Tag Archives: Department of Energy

BOMB PLANT NEWS | Upcoming Meeting of Savannah River Site Citizens Advisory Board

Federal Register - June 29, 2011

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY- Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board, Savannah River Site

ACTION: Notice of Open Meeting

SUMMARY: This notice announces a meeting of the Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board (EM SSAB), Savannah River Site. The Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub.L. No. 92-463, 86 Stat. 770) requires that public notice of this meeting be announced in the Federal Register.

DATES: Monday, July 25, 2011 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

ADDRESSES: Savannah Rapids Pavilion
3300 Evans to Locks Road
Martinez, GA 30907

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gerri Flemming, Office of External Affairs, Department of Energy, Savannah River Operations Office, P.O. Box A, Aiken, SC, 29802; Phone: (803) 952-7886.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
Purpose of the Board: The purpose of the Board is to make recommendations to DOEEM and site management in the areas of environmental restoration, waste management, and related activities.

Tentative Agenda:
Monday, July 25, 2011
1:00 p.m. Combined Committee Session
5:00 p.m. Adjourn

Tuesday, July 26, 2011
8:30 a.m. Approval of Minutes, Chair Update
Public Comment Session
Agency Updates
Administrative Committee Report
Nuclear Materials Committee Report
Strategic and Legacy Management Committee Report
Public Comment Session
12:00 p.m. Lunch Break
1:00 p.m. Waste Management Committee Report
Facility Disposition and Site Remediation Committee Report
Public Comment Session
4:30 p.m. Adjourn

If needed, time will be allotted after public comments for items added to the agenda.

Public Participation: The EM SSAB, Savannah River Site, welcomes the attendance of the public at its advisory committee meetings and will make every effort to accommodate persons with physical disabilities or special needs. If you require special accommodations due to a disability, please contact Gerri Flemming at least seven days in advance of the meeting at the phone number listed above. Written statements may be filed with the Board either before or after the meeting. Individuals who wish to make oral statements pertaining to agenda items should contact Gerri Flemming’s office at the address or telephone listed above. Requests must be received five days prior to the meeting and reasonable provision will be made to include the presentation in the agenda. The Deputy Designated Federal Officer is empowered to conduct the meeting in a fashion that will facilitate the orderly conduct of business. Individuals wishing to make public comments will be provided a maximum of five minutes to present their comments. Minutes: Minutes will be available by writing or calling Gerri Flemming at the address or phone number listed above. Minutes will also be available at the following website:

http://www.srs.gov/general/outreach/srs-cab/meeting_summaries_2011.html.

Issued at Washington, DC on June 23, 2011.
LaTanya R. Butler
Acting Deputy Committee Management Officer

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BOMB PLANT NEWS | FOIA Documents Show Plan to Pursue Experimental Nuclear Reactors at Savannah River Site without Required NRC Licenses

Documents Reveal Reactors Could Be Fueled by Radioactive Fuel Reprocessed at SRS, Leading to More Importation of Dangerous High-Level Radioactive Waste into South Carolina

 
Documents obtained by Friends of the Earth under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that a private contractor plans to pursue  experimental nuclear reactors without licensing by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, even though such licensing is required by law.
 
The revelation that two prototype “small modular reactors” are being pursued by Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, the private contractor that manages the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site near Aiken, South Carolina, “in advance of any design certification and licensing by the NRC” has drawn the charge from Friends of the Earth that such a move does not comply with pertinent U.S. regulations and must be dropped.
 
“We call on Savannah River Nuclear Solutions and the Department of Energy (DOE) to immediately affirm that no experimental nuclear reactors will be pursued in South Carolina without the required license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,” said Tom Clements, Southeastern Nuclear Campaign Coordinator for Friends of the Earth.  “Construction of ‘small modular reactors’ that are not licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission would violate U.S. law as well as endanger the public and we will strongly oppose any attempt to avoid required licensing of such reactors.”  
 
Small modular reactors are being pursued by various companies but at present only exist as concepts. Although such reactors would be smaller than those currently operating, modular reactors would still produce nuclear waste and pose the same safety and proliferation problems of larger reactors. Licensing discussions between at least one firm and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have begun.
 
On January 7 Friends of the Earth obtained two Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) related to two different small modular reactors. The memoranda were obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request to the Savannah River Site.  The memoranda, related to the “Hyperion SMR” (signed August 2010) and the “GE-Hitachi PRISM SMR” (signed September 2010) designs, both state that “[the U.S. Department of Energy] would assume responsibility for regulating the design, construction, and operation of a PRISM prototype under DOE’s existing authority as codified in l0 CFR 830, in advance of any design certification and licensing by the NRC.” 
 
The federal Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, which created the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Energy Research and Development Administration (now DOE), requires NRC licensing of a nuclear reactor “when operated in any other manner for the purpose of demonstrating the suitability for commercial application of such a reactor.”  Thus, unless the projects are pursued exclusively by the Department of Energy with no private involvement, Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing is mandated.
 
“In order to avoid required regulation, it appears that the Savannah River Site is trying to manipulate things so that requirements of the Energy Reorganization  Act are avoided, but that will be impossible to do,” said Clements.  “In addition, the private firm that intends to construct these experimental reactors appears poised to try to force taxpayers to pick up the cost. Savannah River Nuclear Solutions must pay for its own activities. Friends of the Earth calls on DOE and Savannah River Nuclear Solutions and its partners to demonstrate that 100 percent of the funding for any experimental reactors will come from private sources and that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will play the role required by law.”
 
The Department of Energy, which is not a party to the memoranda and which is generally not regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, would have to take over and finance 100 percent of the projects if they were to go forward as proposed in the MOUs.  Friends of the Earth believes that the private companies developing the experimental reactors, which are only concepts at this point, must provide 100 percent of the financing, but even partial private financing would still trigger the requirement that licensing be carried out by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  
 
The Hyperion memorandum, signed for the Savannah River National Laboratory by Garry Flowers, President and CEO of Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, also states that the fuel for the Hyperion reactor could come from commercial reprocessing in the H-Canyon reprocessing plant, an idea that is already stirring controversy and which may be impossible to pursue as the H-Canyon may be placed on stand-by due to budget constraints. Clements of Friends of the Earth and many members of the public spoke out against use of the H-Canyon facility for commercial reprocessing R&D before a January 7 meeting in Augusta, Georgia of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future as such R&D and full-scale reprocessing could lead to commercial radioactive spent fuel being dumped at SRS.  Clements affirms that environmental and public interest groups will fight against SRS from becoming the new Yucca Mountain.
 
Likewise, the PRISM memorandum states that the Savannah River Site plutonium fuel (MOX) facility, now under construction, could be used to fabricate the first fuel for the reactor, which is in direct contradiction to pledges by the Energy Department that the facility would not be used for missions beyond fabricating surplus weapons plutonium into MOX fuel for existing light-water reactors.  (That program is in trouble as the Energy Department has failed to identify reactors to use the MOX fuel and the facility could end up could end up sitting idle.  A multi-year MOX testing program will be required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission even if reactors are identified, and the Energy Department was unable to outline the details of such a testing program during a public tour of the Savannah River Site on January 6, 2011, in parallel with a tour by the presidential Blue Ribbon Commission.)
 
As an indication that some are thinking of SRS as the new Yucca Mountain, in a SRNS presentation to the SRS Citizens Advisory Board on September 29, 2010 entitled SRS Energy Park – Vision and Implementing Concepts, the SMRs are pitched as part of a “potential alternative to Yucca Mountain.” 
 
Contrary to the approach presented by Savannah River Nuclear Solutions in the two memoranda, the Tennessee Valley Authority is pursuing an mPower “small modular reactor” and has recently revealed that it plans to seek a construction license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  But like other small modular reactors, the mPower reactor is but a concept this point and faces a host of technical and licensing hurdles.
 

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BOMB PLANT NEWS | Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board report to Congress

The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board has issued its “first periodic Report to Congress on Infrastructure Needs in the Department of Energy’s Aging Defense Nuclear Facilities.”  Below are the excerpts on aging issued related to the H-Canyon reprocessing plant and the tanks containing radioactive nuclear waste.  These are the main things at SRS we need to keep a close eye on for accidental release of radioactive material or accidents harming workers or the public (till the MOX plant stats operation…if it ever does…..hope not…).  Tom Clements   

http://www.hss.energy.gov/deprep/2010/FB10S10A.PDF  

Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board report to Congress  

September 10, 2010  

To the Congress of the United States:  

“The Department of Energy (DOE) continues to rely on aging facilities to carry out hazardous production missions. Examples of this persistent problem include the 9212 Complex at the Y-12 National Security Complex (portions of which are more than 60 years old), the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research (CMR) Facility at Los Alamos (55 years old), and the first high-level waste tanks built at the Hanford and Savannah River Sites (up to 56 years old). There are other examples of degrading and aging facilities that will require significant capital expenditures for replacement or for repair and upgrade of key systems.”  

MOST SIGNIFICANT SAFETY-RELATED INFRASTRUCTURE ISSUES  

Savannah River Site, H-Canyon - Aging Systems and Structures  

“The board encouraged DOE to continue aging management evaluations of H-Canyon and adopt a strategy to address age-related degradation. Components showing localized degradation include canyon wall concrete, the sand filter cileing, electrical wiring, and the canyon roof liner.”

Savannah River Site, Concentration, Storage, and Transfer Facility (Tank Farms)Aging Tanks and Systems:  

“DOE continues to store liquid wastes in some of the old noncompliant tanks.  DOE expects these old tanks will contain waste through 2018.  Support systems require increased attention for monitoring and repair.  The Board issued a letter dated January 6, 2010, encouraging DOE to develop more efficient tank inspection techniques.

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Georgia and South Carolina Community Leaders discuss halting work on Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Disposal Site

Georgia and South Carolina Community Leaders Hold Press Conference to Discuss Decision to Halt Work on Yucca Mountain Permanent Nuclear Waste Repository

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 -  National Press Club,  Washington, DC

Available via webcast at www.visualwebcaster.com/Finish-Yucca-Mountain | <http://www.visualwebcaster.com/Finish-Yucca-Mountain>.
      _____________________________________________________________

“The Federal Government’s decision to halt work on the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository represents a betrayal of trust by the Department of Energy (DOE) with communities where high-level defense waste and commercial spent fuel are currently stored.

That is the message being delivered to the Department of Energy by  more than 40 community leaders from five counties around DOE’s  Savannah River Site near Aiken, SC, at a Washington, DC press  conference on April 28.  These elected officials and business leaders  represent counties in both Georgia and South Carolina. Continue reading

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Bomb Plant News | SRS Clean Up – Not Build Up : Speak out with us TOMORROW in N. Augusta!

Tuesday, August 18th  

The bombLocation: North Augusta, SC, at the N. Augusta Municipal Building, 100 Georgia Ave.

We want clean up –not build up!
 
“Nuclear weapons are inherently destructive of the environment in their possession, manufacture and use. Global and national security lie in U.S. leadership that works towards disarmament, environmental restoration and nuclear waste management.”  Georgia WAND

Now is the time! Your voice is needed!
 
You can and should let DOE know how you feel – So hop on the bus with Georgia WAND as we meet up in N. Augusta with Friends of the Earth and other groups to hold a press conference and then we will attend and speak out at the DOE meeting on the future mission of Savannah River Site, a US nuclear weapons production facility on the Georgia/South Carolina border.
 
12:30PM   Press Conference in N. Augusta, Georgia WAND, Friends of the Earth, etc other groups will be gathering. (Please bring brown bag lunch to eat prior to mtg as time allows) Signs welcome!!

1:00Pm – 5:00PM  Dept of Energy (DOE) meeting on the future missions of SRS >> Public testimony accepted. We hope everyone will speak out and get their voice heard.

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BOMB PLANT NEWS | SRS Urgent: Aug. 18 meeting on SRS “energy park” – pls attend!!

A-bombFrom Tom Clements:

Your presence will be needed for an August 18 meeting on the future uses of land at the Savannah River Site!

The meeting on an SRS “energy park” will be held on Tuesday, August 18, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the N. Augusta, SC municipal building.  This is when future uses of the site will be discussed, including for reprocessing, spent fuel storage, nuclear reactors and other dirty missions, as well as for other clean options.

At the August 18 meeting will be Mark Gilbertson, from Department of Energy (DOE) headquarters.  He is the one who in March urged contractors to pursue spent fuel storage and reprocessing for an SRS “energy park.”  Many have written letters to Energy Secretary Steven Chu about what he [Gilbertson] said and in his response he totally distanced himself from what he had said (and I heard). On August 18, we need to keep up the pressure of him and other contractors who have been trying to make decisions on an “energy park” in secret and without public input.

August 18 will be the public’s chance to have input into the “energy park” concept.  Community environmentalists are seeking to have as many members of the public in attendance as possible as the booster groups (SRS Community Reuse Organization, Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness) will likely be there in force.

We really need to get the public to this meeting so PLEASE mark your calendars.  The time is tentative but more info will follow when it’s finalized.

Stay tuned but please plan on attending on August 18. 

——————

SRS Education

From Bob Alvarez:

Here’s are a couple maps I put together a few years back that shows: (1) that SRS is near the epicenter of one of the most destructive earthquakes in U.S. history — not a good place to store the world’s largest inventory of mercury, much less the nation’s single largest concentration of high-level radioactive wastes; and (2) SRS sits atop the primary drinking water aquifer of the Southeastern Coastal Plain. (see below)
Damage Intensity MapHigh-level radio active waste

 

For more information contact Tom Clements:tomclements329@cs.com

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Energy Secretary Chu Announces $6 Billion in Recovery Act Funding for Environmental Cleanup

[Note – Though we have known these general figures, DOE has today issued a news release on what the sites are getting in “clean up” stimulus funds, including $1.96 billion to Hanford and $1.61 billion to SRS. DOE-EM continues to insist that these funds will be used leveraged into “energy parks,” which DOE has made clear could include commercial spent fuel storage and reprocessing at SRS if the “community” (aka contractors) wants it. Tom Clements]

Department of Energy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Contact Number – (202) 586-4940

————————————————————-

New Funding Will Create Jobs and Accelerate Cleanup Efforts

Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced $6 billion in new funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to accelerate environmental cleanup work and create thousands of jobs across 12 states. Projects identified for funding will focus on accelerating cleanup of soil and groundwater, transportation and disposal of waste, and cleaning and demolishing former weapons complex facilities.

“These investments will put Americans to work while cleaning up contamination from the cold war era,” said Secretary Chu. “It reflects our commitment to future generations as well as to help local economies get moving again.”

These projects and the new funding are managed by the Department’s Office of Environmental Management, which is responsible for the risk reduction and cleanup of the environmental legacy from the nation’s nuclear weapons program, one of the largest, most diverse and technically complex environmental programs in the world.

The states and DOE sites that will receive this funding include:http://thenewliberator.wordpress.com/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gif Continue reading

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