Tag Archives: Savannah River Site

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

HELP PREVENT SOUTH CAROLINA FROM BECOMING NATION’S “INTERIM” RADIOACTIVE WASTE DUMP!

AND STOP UNNECESSARY TRANSPORT OF LETHAL NUCLEAR WASTE–NO FUKUSHIMA FREEWAYS!

TUESDAY, AUGUST 14 IN AIKEN, SOUTH CAROLINA

Savannah River Site

The Savannah River Site Citizen Advisory Board (CAB) meets on Tuesday August 14 in Aiken, South Carolina from 6-8 pm. We encourage you to attend, ask questions, express concerns and speak out!

Why? Because South Carolina could become the first national commercial high-level nuclear waste storage site.

That’s right. Upcoming likely changes to radioactive waste laws could put the Savannah River Site in South Carolina at the front of the pack for an “interim” radwaste storage site.

The storage site idea is nothing more than a parking lot with a fence, radioactive waste shipment containers lined up like bowling pins, and a couple of guards. All that is really needed is for Congress to change to the law (likely in 2013), someone saying “YES” (nuclear business leaders in SC already have)–and all of us remaining silent…

They’ve tried this before at various places across the country–Oak Ridge Tenn., Mescalero Apache land in New Mexico, Skull Valley Goshute land in Utah, Yucca Mountain, Nevada itself (yes, they wanted to put a storage site there too)–and we beat them all. Now it looks like it’s South Carolina’s turn. Your help will be needed to stop them here.

Note: this is the first item on the agenda — at 6 pm. So please arrive early! Public comment is at the end of the meeting at 7:50.

Location: DOE Meeting Center
(At Rear of Aiken Design Center)
230 Village Green Blvd., Suite 220
Aiken, SC 29801

GOOD NEWS: The Chair of the SRS Citizens Advisory Board, Ed Burke opposes the idea of bringing commercial waste from all over the U.S. to South Carolina. Please come out and support Ed’s opposition and other South Carolina voices saying NO to moving radioactive waste anywhere at this point. Stop Fukushima Freeways! There are better alternatives.

Why Moving Radioactive Waste Today for Storage is a Bad Idea ~

*The waste in question is irradiated fuel from a nuclear reactor and some defense wastes. Millions of times more radioactive than “fresh fuel,” this material will deliver a lethal dose in less than a minute if unshielded, and will remain a hazard to health for more than a million years.

* Until all reactors close, a “temporary” storage site for irradiated fuel will not solve any problems. It will just add one more contaminated site. It will take decades to move the 70,000 tons of this waste we have now, and, in the meantime, each reactor will generate more.

* Only a small amount of this type of waste has ever been moved. Each container will emit penetrating radiation like X-rays (equivalent to 2 chest x-rays an hour at 6 feet); while a severe accident would contaminate an area smaller than Chernobyl or Fukushima, it could be just as bad in that area. No Fukushima Freeways!

* Leaving the waste where it is now, but in hardened dry storage, is more responsible until there is a viable program to permanently isolate the waste. Even a few decades of storage on-site reduces the intensity of the radioactivity and the thermal heat in the waste.

For more information on the meeting, contact Tom Clements (tomclements329@cs.com), with Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (www.ananuclear.org).

Thanks for all you do,

Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
nirsnet@nirs.org
www.nirs.org

Stay Informed:

NIRS on the web (stay up-to-date with the Nuclear Newsreel section on the front page, featuring the day’s most interesting news on nuclear power and other energy issues): http://www.nirs.org

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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 | 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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