Category Archives: Department of Energy

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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Filed under Actions | Events, Department of Energy, Environmental, Events, Events & Actions, Nuclear materials, Nuclear waste, South Carolina, Work of Comrades

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 | 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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