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South Texas Nuclear – Is It Really Watertight? If The Dam Fails Can They Shut The Doors Quickly Enough?

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August 31st NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using data from the Land Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE) Zoom in of image shows the huge main cooling reservoir-dam at the South Texas Nuclear Power Station site – green spot top center of image – apparently still intact as of August 31st, though the nearby waterways continue(d) to rise.

The STP site has mainly flat topography with few gentle slopes. Elevations across the site range from 15ft (4.6 m) NGVD29 to 30ft (9.1 m) NGVD29 with plant grade of 28ft (8.53 m) NGVD29.https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1425/ML14259A195.pdf

If you read, or even just glance, through the US NRC’s flooding walkdown summary, below, then you will quickly get ideas as to to what the “one thing after another” that Raihan Kondker was “working tirelessly to manage” at South Texas Nuclear Power Station, according to the article…

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September 3, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Texas Waters Run Brown After Hurricane Harvey; South Texas Nuclear Dam Still Holding as of August 31st

Mining Awareness +

From NASA: “On August 31, 2017, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image of the Texas coast and the Houston metropolitan area. Note the brown rivers and bays, full of flood water from Hurricane Harvey. Along the coast, muddy, sediment-laden waters from inland pour into a Gulf of Mexico that also was churned up by the relentless storm.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using data from the Land Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE). Caption by Michael Carlowicz.
Link to original story on Earth Observatory and link to original images:  https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=90866
Instrument(s): Terra – MODIS


NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using data from the Land Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE) Zoom in of higher resolution image showing the huge dam at the South Texas Nuclear Power Station site apparently still intact as of…

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September 3, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Potential for nuclear disaster at South Texas’ nuclear reactors

WARNING: “Credible threat of severe accident at two nuclear reactors” due to Hurricane Harvey — “Clear potential for major disaster” — Plant “could be overwhelmed by raging flood waters” — Officials refuse to provide public with information   http://enenews.com/warning-credible-threat-of-severe-accident-at-two-nuclear-reactors-due-to-hurricane-harvey-clear-potential-for-major-disaster-plant-could-be-overwhelmed-by-raging-flood-waters-of

By ENENews Reuters, Aug 29, 2017 (emphasis added): [W]atchdog groups called for the [South Texas Project nuclear] facility to shut due to Tropical Storm Harvey… The groups expressed concern about workers at the plant and the safety of the general public if Harvey caused an accident at the reactors… When asked if the plant would shut if flooding worsened, [spokesman Buddy Eller] said “We are going to do what’s right from a safety standpoint.”… Eller said 250 “storm crew” workers were running the plant… Personnel from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) are also at the plant, assessing storm conditions.

teleSUR, Aug 29, 2017: Groups Warn of Nuclear Accident… In the midst of Tropical Storm Harvey’s drenching onslaught, energy watchdogs are sounding the alarm over the continued operation of two nuclear reactors in East Texas that are running at full capacity despite what they claim is the clear potential for a major disaster… [The nuclear plant] risks being flooded as water pours across the region, threatening the embankment wall shielding the power plant… Beyond Nuclear is one of three groups calling for an immediate shutdown of the twin reactors in case the embankment wall surrounding the plant is breached, which could lead to electrical fires and “cascading events” could result in an accident that threatens major core damage… Some fear the threat of a new Fukushima-style disaster.

Common Dreams, Aug 29, 2017: The South Texas Project nuclear power facility in Bay City, Texas could be under extreme threat from historic flood waters, groups warned… energy watchdogs groups are warning of “a credible threat of a severe accident” at two nuclear reactors… [They] are calling for the immediate shutdown of the South Texas Project (STP) which sits behind an embankment they say could be overwhelmed by the raging flood waters and torrential rains… Both the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the STP operator have previously recognized a credible threat of a severe accident initiated by a breach of the embankment wall that surrounds the 7,000-acre reactor cooling water reservoir,” said [Beyond Nuclear’s] Paul Gunter… [Harvey] was declared the most intense rain event in U.S. history… [B]reach of the embankment wall surrounding the twin reactors would create “an external flood potentially impacting the electrical supply from the switchyard to the reactor safety systems.” In turn, the water has the potential to “cause high-energy electrical fires and other cascading events initiating a severe accident leading to core damage.” Even worse, they added, “any significant loss of cooling water inventory in the Main Cooling Reservoir would reduce cooling capacity to the still operating reactors that could result in a meltdown.” With the nearby Colorado River already cresting at extremely high levels and flowing at 70 times the normal rate, Karen Hadden, director of SEED Coalition, warned that the continue rainfall might create flooding that could reach the reactors… “Our 911 system is down, no emergency services are available, and yet the nuclear reactors are still running… This is an outrageous and irresponsible decision,” declared [Susan Dancer of the South Texas Association for Responsible Energy]. “This storm and flood is absolutely without precedent even before adding the possibility of a nuclear accident that could further imperil millions of people who are already battling for their lives.” As Harvey hovers over the coastal region, heavy rains are expected to persist for days

Beyond Nuclear, Aug 29, 2017: The NRC and South Texas have refused to provide any public information on the status of the water level within in the reservoir…

See also: Nuclear Worker: “Imminent flood coming” near nuke plant from Hurricane Harvey… “Potentially catastrophic”… Running out of food… Working tirelessly to manage problems… Area turned “upside down” (VIDEO)

September 1, 2017 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear workers sticking to their posts at South Texas Nuclear Reactors

As Harvey Raged, Workers Stayed at Nuclear Plant’s Controls, Bloomberg, By Mark Chediak

August 31, 2017,
  • Despite heavy rain, South Texas Project runs at full capacity
  • Biggest challenge is finding workers who can return to plant

As Hurricane Harvey bore down on them, workers remained at the controls of Texas’s biggest nuclear power plant, keeping the lights on for 2 million customers even while some of their own homes were flooded.

Teams of employees have been stationed at the South Texas Project power plant since early Friday. While the site is 90 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of Houston and avoided the worst of the deadly storm, it had to cope with heavy rain and flooding on nearby roads that made it difficult for people to get around.

Plant technicians and engineers were organized into special storm-team crews, working rotating 12-hour shifts, washing clothes in the showers and sleeping on cots set up before Harvey hit. Throughout the storm, the concrete-domed twin reactors have continued operating at full capacity, providing electricity for Texans who can still get service amid a historic flood.

“Really, it’s a matter of getting the sleep you need so you are prepared and ready for the next shift,” said Bob Tatro, a 30-year veteran at the plant and a shift manager for a storm crew that’s kept the plant operating……..

Despite as many as 10 inches of rain on Monday, the nuclear plant near the Gulf of Mexico hasn’t been threatened by the rising waters in nearby tributaries, Eller said. Winds from Harvey never reached hurricane force at the site, which would have required the plant to shut down, he said. There was no flooding at the facility, which is near a wildlife nature preserve.

Workers have been making sure the site’s storm drains are clear and there is enough potable water, said Kurt Moorefield, a shift manager who has been at the plant since Friday.

‘Biggest Issue’

“The biggest issue is finding other employees who can safely make it back to the site,” Eller said. Some workers’ homes have flooded and the company was focused not only on keeping the plant running but helping to assist employees displaced by the storm, he said……..

About 250 operators, engineers, maintenance and other support staff have been stationed at the 2,700-megawatt plant since the storm hit. Additional workers were trickling in to provide help as the weather permitted, and the company was looking to transition back to normal staffing levels, Eller said……..https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-30/as-harvey-raged-workers-slept-on-cots-to-keep-nuclear-power-on

September 1, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Houston flooding and the danger to South Texas’ nuclear reactors

As Historic Flooding Grips Texas, Groups Demand Nuclear Plant Be Shut Down https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/08/29/historic-flooding-grips-texas-groups-demand-nuclear-plant-be-shut-down#

This storm and flood is absolutely without precedent even before adding the possibility of a nuclear accident that could further imperil millions of people who are already battling for their lives.”

byJon Queally, staff writer, 29 Aug 17, As record-breaking rainfall and unprecedented flooding continue to batter the greater Houston area and along the Gulf coast on Tuesday, energy watchdogs groups are warning of “a credible threat of a severe accident” at two nuclear reactors still operating at full capacity in nearby Bay City, Texas.

Three groups—Beyond Nuclear, South Texas Association for Responsible Energy, and the SEED Coalition—are calling for the immediate shutdown of the South Texas Project (STP) which sits behind an embankment they say could be overwhelmed by the raging flood waters and torrential rains caused by Hurricane Harvey.

“Both the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the STP operator have previously recognized a credible threat of a severe accident initiated by a breach of the embankment wall that surrounds the 7,000-acre reactor cooling water reservoir,” said Paul Gunter, director of the Beyond Nuclear’s Reactor Oversight Project, in a statement by the coalition on Tuesday.

The groups warn that as Harvey—which on Tuesday was declared the most intense rain event  in U.S. history—continues to dump water on the area, a breach of the embankment wall surrounding the twin reactors would create “an external flood potentially impacting the electrical supply from the switchyard to the reactor safety systems.” In turn, the water has the potential to “cause high-energy electrical fires and other cascading events initiating a severe accident leading to core damage.” Even worse, they added, “any significant loss of cooling water inventory in the Main Cooling Reservoir would reduce cooling capacity to the still operating reactors that could result in a meltdown.”

With the nearby Colorado River already cresting at extremely high levels and flowing at 70 times the normal rate, Karen Hadden, director of SEED Coalition, warned that the continue rainfall might create flooding that could reach the reactors. “There is plenty of reserve capacity on our electric grid,” she said, “so we don’t have to run the reactors in order to keep the lights on. With anticipated flooding of the Colorado River, the nuclear reactors should be shut down now to ensure safety.”

Last week, the STP operators said that safety for their workers and local residents was their top concern, but that they would keep the plant operating despite the approaching storm.

Susan Dancer, president of the South Texas Association for Responsible Energy, said that as residents in Bay City—herself included—were being forced to leave their homes under manadatory evacaution orders, it makes no sense to keep the nuclear plant online.

“Our 911 system is down, no emergency services are available, and yet the nuclear reactors are still running. Where is the concern for employees and their families? Where is the concern for public safety? This is an outrageous and irresponsible decision,” declared Dancer. “This storm and flood is absolutely without precedent even before adding the possibility of a nuclear accident that could further imperil millions of people who are already battling for their lives.”

As Harvey hovers over the coastal region, heavy rains are expected to persist for days even as the storm system creeps toward to Louisiana in the east.

But no matter how remote the possibility, said Gunter, “it’s simply prudent that the operator put this reactor into its safest condition, cold shutdown.”

August 30, 2017 Posted by | climate change, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Plans to expand South Texas nuclear plant are shelved, as the economics of nuclear get worse

global-warming-nuke2 Nuclear power is no solution to climate change. Nuclear proponents conveniently omit the carbon emissions at all stages of the nuclear fuel chain – from uranium mining through to burial of wastes and dead reactor – and even some emissions from the reactor’s operation itself.
Fission may fizzle as nuclear power reacts to economics, Houston Chronicle, Ryan Holeywell, 3 April 15  financial-disaster-1 “…….As cutting carbon emissions becomes a priority for government and business, proponents of the nuclear power sector say their technology is the perfect way to fill a void as coal plants close under the weight of new environmental rules.
But they also acknowledge that in the age of cheap natural gas, the economic headwinds might be too strong to allow a nuclear renaissance.
While officials at the South Texas Plant tout the important role of nuclear energy to the country’s energy mix, NRG has shelved plans to help finance the expansion of the facility from two units to four.

“The economics of new nuclear just don’t permit the construction of those units today,” NRG spokesman David Knox said………

to add nuclear power to states’ renewable portfolio standards.

Those rules require electric producers to generate – or buy from other generators – a certain amount of electricity from renewable sources. In Texas and most other states, eligible sources include wind, solar and biomass power, but not nuclear……..

Another hurdle for nuclear power is the largely flat U.S. electricity demand, held down by a sluggish economic recovery and increasing energy efficiency of houses and appliances.

For now at least, the industry struggles to overcome the obstacles…….

Krancer argues that federal tax credits for wind power make it difficult for nuclear to compete on a level playing field in competitive electric markets.

That message falls flat among most environmental advocates. The Sierra Club, for example, says the 2011 Fukushima disaster triggered by an earthquake and tsunami in Japan shows nuclear is still too risky.

And, the organization says, the lack of a long-term federal plan on nuclear waste disposal leaves safety questions unanswered.

The Sierra Club also contends that the billions of dollars it costs to build nuclear reactors would be spent more wisely on developing renewable sources like solar and wind.

The economic hurdles facing nuclear plants are especially acute in Texas and other deregulated electricity markets, said Julien Dumoulin-Smith, a utilities equities analyst at investment bank UBS…….

John Coequyt, director of the Sierra Club’s federal and international climate campaign: –  “All the environmental groups understand: nuclear isn’t a good solution to climate change. It’s too expensive and it’s too slow.”

 

April 4, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

South Texas nuclear reactors – fire on Jan 8, relicensing hearing on Jan 15

NRC-jpgFire at South Texas Project Nuclear Reactor Site – Just Before Re-licensing Hearing, Herald Online,  January 11, 2013  By Sustainable Energy & Economic Development Coalition  AUSTIN, TEXAS, JAN. 11, 2013 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/– A fire that shot 50 foot flames into the air erupted January 8th in the main transformer at the South Texas Project site near Bay City, Texas, about 90 miles southwest of Houston. Reactor 2, which was out of commission for five winter months in 2011-2012, has not been operating since the fire.

The fire occurred just one week prior to a hearing on re-licensing the two South Texas Project reactors, which will be held January 15th from 2-5 pm and 7-10 pm at the Bay City Civic Center, 201 Seventh St…… “Any nuclear reactor is at risk from fires, explosions, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, lack of cooling water and terrorist attacks, as well as accidents due to human error and mechanical failure,” said Karen Hadden, Director of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition.

“This is like a used car deal – made fourteen years in advance. Why not wait until 2025 to see what shape the reactors are in before even considering re-licensing? The reactors, now 24 and 25 years old, are licensed to run 40 years – until 2027 and 2028. It’s time to plan for their replacement, not court disaster by giving aging reactors twenty additional years.”

The NRC Event report and hearing information are online at www.NukeFreeTexas.org.

January 11, 2013 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Uranium Mining in the Coastal Bend – Part 2 | KIII TV3 South Texas | Local News

Uranium Mining in the Coastal Bend – Part 2

KIIITV News 13 Nov 08 Some residents in the coastal bend believe uranium mining has contaminated their ground water supply. Environmentalists who support their claim want a moratorium to halt the mining…………….

The coastal bend is one of the nation’s top producers for uranium. In Ricardo, Garcia Hill residents blame the uranium mining industry for contaminating their ground water. They claim their water has dangerous levels of radioactive elements. Levels substantiated by the EPA. And that’s devastating to folks like Humberto Garcia, a life long resident.

Garcia says, “They should have checked into it to make sure it was safe and safe for the people around here.”

State leaders, like Coastal Bend State Representative Yvonne Gonzalez-Toureilles heard those complaints. She sponsored a bill that became law last year requiring ground water be restored to its original condition before mining began. Now the tough thing is to sort out the quality of the water before mining………………..Opponents are critical of state agencies that regulate the uranium mining industry. They claim companies are allowed to skirt environmental laws and not return ground water to original standards…………..residents living near uranium mining think their water should not be sacrificed for power needs of nuclear plants.

Uranium Mining in the Coastal Bend – Part 2 | KIII TV3 South Texas | Local News

November 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Extreme heat, humidity, air pollution – combined threat to South Asia

May 30, 2020 Posted by | ASIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Alabama joins Kentucky, South Dakota and West Virginia to criminalize fossil fuel protests

the Alabama legislation is the most concerning, Gibson said. “It’s pretty cynical,” he said. “It’s a combination of deterrent against would-be protesters and revenge insurance if anyone dares engage in nonviolent direct action against pipelines or polluting facilities.”
Yet Another State Quietly Moves To Criminalize Fossil Fuel Protests Amid Coronavirus   https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/alabama-fossil-fuel-pipeline-protest-criminalize_n_5eb590b4c5b6197b8461d550?ri18n=true&ncid=engmodushpmg00000004  

In March, Kentucky, South Dakota and West Virginia passed laws restricting pipeline protests. Alabama is poised to become the fourth.

By Alexander C. Kaufman  10 May 20 Alabama lawmakers this week advanced legislation to add new criminal penalties to nonviolent protests against pipelines and other fossil fuel projects, setting a course to become the fourth state to enact such measures amid the chaos of the coronavirus pandemic.

The bill would designate virtually any oil, gas or coal equipment or facilities in the state as “critical infrastructure” and severely prohibit where aerial drones that watchdog groups depend on to track pollution can fly. The legislation would make any action that “interrupts or interferes” with pipelines, storage depots or refineries a Class C felony, punishable with at least one year in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.

Kentucky, South Dakota and West Virginia enacted similar measures in March, just as states started implementing lockdowns to contain the outbreak of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus.

The Alabama Senate passed the bill on March 12, just befohe Alabama Senate passed the bill on March 12, just before state officials, alarmed at the spread of the virus, postponed legislative hearings for a month. When the capitol reopened in Montgomery on May 4, state Democrats remained in their home districts, but enough Republican lawmakers returned to restart work on the legislation. On Monday, the House version of the bill was introduced and referred to the committee that oversees utilities and infrastructure. Continue reading

May 11, 2020 Posted by | civil liberties, climate change, Legal, politics, USA | Leave a comment

20 sovereign nations in New Mexico and Texas oppose nuclear facility near Carlsbad

Native American Pueblo leaders oppose nuclear facility near Carlsbad, Hobbs,   https://www.oilandgas360.com/native-american-pueblo-leaders-oppose-nuclear-facility-near-carlsbad-hobbs-2/  in Press   by— 360 Feed Wire

Native American Pueblo leaders oppose nuclear facility near Carlsbad, Hobbs

Oct. 24– Oct. 24–A group of Native American leaders opposed a plan to temporarily store nuclear waste at proposed facilities in southeast New Mexico and West Texas before a permanent repository is available.

The All Pueblo Council of Governors, which represents 20 sovereign nations in New Mexico and Texas held a meeting on Thursday where members affirmed their opposition to the projects, read a Monday news release from the group.

Concerns with the transportation of spent nuclear fuel rods drove the group’s opposition to two proposed consolidated interim storage (CIS) sites, one near the border of Eddy and Lea counties in New Mexico and another in Andrews, Texas. Continue reading

October 26, 2019 Posted by | indigenous issues, opposition to nuclear, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Removal of one metric ton of plutonium from Savannah River Site South Carolina

One metric ton of plutonium removed from massive nuclear facility in SC,  https://www.wspa.com/news/one-metric-ton-of-plutonium-removed-from-massive-nuclear-facility-in-sc/     by: Georgiaree Godfrey
Posted: Aug 8, 2019 / 09:06 PM EDT Updated: Aug 9, 2019 / 0JACKSON, SC (WSPA)- The South Carolina Attorney General announced earlier this week the successful completion of the removal of a portion of the plutonium being stored at the Savannah River Site in Aiken.

The Savannah River Site has been in the state since the late 1950’s and was originally home to a nuclear bomb making facility, but over the years the site has taken on the role of several different operations, including the storage of plutonium.

Savannah River Site is now home to a nuclear laboratory and facility to reuse the nuclear material left behind from the Cold War. Over the years the storage of that plutonium has become a concern.

“A lot of pollution left over from that so the main mission of the Savannah River Site for a long time has been the cleaning up of the contamination that exists,” explained Tonya Bonitatibus, the Executive Director of Savannah Riverkeeper. Savannah Riverkeeper monitors the quality of the Savannah River, which is used for drinking water for more than 1 million residents.

The United States Department of Energy notified the state’s attorney general of the removal of one metric ton of plutonium from the Savannah River Site.

In 2016, Congress passed a law to remove the plutonium if production goals to reuse the material were not met.

The plutonium removed so far is the first step in a wider cleanup after the state won a lawsuit against the DOE.

Bonitatibus continued, “The Savannah River Site has been the dumping ground for nuclear waste. It just has because nobody wants it. So it ends up being stored here leaking into the coastal plain and groundwater.”

The National Nuclear Security Administration says, “The material removed from the Savannah River Site (SRS) in Aiken, South Carolina, will be used for national security missions and is not waste.”

NNSA also released a removal plan that designated Texas and New Mexico as the destinations for the removed plutonium.

The ruling outlined that one metric ton of the plutonium would be removed each year. The process could take another 5 to 7 years to remove the plutonium being stored.

The removal was supposed to be completed by January 1, 2020. The process is 6 months ahead of schedule, according to NNSA.

Savannah River Site is located on land in Aiken, Allendale and Barnwell counties.

August 10, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium | Leave a comment

Cleaning up of South Carolina’s high level nuclear waste- the plan involves reclassifying some of as “low level”

June 6, 2019 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Despite recently renewed licences, Texas nuclear power stations look like closing before long

Nuclear power woes extend to Texas, Houston Chronicle,  James Osborne  March 24, 2019 WASHINGTON – By the standards of the U.S. nuclear energy industry, Texas’s two nuclear plants are fairly new. Neither one is more than three decades old, while many nuclear sites across the country are nearing the five-decade mark.

But as the economics of nuclear power in this country continue to slide, even the futures of the South Texas Project, near Bay City, and Comanche Peak, located 60 miles southwest of Dallas, are far from certain.

When Manan Ahuja, senior director of North American power at the research arm of credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s, recently updated his firm’s list of nuclear plants at risk of closing, he listed both Texas plants at “moderate” risk of closing as early as 2030 – despite the fact that NRG Energy recently renewed its operating license for the South Texas Project for another 20 years………

The situation in Texas mirrors  states across the country are grappling with, as nuclear power plants face increased pressure to reduce costs to compete with a surge of cheap natural gas and increasingly efficient wind turbines and solar plants. …….

According to S&P, over the next six years more than 10 percent of the nuclear power plants operating in this country have either announced they are closing or are at “high risk” of doing so – with another 15 percent at “moderate risk” of closure by 2033…….. https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Nuclear-power-woes-extend-to-Texas-13709604.php

March 25, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Secret shipent of plutonium from South Carolina to Nevada

US secretly shipped plutonium from South Carolina to Nevada,   https://www.apnews.com/bcd700b7826d41bc82af5ab316d155ca  January 31, 2019

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy revealed on Wednesday that it secretly shipped weapons-grade plutonium from South Carolina to a nuclear security site in Nevada months ago despite the state’s protests.

The Justice Department notified a federal judge in Reno that the government trucked in the radioactive material to store at the site 70 miles (113 kilometers) north of Las Vegas before Nevada first asked a court to block the move in November.

Department lawyers said in a nine-page filing that the previously classified information about the shipment from South Carolina can be disclosed now because enough time has passed to protect national security. They didn’t specify when the one-half metric ton of plutonium was transferred.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said he’s “beyond outraged by this completely unacceptable deception.” He announced at a hastily called news conference in Carson City late Wednesday the state is now seeking another court order to block any more shipments of plutonium as it pursues “any and all legal remedies,” including contempt of court orders against the federal government.

The newly elected Democrat said he’s exploring options for the plutonium that already has arrived and is working with Nevada’s congressional delegation to fight back against the U.S. government’s “reckless disregard” for the safety of Nevadans.

Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen called the government’s move “deceitful and unethical.” Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, also a Nevada Democrat, said she would demand department officials come to her office on Thursday to explain how they made the “reckless decision” in such “bad faith.”

Democratic Rep. Dina Titus said the Trump administration has repeatedly tried to use Nevada as a dumping ground for nuclear waste. Trump revived a decades-old proposal to store the nation’s nuclear waste at another site outside Las Vegas, Yucca Mountain, after the project was essentially halted under the Obama administration.

Justice Department lawyers said in new court filings Wednesday that no more shipments of weapons-grade plutonium are planned from South Carolina to Nevada. They said they believe Nevada’s lawsuit aimed at blocking the shipments is now moot.

But lawyers for Nevada said late Wednesday that their bid for an emergency injunction is more critical than ever after the Energy Department misled them about the shipments. They say the government has created the “palpable suspicion” that more shipments are coming to Nevada.

Sisolak described the months-long negotiations with Energy Department officials over the plutonium leading up to the new disclosure as a “total sham.”

“They lied to the state of Nevada, misled a federal court, and jeopardized the safety of Nevada’s families and environment,” he said.

U.S. District Judge Miranda Du in Reno already is considering the state’s earlier request to block the Energy Department’s plans — announced in August — to ship a full metric ton of plutonium to Nevada from South Carolina, where a federal judge previously ordered that the plutonium be removed from a Savannah River site by 2020.

Nevada argues the department has failed to adequately study the potential dangers of moving the material that still has the potential to be used to help develop nuclear weapons to an area that is subject to flash floods and earthquakes, and that the state’s lands and groundwater may already be contaminated with radioactive materials.

In January, Du declined to immediately block the plutonium and indicated she wouldn’t rule until February. “I hope the government doesn’t ship plutonium pending a ruling by this court,” she said at the time.

Nevada and the Justice Department filed their latest briefs Wednesday at the request of the judge, who questioned whether the case should go forward. Justice Department lawyers said any additional plutonium removed from South Carolina would not go to Nevada.

Meanwhile, the states of Nevada and South Carolina are continuing to argue over where any legal challenge should be heard. Each said in briefs filed in Reno last week that theirs is the proper venue.

Nevada’s experts testified that the material likely would have to pass directly through Las Vegas on the way to the Nevada National Security Site. They fear an accident could permanently harm an area that is home to 2.2 million residents and hosts more than 40 million tourists a year.

The Energy Department’s plan approved last August called for the full ton of material to be stored at the Nevada nuclear security site and the government’s Pantex Plant in Texas, two facilities that already handle and process plutonium. The department says it would be sent by 2027 to the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico or another unnamed facility.

____

Associated Press writer Ryan Tarinelli contributed to this report from Carson City.

February 2, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment