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Hazards in U.S, government’s plans for more locations for low level nuclear wastes

Feds Propose More Sites For Nuke Waste Storage (Not Disposal) Forbes , Ed Hirs 12 Aug 20, 
 The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is proposing that more locations around the country be used to dispose of very low level radioactive waste. This proposal has raised the ire of environmentalists and nuclear waste storage proponents alike…….

One intractable problem has been what to do with spent fuel rods, which generate very significant levels of radiation for a long time. They come only from nuclear power plants, for the most part, these spent rods are stored onsite while the reactors operate and even after decommissioning.
The very low level radioactive waste is at the heart of the NRC’s current proposal. Under current regulations, the user is required to store the contaminated materials onsite until “either until it has decayed away and can be disposed of as ordinary trash” or until it can be safely contained and shipped to one of four active NRC or state licensed storage facilities. For many of these items—medical waste, syringes, gloves, clothing—the half-life of material is numbered in days, with a rapid decline to levels that are considered safe for disposal as ordinary trash. However, radioactive waste from the decommissioning of nuclear reactors, coal ash, construction debris, and oilfield drilling remains radioactive above normal background levels for hundreds of years. Carelessly concentrating this material in landfills can create hazards, as can careless security.

Bad actors can make a considerable profit at the expense of public health. As the United Steelworkers union noted in their public comment urging the NRC against the ruling:  “[the ruling]…requires workers with little to no training to handle contaminated material leading to a greater probability of mishandling or improper disposal; and the proposed rule lack[s] requirements to monitor surrounding soil and ground water from any exempt waste location to ensure there is no increase of radiological contamination outside of the potential dumping sites.”

Safe disposal does not equal safety when materials remain active for generations. To improve safety landfills need to keep records for generations, and to deal with low-level contamination appropriately. Over time landfills become golf courses, sources of methane for electricity generation, and mines for reclaiming metal. These activities result in exposure to radiation that future generations must be prepared for. This means meticulous record keeping, which is unlikely to be present across multiple changes of ownership and decades of time.

What the NRC proposes is an expansion of opportunities for things to go wrong.  In the past this approach has given us names that remain infamous today: think Love CanalBrio RefinerySavannah River and DuPont. It gave us the remains of leaded gasoline.

Water supplies are particularly vulnerable. Historically, the dictum of chemists has been “dilution is the solution.” That works for chemicals. It does not work for radiation, which is being generated continuously.

The current system is better than what is being proposed. Expanding the opportunities for things to go wrong is a step backwards.  If the proposal is adopted, today’s laxity and profits will become tomorrow’s health problems and remediation expenses. If we care about coming generations we should leave well enough alone. https://www.forbes.com/sites/edhirs/2020/08/11/hazardous-nuclear-waste-storage-its-not-disposal/#2086a6624ad3 

August 13, 2020 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Fuel finally removed from Russia’s most radioactive ship

August 13, 2020 Posted by | Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

What about Vermont Yankee’s nuclear waste? Or dealing with it?

Famette/Rice: And the nuclear waste?    12 Aug 20, 

What about Vermont Yankee’s nuclear waste? Or dealing with it?

High-Level Nuclear Waste (HLNW) is a byproduct of nuclear power plants and is extremely dangerous for thousands of years. The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant, in Vernon, has been shut down since 2014 and the HLNW it produced over the years of operation has been transferred into stainless steel and concrete dry casks stored onsite. Currently, our federal government has not come up with a permanent site to store HLNW safely over time.

NorthStar, the corporation which now owns Vermont Yankee, wants to transport that waste to a Centralized “Interim” Storage (CIS) site that it owns in Texas. To transport this waste is a dangerous proposition since an accident would likely result in great damage to the environment and the life forms in the surrounding area. We should only move the material once to a permanent repository. Also, if Vermont Yankee’s HLNW is allowed to be transported across the country on our highways, railways and waterways to a temporary open-air storage site, such a precedent would likely result in thousands of shipments across the country as other nuclear plants are shut down during the coming four decades.

Communities in the Southwest are speaking out in opposition to accepting our toxic waste. As members of the Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance (VYDA), we support their concerns and are against the transportation and interim storage of Vermont Yankee’s waste at a CIS. We feel it is safer to keep our waste within our state in monitored, hardened, onsite storage in stainless steel and concrete dry casks while a scientifically-based permanent storage site is located.

For the above reasons, join us in contacting U.S. Rep. Peter Welch and urge him to vote against any bill that would authorize Centralized Interim Storage of High-Level Nuclear waste? https://www.timesargus.com/opinion/commentary/famette-rice-and-the-nuclear-waste/article_436e1a1b-deb3-5b6a-87a9-228cfb16afbc.html

Audrey Famette lives in Montpelier. Nancy Rice lives in Randolph Center.

August 13, 2020 Posted by | election USA 2020, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

North Dakota shows how to deter any plan for nuclear waste dumping

The Legislature passed a bill into law in 2019 that prohibits the disposal of high-level radioactive waste in North Dakota. For the rules to even take effect, “the first thing you have to do is get that law overturned or thrown out,” State Geologist Ed Murphy said.

What’s in the rules
If the ban is ever struck down and an entity were to approach the state about  establishing a storage facility for high-level radioactive waste, officials would look to the 13 pages of rules passed by the Industrial Commission, a three-member panel chaired by Gov. Doug Burgum.

Regulators prep for an industry few want: nuclear waste disposal, Bismarck Tribune, AMY R. SISK, 10 Aug, 20

 North Dakota is imposing its first comprehensive rules for nuclear waste disposal more than four years after Pierce County residents were caught off-guard by a proposal to drill test wells near Rugby.

The state Industrial Commission approved the regulations in late July, as well as new rules surrounding deep geothermal wells, another industry that does not exist in North Dakota but could emerge one day.

The waste disposal rules spell out all the steps an entity would have to go through if it were to propose storing “high-level radioactive waste” in North Dakota. Such waste is highly radioactive material generated from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel, for example, and it requires permanent isolation……

The Legislature passed a bill into law in 2019 that prohibits the disposal of high-level radioactive waste in North Dakota. For the rules to even take effect, “the first thing you have to do is get that law overturned or thrown out,” State Geologist Ed Murphy said.

“We were writing rules for a program that, by law, is prohibited,” he said.

Roers said the thinking behind establishing the rules in light of the ban is that if the federal government were ever to try to trump North Dakota’s prohibition, it might still agree to follow the regulations established by the state.

What’s in the rules
If the ban is ever struck down and an entity were to approach the state about  establishing a storage facility for high-level radioactive waste, officials would look to the 13 pages of rules passed by the Industrial Commission, a three-member panel chaired by Gov. Doug Burgum.
The rules require that anyone looking to study the feasibility of storing the waste in North Dakota obtain an “exploration permit” from the state and secure financial assurance, such as a bond, in order to drill a test well. The state would have up to six months to make a permitting decision and would hold a public hearing. Along with the application, an entity would have to show that it had notified county officials about the project and given them a chance to take a position on it.

If the entity wanted to move forward with a project, it would then need a “facility permit,” which would prompt a similar vetting process. Officials would have up to a year to decide whether to issue a permit.

Before granting a permit, the operator would need to deposit at least $100 million in a new state fund.

“The half-lives of some of the radioactive waste will be dangerous much longer than any sign, monument, or avoidance structures would remain unless they are maintained in perpetuity,” the regulations state. “This money is to be used to ensure the passive institutional controls are maintained for thousands of years.”

If a facility were to make it through the permitting process, it would have to pay an annual operating fee of at least $1 million to the state. It also would need to provide monthly reports on activities at the site and comply with reclamation rules when the site is no longer in use.

Documents regarding the location and depth of the site, as well as details about the half-life of the radioactive waste buried there, must be stored in local, state and national archives — an effort to ensure they last in perpetuity in case the information is needed hundreds or thousands of years down the road, Murphy said.

While counties cannot outright impose a ban on the disposal of the materials, any project would need to adhere to local zoning regulations as to the size, scope and location of the site.

Murphy said the state examined the regulations of 13 other states in developing its rules…………..

The new rules for high-level radioactive waste and deep geothermal energy have one final hurdle to clear before they become official — they will go to a legislative Administrative Rules Committee for approval. …..   https://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/regulators-prep-for-an-industry-few-want-nuclear-waste-disposal/article_5afd3c76-9ac1-556f-be69-50f6c9811642.html

August 11, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear fuel canisters all stored at decommissioned San Onofre nuclear station in California

Nuclear fuel canisters all stored at decommissioned San Onofre nuclear station in California,  A key late stage in the life of the retired San Onofre nuclear plant was completed this weekend, although the next move is uncertain.Crews safely stored the last of 73 spent nuclear fuel canisters in the Holtec dry storage system. Holtec International is contractor in the decommissioning efforts at San Onofre, which was closed by owner Southern California Edison in 2013 after some safety issues with its steam generators.

The latest milestone brings the spent fuel roads one step closer to relocation at an off-site facility. Currently, however, no such federally licensed facility exists…… https://www.power-eng.com/2020/08/10/nuclear-fuel-canister-all-stored-at-decommission-san-onofre-nuclear-station-in-california/

August 11, 2020 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Army finally tearing down Fort Belvoir’s nuclear plant


Kerr: Army finally tearing down Fort Belvoir’s nuclear plant, Inside NovaBy David Kerr, 10 Aug 20,   Northern Virginia’s very own nuclear reactor facility at Fort Belvoir, a product of our country’s initial research into nuclear power generation, is finally going to be torn down next year. The atomic core has long since been taken away and according to the Army Corps of Engineers, the still slightly radioactive components will be shipped off to long term nuclear storage sites. After which the buildings will be torn down and the Army will be free to do with the property what it pleases. Right now, the Army has no plans for the property, save just to leave the old site to nature…… It ran from 1954 until 1973. During those 20 years the SM-1 was also the site of the Army’s Nuclear Power school.
The Army had high hopes for building small nuclear generators for remote locations and for battlefield uses. These didn’t work out. ..

August 11, 2020 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear watchdog opposes any agreement that would transfer ownership of Three Mile Island Unit

Nuclear watchdog opposes any agreement that would transfer ownership of Three Mile Island Unit 2 https://lancasteronline.com/news/local/nuclear-watchdog-opposes-any-agreement-that-would-transfer-ownership-of-three-mile-island-unit-2/article_20c1bc76-d8cb-11ea-9431-97c468d34a2b.html, SEAN SAURO | Staff Writer – 10 Aug 20,

   Discussions are ongoing about a criticized plan to transfer ownership of Three Mile Island’s defunct Unit 2 reactor to a Utah-based company that would complete its dismantling.

    • And signs point to a settlement between state and federal regulators, and FirstEnergy, the power company that now owns the unit that partially melted down in 1979.

At least that’s what Dauphin County-based nuclear watchdog Eric Epstein said he suspects. Epstein said he opposes any kind of agreement that would advance the plan, which he worries could threaten radioactive disaster.

“We will not agree to allow Three Mile Island to become a radioactive waste site,” Epstein said. “An island in a river is the worst place for it.”

Spokespeople speaking on the behalf of the state Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission did not provide details about the negotiations.

“Regarding a settlement, DEP is evaluating the motion and will reach a decision soon,” DEP spokesman Neil Shader said. “More information will be available once a decision is reached.”

FirstEnergy spokeswoman Jennifer Young said much the same.

“FirstEnergy continues to work with the DEP as well as the NRC to address questions relevant to the license transfer and decommissioning plans for TMI-2,” she said. “Details of the settlement agreement are confidential.”

Last fall, Unit 2’s owners at FirstEnergy announced they planned to transfer ownership of all related licenses and assets to a subsidiary of Utah-based EnergySolutions, which would eventually dismantle the reactor.

The transfer must be approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and it’s to that commission that Epstein of the Harrisburg-based Three Mile Island Alert raised concerns, urging that the transfer not be approved before they are addressed.

Specifically, he worried about the environmental threats of leaving radioactive waste on the island, which is situated in the Susquehanna River just north of Conoy Township near the Dauphin-Lancaster counties line. That’s in addition to fears that rate-payer funded accounts will not have enough money to cover the cost of decommissioning.

Similar concerns were included in a letter sent earlier this year from DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell to federal regulators.

But now, Epstein worries that DEP officials will settle, undermining those fears, though he admits he hasn’t been a part of ongoing discussions — a point of contention.

“I don’t know how you build public confidence by excluding the public,” he said.

Regardless of what may come from negotiations, Epstein said his organization plans to continue advocating for safety “by any legal means,” appealing decisions if necessary.

August 11, 2020 Posted by | safety, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Russia plans removal of its nuclear trash from Arctic waters

Russia to Remove Hazardous Nuclear Objects Dumped in Its Arctic Waters, 

The country’s nuclear energy company will over the next eight years lift two submarines and four reactor compartments from the bottom of the Barents and Kara Seas.  By The Barents Observer  5 Aug 20,   Russia’s state nuclear agency plans to remove several nuclear objects from the depths of Russia’s Arctic waters in an effort to reduce environmental hazards, Rosatom said this week as it presented a clean-up plan for the region.

Russia’s state nuclear agency plans to remove several nuclear objects from the depths of Russia’s Arctic waters in an effort to reduce environmental hazards, Rosatom said this week as it presented a clean-up plan for the region.

From the late 1960s to the late 1980s, about 18,000 radioactive objects were dumped into Russia’s remote northern waters. Most of them present little environmental risk. But some are increasingly seen as a hazard to Arctic ecosystems.

“Rosatom over the next eight years intends to lift from the bottom of Russia’s Arctic waters six objects that are most dangerous in terms of radioactive pollution,” the company’s spokesperson told the state-run TASS news agency.

The company plans to lift the reactors from the K-11, K-19 and K-140 submarines as well as spent nuclear fuel from the reactor that served the Lenin icebreaker.

In addition, two entire submarines will be lifted: the K-27 from the Kara Sea and K-159 from the Barents Sea. While the former was deliberately dumped by Soviet authorities in 1982, the latter sank during a towing operation in 2003.

The K-27 is located in 33-meter depths east of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago. It has been described by experts as a potential radioactive “time bomb.” The K-159 is located in 200-meter depths off the coast of the Kola Peninsula.

These six objects represent more than 90% of radioactive sources dumped at sea, Rosatom said………

Lifting the six hazardous nuclear objects will not only be technically difficult, but also very expensive.

A recent report made for Rosatom and the European Commission estimated the costs of lifting these six objects at 278 million euros. That includes the cost of bringing them safely to a yard for decommissioning and long-term storage.

Lifting the K-159 alone is estimated to cost 57.5 million euros. Lifting the K-27 and transporting it to a shipyard for decommissioning and long-term storage in Saida Bay will carry a price tag of 47.7 million euros, the report said.

It’s unlikely that Russia’s increasingly cash-strapped treasury will have the 278 million euros needed for the cleanup.

Several countries have previously allocated billions to assist Russia’s post-Soviet efforts to cope with nuclear waste.

Norway has since the mid-90s granted about 1.5 billion kroner (140 million euros) to nuclear safety projects in the Russian part of the Barents region.  https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/08/05/russia-to-remove-hazardous-nuclear-objects-dumped-in-its-arctic-waters-a71060

August 6, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, oceans, Russia, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Racism in nuclear bomb testing, bombing of Japanese people, and nuclear waste dumping

Langston Hughes voiced the opinion that until racial injustice on home ground in the United States ceases, “it is going to be very hard for some Americans not to think the easiest way to settle the problems of Asia is simply dropping an atom bomb on colored heads there.”[25] While his statement was made in 1953, near the eighth anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, it remains equally relevant today, as we approach the 75th anniversary

Memorial Days: the racial underpinnings of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings  , Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Elaine Scarry, Elaine Scarry is the author of Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing between Democracy and Doom and The Body in Pain: the Making and Unmaking of the World. She is Cabot Profess…   By Elaine Scarry, August 3, 2020

This past Memorial Day, a Minneapolis police officer knelt on the throat of an African-American, George Floyd, for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Seventy-five years ago, an American pilot dropped an atomic bomb on the civilian population of Hiroshima. Worlds apart in time, space, and scale, the two events share three key features. Each was an act of state violence. Each was an act carried out against a defenseless opponent. Each was an act of naked racism. ……….

Self-defense was not an option for any one of the 300,000 civilian inhabitants of the city of Hiroshima, nor for any one of the 250,000 civilians in Nagasaki three days later. We know from John Hersey’s classic Hiroshima that as day dawned on that August morning, the city was full of courageous undertakings meant to increase the town’s collective capacity for self-defense against conventional warfare, such as the clearing of fire lanes by hundreds of young school girls, many of whom would instantly vanish in the 6,000° C temperature of the initial flash, and others of whom, more distant from the center, would retain their lives but lose their faces.[2] The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki initiated an era in which—for the first time on Earth and now continuing for seven and a half decades—humankind collectively and summarily lost the right self-defense. No one on Earth—or almost no one on Earth[3]has the means to outlive a blast that is four times the heat of the sun or withstand the hurricane winds and raging fires that follow………

Centuries of political philosophers have asked, “What kind of political arrangements will create a noble and generous people?” Surely such arrangements cannot be ones where a handful of men control the means for destroying at will everyone on Earth from whom the means of self-defense have been eliminated……..

When Americans first learned that the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been collectively vaporized in less time than it takes for the heart to beat, many cheered. But not all. Black poet Langston Hughes at once recognized the moral depravity of executing 100,000 people and discerned racism as the phenomenon that had licensed the depravity: “How come we did not try them [atomic bombs] on Germany…  . They just did not want to use them on white folks.”[4] Although the building of the weapon was completed only after Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945, Japan had been designated the target on September 18, 1944, and training for the mission had already been initiated in that same month.[5] Black journalist George Schuyler wrote: “The atom bomb puts the Anglo-Saxons definitely on top where they will remain for decades”; the country, in its “racial arrogance,” has “achieved the supreme triumph of being able to slaughter whole cities at a time.”[6]

Still within the first year (and still before John Hersey had begun to awaken Americans to the horrible aversiveness of the injuries), novelist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston denounced the US president as a “butcher” and scorned the public’s silent compliance, asking, “Is it that we are so devoted to a ‘good Massa’ that we feel we ought not to even protest such crimes?”[7] Silence—whether practiced by whites or people of color—was, she saw, a cowardly act of moral enslavement to a white supremacist. Continue reading

August 4, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, culture and arts, history, indigenous issues, Reference, social effects, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste – how to warn people for 10,000 years

How to build a nuclear warning for 10,000 years’ time,   The nuclear waste buried far beneath the earth will be toxic for thousands of years. How do you build a warning now that can be understood in the far future?, BBC Future, 3 Aug 20

“This place is not a place of honor,” reads the text. “No highly esteemed dead is commemorated here… nothing valued is here. What is here was dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger.”

It sounds like the kind of curse that you half-expect to find at the entrance to an ancient burial mound. But this message is intended to help mark the site of the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP) that has been built over 2,000 feet (610m) down through stable rocks beneath the desert of New Mexico. The huge complex of tunnels and caverns is designed to contain the US military’s most dangerous nuclear waste.

This waste will remain lethal longer than the 300,000 years Homo sapiens has walked across the surface of the planet. WIPP is currently the only licensed deep geological disposal repository in operation in the world. A similar facility should also open in Finland in the mid-2020s.

When the facility is full sometime in the next 10 to 20 years, the caverns will be collapsed and sealed with concrete and soil. The sprawling complex of buildings that currently mark the site will be erased. In its place will be “our society’s largest conscious attempt to communicate across the abyss of deep time”.

vThe plan calls for huge 25ft (7.6m) tall granite columns marking the four-sq-mile (10 sq km) outer boundary of the entire site. Inside this perimeter, there is an earth berm 33ft (10m) tall and 100ft (30m) wide marking the repository’s actual footprint. Then inside the berm will be another square of granite columns.

At the centre of this monumental “Do Not Enter” sign will be a room containing information about the site. In case the information becomes unreadable, there will be another buried 20ft below, and another buried in the earth barrier itself. Detailed information about the WIPP will be stored in many archives around the world on special paper stamped with the instruction that it must be kept for 10,000 years, the rather arbitrary length of the site’s license.

The plan calls for huge 25ft (7.6m) tall granite columns marking the four-sq-mile (10 sq km) outer boundary of the entire site. Inside this perimeter, there is an earth berm 33ft (10m) tall and 100ft (30m) wide marking the repository’s actual footprint. Then inside the berm will be another square of granite columns.

Welcome to the world of nuclear semiotics. The vast landscape proposed for the WIPP is partly influenced by science fiction. Nuclear physicists, engineers, anthropologists, sci-fi writers, artists and others have come together in the very broad, esoteric field of research into the way that future humans – and anything that comes after us – might be warned of our deadly legacy

Sadly, the idea to cover the site with a forest of massive concrete thorns was not taken up, nor the idea to create a self-perpetuating atomic priesthood who would use legend and ritual to create a sense of fear around the site for generations. Linguist Thomas Sebok first used the phrase “nuclear priesthood” in 1981. ……. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200731-how-to-build-a-nuclear-warning-for-10000-years-time

August 4, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, wastes | Leave a comment

Marshall Islands leaders hope for better help over radioactively polluted weapons tests sites

Nuclear-affected atolls in Marshalls see promise in US talks, RNZ 31 July 2020 , Giff Johnson, Editor, Marshall Islands Journal / RNZ Pacific correspondent,  Momentum is developing behind efforts for renewed attention to lingering problems related to the US nuclear weapons testing programme in the Marshall Islands.

This week leaders of four nuclear test-affected atolls spoke of the building movement movement to issues surrounding the actions of the US from 1946 to 1958.

Elected leaders from Bikini and Enewetak, the ground zeroes for 67 nuclear weapons tests, and Rongelap and Utrok, two atolls heavily contaminated with radioactive fallout from the 1954 Bravo hydrogen bomb test, described separate meetings in the past few days with US Ambassador to the Marshall Islands, Roxanne Cabral, and Marshall Islands President, David Kabua, as “productive and positive.”

The push for action on compensation, health care and cleanups of radioactive islands comes against the backdrop of negotiations between the Marshall Islands and US governments to extend expiring grant funding in a Compact of Free Association.

Island leaders said nuclear test legacy issues had languished for years and they wanted the Marshall Islands to pursue them during the upcoming talks.

It was preferred that a solution was found that benefitted both the Marshall Islands and the United States…….

US-provided compensation fell far short of funds needed to meet compensation awards for this nuclear test-affected nation……

Utrok Mayor Tobin Kaiko said he personally, as well as other nuclear test-affected islanders, continued living with health problems caused by exposure to radioactive fallout.

He said their suffering had been exacerbated by US authorities consistently downplaying the hazards of radiation and the potential for health problems among affected islanders………. https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/422407/nuclear-affected-atolls-in-marshalls-see-promise-in-us-talks

August 1, 2020 Posted by | OCEANIA, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Dismantling nuclear reactors in Snowdonia; should be cleaned up by 2083, if We’re lucky

Trawsfynydd: Nuclear reactors to go under new decommissioning plan, By George Herd, BBC News, 30 July 2020   

Plans have been unveiled to remove nuclear reactors and towers at a former power plant in Snowdonia.

It follows a decision to name Trawsfynydd in Gwynedd as the lead project for former Magnox stations in the UK.

The twin reactors will become the very first in the UK to be fully decommissioned.

It should safeguard hundreds of jobs at the plant for 20 years, and help drive decommissioning plans at other sites.

There are 10 former Magnox nuclear power stations in the UK, which have all now stopped generating electricity – the last being Wylfa on Anglesey in 2015.

Trawsfynydd was shut down in 1991 after operating for a quarter of a century.

Under original plans, the twin reactor buildings that tower over the landscape were due to be reduced in height by two-thirds, and then left in a care and maintenance phase, before the site is completely cleared in 2083.

The new programme will see the remaining reactor buildings demolished, while a new low-level radioactive waste store is built on the site to hold the material.

Magnox, which operates the site on behalf of the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, said it estimated there would be 50,000 cubic metres of very low or low-level waste retained, until a new geological waste disposal site is identified by the UK government. …..

Magnox said it was still in the “early days” of planning the next phase of active decommissioning at Trawsfynydd, and would be launching consultations with stakeholders, including the community.

It said it envisaged a 20 year programme to:

  • Remove the reactor building’s concrete panel outer shell down to ground level
  • Remove the six 1,000 tonne boilers stored in sections and the 45 tonne overhead crane from each reactor, for off-site disposal
  • Remove the reactors, their components and the reactor core
  • Demolish the remaining reactor buildings

State of the art robotics and remote handling will be used to dismantle Trawsfynydd’s twin reactors and “minimise the risk of radiation dose to workers”.

Magnox said it still expected the site to be completely cleared by the 2083 target……

“There is a duty on the nuclear sector and today’s electricity users to take responsibility for the clear-up of sites, and Trawsfynydd’s twin reactors will be the first to be completely decommissioned in the United Kingdom,” said the Plaid Cymru MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd. “In this respect, work undertaken here will lead the entire sector, and open opportunities for a whole new generation of engineers.”…. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-53595839

August 1, 2020 Posted by | decommission reactor, UK | Leave a comment

New Mexico Governor opposes nuclear waste dump in that state

Gov. argues against Holtec nuclear storage site, Albuquerque  Journal , BY THERESA DAVIS / JOURNAL STAFF WRITER  Tuesday, July 28th, 2020  Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Tuesday, arguing against a proposed nuclear waste interim storage facility in southeast New Mexico.

The proposed Holtec International site would store 500 stainless steel canisters of the nation’s spent nuclear fuel on 1,000 acres between Carlsbad and Hobbs, with a full storage capacity of 10,000 canisters.

“New Mexico has grave concerns for the unnecessary risk to our citizens and our communities, our first responders, our environment, and to New Mexico’s agriculture and natural resource industries,” Lujan Grisham wrote in the letter……

The governor said it would be “economic malpractice” to store spent nuclear fuel underground in a region that depends on agriculture and oil and gas. She added that a “perceived or actual nuclear incident” could disrupt those industries.

“The proposed (facility) would join the ranks of uranium mining, nuclear energy and defense-related programs that have long created risks to public health and the environment in the state of New Mexico that are disproportionately greater than such risks to the general population of the United States,” she wrote……  https://www.abqjournal.com/1480362/gov-argues-against-holtec-nuclear-storage-site.html

 

July 30, 2020 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

When it comes to nuclear waste dumping, the Australian government sees black people as flora and fauna, not citizens

Barngarla continue fight against plan to dump nuclear waste on Country,    SBS News 29 July 20, Barngarla mob say they were not properly consulted by federal government for plans to store radioactive waste on Country at Kimba in SA, and that their concerns continue to be ignored. By Royce Kurmelovs, NITV News   29 July 20

Jeanne Miller smiles as she gets to the punchline of her story.

The 50-year-old Barngarla woman is talking about the enduring connection she has to Kimba when she tells how on the day she was born, her parents had been waiting for an ambulance that never came.

Forced to make their own way to the hospital, she says her mum made it as far as the tree outside before giving birth.

“So I’m born on Country,” she says.

Though she may not live there today, Jeanne says a part of her has never left. It is a detail that underscores the significance of the moment she learned Kimba was being considered as a dump for radioactive waste.

“I used to be a carer for my mum. When I first heard [about the facility], I told her. She goes: ‘no, no, no’ and got angry,” Jeanne says. “She said; ‘we don’t want it there’. She said to me: ‘you got to fight for this. You got to fight for it, we can’t have that place there. It’s a special place for us.’”

Most among the Barngarla have a similar story about the shock and confusion at learning their traditional Country was under consideration as part of a proposal to build a nuclear waste storage facility that would take in samples from 100 sites across the continent.

No one, they say, from the federal government contacted them beforehand to talk about the proposal, leaving most to find out through the news media or word of mouth.

Instead it was up to the Barngarla themselves, through the the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) to take the initiative and write to the government in April 2017 to find out what was going on.

‘Wasn’t interested in our views’

That first letter would plunge them into a fight that has so far lasted three years, until it entered a new phase in February when former Industry Minister Matt Canavan announced – a day before he resigned – that he had selected a site just outside of Kimba to situate the nuclear waste facility…….

Over the course of its operating lifetime, the site would house low-to-intermediate level nuclear waste made up of medical waste drawn from 100 sites across the country. This material would include medical waste, but also the more serious TN81 canisters – casks of material once exposed to high levels of radiation that require containment for several hundred years.

If supporters of the proposal celebrated the financial windfall it would bring, critics worried the decision represented the thin end of a wedge that would eventually see the site expand to house higher-level toxic waste.

For the Barngarla people, however, the proposal represented something more significant: yet another decision where they have been overlooked, ignored and overruled in a process they describe as “divide and rule”.

“It’s like the government’s not listening to us,” Jeanne says. “It’s like if the government picks a place where they want to put rubbish like that, they’ll just go and do it and they don’t care what the people think. And that’s wrong. They should be listening to what the people want too.”….

After their early efforts to find out more, the Barngarla say they were stonewalled from the very beginning by both the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, and the Australian Radioactive Waste Agency (ARWA). That stance would become a pattern…….

They basically created hurdles,” Bilney says. “The catchphrase was ‘rateable property’ – that’s white man’s terms ‘rateable property’. We’re the native title holders. That holds more weight than ‘rateable property’, so we should have been included.”

Around the time the Barngarla filed their lawsuit to challenge the vote, the first meeting with the department took place in August 2018 – a moment Bilney recalls with frustration.

He says Mr Canavan spoke for fifteen minutes before he left, taking all the government representatives with him.

“That’s it,” Bilney says. “He wasn’t interested in our views, he just wanted us to hear what he had to say.”

When the poll of Kimba residents was counted, it returned a result that saw 61.6 per cent of 824 participants vote in favour of the proposal.

BDAC responded by organising is own poll, asking its 209 members the same question that was asked of the broader Kimba residents.  The result would be a unanimous “No” from the 83 participants – a turnout figure explained by cultural and logistical factors that make it difficult to gather in any one place…….

Aliens in our own country’

What happens now is up to the Senate economics reference committee and a clutch of Labor, Greens and independent senators.

The Barngarla say the recent approach of the federal government – to legislate the precise location of the site – represents a new twist as it departs from the process established by the Gillard government under the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012.

Worse still, the Barngarla say the provisions of the bill will stymie their rights to seek a judicial review of the minister’s decision in the courts. The Parliamentary joint committee on human rights also raised concerns about the bill in April this year that it says may extinguish Native Title……..

So far it has taken two decades for the Barngarla to have their Native Title claim to a 45,000 square kilometre stretch of the Eyre Peninsula recognised by the courts – a process during which they were once informed that they did not exist as a people.

Neither have they forgotten the horror at Maralinga when the British army tested nuclear weapons after falsely declaring there were no Aboriginal people in the area.

To the Barngarla, the government has only decided to talk after the big decisions have been made.

“We’re still flora and fauna to these people,” Bilney says. “They should have included us from the start. We heard about it on the news. We weren’t included in the vote.

“You know, the Barngarla [native title] claim was basically an unwinnable case, they said. It’s taken us 21 years. Twenty-one years to win Native Title under white man’s law. And yet we’re still classed as second-class citizens? Flora and fauna.

“We’re basically aliens in our own Country.”    https://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2020/07/29/barngarla-continue-fight-against-plan-dump-nuclear-waste-country

 

 

July 30, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, indigenous issues, wastes | Leave a comment

The Santa Susana site – America’s Secret Chernobyl

July 28, 2020 Posted by | safety, secrets,lies and civil liberties, wastes | Leave a comment