Tag Archives: Environmental

Gather for SCE&G Nuke Hearing, Thurs., 9:30 a.m., SC Supreme Court, Columbia

The South Carolina Supreme Court is set on Thursday to hear the Friends of the Earth appeal of the SC Public Service Commission’s approval of the SCE&G nuclear project.

We will gather on the sidewalk outside the court – corner of Gervais and Sumter in downtown, across from the state house grounds – at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 4 and be there in case the media wants to do interviews and then proceed to the court room. I will have only the big “blank check” (the unlimited costs given to SCE&G by the PSC) as a visual and ask that you don’t bring additional signs. As the court will already be in session, we will quietly proceed into the court room after our gathering.

Cameras are allowed into the court if the media outlets got pre-approval and as I don’t know if they have done this, one reason we will gather is to show a public face on those concerned about a clean energy future for South Carolina. The hearing is set to begin at 10:00 and our side opens with 10 minutes, the SCE&G gets 10 minutes and then we have 5 minutes for a closing, but the judges can ask questions at any point. So, the entire hearing could be less than an hour. The chief judge has recused herself from the case.

You may have seen that an article about the hearing appeared in The State on March 2
(and also in today’s Charleston Post & Courier):

“Reactor foes having their say on Thursday”
http://www.thestate.com/2010/03/02/1181994/reactor-foes-having-their-say.html

If the nuclear project goes forward we can kiss goodbye to any serious energy conservation and efficiency programs in South Carolina. SCE&G will have a glut of electricity to sell if the reactors were ever to operate and significant reduction of consumption will be the last thing on their mind.

The association of large industrial users, the SC Energy Users Committee, has also appealed the PSC nuclear decision to the Supreme Court but their hearing will be later, though the court could respond in a single ruling to our appeals.

Call if you have any questions and I hope to see you on Thursday.

Tom Clements
Southeastern Nuclear Campaign Coordinator
Friends of the Earth
Columbia, SC
803-834-3084 | 803-834-3084

www.carolinapeace.org |  (803) 875-0392  | (803) 875-0392 info@carolinapeace.org
PO Box 7933
Columbia, SC 29202
United States

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BOMB PLANT NEWS | DOE Inspector General Issues Report Focuses on Questionable SRS Contractor Hiring Practices at (Mixed Oxide) MOX plant

Bomb Plant NewsViolating Contractors not Named, Penalties not Levied

{Note – Report makes weak suggestions for corrective action but I’m betting the focus is on poor Latino construction workers, which is a shame.

In its rush to build the costly SRS MOX plant, the unnamed MOX Contactor (Shaw Areva MOX Services) was found to be in violation of employment law and told by NNSA in a letter:  “The letter also notified the contractor that some of the subcontractors working on the Site were not complying with statutory requirements to verify that employees are U.S. citizens or are otherwise legally entitled to employment in the United States.”  (in Overview, page 2)} Tom Clements

###
Text of e-mailed message from IG’s office:

Inspection of Employment Verification at Savannah River Site
INS-0-10-01

November 10, 2009

Our inspection found that not all Site subcontractors verified employment eligibility in accordance with Federal requirements. This condition allowed the possibility that individuals who are not eligible to work in the United States (U.S.) could be employed by Department subcontractors and potentially access the Site. We did not identify any weakness regarding unauthorized employees having access to the Site.

We specifically found that four subcontractors contacted during our inspection failed to utilize the I-9 Form to determine worker eligibility. Subsequent to our review, two of the four subcontractors stated that, as a result of our review, they have started using the I-9 Form. We also found that twenty-two percent (136) of the 600 I-9 Forms obtained from our sample of 21 Site subcontractors were missing key elements, including the subcontractor’s affirmation that the identity documentation was reviewed and appeared authentic; and, the employee’s signature to affirm that the employment information was correct; and, 16 subcontractor employees from a judgmental sample had social security numbers that may have been used by other individuals in the general population. We referred this matter to the Social Security Administration for further review.

In June 2008, an amendment to Executive Order 12989 required Federal contractors verify employee’s eligibility with an electronic employment verification system (E-Verify). E-Verify would provide immediate feedback to the employer concerning the eligibility status of the new hire including the validity of identification documents. We noted during our review that three subcontractors utilize the E-verify system to validate the authenticity of the employee’s information. One subcontractor indicated that if a discrepancy is noted by E-Verify, the employee is allowed three business days to address the discrepancy. In addition, we determined that a number of subcontractors accessed other internet-based databases which identify discrepancies regarding a social security number, date of birth, current address, and passports. We asked subcontractor officials who did not utilize the E-Verify or similar systems what indicators they used to determine if the documentation provided by an employee was authentic. In most cases, these officials told us that they conducted a visual inspection of the documentation for authentication. These officials also informed us that if an employee were to provide a fake social security card, the subcontractor officials would not be able to confirm its authenticity. We noted that the E-Verify system would identify a concern with the documentation. The increased use of E-Verify by the Site subcontractors will help to ensure that the identity documentation for employment belongs to the individual presenting them.

We recommend that the Manager, Savannah River Operations Office: Ensure contractors establish a method to notify existing and future subcontractors to comply with federal requirements related to employment verification; and, develop a process to notify contractors of the E-Verify system.

To view the full report, click on the following link:
http://www.ig.energy.gov/documents/INS-O-10-01.pdf

For more information, contact Felicia Jones –  felicia.jones@hq.doe.gov

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The French Connection: plutonium problems in France linked to Duke’s Catawba reactor & the Savannah River Site MOX plant

Hello Savannah River Site watchers –   

SRSOctober 16, 2009 -

 
You may have seen some news about a serious problem at a plutonium facility in Cadarche, France, which is under the control of the Commissariat à l’énergie atomique (CEA, French Atomic Energy Commission).  This facility, the Atelier de Technologie du Plutonium (ATPu), produced plutonium fuel (MOX) and is being cleaned out and decommissioned.  Due to poor accounting methods of the plutonium in the facility, it was discovered that the build-up of plutonium had reached amounts of concern for a nuclear criticality incident, which has been big news in France.  

Without going into more details, I wanted to remind you that the ATPu facility manufactured US test MOX fuel pellets which were inserted into “lead test assemblies” (LTAs) from US weapons-grade plutonium from Los Alamos which had been shipped by sea via the Charleston(SC) Nuclear Weapons Station.  The French-made MOX LTAs were shipped back via Charleston in 2005 and tested in Duke Energy’s Catawba Unit 1 reactor near Rock Hill, SC.  That test failed when the LTAs performed poorly and were withdrawn after two 18-month fueling cycle instead of the three 18-month cycles which were needed.  

The ATPu facility could well have a bit of US plutonium involved in the current incident, but it more importantly reveals just how easy it is to “lose” a serious amount of plutonium in a MOX facility, enough to cause a dreaded unplanned nuclear reaction.  (Are you paying attention, SRS MOX plant backers?)  

Now, with an outage of the Catawba Unit 1 reactor set to start around November 20, has the US plutonium cabal modified the French-manufactured MOX LTAs for reinsertion for that third cycle they missed?  Or, is Duke over with dealing with the shite MOX and now DOE has to continue to scramble to sucker other utilities, like TVA, into using MOX?

Have a plutonium-free day! Tom  Clement,  SRS -Action

News release on the Pu problem from the L’Autorité de sûreté nucléaire (ASN)  – Nuclear Safety Authority:

http://www.asn.fr/incident-nuclear-facility-dealing-plutonium-technology-cea-cadarache-plant

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Filed under Environmental, Nuclear materials, Nuclear waste, South Carolina

Alliance for Nuclear Accountability | Temporary Full-Time Job in WDC

DC Days Coordinator

Join a national grassroots network working to change environmental and national security policy on nuclear weapons and waste issues. The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) seeks a coordinator for our national DC Days, in our Washington, DC office. DC Days, which will be held from February 28 through March 3, will feature four days of training, education, and political advocacy that bring activists from around the country to Washington. The DC Days Coordinator will work to coordinate logistics of this event and recruit participants locally and nationally. The Coordinator will also attend meetings and hearings, assist in tracking legislation, and report to ANA members.Skills needed: excellent communications skills including verbal, written and computer; strong organizational skills; and commitment to grassroots organizing.  Knowledge of Congress and nuclear weapons and waste issues a plus.
 
Salary: $1600 per month salary for six months. No benefits are provided for this position.
To apply: Send a letter of interest, resume, three references, and a short (2-4 pages) recent writing sample by email to: nroth@ananuclear.org
 
Deadline 9/15/09                        
 
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER

Complete job description can be found at www.ananuclear.org

Susan Gordon – Alliance for Nuclear Accountability 903 W Alameda Street, #505 Santa Fe, NM 87501 505-473-1670 sgordon@ananuclear.org www.ananuclear.org

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Santee Cooper Pulls Plug on Coal Plant

Conservation Voters of South Carolina

 

Dear Friends,

After two years of relentless efforts by Conservation Voters of South Carolina and our allies in the SCSaysNo campaign, we have achieved a monumental victory today for our children’s future and the future of our state.

The Santee Cooper Board of Directors voted UNANIMOUSLY this morning to SUSPEND efforts to permit and develop the Pee Dee coal plant. The Board also voted unanimously to defer a proposed 2010 rate hike.   The Santee Cooper ! staff cited reasons that we’ve been repeating over the last two years: pending climate change legislation; a possible national renewable energy standard; fluctuations in financial markets; and the impact of the economic recession.
Your letters, your contributions and your support helped make this happen.  Please join us in celebrating a great day for our state with a contribution in honor of this remarkable victory. 

Click here to read the full story on TheState.com!

We commend Santee Cooper’s Board and staff for showing leadership in our country’s transition to clean energy.  We also thank South Carolina’s electric coops for seeking alternatives and pursuing an ambitious energy efficiency program.  Most of all, we wish to thank the countless volunteers and organizations who not only opposed the coal plant but also offered positive solutions.  

Next steps?  A federal climate bill to create a clean energy independent future.  There is still time for action this year, but our Senators need to hear from you.

If you are interested in joining the “Clean Energy Works” campaign, please contact me directly at john@conservationvotersofsc.org or call 803-799-0716.

Click here to support our advocacy for a clean, healthy and safe South Carolina.  Thank you for caring about clean air and clean water and sustainable living. This is an historic day for us and for future generations.

Sincerely,  

John Ramsburgh

Climate and Energy Director

P.S. Make sure to join us and Congressman James Clyburn at the Environmental Policy Institute Lecture Series  “Conquering Climate Change: New Opportunities, New Economies” on September 1st at SC State.  Click here for more information!

Conservation Voters of South Carolina
701 Whaley Street, Suite 207
Columbia, SC 29201

www.conservationvotersofsc.org

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Bomb Plant News | SRS tours planned

Eight more Savannah River Site tours are planned

7/27/2009

 

The Savannah River Site will be opening its gates to the general public again this fall.

“Act NOW if you want to go on one of these SRS tours. You’ll learn something about the site and it’s a great place to ask hard questions before Aikenites who need to hear more than the DOE line on their local nuclear site,” Tom Clements.   

A pilot program conducted in March confirmed that the public is very much interested in learning about the past, present and future of SRS. Online registration for the first tour filled 300 seats in less than 24 hours.   Based on the interest in the pilot program, the U.S. Department of Energy is reinstituti ng the public tour program, with eight tours that will begin in September and will include a few added features.  

“Feedback from the pilot program told us the public wanted more so we’ve lengthened the tour agenda and included a stop at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory,” said Jeff Allison, DOE-SR manager. “We’re also including drive-by tours of both Dunbarton and Ellenton, former towns that were relocated when the government began constructing SRS in the early 1950s.”

Tours will last about four hours and will begin and end at the Aiken County Center for Hydrogen Research campus near the Site.

Tour participants must be U.S. citizens who are at least 18 years old, have valid photo identification (required on the day of the tour) and provide their full name (as stated on their photo identification) and birth date.

Participants will be required to provide their Social Security number on the day of the tour, with security checks to be conducted prior to each tour.

For more information or to register for a tour, visit0Awww.srs.gov and click on “About SRS” for the SRS Tour Program or use the direct link to www5.hanford.gov/srstours.

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Notice | Savannah River Site | Citizens Advisory Board

 BOMB PLANT NEWS! 

Savannah River Site

Savannah River Site

Do you want DOE at the to add you to a new e-mail list (as part of an effort by them to do better outreach to the concerned public about future use of the site)?

If you been following the vague DOE proposals for “energy parks” at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina or at Piketon in Ohio, you will know that I have been pushing DOE for not having a clear “energy park” policy and for failing to involve all stakeholders and the public in the decision-making process involving future use of the sites.  At SRS, amongst other things, the SRS boosters still have their eyes set on a reprocessing “park,” which DOE officials have urged them to pursue, and at Piketon a consortium of Duke and Areva has announced the aim is to build an EPR reactor at the site. The public has so far been cut out of any planning with DOE on these projects or any other possible uses of the sites.

(I’m attending the SRS Citizens Advisory Board this afternoon and all day Tuesday and will have my ears open to anything said about the “energy park” idea.)

In response to my concerns, a DOE Assistant General Counsel recently wrote to me and said that “my office and DOE,’s Savannah River Operations Office (Operations Office) are in active discussion, and the Operations Office is currently working to establish a process that will provide transparency and meaningful public participation in relation to plans to utilize land at the Site as an energy park and with regard to relevant NEPA procedures.”

As part of what I assume is the above transparency effort mentioned above, DOE-SRS e-mailed me last Friday and said that “We are trying to expand our notification to include you and other non government organizations interested in SRS.”  The e-mail went on to ask if I would help them pull together a list of NGO contacts, which would want to receive information from DOE about things at SRS.  I don’t know if DOE is making this effort at Piketon or other sites but what they do here may be indicative of how DOE handles the “energy park” approach at other sites.

While I don’t want to be doing DOE’s work, I do think it important that any groups, which want to be informed of things happening at SRS, particularly about planning for any “energy park,” be on this list. They should have been doing a better job at outreach in the past but I am willing to help them get better in working with environmental stakeholders and not just with contractors and local special interest groups.  We need to let them see that NGOs a re concerned about what happens at the site for any “energy park” proposals so I hope many of you will want to be on their list.

Thus, if you want your organization to be on DOE’s notification list for SRS activities, please affirm your interest to me and I’ll pass your name, organization name and e-mail address on to the SRS Office of External Affairs. 

 For more information contact Tom Clements@ tel. 803-834-3084/ cell 803-240-7268/ tomclements329@cs.com.

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