mobile Chernobyls, Floating Fukushimas, and Dirty Bombs on Wheels -- onto the roads, rails (including through downtown Chicago, and through many other major population centers), and/or waterways (including the Great Lakes, other lakes, rivers, and sea coasts), through most states.

Invoking the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, DOE has no intention whatsoever to seek any form of consent from countless transportation corridor communities.

(NIRS has a website sub-section entitled "Stop Fukushima Freeways," with more information about high-level radioactive waste transportation risks.)

DOE's Orwellian Notions of "Consent"

Regarding "consent" for siting parking lot dumps or permanent burial dumps, there are huge questions about how INFORMED the consent will be, as DOE -- yet again -- downplays and peddles deceptions about the risks involved.

And as DOE works to "define consent" (to the advantage of the nuclear industry, which it serves, and to the disadvantage of the at-risk public), we must beware of the open secret -- "consent" likely means "incentives," as U.S. Republican Senators (like James Risch of Idaho) cynically joked at summer 2013 Energy and Natural Resource Committee hearings to consider authorizing centralized interim storage sites. Such "incentives" could also be called bribes. Shamefully, low income Native American reservations will be targeted for parking lot dumps, as they so often have been in the past -- an environmental injustice, and radioactive racism. The tiny Skull Valley Goshute Indian Reservation was thus targeted, from 1996 to 2012, but thankfully, the dump was ultimately stopped.

Other parking lot dump targets include communities already "hosting" nuclear power plants, and their on-site high-level radioactive wastes. One such target is Exelon's Dresden nuclear power plant in Morris, IL. Dresden has three reactors (one long closed, two still operating), their storage pools, their dry cask storage, as well as the adjacent General Electric-Morris "Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation" -- an abandoned reprocessing facility that thankfully never operated. Thus, Dresden and the adjacent GE-Morris pool, already "host" a vast amount of irradiated nuclear fuel -- around 3,000 metric tons!

Additional targets for parking lot dumps include communities "hosting" DOE nuclear weapons complex sites already heavily-burdened by radioactive waste and radioactive contamination (such as Savannah River Site, South Carolina).

The lead targets for parking lot dumps at the present time, however, appear to be not far from one another, in Texas and New Mexico. This includes Waste Control Specialists (WCS), LLC, in Andrews County, Texas, adjacent to or even above the Ogallala Aquifer, which is poised to apply for a parking lot dump construction and operation license from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission as early as April 2016. And this also includes the DOE's own Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), near Carlsbad, New Mexico; it is being targeted by Eddy-Lea County nuke dump boosters to expand WIPP's "mission" -- despite the supposedly "impossible" radioactive leak that then actually did take place, in Feb. 2014, that has kept it shut down. WIPP is being targeted to include not only plutonium-contaminated nuclear weapons complex waste burial, but now a commercial high-level radioactive waste surface parking lot dump as well.

"Interim" parking lot dump "host" communities should beware of the risk for "temporary surface storage" to turn into permanent underground disposal. As Beyond Nuclear warned in 2013, when related legislation was first introduced on Capitol Hill: "preference" for "co-location" of pilot "priority" and "emergency" centralized interim storage by 2021, "nonpriority" [that is, full-scale] centralized interim storage by 2025, and even the permanent dumpsite by 2048, makes this risk of a single nuclear sacrifice area for the entire country all the more likely.

RECENT WEB POSTS

Department of Energy Consent-based Siting Public Meeting in Chicago on March 29, 2016

 

http://www.beyondnuclear.org/radioactive-waste-whatsnew/2016/3/18/department-of-energy-consent-based-siting-public-meeting-in.html [March 18, 2016 Beyond Nuclear web site post; simply re-posts a message emailed by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy to environmental watchdogs on March 18, 2016. See the Chicago flier that was attached to the email. Also see the Chicago agenda that was attached to the email.]

NIRS: What would it take for YOU to CONSENT to Nuclear Waste? DOE wants to know

http://www.beyondnuclear.org/radioactive-waste-whatsnew/2016/3/17/nirs-what-would-it-take-for-you-to-consent-to-nuclear-waste.html [March 17, 2016 Beyond Nuclear web site post; a re-post of a message/alert distributed by our friends and colleagues at NIRS, put out on March 10, 2016.]

Save the Date: DOE announces "Consent-Based Siting" public comment mtgs. in Chicago (March) & Atlanta (April)

http://www.beyondnuclear.org/radioactive-waste-whatsnew/2016/1/21/save-the-date-doe-announces-consent-based-siting-public-comm.html [January 21, 2016 Beyond Nuclear web site post, immediately following DOE's Washington, D.C. "Kick-Off" meeting for its "Consent-Based Siting" public comment proceeding.

Incredibly enough, the Jan. 20 DC meeting included NO oral public comment opportunity! Supposedly, future public meetings WILL include an oral public comment opportunity -- that is the whole point!

But Chicago's on March 29th is a mere 30 minutes allotted for public comments -- that's only six public comment slots, at the standard five minutes per comment; or, one minute per comment, for 30 commenters, in which time it's difficult to say anything meaningful.

Friday
Mar182016

Department of Energy Consent-based Siting Public Meeting in Chicago on March 29, 2016

Message emailed by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy to environmental watchdogs on March 18, 2016:

On March 29th, in downtown Chicago, the Department of Energy will host the first of eight public meetings around the country on its consent-based siting initiative for facilities needed to manage our nation’s nuclear waste.  We hope to hear from the public, communities, states, Tribal governments, and others on what matters to you as the Department moves forward in developing a consent-based process for siting facilities needed to store, transport, and dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.

This first meeting will be held at the University of Chicago Gleacher Center, from 12 noon until 6:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time. The program will include a presentation from senior DOE officials and a panel session with several experts providing diverse perspectives on the main issues that need to be resolved in the design of a consent-based process.  Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions to the Department and panelists as well as make public comments at the end of the meeting. 

The Department of Energy is interested in hearing your views on:

  • How can the Department ensure that the process for selecting a site is fair?
  • What models and experience should the Department use in designing the process?
  • Who should be involved in the process for selecting a site, and what is their role?
  • What information and resources do you think would facilitate your participation?
  • What else should be considered?

In addition, DOE has published an Invitation for Public Comment in the Federal Register seeking input on these same questions.  The input provided through this notice and the eight public meetings will inform the design of consent-based siting process, which will in turn serve as a framework for engaging with potential host communities in the future.  Ultimately, DOE aims to work collaboratively with the public and interested communities to begin identifying potential partners in managing the nation’s spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.  You can read the Department’s news release here.

Registration is encouraged in order to assist our logistics planning.  To register, please visit the Chicago Registration Page.  Those unable to attend can view the meeting online through a live webcast that can be accessed through the registration page or the direct link Chicago Webcast.  Unfortunately remote viewers will not be able to ask live questions or participate in the discussions through the webcast in order to maximize opportunities for in-person attendees.  DOE plans to hold a national webinar in the coming months to accommodate those unable to attend the public meetings in person, and we will post information on our website when it becomes available.  Following the meeting, all materials including a transcript and video will be posted on our website energy.gov/consentbasedsiting.

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

John Kotek

Acting Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, U.S. Department of Energy

See the Chicago flier that was attached to the email. Also see the Chicago agenda that was attached to the email.

Thursday
Mar172016

NIRS: What would it take for YOU to CONSENT to Nuclear Waste? DOE wants to know

Environmental coalition members from the Crabshell Alliance, Sierra Club Nuclear-Free Campaign, NIRS, PSR, NEIS, and Public Citizen "just say NO!" at the NRC HQ nuke waste con game public comment meeting on 11/14/13 in Rockville, MD. Photo credit David Martin and Erica Grey.Our friends and colleagues at NIRS put out the following action alert on March 10, 2016:

The US Dept. of Energy (DOE) is holding 8 Public Meetings and taking written comments on

“CONSENTING” to TAKE NUCLEAR WASTE

After decades of trying to force-feed the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear dump down the throats of Nevadans and the Western Shoshone Nation, the DOE and nuclear proponents want to know what it will take to get people to consent or appear to consent to take nuclear waste.

DOE openly acknowledges this is “consent” to future nuclear waste production as part of the “integrated waste management system.” They say that the future of nuclear energy in this country depends on this.

Meetings will be held from noon or 1 PM to ~ 5PM

CHICAGO, IL           March 29, 2016           University of Chicago Conference Center    

ATLANTA, GA          April 11, 2016             Georgia Institute of Technology Conference Center

SACRAMENTO, CA   April 26, 2016 (Chernobyl+30)         5-9:30PM Pacific, Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza, 300 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

[The following DATES were not included in NIRS' action alert on March 10th; later that very same day, however, a DOE spokesman at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Regulatory Information Conference, during the "Spent Fuel - Perspectives on Interim Consolidated Storage" workshop session, confirmed the following dates, but still not the exact locations, other than the city and state.]

DENVER, CO           Late May, 2016           Exact location yet to be announced

BOSTON, MA           Early June, 2016         Exact location yet to be announced

TEMPE, AZ              Late June, 2016          Exact location yet to be announced

BOISE, ID               Mid-July, 2016            Exact location yet to be announced

MINNEAPOLIS, MN       Late July, 2016       Exact location yet to be announced

DOE seeks our input on how to be FAIR, WHO to include, what RESOURCES it will take to induce participation.

They want to identify who adequately represents a community and will “consent” or claim to agree to take nuclear waste.

They are not defining exactly what or how much nuclear waste we would be “consenting” or not consenting to accept.

They are not asking how a community can refuse or express permanent “non-consent,” although you can let them know that if you choose to.

Although they have reports, diagrams of storage containers and systems, ideas and plans for the tens of thousands of tons of nuclear waste in this country, they claim to want to negotiate with communities who would “consent” to take it forever or supposedly temporarily.

NO CONSIDERATION OF THE RIGHTS OR CONSENT OF THOSE ALONG TRANSPORT ROUTES IS BEING MADE OR REQUESTED. Although one of the greatest dangers to the most people, environments and ecosystems is the movement of tens of thousands of tons of nuclear waste on roads, rails and waterways, DOE stated at its Washington DC ‘kickoff’ meeting that there is complete federal preemption over transport of nuclear waste so that would not be part of the process.

There is NO Consideration of the rights of future generations who will inevitably be affected.

The nuclear industry is eager for volunteers or consenting communities to take the waste and for the US Department of Energy to take title to it.

Meetings will be in 8 US CITIES from MARCH TO JULY 2016.

Comment deadline [had been] June 15*, 2016; email to consentbasedsiting@hq.doe.gov.  Please include “Response to IPC” [which stands for "Invitation for Public Comment"] in the subject line.

[*But sure enough, DOE has been extended to July 31, 2016: DOE is extending the comment period for the "Invitation for Public Comment to Inform the Design of a Consent-Based Siting Process for Nuclear Waste Storage and Disposal Facilities'' to July 31, 2016. See the Federal Register Notice, dated March 22, 2016.]

DETAILS:

Federal Register Notice:

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/12/23/2015-32346/invitation-for-public-comment-to-inform-the-design-of-a-consent-based-siting-process-for-nuclear

DOE website for more of their information and to REGISTER for MEETINGS: http://www.energy.gov/ne/consent-based-siting

Info coming soon at www.nirs.org at Stop Fukushima Freeways

More info: dianed@nirs.org; after March 21  maryo@nirs.org; For Chicago meeting neis@neis.org

(See Beyond Nuclear's web post from January 2016, immediately following DOE's Washington, D.C. "Kick-Off" meeting for its "Consent-Based Siting" public comment proceeding (which, by the way, included NO oral public comment opportunity! Supposedly, future public meetings listed above WILL include an oral public comment opportunity -- that is the whole point! But we will see. Another disconnect that still has to be resolved is, public comment meetings are scheduled for AFTER the deadline for public comment -- so DOE must extend the public comment deadline until at least all scheduled meetings are finished and done!)