US Nuclear plants doing Problem Evaluation Reports on ‘complex and urgent’ situation of water seepage
Gov’t: Erosion is “undermining foundation” of major dam upstream of US nuclear plants — “Extensive network” of seepage paths found — “Water flowing through from multiple sources & multiple directions” — Nuclear plants doing Problem Evaluation Reports on ‘complex and urgent’ situation (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/govt-erosion-undermining-foundation-major-dam-upstream-nuclear-plants-extensive-network-seepage-paths-discovered-water-flowing-multiple-sources-multiple-directions-nuclear-plants-doing-proble?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
TVA’s Boone Dam repair announcement, Jul 30, 2015 (emphasis added):
- 2:30 — The location of this sinkhole and the presence of the sediment… really raised the possibility of a safety concern with the dam… The initial investigation showed that we had internal erosion. A phenomenon called ‘piping’ where voids from water flowing through the dam — more of a stream-like effect — than just seepage. Internal erosion is one of the leading causes of dam failures around the world. So we knew that we had to do something here to protect the safety of the public… particularly downstream risk… Around the clock inspectors [are] keeping surveillance on the dam [and we have] sensors to monitor movements that might occur in the dam itself.
- 4:00 — One of the key findings so far is that water is flowing through the foundation from multiple sources, and in multiple directions. It’s actually seeping through porous rock — rainwater upstream, through porous rock, through the dam…
- 9:15 — There’s still a lot of unknowns as we move into the project.
- 21:30 — There’s only 3 companies in the world that do this kind of remediation.That’s the complexity we’re talking about.
- 24:00 — Reporter: You said that water was coming from multiple sources and moving in multiple directions. To the people who are watching… I would think they would think that seems like an impossible task to do. There are some… in this community who think… that Boone Dam can’t be fixed… Is there a possibility that these solutions that you’re proposing won’t work?
TVA’s Boone Dam Investigation and Analysis Summary: [There is] “internal erosion,” in which voids develop within a dam and/or its foundation because of the action of flowing groundwater… one of the leading causes of dam failures… March of 2015, TVA discovered a well-developed, complex network of groundwater seepage paths coming from sources other than the reservoir… surface runoff flows underneath the dam and is a leading contributor to the observed seepage and sinkhole… Further investigation has confirmed that deterioration of the cutoff trench has occurred as seepage flows continue to undermine the foundation of the embankment dam… If left unaddressed, continued internalerosion may lead to enlargement of the network of voids at which time a large influx of water into the voids could cause rapid acceleration of internal erosion and eventual breaching of the dam. Due to the complex and urgent nature of the situation at Boone Dam, TVA has complemented its own dam safety engineers with nationally recognized experts… In its current state, the dam cannot be relied upon to serve the functions for which it was constructed. In the unlikely event of a dam failure, risks to the public wouldinclude: … loss of critical infrastructure [and] potential loss of life… [We are] engaging local and state emergency management officials… developing specific plans to address potential emergencies and conducting mock exercises to execute those plans. TVA has also initiated efforts to reinforce downstream facilities in a way that will minimize potential risks from an unlikely failure of Boone Dam.
TVA’s Boone Dam Weekly Update, Jun 23, 2015: Our investigation has shown that more water is seeping through the foundation of the dam than would typically be expected. A contributor to the seepage is the high water table from the area just east of the dam. Both sources of seepage and subsequent erosion have created an extensive network of seepage paths beneath the dam… TVA Dam Safety experts [are] working to understand the extent of the seepage and erosion…
Sequoyah Nuclear Plant – NRC Integrated Inspection Report (pdf), Feb 4, 2015: For the five operability evaluations described in the problem evaluation reports (PERs) listed below, the inspectors evaluated the technical adequacy of the evaluations… The inspectors completed five samples [including] PER 952079 – Functional Evaluation of Boone Dam Sinkhole.
Watts Bar Nuclear Plant – NRC Integrated Inspection Report (pdf), Feb 9, 2015: The inspectors reviewed the operability evaluations affecting risk-significant mitigating systems listed below [including] PER 952103 for the discovery of a sinkhole and tailwater sediment at the Boone Dam.
Radiation found in Greene County stream near water supply Biologist concerned about residents’ health By Paul Van Osdol, Pittsburgh’s Action News Jul 16, 2015 FREDERICKTOWN, Pa. —Action News Investigates has learned high levels of radiation — up to 60 times higher than the maximum allowed in drinking water — have been found in a stream that feeds into a water treatment plant. VIDEO: Watch Paul Van Osdol’s report
The high levels of radiation were found in a Greene County stream that flows into the Monongahela River. Ultimately, that water ends up in Pittsburgh.
Ken Dufalla of the Izaak Walton League conservation group has been taking samples from 10 Mile Creek for years, frequently finding high levels of total dissolved solids.
“I wouldn’t touch it. As you can see, I try to keep my hands off it all I can because I don’t know what’s in this water,” Dufalla said.
To find out exactly what is in the water, he pressed the state Department of Environmental Protection to do comprehensive testing.
The results showed levels of radium 226 and radium 228 totaling 327 picocuries per liter at one location, and 301 picocuries per liter of radium 226 at another location.
In plain English, that means both samples had 60 times the EPA drinking water standard of 5 picocuries per liter.
“There’s something in here that’s not supposed to be here,” Dufalla said.
Ten Mile Creek feeds into the Mon River near Fredericktown. Less than a mile down river is a water treatment plant, and that is a major concern for regulators and area residents.
John Stolz, a biologist at Duquesne University, says radium can be hazardous.
“The reality is, if it’s getting into the water that is being used as a source of drinking water, then it is a problem,” Stolz said.
One big problem is water authorities cannot easily get rid of radium through the standard filtering process.
Tests by the Tri-County Joint Municipal Authority last year found low levels of radium 228 — just 1 picocurie per liter. But the authority did not test for radium 226, and it did not do any radium testing in 2012 or 2013.
It’s not just drinking water that’s a concern. The Izaak Walton League canceled plans to stock 10 Mile Creek with trout this year after consulting with state officials.
“Do you want to eat fish that has radiation in it? It’s that simple,” Dufalla said………
The DEP is concerned enough that it is also doing additional testing of water, fish and wildlife in the area.
“We’re trying to attack this from every possible angle to see what the extent of the contamination is, if there is extensive contamination, what it’s affecting, and tracking it down,” Poister said.
The DEP is especially interested in finding the source of the radiation. Stolz says the test results offer a clue.
“It’s highly suggestive that it may be due to drilling operations, or at least the wastewater,” Stolz said……… http://www.wtae.com/news/radiation-found-in-greene-county-stream-near-water-supply/34205428
OF NUCLEAR INTEREST: Energy efficiency and Pilgrim Nuclear http://cambridge.wickedlocal.com/article/20150612/NEWS/150619852 The inefficiency of Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is overlooked when it comes to figuring out how we can use our resources in a more economically and environmentally sound manner. By Brian Boyle, William Maurer and Meg Sheehan Cape Cod Bay Watch
Energy efficiency is on everyone’s mind these days. State and federal government programs incentivize homeowners and businesses to become more energy efficient. Yet, the inefficiency of Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is overlooked when it comes to figuring out how we can use our resources in a more economically and environmentally sound manner.
An investigation into Pilgrim’s efficiency uncovered that about two-thirds (66 percent) of the heat energy produced is dumped into Cape Cod Bay as waste heat.
Pilgrim generates electricity by boiling water using nuclear fission, which creates steam. The steam runs turbines that make electricity. The cooling water Pilgrim needs for condensing the steam back into water comes from Cape Cod Bay: up to 510 million gallons every day. The water from Cape Cod Bay absorbs excess heat during the process of making electricity, and is pumped back into the Bay about 30 degrees Fahrenheit hotter.
Only about one-third (34 percent) of the heat energy produced at Pilgrim is converted into electricity for consumers. At this rate, Pilgrim is about as efficient as a typical coal fired power plant.
Entergy’s wasteful operations are sanctioned under an outdated Clean Water Act permit issued by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state. EPA and the state allow Entergy to use an inefficient, outdated “once-through” cooling water system to withdraw cooling water from Cape Cod Bay, instead of requiring a more efficient, updated closed-loop system. Pilgrim has been using this outdated cooling water system since it started operating in 1972. The hot water – or wasted energy – that Entergy dumps into Cape Cod Bay harms marine resources and pollutes our ocean.
Entergy’s use of Cape Cod Bay for cooling water is supposed to be tightly regulated by EPA and the state, to make sure Pilgrim uses the best technologies available that reduce environmental harm. However, since 1972, EPA and the state have not required any updates to Pilgrim’s cooling technology, and have let Entergy’s Clean Water Act permit expire in 1996 – almost two decades ago.
To put Pilgrim’s inefficiency and wastefulness into perspective, here is a comparison. The amount of heat energy Entergy dumps into the Bay each year – about 42 trillion BTUs – is enough to heat 437,800 homes every year with fuel oil. That’s more than four times the number of households on the Cape and Islands, and more than two times the number of households in Plymouth County.
The volume of water Entergy dumps into the Bay each year is more than enough to run a shower in every household on the Cape and Islands every day, all day, all year long. It is also 100 times more than the town of Plymouth’s Water Department pumps to meet the entire town’s municipal and domestic water requirements each year.
Great Lakes Waterkeepers and Waterkeeper Alliance Urge Canadian Authorities to Ditch the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump http://waterkeeper.org/2015/05/27/great-lakes-waterkeepers-and-waterkeeper-alliance-urge-canadian-authorities-to-ditch-the-great-lakes-nuclear-dump/ May 27 2015 by Maia Raposo Groups Renew Plea to U.S. Secretary of State to Oppose Threat to Drinking Water Supply for 40 Million People
NEW YORK, NY – May 27, 2015 – Environmentalists in the Great Lakes Basin are opposed to a new report from a Canadian Joint Review Panel that has called for the support of the Canadian Minister of the Environment to approve a deep geological repository for nuclear waste in Kincardine, Ontario due to its proximity to drinking water supplies for 40 million people in the United States and Canada. The proposed plan from Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is to store underground radioactive nuclear waste less than one mile from the shores of Lake Huron. Canadian officials are getting closer to approving this hazardous project and could even fast track the authorization of a final license within the next few months.
Under the Binational Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (amended in 2012), both Canada and the US acknowledge the importance of anticipating, preventing, and responding to threats to the waters of the Great Lakes. Both countries share the responsibility and obligation to protect these shared waters from pollution.
“Great Lakes Waterkeepers and Waterkeeper Alliance oppose this project, which could threaten the drinking water supply of 40 million Americans and Canadians,” said Bob Burns, Detroit Riverkeeper. “We ask the U.S. State Department to stand with the citizens, local and state governments, and other stakeholders in the Great Lakes Basin whose voices have not yet been heard but who are at risk if the deep geological repository fails.”
Last September, the groups wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry and Canadian officials urging them to vote against this nuclear storage facility.
“With the Great Lakes containing 95% of the North America’s supply of fresh surface water, this is one of the worst possible locations for a permanent nuclear waste burial facility,” stated Doug Martz, St. Clair Channelkeeper. “Ontario Power Generation, the project proponent, did not investigate any other sites for this repository, but rather, selected the site based on the willingness of one local community. Furthermore, approval of this facility would set a devastating precedent for allowing other nuclear waste repositories to be located in the Great Lakes Basin.”
Marc Yaggi, executive director of Waterkeeper Alliance added: “The Great Lakes are suffering from failing infrastructure, contamination leaching from historical industrial and nuclear waste sites, ongoing agricultural pollution and invasive species. Intentionally siting a new toxic nuclear waste site in such close proximity to the largest fresh water system in the world would severely imperil the water security of two nations. The time to act is now, and we call again on Secretary Kerry to take action.”
The eight Waterkeeper organizations in the Great Lakes support proposed resolutions in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to urge government action to ensure that the Canadian Government does not permanently store nuclear waste underground in the Great Lakes Basin.
Tina Posterli, Waterkeeper Alliance, email@example.com, 516.526.9371
Doug Martz, St. Clair Channelkeeper, firstname.lastname@example.org, 586.764.2443
Bob Burns, Detroit Riverkeeper, email@example.com, 734.676.4626
Waterkeeper Alliance is a global movement uniting more than 250 Waterkeeper organizations around the world and focusing citizen advocacy on issues that affect our waterways, from pollution to climate change. Waterkeepers patrol and protect more than 2 million square miles of rivers, streams and coastlines in the Americas, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa. For more information please visit:www.waterkeeper.org
The 8 Waterkeeper organizations in the Great Lakes are: Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, Detroit Riverkeeper, Grand Traverse Baykeeper, Lake Erie Waterkeeper, Milwaukee Riverkeeper, St. Clair Channelkeeper, Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and Yellow Dog Riverkeepe
The sampling date was 3/12/2015. Because it contains 1,383 Bq/Kg of Cs-134, it is certainly from Fukushima nuclear plant.
The second highest reading of this March was 3,786 Bq/Kg. This water purification center is located in Koriyama city.
Cs-134/137 have been measured from melted slag of this purification center everyday since the beginning of this year…….http://fukushima-diary.com/2015/05/nearly-6000-bqkg-of-cs-134137-detected-from-melted-slag-of-water-purification-center-in-fukushima/
FPL nuclear plant to draw water from national park’s source, April 17, 2015 | The water in the canal system that cools the reactors at Florida Power & Light Co.’s nuclear plant on the edge of Biscayne Bay is too hot and too salty as temperatures rise and rainfall is sparse.
Starting June 1, as a temporary fix, the company will be allowed to withdraw up to 100 million gallons of fresh water a day from a nearby drainage canal to keep the Turkey Point nuclear plant’s cooling canal system from going above 104 degrees…..http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/business/fpl-nuclear-plant-to-draw-water-from-national-park/nkw47/
In December, the EPD issued a permit to Southern Nuclear to draw up to 74 million gallons of water daily from an intake site on the river. Southern Nuclear was required to install oxygen injection systems, commonly called “bubblers,” in the Savannah Harbor to offset concerns about oxygen levels.
“This will affect other dischargers and those using the waters, including the harbor and the lakes,” said Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus. “We have permits that are expired and have not been renewed, and this one is being put forward prematurely.”…….Environmentalists underscored that the Vogtle project is nearly three years behind schedule and said the EPD should take more time to consider the potential damage to the river and the Savannah Harbor.
In December, the EPD issued a permit to Southern Nuclear to draw up to 74 million gallons of water daily from an intake site on the river. Southern Nuclear was required to install oxygen injection systems, commonly called “bubblers,” in the Savannah Harbor to offset concerns about oxygen levels.
“This will affect other dischargers and those using the waters, including the harbor and the lakes,” said Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus. “We have permits that are expired and have not been renewed, and this one is being put forward prematurely.” http://chronicle.augusta.com/latest-news/2015-03-03/conservationists-nuclear-proponents-comment-vogtle-hearing
State Finds Radioactive Material In Vermont Yankee Groundwater, VPR, By JOHN DILLON • FEB 9, 2015 The Vermont Health Department says for the first time it has found the radioactive isotope Strontium-90 in ground water at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in Vernon……..While the health department says there is no immediate risk to health, Commissioner Harry Chen says the discovery shows the need for the state to closely monitor the site now and in the future……
Vermont Yankee shut down at the end of December and is now beginning the decades-long decommissioning process. http://digital.vpr.net/post/state-finds-radioactive-material-vermont-yankee-groundwater
World has not woken up to water crisis caused by climate change: IPCC head, Planet Ark, 04-Feb-15 INDIA Author: Nita Bhalla Water scarcity could lead to conflict between communities and nations as the world is still not fully aware of the water crisis many countries face as a result of climate change, the head of the U.N. panel of climate scientists warned on Tuesday.
The latest report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts a rise in global temperature of between 0.3 and 4.8 degrees Celsius (0.5 to 8.6 Fahrenheit) by the late 21st century.
Countries such as India are likely to be hit hard by global warming, which will bring more freak weather such as droughts that will lead to serious water shortages and affect agricultural output and food security.
“Unfortunately, the world has not really woken up to the reality of what we are going to face in terms of the crises as far as water is concerned,” IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri told participants at a conference on water security.
“If you look at agricultural products, if you look at animal protein – the demand for which is growing – that’s highly water intensive. At the same time, on the supply side, there are going to be several constraints. Firstly because there are going to be profound changes in the water cycle due to climate change.”
Development experts around the world have become increasingly concerned about water security in recent years.
More frequent floods and droughts caused by climate change, pollution of rivers and lakes, urbanization, over-extraction of ground water and expanding populations mean that many nations such as India face serious water shortages.
In addition, the demand for more power by countries like India to fuel their economic growth has resulted in a need to harness more water for hydropower dams and nuclear plants……….http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/72777
INDIA BUILDS SOLAR PLANTS ATOP CANALS TO SAVE LAND, WATER. https://jpratt27.wordpress.com/2015/01/25/india-builds-solar-plants-atop-canals-to-save-land-water/As India moves to ramp up investment in solar power, it is exploring innovative places to install solar plants, including across the top of canals.
Last weekend, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon inaugurated a new “canal-top” solar energy plant in Vadodara district in India’s western state of Gujarat. “I saw more than glittering panels – I saw the future of India and the future of our world,” said Ban. “I saw India’s bright creativity, ingenuity and cutting-edge technology.”
Experts identify two major advantages in building solar plants atop canals: efficient and cheap land use, and reduced water evaporation from the channels underneath. business-standard.com
Critics: Turkey Point Sucking Us Dry MIAMI (CBSMiami) Gary Nelson, 13 Jan 15 – The Turkey Point nuclear power plant was busy splitting atoms by Biscayne Bay Wednesday, and just down the street a Nuclear Regulatory Commission appeals Board was hearing a challenge to the cooling system at Turkey point.
Water to cool the nuclear reactors is hot, as hot as 104 degrees at times. The nuclear regulatory commission has granted FPL a waiver, allowing the water to be hotter then regulations would normally allow.
Still, to keep the water even at the 104 degree limit, FPL has been allowed to pull as much as 100 million gallons of water a day from Everglades canals to cool the plant’s overheated cooling water.
Opponents say FPL, already sucking water from the aquifer-and now canals-is threatening environmental ruin. Click here to watch Gary Nelson’s report.
“The waters going to get more saline, it’s going to get denser, and it’s going to sink, and it’s going to further displace freshwater,” said Mayor Phillip Stoddard of South Miami. “It will mess up the Everglades and threaten the drinking water supply for Florida Keys residence.”
Miami-Dade farmer Mike Hatcher is among those battling FPL’s increased thirst. “It’s the water that we drink, it’s the water that I and my fellow farmers use to grow the crops,” Hatcher said. “It’s the water that we use for recreation.”……
Barry White of the group Citizens Allied for Safe Energy, said citizens have reason to be worried. “Eventually, they’ll pay for it in higher water bills and in the quality of life here,” White said. “There is not enough water and land to support so much.”
It is considered unlikely that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s appeals panel will overturn the agencies earlier decision. In any event, opponents vow to fight on. A decision from the panel is expected within a few weeks. http://miami.cbslocal.com/2015/01/14/critics-turkey-point-sucking-us-dry/
Nuclear expansion gets OK to drink deep from Savannah River Savannahnow.com By Mary Landers, 13 Dec 14 A massive water withdrawal permit issued for nuclear reactors under construction at Plant Vogtle will allow the nuclear power plant to pull an additional 74 million gallons of water a day from the Savannah River.
When the reactors come on line later this decade, the nuclear plant will use more river water than the cities of Savannah and Augusta combined.
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division issued the approval after the agency received more than 250 comments about the draft permit. By the agency’s own count 243 of those letters requested the permit be denied or delayed.
Despite the public outcry, EPD changed almost nothing in the final version of the permit, which was signed Dec. 5 and made public Tuesday on the EPD website.
“It seems to me they are just going to do what they wanted to do anyway,” said Kurt Ebersbach, senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “While they’re happy to observe the process, it was not meaningful to the decision.”………….
Environmentalists have argued that water usage is an additional hidden cost of nuclear. A massive volume of water is needed for cooling, with a loss of up to 88 percent to evaporation in the process………………http://savannahnow.com/news/2014-12-12/nuclear-expansion-gets-ok-drink-deep-savannah-river
Nuclear plant is polluting our drinking water The Mercury, DR. LEWIS CUTHBERT http://www.pottsmerc.com/opinion/20140917/op-ed-nuclear-plant-is-polluting-our-drinking-water 09/16/14, Clean safe water is not a luxury. It’s essential for survival, including personal hygiene, food preparation and cooking. Allowing the intentional destruction of a vital water resource supplying almost 2 million people, for the profit of a multi-billion dollar corporation, is a moral, ethical disgrace. Why should one business, Limerick Nuclear Plant, be permitted to run the Schuylkill River dry and poison it to such a degree that it can become unusable for other businesses and residents?
It is infuriating and unacceptable that our politicians, agency officials, other leaders, and water companies would allow such injustice to continue. Deafening silence continues, while almost two million people from Pottstown to Philadelphia, face a water and public health crisis.
NRC and DEP might as well be working for Exelon.
• Instead of stopping Limerick’s unprecedented threats and harms to the Schuylkill River, NRC plans to relicense Limerick.
• DEP plans to issue an NPDES water pollution permit with dangerous exemptions and loopholes for Limerick’s radiation and cooling tower toxic discharges, and overheating the river.
PA DEP is allowing Limerick to violate federal protective water law and standards. DEP has the power to deny Limerick an NPDES pollution permit renewal. Instead, DEP plans to approve a permit with shocking exemptions. Instead of exemptions from compliance, Exelon, Limerick’s owner, should be required to filter Limerick’s dangerous discharges to meet Safe Drinking Water standards. Exelon is profiting and should be accountable to minimize damage.
Clean water is the law of the land since 1972. Why would PA DEP ignore protective federal clean water laws? Because it saves Exelon the cost of filtration. Governor Corbett appointed Michael Krancer, a former Exelon attorney, to head DEP. Krancer stayed long enough to assure Limerick’s exemption from federal water laws. DEP’s unethical negligence has health and financial consequences.
• Suffering and health care costs will increase. DEP plans to allow unlimited amounts of Limerick’s broad range of radionuclides and toxic cooling tower chemicals to be discharged into the river every day with up to 14.2 million gallons of wastewater.
• It’s cost prohibitive for water companies to monitor or filter Schuylkill River water intake for all Limerick’s cancer causing radionuclides and other toxics.
• Increasing costs to water companies for Limerick’s massive Total Dissolved Solids discharges will ultimately be passed on to their customers. Example: Norristown shut down water distribution for four days recently, resulting in costly plant upgrades. Limerick uses two chemicals that can cause brown water (NPDES Permit).
• Rather than requiring Exelon to slow operations when Limerick discharges overheat the river, DEP plans to eliminate river temperature restrictions that protect aquatic life, public health, and safety.
How can NRC relicense Limerick? There isn’t enough water in the Schuylkill River to sustain daily operations, much less for meltdowns.
• Limerick withdraws over two and a half times more water than the combined withdrawal for Pottstown and Norristown water customers, returning just one quarter to the river. The rest goes into the air as steam from the cooling towers.
• Limerick’s cooling towers depleted the river since the late 1980s. By 1999, DEP reported that it reached record low flows. It’s getting worse. Where you once needed a boat to cross, you can now walk across. Tributaries are even drying up.
If your water is coming from the Schuylkill River through PA American Water, Aqua PA, or your municipality, know your risks. Visitwww.acereport.org. Section #6 “Schuylkill River – Limerick’s Operations Threaten A Drinking Water Disaster” and Video Blogs Updates.
Safe drinking water must be the legacy we leave our children. To save the Schuylkill River and restore an ample, safe water supply for almost two million people and other businesses, Limerick must close. Otherwise, unprecedented threats and harms will increase, expediting a drinking water disaster.
Groups appeal decision in Utah nuclear power plant case By Amy Joi O’Donoghue, Deseret News 17 Sept 14 A consortium of environmental groups are challenging a district court judge’s ruling upholding Utah’s decision to allow more than 53,000 acre-feet of water to be diverted for use in a planned nuclear power plant. SALT LAKE CITY — Environmental groups led by anti-nuclear activists HEAL Utah are challenging a judicial ruling that upheld Utah’s decision to allow Green River water to be used in a proposed nuclear power plant.
The groups contend Utah 7th District Judge George Harmond erred last fall when he upheld a decision by Utah State Engineer Kent Jones granting more than 50,000-acre feet of water for the Blue Castle Holdings plant.
Jones approved the transfer of 50,300 acre-feet of water from the Kane and San Juan County conservancy districts — water that will be ultimately diverted from the Green River in a withdrawal the groups say is not sustainable.
“The Colorado River basin is already over-allocated,” said John Weisheit, conservation director of Living Rivers, one of the groups involved in the lawsuit. “Shortages will likely begin next year for lower basin states and there is a strong chance that hydropower stops at Glen Canyon Dam before this decade is even over.”…..
Opponents to the plant — which is still undergoing the federal licensing process through the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission — also challenged the decision on economic grounds.
“They’ve raised less than 0.1 percent of the total cost of these projects,” said Park City attorney John Flitton of Flitton Babalis, representing the groups.
“What they’re trying to do is get a permit to sell to someone else, and while they wait, they’re tying up water which is increasingly important.”……
Blue Castle Holdings’ president and CEO is Aaron Tilton, a former Utah lawmaker from Utah County who has said his project will withstand judicial scrutiny, meet stringent licensing and safety requirements imposed by federal regulators and provide an alternative, clean source of power for Utah consumers.
The appeal, filed before the Utah State Court of Appeals Wednesday, seeks to unravel those arguments.
“It’s past time for Tilton to admit what we all know — his nuclear scheme is all smoke and no fire,” says Christopher Thomas, HEAL Utah’s executive director. “This project costs too much, uses too much water, and produces expensive power the state doesn’t even want to buy. We hope the Court of Appeals will see that under Utah law, it should not proceed.”
Uranium mining company must release survey data Argus Leader, KEVIN BURBACH, August 20, 2014 RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A mining company must release the results of a geological survey that opponents of its proposed uranium mine in western South Dakota say is necessary to ensure that local aquifers are protected, a federal licensing board of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruled Wednesday.
The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board continued its hearings Wednesday morning in Rapid City, where three federal judges are hearing challenges to a license granted to Powertech Uranium Corp. for its proposed Dewey-Burdock uranium mine.
The intervenors to the proposed mine — members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and other concerned parties — had been pushing for data Powertech collected by drilling throughout the region to find concentrations of uranium ore, among other things. They’ve said enough data haven’t been studied to know if the region’s aquifers would be contaminated or depleted if the company were to mine.
Powertech plans to use a method known as in-situ uranium recovery, which would pump groundwater fortified with oxygen and carbon dioxide into the underground ore deposits to dissolve the uranium. The water would be pumped back to the surface, where the uranium would be extracted and sold to nuclear power plants.
Dr. Robert Moran, who testified at the request of the intervenors, said making the data available would allow the geologists to better understand how the region’s groundwater could be affected if the company starts mining in the area……..http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2014/08/20/uranium-mining-company-must-release-survey-data/14355969/
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