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Waste Transportation

The transportation of radioactive waste already occurs, but will become frequent on our rails, roads and waterways, should irradiated reactor fuel be moved to interim or permanent dump sites.

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Tuesday
Mar032015

Margene Bullcreek, leader of Skull Valley Goshute resistance to radioactive waste dump targeted at her community, has passed on

Margene Bullcreek. Photo by Gabriela Bulisova.It is with heavy hearts that we share the sad news that Margene Bullcreek passed on, on Sunday, March 1st, 2015. An In Memoriam has been issued by her colleague Ian Zabarte of the Native Community Action Council (NCAC), where Margene Bullcreek has long served as President.

As emphasized in a NIRS victory tribute, published in Sept., 2006, when the U.S. Department of the Interior effectively blocked the Private Fuel Storage, LLC high-level radioactive waste parking lot dump targeted at her community in Utah:

"The greatest commendations, of course, go to Margene Bullcreek and her organization Ohngo Gaudadeh Devia Awareness (OGDA)...Their victory not only protects their own community and its future generations, but countless millions who live along the routes through dozens of states that were targeted for transporting the atomic wastes to Utah." More.

Monday
Feb092015

Environmental coalition speaks out against unprecedented, risky, liquid high-level radioactive waste shipments!

Peace Bridge between Fort Niagara, ON and Buffalo, NY is one of numerous border crossings where unprecedented liquid HLRW shipments could travel.A coalition of environmental groups has submitted comments to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) regarding proposed truck shipments of liquid high-level radioactive waste, to travel from Chalk River, Ontario to Savannah River Site, South Carolina.

The comments were filed regarding CNSC's Technical Assessment Report: “NAC-LWT Package Design for Transport of Highly Enriched Uranyl Nitrate Liquid.”

NAC-LWT is short for Nuclear Assurance Corporation-Legal Weight Truck.

Comments were submitted by Dr. Gordon Edwards, President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsiblity; Beyond Nuclear; Northwatch; and many others.

The shipment of liquid high-level radioactive waste is unprecedented, extremely risky, and unnecessary in the first place.

Thursday
Mar062014

Secretive, unprecedented, risky shipments of liquid HLRW from Canada to U.S. raise concerns -- take action!

Peace Bridge between Fort Niagara, ON and Buffalo, NY is one of numerous border crossings where unprecedented liquid HLRW shipments could travel.As reported by the Welland Tribune, unprecedented shipments of liquid high-level radioactive waste (HLRW) have not yet begun to roll from Ontario, across at the New York State border crossings, and down the East Coast to Savannah River Site, South Carolina. Even when they do roll, local, regional, and state emergency preparedness officials will not be informed till afterwards, if at all. This begs the question -- what if the worst happens? Will emergency responders even know how to handle the situation?

An article in the Investigative Post has revealed numerous concerns about the liquid HLRWs traveling over the Peace Bridge between Fort Niagara, Ontario, and Buffalo, New York.

TAKE ACTION!

Barbara Warren, Executive Director of Citizens' Environmental Coalition in Albany, NY has prepared an action alert, attached to a backgrounder prepared by environmental attorney Terry Lodge of Toledo, OH. Resistance to these shipments has been expressed by a growing coalition in the U.S. and Canada, including such groups as the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, Beyond Nuclear and Nuclear Information and Resource Service. The action alert and backgrounder describe the potential need for a grassroots citizen legal challenge under the U.S. National Environmental Policy Act against these hastily proposed shipments.

Wednesday
Jan152014

Opposition grows to unprecedented shipments of liquid high-level radioactive waste

An infrared photo of a high-level radioactive waste rail shipment. The high temperature of such shipments, however, is the least of our worries. A severe accident, or attack, involving such a shipment could breach the container, leading to disastrous releases of hazardous radioactivity. This is true for solid irradiated fuel shipments, but all the more so for unprecedented, unanalyzed liquid HLRW truck transports.Grassroots opposition is mounting against a proposal to conduct the unprecedented transportation of liquid high-level radioactive wastes (HLRWs) from Chalk River, Ontario, Canada to Savannah River Site, South Carolina, U.S.A. Although some 2,500 to 3,000 shipments of irradiated nuclear fuel in solid form have occurred in the U.S. since the 1940s, never before has liquid HLRW been shipped. The risks of a disastrous environmental release due to a severe accident would be even higher for liquid shipments than for solid shipments.

In addition, the shipments would be associated with the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. James David Ballard, an expert on terrorism, testified in federal court in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1999 that DOE high-level radioactive waste shipments are at increased risk of terrorist attack because they are associated with the U.S. federal government's nuclear program. Dr. Ballard was testifying as an expert witness on behalf of a U.S.-Canadian-First Nations grassroots coalition opposed to solid weapons-grade plutonium mixed oxide fuel truck shipments from Los Alamos, New Mexico, U.S.A. to Chalk River.

The most likely shipment route for these liquid HLRW trucks is from Ontario into upstate New York, such as at Buffalo and/or Niagara Falls. However, for security reasons, the border crossings could vary, occurring elsewhere in New York, or even other states.

Dr. Gordon Edwards of Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility has prepared a backgrounder on these proposed liquid HLRW truck shipments, a resolution in opposition, and list of resolution endorsers.

As of July 2, 2013, 91 groups had endorsed the resolution. If your group would like to endorse the resolution, please email Dr. Edwards at Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility: ccnr@web.ca.

In addition, please contact your U.S. Senators, your U.S. Representative, and President Obama. (You can phone your Members of Congress via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.) Urge them to block these unprecedented, high-risk shipments.

Friday
Dec202013

Beyond Nuclear meets NRC's "Nuke Waste Con Game" DGEIS public comment deadline

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 in Rockville, MD. Photo credit David Martin and Erica Grey.

(The "away-from-reactor" so-called "centralized interim storage sites" (better dubbed de facto permanent surface parking lot dumps), considered as part and parcel of NRC's "Nuclear Waste Confidence" DGEIS, would necessitate transportation, although this was downplayed to the point of being almost completely ignored by NRC.)

A special thank you to all those who took action, as urged in Beyond Nuclear's weekly email bulletins, and submitted comments in writing to NRC, or testified orally at public meetings. The final count is not in yet, but it's safe to say many hundreds -- if not thousands -- of high-quality comments were submitted by the Dec. 20th deadline.

In addition to its involvement in environmental coalition efforts, Beyond Nuclear also submitted its own public comments to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) re: its "Nuclear Waste Confidence" Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS) deadline on Dec. 20th. Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Kevin Kamps, submitted comments, as well as supporting documents (Exhibits: A to E; F to I; and J to O).

Kay Drey, a Beyond Nuclear board of directors member based in St. Louis, MO, also submitted comments. Kay is also the author of the numerous pamphlets listed below, and the inspiration behind the Dec. 2-3, 2012 "Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High" conference held at the U. of Chicago mentioned below.

Paul Gunter, Director of Beyond Nuclear's Reactor Oversight Project, also submitted comments, telling the inspiring story of "at least 92 of 137 towns adopted identical language 'to oppose the burial, storage, transportation and production of high-level radioactive waste' in New Hampshire" in 1986. In a tremendous grassroots democracy victory, town warrant articles were passed across "the Granite State" -- the month before Chernobyl exploded and 25 years before Fukushima Daiichi melted down -- in opposition to the Department of Energy's proposal to destroy seven historic New Hampshire towns in order to build a national geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste beneath them.

In Nov. 2007, amidst the presidential primary campaign then raging in New Hampshire, Beyond Nuclear published a fact sheet entitled "A New Hampshire High-Level Radioactive Waste Dump?" In the section on "What's at Stake?", Beyond Nuclear reported:

"Several towns, including Hillsborough (frequently spelled Hillsboro), New Hampshire sit atop a large granite formation identified as the “Cardigan Pluton.” The rock body is part of the DOE’s Crystalline Rock Repository Project to site a second national nuclear waste repository. If selected, the populations declining a federal buyout would be subject to relocation and their property seized by eminent domain for the deep geological repository. This dubious distinction persists despite many geological and hydrological flaws in the candidate site including rock fractures, high amounts of rainfall, broad uncertainty about groundwater movement through the rock body and migration of radioactivity from nuclear waste into aquifers for drinking and agricultural irrigation supplies for large populations.  

In addition to the environmental impacts, federal confiscation would adversely impact the deep historical significance of the area: the nearby town of Washington, the first town in the U.S. to be named after our first president, just after the Revolutionary War; numerous preserved stone arch masonry bridges; the Franklin Pierce Homestead, the home of the 14th President of the United States; the founding congregation and church of the Seventh Day Adventist denomination are examples. There is also the natural beauty of the area: forested hills, scenic lakes and river-ways. Much of this, along with picturesque, historic towns and villages would cease to exist if a national high-level radioactive waste dump opened in New Hampshire."

In fact, as the Beyond Nuclear backgrounder warned, in the waning days of the George W. Bush administration in late 2008, Energy Secretary Bodman issued a Report on the Need for a Second Repository that indeed listed both New Hampshire and Maine (and most of the rest of the Lower 48) on the target list.  (The map on page 12 showed this.)                 

Re: NRC's nuke waste con game deadline, Kevin also submitted the following additional comments: regarding nuclear industry whistleblower Oscar Shirani's revelations on Holtec dry cask Quality Assurance violations, and NRC dry cask storage inspector Dr. Ross Landsman's support for Shirani; a cover letter and backgrounder on dry cask storage problems; a cover letter, and the Statement of Principles for Safeguarding Nuclear Waste at Reactors, in support of Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS), signed by hundreds of environmental groups representing all 50 states; a cover letter, and the Beyond Nuclear fact sheet "Catastrophic Risks of GE BWR Mark I High-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Pools"; a cover letter, and Beyond Nuclear pamphlet "Routine Radioactive Releases from U.S. Nuclear Power Plants," as well as a chart, prepared by Russell Hoffman, showing into which particular organs specific radioactive contaminants lodge to cause harm in the human body; a cover letter, packet of materials from "A Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High" conference, and Beyond Nuclear pamphlet of the same title; a cover letter, and assorted humorous placards, prepared by NEIS for a "nuke waste con game" of "nuclear bingo" at NRC's public comment meeting in Oak Brook, IL; a cover letter, and Beyond Nuclear pamphlets "Dirty, Dangerous, and Expensive," as well as "Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing = Weapons Proliferation"; a cover letter, and sheet prepared by NEIS entitled "It All Boils Down To -- Do We Trust the NRC?".

In addition, Kevin had earlier submitted oral comments at a number of NRC public meetings:

Rockville, MD NRC HQ call-in public comment meeting, Dec. 9th (see NRC's transcript, including Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear's testimony at transcript pages 30-34, and again at transcript pages 60-62).

Perrysburg, OH NRC public comment meeting, Dec. 2nd:

Kevin made points site-specific to Great Lakes reactors, including to Palisades in MI and to Davis-Besse near Perrysburg, from minute 3:00 to 8:37 on a video recording of the public meeting, filmed by Kathy Barnes of Don't Waste MI (Part 4). (Kathy coordinates the Don't Waste MI Facebook page.)

(See the NRC transcript of the meeting, including Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear's comments from pages 41 to 45 of the transcript.)

NRC HQ (Rockville, MD) public comment meeting, Nov. 14th:

See the transcript from the meeting, including Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear's remarks from page 102-107.

Oak Brook, IL public comment meeting, Nov. 12th:

See the transcript from this public comment meeting, including Kevin Kamps from Beyond Nuclear's remarks at transcript pages 50 to 54.

NRC HQ public comment meeting, Rockville, MD, Oct. 1, 2013:

See the transcript of the meeting, including Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear's testimony at pages 37-41 of the transcript.