— Nigerians, contact the Navajo Nation about uranium mining safety claims — $$millions spent for cleanup and no end in sight

From Albuquerque Journal

Feds reach settlement with Navajos over uranium mine cleanup

By Susan Montoya Bryan / Associated Press
Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The federal government has reached another settlement with the Navajo Nation that will clear the way for cleanup work to continue at abandoned uranium mines across the largest American Indian reservation in the U.S.

The target includes 46 sites that have been identified as priorities due to radiation levels, their proximity to people and the threat of contamination spreading. Cleanup is supposed to be done at 16 abandoned mines while evaluations are planned for another 30 sites and studies will be done at two more to see if water supplies have been compromised.

The agreement announced by the U.S. Justice Department settles the tribe’s claims over the costs of engineering evaluations and cleanups at the mines.

The federal government has already spent $100 million to address abandoned mines on Navajo lands and a separate settlement reached with DOJ last year was worth more than $13 million. However, estimates for the future costs for cleanup at priority sites stretch into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could not immediately pinpoint the worth of the latest settlement.

Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden, who is with the DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, said the latest settlement marks the second phase of ensuring cleanup of mines that pose the most significant public health risks.

“Addressing the legacy of uranium mining on Navajo lands reflects the commitment of the Justice Department and the Obama administration to fairly and honorably resolve the historic grievances of American Indian tribes and build a healthier future for their people,” Cruden said in a statement.

Navajo leaders have been pushing for cleanup for decades, specifically for the removal of contaminated soils and other materials rather than burying and capping the waste on tribal land. Since 2005, they’ve had a ban on uranium mining.

Over four decades, some 4 million tons of uranium ore were extracted from mines on Navajo lands with the federal government being the sole purchaser from the 1940s through the 1960s, when commercial sales began. The mining operations stretched from western New Mexico into Arizona and southern Utah.

Decades of uranium mining have left behind a legacy of contamination that includes one of the nation’s worst disasters involving radioactive waste: a spill in the Church Rock area that sent more than 1,100 tons of mining waste and millions of gallons of toxic water into an arroyo and downstream to the Rio Puerco. The result was a Superfund declaration.

Advocates have called for more studies on the health effects of continued exposure to the contamination resulting from the mining sites, and some have criticized the slow pace of cleanup and the lack of adequate funding for the work that needs to be done.

In a report submitted to New Mexico lawmakers last year, a team of consultants estimated it would take EPA more than a century to fund the removal of contamination at just 21 of the highest priority sites.

In a letter sent last month to President Barack Obama and EPA leadership, Navajo President Russell Begaye said the abandoned uranium mines project continues to struggle with outreach, coordination and trust issues.

EPA officials say in the last decade, the agency has remediated nearly four dozen homes, conducted field studies at all 523 mines on Navajo lands and provided safe drinking water to more than 3,000 families. Stabilization and cleanup work also has been done at nine abandoned mines.

Feds reach settlement with Navajos over uranium mine cleanup

— Reminder: Attend remaining DOE meetings July 14, 21, for “consent-based siting”, parking lot dumps & Mobile Chernobyls — Public comments urgently needed by July 31 deadlines

From Beyond Nuclear

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has a few more public meetings scheduled regarding “Consent-Based Siting” of centralized interim storage sites for high-level radioactive waste, and the truck, train, and barge shipments it would take to deliver the irradiated nuclear fuel there:
Boise, Idaho, July 14;
Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 21.

Strong turnouts are needed, both in person and via Webinar. If you live close enough, please consider attending, and taking folks with you; otherwise, spread word to people you know who live nearby, and watch online.

Public comments are urgently needed by DOE’s July 31 deadline.

Beyond Nuclear has prepared “We Do Not Consent!” talking points you can use to prepare your own.

Comments can be submitted by email, mail, fax, or Web form, in addition to orally in person at the public meetings. More

Beyond Nuclear

Cindy at beyondnuclear.org

— Comments on “consent-based siting” to Department of Energy, 4-26-16

From San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace

April 26, 2016

In 2016 the Department of Energy (DOE) held eight public meetings around the country on the Department’s consent-based siting initiative for facilities to manage the nation’s nuclear waste. The DOE is planning siting facilities to store, transport, and dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.

San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace

Comments on Consent-Based Siting D.O. E. meeting, Sacramento

April 26, 2016

1. San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (SLOMFP) does not support or ‘consent’ to the plan of solving the nuclear waste problem with the goal of guaranteeing the FUTURE of nuclear energy in the USA. We do not support the intention of continuing the use of nuclear energy. SLOMFP is concerned that these public meetings are ultimately being conducted to rationalize the continued production of spent fuel through the operation of nuclear reactors, and thereby serve the needs of the nuclear industry, not the needs or the desires of the public.

2. After more than 60 years spent searching for an effective solution to the disposal of radioactive waste, there remains no viable plan. Furthermore, an increasing number of options are available for generating electrical energy using renewable resources that do not create lethal wastes. Thus, as a condition for going forward with a consent-based process for spent fuel disposal, the United States should enter a process for the orderly shutdown of all nuclear reactors. The problem of long-term storage would remain, but at least the quantity of wastes would remain stable.

The term “consent-based siting” is not clearly defined. There are no assurances that such “consent” will be fully informed. In a medical context, informed consent means the patient has been told and shown in writing all of the possible negative outcomes of a treatment as well as the hoped-for positive results The patient can make an objective decision about proceeding or not. SLOMFP sees no indication that the probable negatives of allowing storage of lethal radioactive wastes on a given site will be clearly spelled out BEFORE the community in question can give “consent”. This is essential.

Furthermore, there is no process defined for securing so-called consent. Would consent be determined by a letter from elected local officials? Or would the population affected have an opportunity to vote? If so, what plurality would be required to qualify as “consent”? And who is authorized to speak for future generations?

If legitimate consent is to be obtained for the interim storage of highly irradiated “spent” nuclear fuel in or near a community, each individual in that community must be given adequate, unbiased information about the potential short-term and long-term risks of living in proximity to the site. Then a legal vote must be obtained from the community members. Elected officials do not have the authority to make such an important decision without the fully informed consent of every member of the community. An example of failure to hear those who dissent comes from New Mexico. “We do not consent to the plan to dump dangerous radioactive waste on us,” said Rose Gardner who lives in Eunice, New Mexico, a town of nearly 3000 people that is 40% Hispanic. It lies five miles west of the Waste Control Specialists site proposed for interim storage of nuclear waste. “Andrews County officials say that we want this waste, but no one has ever asked me if I consent. I would definitely say no, and many others here feel the same way. We never got to vote on this issue. The Department of Energy is saying that our community consents to having radioactive waste dumped in our backyard, but this isn’t true. The DOE scheduled eight hearings around the country, but not a single one for New Mexico or Texas, the targeted region. Clearly they don’t want to hear our voices.”

  1. It is also essential that states and communities with responsibility for caring for nuclear waste be given the authority to regulate it to a greater degree of safety than the federal government. And states and communities should have the prerogative of opting out of consent throughout the process, as additional information is developed about the site and the risks of disposal.
  2. We agree with the recommendation of the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future that DOE should be replaced with a new agency to manage high-level radioactive waste. Given the DOE’s dismal record and the public’s lack of trust in its work, replacement of the DOE with a new agency is an essential step.
  3. SLOMFP supports the creation of a permanent geological repository for nuclear waste that is scientifically selected to guarantee that the radioactive materials will be secure from the environment for the length of time they are radioactive. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that time period may extend to 1 million years. See http://www.nirs.org/factsheets/hlwfcst.htm


US govt won’t compensate Santa Susanna Field Laboratory workers exposed to radiation

Some experts say SSFL was the worst nuclear disaster in U.S. history.

April 18,2016


Department of Energy says only Santa Susana workers in Area IV could be exposed to radiation

But former nuclear workers say the system wasn’t so tidy and that they deserve medical compensation

Tales of sodium reactor waste dump, radioactive mist

Continue reading

— Upcoming Dept. of Energy hearings on national nuclear waste dumps will be held in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Arizona, Idaho, Minnesota

DOE wants to dump their nuclear waste in your state. They are looking for “stakeholders” who will “consent.”

These are the remaining meetings, starting with Tuesday, April 26, in Sacramento, California.

  • Sacramento, California on April 26, 2016 at the Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza – Sacramento
  • Denver, Colorado on May 24, 2016 at the Embassy Suites Denver – Stapleton.
  • Boston, Massachusetts on June 2, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Boston.
  • Tempe, AZ n June 23, 2016 at the Marriott Phoenix Tempe at the Buttes.
  • Boise, ID on July 14, 2016 at Boise Centre.
  • Minneapolis, MN on July 21, 2016 at the Hilton Minneapolis.

DOE is controlling the commenting, only allowing a 45-minute Q&A following the panel, and a 30 minute public comment period after a break. Even the California Public Utilities Commission allows a longer comment period during its local public hearings for matters of relatively minor import. This is a matter of great public and national importance. DOE plans to break up the audience and spend 1 hour, 45 minutes in small groups. This is a divide and conquer approach, where opposition can be fragmented. Demand that all industry leaders make comments in open meeting, and that all comments and questions from the audience be made in the open meeting to be heard by everyone. No small groups.

The meetings are listed here, together with links to register and to view the meetings online. They are requesting registration, but it is unknown whether this is a requirement.

Please copy and paste these links into your browser rather than going directly from the links.


California April 26 meeting information: http://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2016/04/f30/Pages%20from%20CBS%20Public%20Meeting-Sacramento-%20Updated%20Agenda.pdf — agenda



Meeting Materials: Consent-Based Siting Public Meeting in Sacramento (April 26, 2016)

The Department will host a public meeting on consent-based siting on April 26th in Sacramento at the Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza. The purpose of the consent-based siting public meeting is to hear from the public and interested stakeholders on what matters to you as the Department of Energy moves forward in developing a consent-based process for siting the facilities needed to manage spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The agenda includes a presentation from the Department of Energy’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, John Kotek. Mr. Kotek will discuss the nuclear energy activities that have brought us to this point, as well as describe the Department’s vision for an integrated waste management system and the need for a consent-based approach to siting. This presentation will be followed by a panel session with several experts providing diverse perspectives on the primary issues that need to be resolved in the design and implementation of a consent-based process. Participants will then have the opportunity to comment or ask questions to the Department and the panelists.

Following this session, there will be facilitated small group discussions on a variety of topics related to consent-based siting and integrated waste management. These small group discussions will provide the opportunity for participants to engage more closely on topics of interest to them. The Department intends for these small group discussions to be frank and open sessions on key topics that will inform the design of a consent-based process. The consent-based process will in turn serve as a framework for working with potential host communities in the future.

The agenda also includes a public comment period and two open houses with poster sessions before and after the formal meeting. The open house sessions provide participants with an opportunity to engage in less formal discussions with the Department and other meeting attendees.

The consent-based siting public meeting will also be webcast. We look forward to your participation!

Federal Register notice:


Update: Upcoming U.S. hearings: what would it take for YOU to CONSENT to Nuclear Waste? DOE wants to “know”

DOE should be met with torches and pitchforks, and run out of town.

UPDATE: DOE is requesting/requiring registration. Each of these meetings can be viewed on the web as they happen.

From the Department of Energy


Our next public meeting will be held in Sacramento, California on April 26th at the Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza.

The remaining five public meetings will be in:

  • Denver, Colorado on May 24, 2016 at the Embassy Suites Denver – Stapleton.
  • Boston, Massachusetts on June 2, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Boston.
  • Tempe, AZ n June 23, 2016 at the Marriott Phoenix Tempe at the Buttes.
  • Boise, ID on July 14, 2016 at Boise Centre.
  • Minneapolis, MN on July 21, 2016 at the Hilton Minneapolis.

We look forward to your participation!

Posted on Beyond Nuclear

March 17, 2016

Our friends and colleagues at NIRS put out the following action alert on March 10, 2016:

The US Dept. of Energy (DOE) is holding 8 Public Meetings and taking written comments on


After decades of trying to force-feed the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear dump down the throats of Nevadans and the Western Shoshone Nation, the DOE and nuclear proponents want to know what it will take to get people to consent or appear to consent to take nuclear waste.

DOE openly acknowledges this is “consent” to future nuclear waste production as part of the “integrated waste management system.” They say that the future of nuclear energy in this country depends on this.

Meetings will be held from noon or 1 PM to ~ 5PM

CHICAGO, IL           March 29, 2016           University of Chicago Conference Center

ATLANTA, GA          April 11, 2016             Georgia Institute of Technology Conference Center

[The following DATES were not included in NIRS’ action alert on March 10th; later that very same day, however, a DOE spokesman at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Regulatory Information Conference, during the “Spent Fuel – Perspectives on Interim Consolidated Storage” workshop session, confirmed the following dates, but still not the exact locations, other than the city and state.]

SACRAMENTO, CA   Late April, 2016           Exact location yet to be announced

DENVER, CO           Late May, 2016           Exact location yet to be announced

BOSTON, MA           Early June, 2016         Exact location yet to be announced

TEMPE, AZ              Late June, 2016          Exact location yet to be announced

BOISE, ID               Mid-July, 2016            Exact location yet to be announced

MINNEAPOLIS, MN       Late July, 2016       Exact location yet to be announced

DOE seeks our input on how to be FAIR, WHO to include, what RESOURCES it will take to induce participation.

They want to identify who adequately represents a community and will “consent” or claim to agree to take nuclear waste.

[Editor: This was done with Native American tribes. The U.S. government would find someone in the tribe willing to do what they wanted, and they would be appointed an “official” representative capable of making decisions for the whole tribe. Then the tribe would be sold out by the decisions made. This would also cause massive discord and enmity within the tribes, pitting member against member. Generally, these arrangements would concern natural resources and land.

Indigenous people typically regard land as held in common; dividing up land and portioning off land to individual families goes against their ways. By offering money to often desperately poor members, the U.S. government, and/or private companies could destroy the unity of the tribe and create so much internal tribal discord that opposition would be greatly diminished, and confiscate land and/or resources.]

They are not defining exactly what or how much nuclear waste we would be “consenting” or not consenting to accept.

They are not asking how a community can refuse or express permanent “non-consent,” although you can let them know that if you choose to.

Although they have reports, diagrams of storage containers and systems, ideas and plans for the tens of thousands of tons of nuclear waste in this country, they claim to want to negotiate with communities who would “consent” to take it forever or supposedly temporarily.

NO CONSIDERATION OF THE RIGHTS OR CONSENT OF THOSE ALONG TRANSPORT ROUTES IS BEING MADE OR REQUESTED. Although one of the greatest dangers to the most people, environments and ecosystems is the movement of tens of thousands of tons of nuclear waste on roads, rails and waterways, DOE stated at its Washington DC ‘kickoff’ meeting that there is complete federal preemption over transport of nuclear waste so that would not be part of the process.

There is NO Consideration of the rights of future generations who will inevitably be affected.

The nuclear industry is eager for volunteers or consenting communities to take the waste and for the US Department of Energy to take title to it.

Meetings will be in 8 US CITIES from MARCH TO JULY 2016.

Comment deadline is June 15, 2016; email to consentbasedsiting@hq.doe.gov.  Please include “Response to IPC” [which stands for “Invitation for Public Comment”] in the subject line.


Federal Register Notice:


DOE website for more of their information and to REGISTER for MEETINGS: http://www.energy.gov/ne/consent-based-siting

Info coming soon at www.nirs.org at Stop Fukushima Freeways

More info: dianed@nirs.org; after March 21  maryo@nirs.org; For Chicago meeting neis@neis.org

(See Beyond Nuclear’s web post from January 2016, immediately following DOE’s Washington, D.C. “Kick-Off” meeting for its “Consent-Based Siting” public comment proceeding (which, by the way, included NO oral public comment opportunity! Supposedly, future public meetings listed above WILL include an oral public comment opportunity — that is the whole point! But we will see. Another disconnect that still has to be resolved is, public comment meetings are scheduled for AFTER the deadline for public comment — so DOE must extend the public comment deadline until at least all scheduled meetings are finished and done!)


Nevada’s atomic test legacy: underground aquifers are radioactive

…polluted 1.6 trillion gallons of water…About a third of the [underground atomic] tests were conducted directly in aquifers…

Federal drinking water standards in 2009 when this article was written

..For alpha particles, the standard is 15 picocuries per liter; for long-term radionuclides, it’s 50 picocuries per liter

radioactivity in the water reaches millions of picocuries per liter.

From Los Angeles Times

Nevada’s hidden ocean of radiation

by Ralph Vartabedian
November 13, 2009

YUCCA FLAT, NEV. — A sea of ancient water tainted by the Cold War is creeping deep under the volcanic peaks, dry lake beds and pinyon pine forests covering a vast tract of Nevada.

Over 41 years, the federal government detonated 921 nuclear warheads underground at the Nevada Test Site, 75 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Each explosion deposited a toxic load of radioactivity into the ground and, in some cases, directly into aquifers.

When testing ended in 1992, the Energy Department estimated that more than 300 million curies of radiation had been left behind, making the site one of the most radioactively contaminated places in the nation.

During the era of weapons testing, Nevada embraced its role almost like a patriotic duty. There seemed to be no better use for an empty desert. But today, as Nevada faces a water crisis and a population boom, state officials are taking a new measure of the damage.


For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday, November 18, 2009 Correction
Nevada radiation: An article in Friday’s Section A about contaminated water at the Nevada Test Site said the federal drinking water standard for radiation is 20 picocuries per liter. There are actually three standards, depending on the type of radiation: For alpha particles, the standard is 15 picocuries per liter; for long-term radionuclides, it’s 50 picocuries per liter; and for short-lived tritium, it’s 20,000 picocuries per liter. The article also said the test site is northeast of Las Vegas; it is northwest.


They have successfully pressured federal officials for a fresh environmental assessment of the 1,375-square-mile test site, a step toward a potential demand for monetary compensation, replacement of the lost water or a massive cleanup.

“It is one of the largest resource losses in the country,” said Thomas S. Buqo, a Nevada hydrogeologist. “Nobody thought to say, ‘You are destroying a natural resource.’ “

In a study for Nye County, where the nuclear test site lies, Buqo estimated that the underground tests polluted 1.6 trillion gallons of water. That is as much water as Nevada is allowed to withdraw from the Colorado River in 16 years — enough to fill a lake 300 miles long, a mile wide and 25 feet deep.

At today’s prices, that water would be worth as much as $48 billion if it had not been fouled, Buqo said.

Although the contaminated water is migrating southwest from the high ground of the test site, the Energy Department has no cleanup plans, saying it would be impossible to remove the radioactivity. Instead, its emphasis is on monitoring.

Federal scientists say the tainted water is moving so slowly — 3 inches to 18 feet a year — that it will not reach the nearest community, Beatty, about 22 miles away, for at least 6,000 years.

Still, Nevada officials reject the idea that a massive part of their state will be a permanent environmental sacrifice zone.

Access to more water could stoke an economic boom in the area, local officials say. More than a dozen companies want to build solar electric generation plants, but the county cannot allow the projects to go forward without more water, said Gary Hollis, a Nye County commissioner.

The problem extends beyond the contamination zone. If too much clean water is pumped out of the ground from adjacent areas, it could accelerate the movement of tainted water. When Nye County applied for permits in recent years to pump clean water near the western boundary of the test site, the state engineer denied the application based on protests by the Energy Department.

(The department did not cite environmental concerns, perhaps to avoid acknowledging the extent of the Cold War contamination. Instead, federal officials said the pumping could compromise security at the test site, which is still in use.)

“Those waters have been degraded,” said Republican state Assemblyman Edwin Goedhart of Nye County, who runs a dairy with 18,000 head of livestock. “That water belongs to the people of Nevada. Even before any contamination comes off the test site, I look at this as a matter of social economic justice.”

Continue reading

Censored US gov’t emails reveal proposal to test West Coast residents for Fukushima fallout — “Many cases of cancer may end up being attributed to exposures”

UPDATE: See below

From ENE News, June 1, 2015

FOIA Document — Excerpts from email by Per Peterson, Chair of Dept. of Nuclear Engineering at Univ.of California Berkeley & scientific adviser to Energy Secretary Steven Chu , Mar 23, 2011 at 1:35p (emphasis added) [FOIA document also here]:

  • [Sent to John Holdren, senior adviser to Pres. Obama on science & technology, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, DOE/NRC officials, and others who were redacted]
  • I would like to raise another issue which now merits expeditious, near term action. There is a short time window… during which it will remain possible to… measure any I-131 that members of the public may have ingested…
  • Collecting this data… would be very valuable…
  • UCB faculty [is in] general agreement that prompt action should be taken
  • Many cases of thyroid cancer, and other health problems, may end up being attributed to exposures from the Fukushima accident… on the U.S. west coast
  • It is possible that we will find that some people have received doses of I-131 and other radionuclides that could exceed the levels… Protective Action Guidelines are designed to prevent. This could provide a basis for immediate action to change PAG’s…
  • It could identify individuals who have had significant exposure… alert them and their medical care professionals to monitor for potential health effects
  • There are very strong reasons to gather data, but it must be done in a way that is broadly viewed as being in the interest of the public and the individuals involved…
  • I would recommend that we look at making facilities at the national laboratories… available to the public… Thoughts?

Reply from Dick Garwin, IBM Fellow (who Enrico Fermi called the only true genius he’d met): Right on, Per! But it seems to me that one could promptly validate the use of a single counter…  since the thyroid is so efficient in concentrating iodine

Per Peterson, Mar 23 @ 2:27p: Dick, Good idea… An important point for doing this in the U.S… is that the protocols must receive approval by a Human Subjects Committee. If one were to initiate an effort to perform whole body counting at LLNL and PNNL, the human subjects review can likely be done faster if it is initially for lab employees who would volunteer to be counted… Again, collecting statistically useful data on uptake of 1-131 and other radionuclides on the U.S. west coast and in Japan could be very valuable in the longer term, when many people may begin to believe that the Fukushima accident is the cause of a variety of health problems.

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s internal correspondence concerning the emails above:

  • Kathy Gibson (NRC), Mar 23 @ 3:03p: Please confirm that you are looking at this…
  • Gibson @ 5:46p: Are they talking about members of the public in US or Japan?
  • Stephanie Bush-Goddard (NRC) @ 5:54p: … the public in the US
  • Gibson @ 6:07p: Do we think it is a bad idea
  • Bush-Goddard @ 6:12p: … Yes, setting up additional monitoring stations for the public (without detecting anything) could cause additional alarm… I think they are responding to the public RASCAL run that shows very high doses to the Thyroid.
  • Gibson @ 6:35p: [NRC’s Radiation Protection and Health Effects Branch] think it’s a bad idea for people in the US because there (so far) isn’t measurable iodine in the US… They think this may be a funding opportunity for the entities making these proposals.

Per Peterson, Mar 25 @ 2:13p: … we have detected small concentrations of… radioactive materials in rainwater in Berkeley… I am now working with faculty in our school of public health to see how we can… verify what exposures have occurred. I do believe that these measurements will be very important in the longer term in assessing the consequences of the Fukushima accident.

See also: Former DOE official rips UC Berkeley for comparing ingestion of fallout to air travel



The Big Picture, Jun 24, 2015 — Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear (emphasis added): “A recent revelation of Nuclear Regulatory Commission internal emails… reveal that there was concern at the highest levels of the U.S. government, and rightly so, about the radioactive iodine-131 escaping from Fukushima Dai-ichi… and reaching the United States… Rainwater at 242 times safe drinking water act permissible levels — so you better believe we got radioactive iodine-131 in the United States. Likely people ingested it — either breathed it in, or drank it in milk, or various other ingestion pathways. It attacks the thyroid gland… it does a tremendous amount of damage. And these emails… show that US government officials were worried about that, were calling for studies to be done to try to track the health damage. And what do you know, those studies did not happen… The monitoring and testing and the epidemiology were woefully inadequate to non-existent… The nuclear industry will try to bury the truth, and that sure happened after Fukushima… I think there’s been a huge dereliction of duty at the federal and the state levels.”

Kamps appears to be referencing an ENENews report from earlier this month, Censored US gov’t emails reveal proposed plan to test West Coast residents for Fukushima fallout — “Many cases of cancer may end up being attributed to exposures” — Doses could exceed emergency levels

The report quoted internal emails from March 2011 by the head of UC Berkeley’s nuclear engineering department, who wrote: “UCB faculty [is in] general agreement that prompt action should be taken… Many cases of thyroid cancer, and other health problems, may end up being attributed to exposures from the Fukushima accident… on the U.S. west coast… It is possible that we will find that some people have received doses of I-131 and other radionuclides that could exceed the levels [which] Protective Action Guidelines are designed to prevent. It could identify individuals who have had significant exposurealert them and their medical care professionals to monitor for potential health effects.”

On the Friday before UC Berkeley’s nuclear chair sent this proposal to a small group of government officials and experts, ABC’s San Francisco affiliate reported on public comments made by UC Berkeley’s nuclear department:

ABC (San Francisco KGO-TV), Mar 18, 2011: Nuclear engineers here at UC Berkeley say… don’t be alarmed. The tiny particles are just so small, they pose no threat at all… not harmful at all. One scientist here says you can get more radiation exposure on a flight… One model forecasts that the radiation plume… will reach California today… experts say this map is very misleading. First of all, there is no ‘plume’. Second of all, you cannot predict how the weather is going to carry radiation particles over here to the West Coast, if any at all.

The map above is a model developed by Japanese and European experts showing the strength and location of the Fukushima plume while over the West Coast on Mar. 18, 2011 — the same day as the broadcast of UC Berkeley’s claim that “there is no plume”. According to the map’s scale, dark red areas along the West Coast indicate the Fukushima fission product xenon-133 had a concentration in the air column of 1,000,000 becquerels per square meter.

Watch the interview with Kamps here


Nuclear amnesia — U.S. Senate testimony by Daniel Hirsch

Testimony of Daniel Hirsch,
President of Committee to Bridge the Gap
18 September 2008

Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works

Full testimony:

Click to access Hirsch%20EPW%20Testimony.pdf


SSFL [Santa Susanna Field Laboratory] is a good case study of problems at federal nuclear facilities throughout the country. The AEC/DOE [Atomic Energy Commission/Department of Energy] for decades operated these extraordinarily dangerous enterprises with little consideration for environmental regulation or protection of the public.They felt they were above the law, and the affected people nearby simply did not matter.

Corners were cut, rules bent, safety restrictions ignored. When accidents resulted, they were covered up.

Leaking high level waste tanks at Hanford, contamination from reactor accidents and improper waste disposal at INEEL, reprocessing failures at Savannah River, releases from Paducah and Oak Ridge and so many other nuclear sites—the story is always the same. Sloppy practices, inadequate attention to safety, lack of concern about the neighboring public, failure to be candid about problems—the result has been contamination that is amongst the biggest environmental insults this country has ever faced…

There are some who now argue for a revival of all things nuclear. They want scores more reactors. They want irradiated nuclear fuel to be reprocessed. They want breeder reactors to make even more plutonium.

But to do that, they need the country to experience a kind of nuclear amnesia.

They need us to forget the meltdown of the SRE [Sodium Reactor Experiment’, the explosion of the SL-1 [Idaho], the near-disaster of the N reactor [Hanford]. They need us to forget the immense contamination from the last time we tried reprocessing, the tens of billions of dollars it is costing to try to redress the damage from reprocessing at Hanford, Savannah River, and West Valley. They need us to forget the meltdown of the EBR-1 breeder in Idaho and Fermi I breeder, when we almost lost Detroit.

For those in the impacted communities from the last nuclear era, it all seems like nuclear déjà vu again. We hear echoes of all the old discredited claims again: that nuclear will be “too cheap to meter,” even as the industry asks for a hundred billion dollars in taxpayer subsidies and guarantees; that we will somehow find a solution to the radioactive waste problem, even though sixty-six years after the first reactor wastes were created no solution is in sight; that the risk of accident is non-existent, even as industry asks for immunity from liability from such accidents; that proliferation and terrorism risks can be ignored, even as we face a world in which countries are getting nuclear weapons from civil nuclear technology.

We hear the same old claims that nuclear is safe and clean;

yet our communities are still trying to get the government to clean up the radioactive contamination from all the past nuclear accidents, spills, and other releases from the last time we tried this.

It is said that those who forget the lessons of the past are condemned to repeat them, and repeat them, and repeat them. A sensible energy policy cannot depend upon collective amnesia. The last time we went down this road, it resulted in an unmitigated disaster for which we are still paying, in billions and billions of dollars of cleanup expenses, but more importantly, in poisoned land and water, and cancers in brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, cousins and nephews.

Let us learn from our mistakes rather than going blindly into repeating them. Otherwise, this deeply troubled nuclear past will indeed be prologue.