Tag Archives: nuclear waste

Spent nuclear fuel is but one of the problems with nuclear power

NY Times reporter Matthew Wald looks at the temporary storage of nuclear fuel rods in dry cask storage. Why? Because since the disaster at Fukushima, it is public knowledge that storing rods in pools is vulnerable to natural disasters. But this is nothing more than a band-aid for the next few decades.

And then what?

Will our children have better answers? Is it right to leave this to them?

Can you justify creating any more nuclear waste? No. I didn’t think so.

I invite you to watch the video here.




We have 63,000 tons of spent fuel rods

Hello? Did you know that the United States has 126,000 pounds of highly volatile, radioactive fuel rods awaiting newer, safer homes in their “temporary” storage containers? Nah, I didn’t think so.

Of the 104 nuclear reactors in the U.S., we have accumulated 63,000 tons — “and other radioactive trash” — that has been waiting for a national repository that President Obama has just pulled the funding from.

On May 14, 2009, NTI reported:

In February, Congress provided $288 million for Yucca Mountain, enabling several hundred staffers to continue planning the site. President Barack Obama requested $196.8 million for the project in fiscal 2010, which begins Oct. 1.

The Obama administration has opted to pursue a license for the Yucca Mountain site despite its intention to kill the project. The decision could potentially leave the door open for a future administration to resurrect the effort, according to AP.


So what we know as of May 14th is that Obama will continue funding for a license that will likely never be necessary. Then, on May 15th, we learn that, despite the fact that $10 billion has already been invested in the federal repository, Obama cuts all funding except for “$197 million to “explore alternatives” and pay for other licensing activities” (http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20090515_9673.php)

This article continues:

The Energy Department has yet to come up with an alternative way to permanently dispose of the 63,000 tons of spent fuel rods and other radioactive trash that have piled up at the nation’s 104 commercial nuclear reactors. However, Secretary Steven Chu supports legislation championed by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, that would authorize the president to create an 11-member, bipartisan commission to examine the viability of three options: underground waste disposal somewhere other than Yucca Mountain; long-term storage at the nuclear power companies’ sites or at regional storage facilities; or the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. The commission would also consider whether the federal government should offer economic incentives to entice states, Indian tribes, and local governments to host a nuclear-waste repository, an interim waste facility, or a reprocessing plant.

Senate Republicans are pushing for a more aggressive approach. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the ranking member on Energy and Natural Resources, wants to authorize the Energy Department to work with private companies to build two commercial nuclear-waste reprocessing facilities. A number of House and Senate Republicans, meanwhile, have demanded a full explanation from Chu as to why the administration is halting work on the repository.

Industry officials are taking a more measured approach to the administration’s rejection of Yucca Mountain. Marvin Fertel, president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute, which represents nuclear power companies, supports creation of a blue-ribbon panel to sort out the waste dilemma. However, the institute wants the executive branch to go ahead and set up the commission.

“We think it’s going to take a long time to get energy legislation out of Congress,” he said. “So we would encourage Energy Secretary Chu to move forward.”

Fertel says he is convinced that such a commission would inevitably decide that the government should reprocess the nation’s commercial nuclear waste, a process he refers to as “closing the fuel cycle.” The industry strongly backs reprocessing, which removes plutonium and uranium from the spent fuel rods. The separated plutonium can be used to again power nuclear reactors, or, as critics stress, it can be turned into nuclear weapons.

Critics contend that reprocessing would make it easier for terrorists or other criminals to acquire weapon-grade radioactive material. And they point out that reprocessing would still leave nuclear waste that would remain dangerously radioactive for centuries.

Reprocessing also carries a huge price tag, according to Thomas Cochran, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s nuclear program. At a March congressional hearing, Cochran estimated, “The U.S. government could easily spend on the order of $150 billion over 15 years just to get to the starting line of large-scale commercialization” of nuclear-waste reprocessing. Industry officials insist that Cochran’s numbers are inflated but decline to offer their own estimate.

Read the entire article:http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20090515_9673.php

And now we are going to allow private corporations to import nuclear waste into the U.S? This is insanity.

America imports nuclear waste from other countries

Do you know this? Do you think it is wise to allow PRIVATE CORPORATIONS to import RADIOACTIVE NUCLEAR WASTE into the U.S.? One more question… Who the hell is going to pay to safely and securely store highly volatile spent fuel rods when this private corporation goes out of business?

Now, I don’t yet know much of anything about this EnergySolutions… YET.

But I will.

They’ve got a dumptruck full of federal money heading their way (in the form of stimulus contracts)… and the path is being cleared as I write for them to begin importing nuclear waste from Italy. I’m sorry… but what the hell is going on here? Who are they related to?

Why would we do something so stupid?

The reasoning, as stated, is that EnergySolutions “needs to dispose of foreign waste here so it can develop relationships with foreign countries, and ultimately, build disposal facilities abroad.”

I’m sorry, folks, but I could give a DAMN about your corporate objectives abroad. And I certainly don’t think it’s the least bit reasonable, or logical, or practical to risk you royally screwing this up — or even moderately screwing this up — so that you can pursue your dreams of storing toxic waste around the globe. It seems more than likely that you will make some quick cash and disappear while America is left footing the bill for dealing with Europe’s toxic waste in addition to our own!

And… forgive me if I’m wrong, but didn’t our President just make it impossible to continue development of the federal facility we were promised in Yucca Mountain? Yeah, I thought so. So, why would we even consider a proposal like this from a private corporation? I have no idea. But I know for fact that if every American was aware of this bullshit, it would NEVER be permitted.

So what’s a girl to do but everything she can to spread the word?


Judge Lets Utah Accept Foreign Nuclear Waste

From Courthouse News (http://www.courthousenews.com/2009/05/19/Judge_Lets_Utah_Accept_Foreign_Nuclear_Waste.htm)

(CN) – A federal judge in Utah has ruled that EnergySolutions can dispose of foreign nuclear waste at its facility in the western part of the state.

EnergySolutions claimed that the Northwest Compact – which consists of representatives from Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming – had unlawfully banned importation of low-level radioactive waste  from international sources. Specifically, EnergySolutions argued that Northwest had tried to exercise greater authority over the disposal of the waste than is allowed under current law.

EnergySolutions sought clarification from the district court in Utah in May 2008.

U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart agreed with EnergySolution’s interpretation of the law that Northwest was overreaching its scope. This ruling paves the way for EnergySolutions to bring low-level radioactive waste from Italy to its facility in Clive, Utah.

The Clive facility has been safely disposing of low-level material for more than 20 years and has been disposing of residuals from internationally generated material for about eight years.

Judge says Utah can accept foreign nuclear waste

From the Miami Herald (http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation/AP/story/1051933.html)
Associated Press Writer

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge has ruled that a Utah company can dispose of foreign nuclear waste at its facility in the western Utah desert.

EnergySolutions Inc. wants to import up to 20,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste from Italy. After processing in Tennessee, about 1,600 tons would be disposed of in Utah.

If approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the waste would be imported through the ports of Charleston, S.C. or New Orleans.

EnergySolutions contends it needs to dispose of foreign waste here so it can develop relationships with foreign countries, and ultimately, build disposal facilities abroad.

EnergySolutions has pledged to limit the amount of international waste disposed at its Utah facility to 5 percent of its remaining capacity.


Lastly, here’s the gigantic red flag i saw waving tonight…

EnergySolutions wins big with stimulus contracts

Utah » 12 cleanup projects will ship material to Clive

By Judy Fahys
The Salt Lake Tribune

Utahns rejoiced a few weeks ago when Washington announced stimulus money would be used to speed the removal of a massive pile of uranium-contaminated mill tailings near Moab.

What wasn’t publicized at the time is that still more of the $6 billion in Energy Department Recovery Act funds will come to Utah in the form of low-level radioactive waste.

Salt Lake City-based EnergySolutions Inc. is specifically named in more than half of the project proposals for the Energy Department stimulus money. And trainloads of waste contaminated with low-level radioactive and hazardous waste will be coming to Utah under the two dozen cleanup projects.

Company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steve Creamer recently told investors that his nuclear waste company campaigned to be included.

“We have a full team that’s doing nothing but working on the stimulus package,” Creamer said in a May 7 conference call.

He told investors his staff is helping contractors figure out how to spend the money.

“We’re pleased with it,” he added, “and we think it’s a very positive thing for the company.”

EnergySolutions has long touted the value of the Utah disposal site, a mile-square facility that offers the only commercial disposal available for waste from 36 states.

Its federal contracts with the departments of Defense and Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency used to account for about half of the waste going to the 20-year-old company, which had rates so low that even government-owned and -operated disposal sites could not compete.

But the volumes headed for EnergySolutions have fallen off in the last couple of years, and the company has turned to such proposals as accepting waste from foreign nations.

The stimulus money projects that specifically mention the Utah company include the large government cleanups of the nation’s nuclear-weapons complex in Hanford, Wash., Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Savannah River, S.C.

But the specifics of many stimulus projects still haven’t been worked out, said Energy Department spokeswoman Jen Stutsman.

“…[T]here is not yet detailed waste forecast information on the incremental volumes of low-level and mixed low-level waste that may be suitable for disposal at the Clive facility in Utah,” she said.

But, even before the stimulus bonanza, EnergySolutions was counting on lots of waste from the Energy Department sites nationwide — about 52,000 cubic feet this year and 26,000 cubic feet in the next two years, according to Stutsman.

Stimulus-funded projects will add to that volume, but there is no way of saying how much, she said.

The additional cleanup funding is also good news for the cleanups.

At the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, an infusion of $42 million will allow the demolition of buildings associated with a nuclear research reactor and the removal of contaminated soil and pipes. About 6,000 cubic yards of waste — including contaminated soil, concrete and debris — will come to Utah by rail, according to Brookhaven spokeswoman Mona Rowe.

At the Savannah River Project, an additional $1.6 billion from the stimulus is slated for cleanup, including the disposal of 16,000 containers of depleted uranium oxide. And, while the Savannah River cleanup sent 5,500 containers of depleted uranium to Utah last fall, spokeswoman Paivi M. Nettamo said where the remaining thousands of containers will go is not certain.

“We will ensure all shipments of depleted uranium oxide or any other radioactive material from [the cleanup] meet all applicable state and federal regulations,” she said.

Depleted uranium has become controversial in Utah recently because of the radioactive metal’s unusual quality of becoming more hazardous over time. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is looking at the issue but isn’t expected to finish its study until after the stimulus money is spent.


Did you read that last line? Please… Read it once more…

Depleted uranium has become controversial in Utah recently because of the radioactive metal’s unusual quality of becoming more hazardous over time. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is looking at the issue but isn’t expected to finish its study until after the stimulus money is spent.

For everything that is good and right about America… PLEASE, please, pretty please… SEE HOW WRONG THIS IS AND LEND YOUR VOICE, YOUR ENERGY, YOUR VOTE to prevent this shit from happening.


If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention. Please pay attention.

Words of fury, despair

Vermont Yankee is old and unsafe

Vermont Yankee is old and unsafe

An editorial published on RutlandHerald.com:

Vermont Yankee produces about 30 tons a year of the most toxic and long-lasting waste known to man, which will stay forever on the banks of the Connecticut River in casks that, over its half-life of 250,000 years, will crack every 100 years or so, leaving this unspeakable waste to thousands of generations of our children (if they live). Ray Shadis called it “the gift that keeps on killing.” Every minute of the day and night it releases radioactive material in the air, none of which is safe, and since children are most vulnerable, they, our children, have been and will continue to be, victims of cancers and leukemias as long as the reactor is rattling along like a broken down old car.

On top of all that there is a sneaky connection between nuclear reactors and the military, with “depleted” uranium (which is making the world for the world’s children a radioactive wasteland) and nuclear bombs, which are all part of the atom-smashing process. Helen Caldecott called Vermont Yankee a “cancer and a bomb factory that must be shut down.”

I understand completely why Sally Shaw placed compost (which she called “good waste”) on the table behind which Entergy’s officials and the NRC sat. Anyone who doesn’t understand, and because of that, not only condemns her, but in the Legislature, might vote to poison us and keep us in constant fear for our children and grandchildren for 20 more years, was never on the side of desperate parents and grandparents anyway, and care nothing about our children.

There are times when I am so tired of feeling sad, hopeless, and cynical in the face of corporate power, that I can hardly find the right words. However, criticism of Sally’s despair and fury, which I share, made me find some.

Thank you, Sally.

South Londonderry

(Thank YOU, Jane. You are NOT alone!)

As nuclear waste languishes, expense to government rises

By Matthew L. Wald
New York Times News Service / February 17, 2008
The Boston Globe

WASHINGTON – Forgotten but not gone, the waste from more than 100 nuclear reactors that the federal government was supposed to start accepting for burial 10 years ago is still at the reactor sites, at least 20 years behind schedule. But it is making itself felt in the federal budget.

With court orders and settlements, the federal government has already paid the utilities $342 million, but is virtually certain to pay a total of at least $7 billion in the next few years and probably more than $11 billion, government officials said. The industry said the total could reach $35 billion.

The payments come from an obscure and poorly understood government account that requires no new congressional appropriations, and will balloon in size, experts said.

Read the entire article on Boston.com >