— Public comments opposing de facto permanent parking lot dump at WCS, TX needed by March 13!

From Beyond Nuclear
February 9, 2017

Waste Control Specialists (WCS) in West Texas has applied to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a license to construct and operate a “centralized interim storage facility” for 40,000 metric tons of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel, more than half of what exists in the U.S.

The “host” county, Andrews, has a large Latin American population, as well as many low income residents; so too does Eunice, New Mexico, just four miles from WCS across the state border.

This de facto permanent parking lot dump would launch 4,000 high-risk Mobile Chernobyl train car shipments, traveling through most states (see map, right; click here for a larger version).

A significant number would initially travel by barge on surface waters — Floating Fukushimas on lakes, rivers, and seacoasts — just to reach the nearest rail head. Dirty Bomb on Wheels security risks would abound.

On Thurs., Feb. 23, from 1-4pm Eastern, NRC will hold an environmental scoping public comment opportunity, accessible by call-in teleconference and/or Webinar (in-person attendance is also an option for those near enough NRC’s HQ in Rockville, MD).

NRC’s Webinar link will go live in real time. The toll free call-in/teleconference number is (800) 619-9084; Passcode 3009542.

Beyond Nuclear has assembled sample comments you can use to prepare your own, for oral submission at next week’s meeting, whether in-person or via Webcast/call-in, and/or for written submission by the March 13th deadline, via email, online Web form, or snail mail. Please take part, make comments, and spread the word! More

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Public comments are needed in opposition to Waste Control Specialists (WCS) in West Texas, which seeks to open a de facto permanent parking lot dump for up to half the commercial high-level radioactive waste in the U.S., upstream of the Ogallala Aquifer, vital drinking and irrigation water supply for numerous High Plains states, from Texas to South Dakota.

The region around WCS has a high proportion of low income, Latin American residents, and is already heavily burdened with nuclear activities and dirty fossil fuel industries. WCS would launch unprecedented numbers of irradiated nuclear fuel train and barge shipments through many states.

Sample comments you can use to write your own:

Beyond Nuclear sample comments on a variety of subject matter:

Risks of De Facto Permanent Parking Lot Dump at WCS; 

Risks of Loss of Institutional Control if De Facto Permanent Parking Lot Dumps are Abandoned, Containers Fail, and Release Catastrophic Amounts of Hazardous Radioactivity into the Environment;

SEED Coalition & Public Citizen’s Texas Office have prepared sample comments you can use to write your own for submission to NRC by the March 13, 2017 deadline;

Public comments previously submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a proceeding re: Private Initiatives to carry out centralized interim storage can now also be used — “recycled,” so to speak! — to prepare comments to NRC re: WCS’s scheme (the comments to DOE were due Jan. 27, 2017);

Link to instructions on HOW (snail mail, email, as well as online web form) to submit your public comments to NRC by the March 13 deadline

Please see entries below on Beyond Nuclear’s Centralized Interim Storage website section, for more information.

http://www.beyondnuclear.org/centralized-storage/2017/2/9/public-comments-opposing-de-facto-permanent-parking-lot-dump.html

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— “Interim” parking lot dump for 50% of U.S. nuclear waste in Andrews, Texas? NRC public scoping hearing February 23; attend and comment — in person, by phone, by webinar, by email

From Beyond Nuclear

February 8, 2017

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has, at long last, published the announcement for its quickly approaching HQ meeting, at its Rockville, MD HQ, re: WCS, TX’s environmental scoping public comment opportunity, to be held on Thursday, February 23, 2017. Please attend in person if you can, or by Webcast/Teleconference Call-In. Please pre-register in advance to make oral public comments for the official record, raising various concerns in opposition to WCS’s application.

NRC’s announcement is posted at: https://www.nrc.gov/pmns/mtg?do=search.results&pageno=1&StartDate=2/23/2017&EndDate=2/23/2017

Here are those details and additional links:

Date/Time: 02/23/17, 1:00PM – 4:00PM

Purpose:

To conduct a public scoping meeting for the NRC’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Waste Control Specialist LLC (WCS) license application to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for spent nuclear fuel at the WCS site in Andrews County, Texas. At the meeting, the NRC will receive comments from the public on the appropriate scope of issues to be considered in, and the content of the EIS. [more…]

Participation: Category 3

Teleconference/Webcast

[Here is the Webinar info.:

Webinar

Webinar Link:https://video.nrc.gov/
Webinar Meeting Number:None
Webinar Password:None

Here is the teleconference/call-in info.:

Teleconference

Bridge Number: 8006199084
Passcode: 3009542]

[Yes, comments can be submitted orally via the Webcast/Call-in options. Please sign up in advance — see below — and do make comments!]

Location [yes, in person attendance is an option, and oral comments can be made there]:


NRC One White Flint North
11545 Rockville Pike
Commission Hearing Room
Rockville MD

NRC Contacts:

James Park
301-415-6954

Debbie Miller
301-415-7359

From NRC’s Public Meeting Schedule: Meeting Details link: https://www.nrc.gov/pmns/mtg?do=details&Code=20170198

Members of the public who will attend the meeting in person, and those wishing to present oral comments [via Webcast and/or teleconference/call-in] may register in advance by contacting Mrs. Debra Miller at (301) 415-7359, or by email to Debra.Miller@nrc.gov, no later than February 21, 2017. Those comments may be limited by the time available, depending on the number of persons who wish to speak. Please provide name and company or organization for each attendee. Arrive 30 minutes early to allow time for security registration.

[Please see entries below, for more background details and links to additional information. Please attend by watching the webcast and/or calling in. Please sign up to make comments at the meeting. Additional written comments can be made until March 13th. Legal intervention deadline is March 31st (or forever hold your peace). See entries below for links to more info.

See http://www.beyondnuclear.org/centralized-storage/

http://www.beyondnuclear.org/centralized-storage/2017/2/8/nrc-environmental-scoping-mtg-for-public-comment-on-wcs-tx-c.html

— Massachusetts: Seawater leak forces 72% power reduction at Pilgrim; NRC said plant has “poor maintenance, poor engineering practices, and equipment reliability problems”

By Michael P. Norton STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
February 7, 2017

A seawater leak at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station has prompted plant operators to sharply reduce energy output there.

Control room operators reduced power to about 50 percent on Monday afternoon, Feb. 6, after there was an indication of a leakage into the Plymouth plant’s condenser.

A power plant spokesman told the News Service on Tuesday morning that the plant is now operating at 28 percent while repair work is undertaken.

Entergy Pilgrim Station spokesman Patrick O’Brien did not have an estimate of how much seawater leaked into the plant’s condenser.

“There is no challenge to worker or public health or safety and no radiologial release occurred as a result of this brief leak,” he said in a statement. “The reduction in power enabled operators to isolate the leakage so workers can make repairs. Restoration of full power will follow the repair.”

Pilgrim experienced a similar seawater intrusion last year, O’Brien said.

After a final planned refueling the plant this year, Pilgrim owner Entergy plans to shut the plant down in 2019.

Critics of the plant point to repeated problems there that have necessitated shutdowns as proof that the plant should close now. Pilgrim officials say the plant is safe and have repeated over the years that the safety of the public and plant staff has not been put at risk.

The coastal power plant closed down for a week in December to repair a steam leak.

The plant was also in the news recently after media outlets obtained an internal Nuclear Regulatory Commission email documenting safety concerns found at the plant during an NRC inspection in December.

[See http://www.beyondnuclear.org/home/2016/12/8/misdirected-nrc-email-reveals-overwhelmed-safety-workforce-a.html  ]

The email detailed “poor maintenance, poor engineering practices, and equipment reliability problems” at the plant, which can produce 680 megawatts of power using its boiling water reactor.

http://pembroke.wickedlocal.com/news/20170207/seawater-leak-forces-reduced-power-at-pilgrim-nuclear-power-plant

— Beyond Nuclear calls for NRC to name U.S. reactors with potentially defective Areva parts

From Beyond Nuclear
December 28, 2016

Beyond Nuclear is calling for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to name the U.S. reactors that might be operating with defective parts imported from France. While potentially affected French reactors have closed down as a safety precaution, the U.S. NRC has refused to even name the affected reactors let alone mandate precautionary closures until the parts are checked. Beyond Nuclear is filing an emergency enforcement 2.206 petition and a Freedom of Information Act Request to demand that the NRC release the full list of reactors with flawed parts; inform the affected reactor communities of the risks; and require the shutdown of reactors with potentially defective reactor components.

As Beyond Nuclear’s Kevin Kamps stated in our press release:“Every one of those potentially defective parts are safety-significant and could lead to meltdown if they fail.”

A Greenpeace France report indentified 19 U.S. reactors at 11 sites that could be operating with defective safety-essential components from Areva’s Le Creusot forge in France. They are:

Prairie Island in Minnesota; North Anna and Surry in Virginia; Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania; Arkansas One in Arkansas; Turkey Point and St Lucie in Florida; DC Cook in Michigan; Salem in New Jersey; Callaway in Missouri; and Millstone in Connecticut. The Crystal River reactor in Florida was also listed but is now permanently closed.

— ‘It’s a lie’: former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi blasts Shinzo Abe’s government over Fukushima clean-up

“I think nuclear is an environmentally viable way to produce electricity.”
— Dale Klein, an adviser to TEPCO and a former chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Dale Klein is a good example of the revolving door between government and private industry. Regulators don’t regulate because they don’t want to jeopardize their career options.

From South China Morning Post

Sept. 8, 2016

Former prime minister backed the use of nuclear power during his years in office but now says he regrets being ignorant about its risks

Former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi has blasted current premier Shinzo Abe’s stance that the situation at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant is under control.

“It’s a lie,” an impassioned Koizumi, 74, told reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday. “They keep saying it’s going to be under control, but still it’s not effective. I really want to know how you can tell a lie like that.”

A spokesman for Abe’s office didn’t immediately respond to a phone call and e-mail requesting comment.

More than five years after the meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, the operator – Tokyo Electric Power Co. – continues to struggle to contain the radiation-contaminated water that inundates the plant. Tepco is using a frozen “ice wall” to stop water from entering the wrecked facility, but still about 300 metric tonnes of water flows into the reactor building daily, mixing with melted fuel and becoming tainted, according to the company’s website.

Company spokesman Tatsuhiro Yamagishi said by email that a process to bolster the ice wall is beginning to have an effect, adding that the company believes no underground water is flowing into the sea without being treated. All radioactive materials are under measurable limits, he said.

Koizumi was speaking at an event to publicise his campaign to raise money to help US servicemen who say they contracted radiation sickness while working on the clean-up after the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and meltdown.

The former prime minister backed the use of nuclear power during his years in office from 2001-06, but now says he regrets that he had been ignorant about its risks and is campaigning for its abolition.

“When I was prime minister, I believed what they told me. I believed it was a cheap, safe and clean form of energy,” Koizumi said. “I’m now ashamed of myself for believing those lies for so long.”

Koizumi also blasted Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, saying that its chief, Shunichi Tanaka, gave permission to restart the Sendai reactor in the southern Japanese island of Kyushu despite having reservations about its safety. The authority wasn’t immediately available to comment outside of business hours.

Local courts and governments have been one of the biggest roadblocks to restarting more reactors, crimping Abe’s goal of deriving as much as 22 per cent of the nation’s energy needs from nuclear by 2030. [it’s always at the local and grassroots level where action happens]

The Otsu District Court earlier this year made a surprise decision that restricted Kansai Electric Power Co. from operating two reactors in western Japan only weeks after they’d been turned back on.

On March 10, the eve of the fifth anniversary of the disaster, Abe said that Japan can’t do without nuclear power.

Just three of the nation’s 42 operable reactors are currently online. Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai No. 1 and No. 2 reactors, which restarted last year, are facing opposition from the region’s new governor, who has twice formally demanded that they be temporarily shut for inspection.

“There is no perfect source for electricity,” Dale Klein, an adviser to Tepco and a former chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said in an interview in Tokyo last week. “If there were a perfect source, we wouldn’t be having our energy debates. Wind has its problems, solar has its problems, coal has its problems. But at the end of the day, we need electricity. And I think nuclear is an environmentally viable way to produce electricity.”

Koizumi contested claims by Abe’s administration that the nuclear watchdog is imposing the world’s most stringent safety standards in the earthquake-prone nation. “If you compare the Japanese regulations to those in America, you realise how much looser the Japanese regulations are,” he said.

“Abe knows the arguments on both sides, but he still believes the arguments for nuclear power generation,” Koizumi added.

http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/east-asia/article/2017251/its-lie-former-japanese-prime-minister-junichiro-koizumi-blasts

Massachusetts: Nuclear expert questions how long Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station operated without emergency generators

From The Enterprise

Nuclear safety expert seeks data about Pilgrim incident

By Christine Legere
The Cape Cod Times
Posted Jul. 1, 2016

PLYMOUTH – A well-known nuclear safety expert is looking for more information from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regarding a report that both emergency diesel generators at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station had been out of commission at the same time for a short period in April while the reactor was operating at full power.

David Lochbaum, director of the Nuclear Safety Program for the Union of Concerned Scientists, questions how long the plant had been running with no emergency generators, which provide a default power source to safely shut down the reactor, maintain safe shutdown conditions and operate all essential systems if primary and secondary power sources have failed.

The Pilgrim plant can continue to operate for only 24 hours with both generators down, under conditions of its license. If one isn’t back online within that time frame, the reactor must go into cold shutdown, Lochbaum pointed out in his email.

Entergy, Pilgrim’s owner-operator, filed an event report on the April incident with federal regulators on June 9. The report is required because it was “a condition that could have prevented the fulfillment of the safety function of a system needed to shut down the reactor and maintain it in a safe shutdown condition, remove residual heat and mitigate the consequences of an accident,” according to the report.

The document said workers had removed one of the plant’s two diesel generators from service for planned maintenance at 7 p.m. April 11. More than 25 hours after shutting down the generator, a worker noticed water leaking across the floor “at 130 drops a minute” from a pipe coupling on the generator believed to be still operable.

Workers determined the leak was caused by stress corrosion and pronounced the generator inoperable, leaving the plant with no working generators.

Workers fixed the leak and put the diesel generator back in service shortly before noon April 12.

Meanwhile, Mary Lampert, a Duxbury resident and director of Pilgrim Watch, said she believed the situation occurred because of aging equipment and lack of vigilance.

“It’s the same old story: Entergy running the reactor on the cheap – generating not required backup power but trouble for us and themselves,” wrote Lampert in an email.

While Lampert noted Pilgrim workers used to operate on eight-hour shifts, which would have resulted in three checks of the diesel room daily rather than the current two, Patrick O’Brien, speaking for Entergy Corp., said the change to 12-hour shifts occurred in the 1990s, before Entergy bought the plant. O’Brien added that Pilgrim still maintains a full staff of 650 employees.

“The plant’s operations professionals maintain scheduled rounds of all protected equipment when another system is out of service, and the procedures in place ensure the plant maintains safe operations,” O’Brien wrote.

‘‘Proper procedure was followed, and there was no impact on public health or worker safety. At the time, the plant had access to its other back-up power source – the station’s blackout generator – as well as the preferred source, off-site power.”

Follow Christine Legere on Twitter: @chrislegereCCT.

http://www.enterprisenews.com/news/20160701/nuclear-safety-expert-seeks-data-about-pilgrim-incident

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

— 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

https://mothersforpeace.org/data/2016/2016-04-26-comments-on-consent-based-siting-to-department-of-energy