BEYOND NUCLEAR PUBLICATIONS

Search
JOIN OUR NETWORK

     

     

DonateNow

Repositories

With the Barnwell "low-level" radioactive waste dump closed to all but three states and the proposed - but scientifically-flawed - Yucca Mountain high-level waste dump canceled, the Department of Energy is looking at new potential repository sites across the U.S.

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

Wednesday
Jan042017

WIPP claims to be back in business, nearly three years after severe radioactive contamination of underground facility, and environmental release impacting workers

As reported by the Carlsbad, New Mexico Current-Argus and the Albuquerque Journal, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) has emplaced the first trans-uranic (TRU) -- plutonium-contaminated nuclear weapons-related -- waste in nearly three years.

The Journal article reports:

“What they are doing is very risky,” said Don Hancock of the Southwest Research and Information Center in Albuquerque, a longtime WIPP watchdog group. “There still is a lot of contamination in the underground. Workers have to use protective equipment, which makes it slow and more likely to have problems.”

In February 2014, WIPP suffered two disasters in just several days. The first was an underground haul truck fire, that sent a couple dozen workers to the emergency room with smoke inhalation. One worker suffered permanent disability.

The second disaster (which took place on Valentine's Day, 2014) involved an underground barrel burst, which contaminated a large part of the underground WIPP facility with TRU, and even resulted in radioactive releases to the atmosphere, which then fell out downwind in the surface environment. Another couple dozen workers above ground suffered internal alpha particle inhalation, significantly increasing their risk for lung cancer in the future.

Estimates for the recovery from the barrel burst range from $1 billion (L.A. Times) to $2 billion (a recent DOE admission). Federal taxpayers will be forced to pay for this.

Recent problems at WIPP include the collapse of ceilings in the underground mine, caused by lack of maintenance due to the complications of protecting workers in full body suits and respirators, given the serious contamination. One of many recent collapses happened near workers.

The rush to restart WIPP emplacement operations, despite the risks, is likely due to the end of the Obama administration, on Jan. 20th. Energy Secretary Moniz, who will attend an ironic VIP ribbon cutting ceremony at WIPP next Monday (WIPP began operations in 1999!), would likely relish being able to say WIPP restarted on his watch.

WIPP is the first and only deep geologic repository for radioactive waste disposal in the U.S., and so is held up as a poster child of success, as the U.S. Department of Energy and rest of the nuclear industry seek DGRs (or DUDs, for Deep Underground Dumps) for such other waste streams as highly radioactive commercial irradiated nuclear fuel.

Monday
Jun062016

Beyond Nuclear response to U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit panel ruling in NY v. NRC II, the Nuclear Waste Confidence Lawsuit

Media Statement by Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear’s Radioactive Waste Watchdog, in Response to U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Panel Ruling in New York v. Nuclear Regulatory Commission II,

the Nuclear Waste Confidence Lawsuit:

“We are sorely disappointed by Friday’s ruling. The court did not seem to understand the very sound and forceful arguments our coalition of environmental organizations was making.

Our lawyers are reviewing Friday’s decision. We have options for moving ahead, and we expect a recommendation from our lawyers shortly about next steps. 

Suffice it for now to say, we will continue our efforts to demand the government address the very serious environmental risks posed by atomic reactor operation and highly radioactive irradiated nuclear fuel generation. More.

Friday
Feb192016

Beyond Nuclear thankful for indefinite delay on Great Lakes nuclear waste dump, vows to redouble efforts to nip the "DUD" in the bud

The Great Lakes serve as the drinking water supply for 40 million people in eight U.S. states, two Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations.The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Canada's federal Environment Minister, has announced a major delay in the approval process for Ontario Power Generation's request to construct and operate a radioactive waste dump on the shoreline of the Great Lakes. Previously, Minister McKenna had set a March 1st deadline for making the final decision on whether or not to endorse a Joint Review Panel Environmental Assessment Report recommendation to allow the DGR (Deep Geologic Repository) to proceed, despite the high risks and countless uncertainties. Minister McKenna has ordered OPG to provide an estimate, by April 18th, as to how long it will need to provide the extensive additional information requested. The consequent delay in this proceeding could prove lengthy.

Beyond Nuclear, which has long helped lead the growing international national grassroots environmental opposition to the dump (which we prefer to call the DUD -- for Deep Underground Dump -- a phrase coined by Dave Martin of Greenpeace Canada), welcomed the announced delay. Beyond Nuclear released this response to Minister McKenna's announcement.

However, our coalition must remain vigilant, and use this opportunity to stop the DUD once and for all. And then move on to deepening and expanding our work to address the many other radioactive risks faced by the Great Lakes, including at the targeted DUD site itself: the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, the largest nuclear power plant on Earth, in terms of number of reactors. More.

Monday
Feb012016

Take action to stop the Great Lakes nuclear waste dump!

Visit Stop the Great Lake Nuclear Dump's website at www.stopthegreatlakesnucleardump.comPlease act ASAP. Canada's Environment Minister has announced a decision by March 1st at the latest, on whether or not to proceed with a radioactive waste dump on the Great Lakes shore -- drinking water supply for 40 million people in eight U.S. states, two Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations. She could act at any time, and is certainly formulating her decision as we speak, so please act right away!

Write to Canada's Prime Minister and Environment Minister, respectively: Justin.Trudeau@parl.gc.ca & Catherine.McKenna@parl.gc.ca. (yes, even if you are American!)

Urge them to decide NO! on Ontario Power Generation's proposed Deep Geologic Repository for radioactive waste on the Great Lakes shore! More.

Friday
Nov272015

Great Lakes Nuke Dump Decision Postponed; Critics Call for Dump's Cancellation

OPG's DUD would be built on a peninsula surrounded on three sides by water, just 3/4ths of a mile from the shoreline of the Great Lakes.The newly appointed Canadian Environment Minister, the Honorable Catherine McKenna, has postponed the deadline for deciding whether or not to approve Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) proposal to bury radioactive wastes on the Great Lakes shore at Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in Kincardine, Ontario. The deadline had been next Wednesday, December 2, 2015; she has postponed the decision until March 1, 2016.

Beyond Nuclear has issued a press release (see the Word version for live links to relevant documents). In it, Beyond Nuclear thanks a bipartisan U.S. congressional delegation of 32 Senators and Representatives for writing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and urging him to cancel the Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) outright, or at the very least, postpone the decision until they can meet with him in person to communicate the concerns and objections of tens of millions of U.S. citizens in eight Great Lakes states. Beyond Nuclear has expressed confidence that Minister McKenna's review of the 13 years of growing resistance to the DUD (short for Deep Underground Dump) will convince her to reject OPG’s proposal as unacceptably risky to the drinking water supply for 40 million people. See Beyond Nuclear's Canada website section for more information.