— “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

— Toshiba to withdraw from nuclear plant construction, chairman to quit

Comments from Beyond Nuclear below.

From Japan Times

January 28, 2017

Toshiba Corp. will cease taking orders related to the building of nuclear power stations, sources said Saturday, in a move that would effectively mark its withdrawal from the nuclear plant construction business.

The news comes amid reports Toshiba’s chairman may resign over the massive write-down that has doomed the company’s U.S. nuclear business.

The multinational conglomerate said Friday it will review its nuclear operations and spin off its chip business to raise funds in a bid to cover an expected asset impairment loss of up to ¥700 billion ($6.08 billion).

After Toshiba ceases taking new orders, it will focus on maintenance and decommissioning operations, according to the sources.

The company will continue work on four nuclear plants under construction in the United States that are expected to be completed by 2020.

The Japanese industrial conglomerate may announce company chairman Shigenori Shiga’s resignation as soon as Feb. 14, when it reports its April-December financial results, the sources also said.

Shiga once served as president of the U.S. nuclear unit, Westinghouse Electric Co., which Toshiba has said could face a multibillion-dollar loss due to cost overruns from delays in plant projects.

The post of Toshiba chairman is expected to remain vacant after Shiga’s resignation.

Westinghouse Chairman Danny Roderick is also set to step down, the sources said, but Toshiba President Satoshi Tsunakawa is likely to stay on.

Shiga, Roderick and Tsunakawa took their current posts last June as Toshiba reshuffled its management following an accounting scandal that surfaced in 2015.

Shiga was the vice president in charge of the power systems business when Westinghouse acquired CB&I Stone & Webster in late 2015. CB&I Stone & Webster is the U.S. nuclear plant construction firm at the heart of Toshiba’s massive write-down problem.

Comment on article:

Does this mean that Toshiba will scrap plans for the “biggest nuclear development in Europe” in Cumbria, UK.? TOshiba have already damaged 1500 acres of greenfield and floodplain in Cumbria. Toshiba are right now dumping radioactive wastes from 300 boreholes (which have brought up decades of deep contamination from Sellafield) into the river Ehen. What about Toshibas nuclear fuel manufacturing at Springfields in Preston …how reassuring (not) to have this financially broken company running a nuclear fuel manufacturing plant which dumps radioactive waste into landfill on the site and to nearby Clifton Marsh. Springfields also has a “discharge” pipeline direct to the river Ribble. There is no spotlight shone on Springfields Toshiba activities…despite the worlds first nuclear fuel manufacturing plant providing nuclear fuel for nuclear catastrophes such as the Windscale Fire. #StopMoorside

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/01/28/business/corporate-business/toshiba-chairman-resign-struggling-u-s-nuclear-business#.WJPMslMrInS

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

From Beyond Nuclear:

…Toshiba will suffer an estimated $6 billion loss due to its uneconomic nuclear business and is looking to offload Westinghouse, its U.S. subsidiary. The company turmoil could throw a welcome wrench into the proposed new reactor at Moorside in the U.K., a nation whose nuclear problems are compounded by its exit of Euratom as part of the Brexit deal. Toshiba says its 4 Westinghouse AP-1000 reactor projects underway in Georgia and South Carolina will continue although the Vogtle project (pictured) is at least three years behind schedule and more than $3 billion over budget. And with the Trump administration threatening to weaken already inadequate federal regulations, Toshiba is seizing the opportunity to blame its financial woes on what it calls “stricter safety standards in the U.S.” Our mandate will now mean not only insisting on the enforcement of existing regulations, but likely a fight to block them from being gutted.

http://www.beyondnuclear.org

— 1 meter tsunami at Fukushima reactors; cooling system at Fukushima Daini failed; fears of nuclear waste leakage; more quakes possible

From ENE News
November 21, 2016

Kyodo News, Nov 22, 2016 (emphasis added):  BREAKING NEWS: 1 meter tsunami observed at Fukushima reactors… URGENT: M7.3 quake hits northeastern Japan, tsunami warning issued

NHK, Nov 22, 2016: [Officials] are urging residents of coastal areas to evacuate to higher ground following a powerful earthquake… The Japan Meteorological Agency says the magnitude 7.4 earthquake hit off Fukushima … Heavy swaying could be felt as far away as [Tokyo]…

Japan Times, Nov 22, 2016: An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.3 off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture rocked widespread areas early Tuesday, triggering tsunami warnings… People have been warned to evacuate immediately to high ground in Fukushima…

NHK, Nov 22, 2016: [An] official Koji Nakamura spoke with reporters after an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.4 struck off the coast of Fukushima… Nakamura said tsunami waves are being observed in various coastal areas, and that damage could occur… He urged residents to flee… Nakamura also warned that another quake of a similar scale could occur within a week, which may also generate a tsunami.

Guardian, Nov 21, 2016: Fukushima: tsunami waves arrive after 7.4 magnitude earthquake… A 60cm (2ft) tsunami was observed at Fukushima’s Onahama Port and a 90cm (3ft) tsunami at Soma… A spokesman for [JMA said] that the tide level was still rising… the Fukushima Daini Reactor 3 cooling system had stopped operating

Bloomberg, Nov 21, 2016: NHK warned bigger tsunami waves could hit the coast. Workers at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant… were evacuated

The Australian, Nov 22, 2016: [The JMA] has just upgraded it to a 7.4… cooling equipment for the spent nuclear fuel pool in the reactor No. 3 of Tepco’s Fukushima No. 2 power plant has stopped‘Please flee immediately’ — An announcer on public broadcaster NHK is urging residents along the coast to move to high ground. “Please flee immediately,” the male voice says, with great urgency… So far, several tsunami waves, the biggest measuring 90 centimetres (three feet) have hit… [JMA says] waves have been “observed offshore and therefore are expected to be higher by the time of arrival in coastal areas’’… Footage of Japanese television appears to show rapid movement of water on the coast. [Tepco] is checking its nuclear plants in Fukushima for damage… Television footage showed ships moving out to sea from Fukushima harbours.

Sydney Morning Herald, Nov 22, 2016: A series of tsunami waves have been observed along the coastline… 60-centimetre tsunami was observed at the Port of Onahama, at Iwaki, Fukushima. NHK said back-wash has been reported at the port, as the sea level decreases for the approach of a tsunami. The second and third waves of the tsunami are likely to be higherthan the first wave, NHK reported. Tsunami waves may reach their maximum height a few hours or more after the initial wave, JMA said.

Yahoo News, Nov 22, 2016: ‘Evacuate immediately’: Tsunami warnings after 7.3 quake hits Japan… A surge about 90 centimetres high was reported at Soma about an hour after the quake. A wave of about 60cm has been recorded at Fukushima, with more expected. Residents near the Fukushima coast have been told to leave. Emergency broadcasters in Japan are warning of a wave of up to three metres, and possibly higher.

KQED, Nov 21, 2016: A major earthquake [has] triggered tsunamis… [JMA] has reported tsunami waves as high as 1.4 meters — about 4 feet — so far.

The Mirror, Nov 21, 2016: Cooling systems at nuclear reactor have FAILED… The breakdown at the Daini plant has sparked fears nuclear waste may leak

RT, Nov 21, 2016: According to the Nuclear Regulatory Agency the cooling system servicing the Unit 3 spent fuel pool is not able to circulate water to cool the nuclear fuel… the system might have been “shaken” during the earthquake, according to nuclear agency officials…

NHK, Nov 22, 2016: Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said the government will do all it can to deal with the effects of a powerful earthquake that struck on Tuesday… He also instructed officials to grasp the extent of the damage and to do their utmost to respond to the disaster.

Watch broadcasts: NHK | Yahoo | Guardian

http://enenews.com/urgent-emergency-at-fukushima-after-rocked-by-m7-4-quake-tsunami-wave-hits-destroyed-nuclear-plants-cooling-systems-at-reactor-failed-prime-minister-we-must-grasp-extent-of-damage-ex

 

— Germany: “Nightmare” problems with nuclear waste causes public distrust in disposal plan

“There were people who said it wasn’t a good idea to put radioactive waste down here, but nobody listened to them.”
Annette Parlitz, spokeswoman, Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS).

From New Scientist

By Fred Pearce in Asse, Germany
January 29, 2016

Major problems at a salt mine where 126,000 drums of radioactive debris are stored are fuelling public distrust of long-term waste disposal plans, reports Fred Pearce from Asse, Germany

Half a kilometre beneath the forests of northern Germany, in an old salt mine, a nightmare is playing out.

A scheme to dig up previously buried nuclear waste is threatening to wreck public support for Germany’s efforts to make a safe transition to a non-nuclear future.

Enough plutonium-bearing radioactive waste is stored here to fill 20 Olympic swimming pools. When engineers backfilled the chambers containing 126,000 drums in the 1970s, they thought they had put it out of harm’s way forever.

But now, the walls of the Asse mine are collapsing and cracks forming, thanks to pressure from surrounding rocks. So the race is on to dig it all up before radioactive residues are flushed to the surface.

It could take decades to resolve. In the meantime, excavations needed to extract the drums could cause new collapses and make the problem worse.

“There were people who said it wasn’t a good idea to put radioactive waste down here, but nobody listened to them,” says Annette Parlitz, spokeswoman for the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), as we tour the mine.

This is just one part of Germany’s nuclear nightmare. The country is also wrestling a growing backlog of spent fuel.

And it has to worry about vast volumes of radioactive rubble that will be created as all the country’s 17 nuclear plants are decommissioned by 2022 – a decision taken five years ago, in the aftermath of Japan’s Fukushima disaster. The final bill for decommissioning power plants and getting rid of the waste is estimated to be at least €36 billion.

Some 300,000 cubic metres of low and intermediate-level waste requiring long-term shielding, including what is dug from the Asse mine, is earmarked for final burial at the Konrad iron mine in Lower Saxony.

What will happen to the high-level waste, the spent fuel and other highly radioactive waste that must be kept safe for up to a million years is still debated.

Later this year, a Final Storage Commission of politicians and scientists will advise on criteria for choosing a site where deep burial or long-term storage should be under way by 2050.

But its own chairman, veteran parliamentarian Michael Muller, says that timetable is unlikely to be met. “We all believe deep geology is the best option, but I’m not sure if there is enough [public] trust to get the job done,” he says.

Lack of trust

Many anti-nuclear groups are boycotting the commission.

Although they agree Germany must deal with its own waste, they don’t trust the process of choosing a site. They fear that the authorities are secretly fixed on reviving plans for burial at Gorleben, another Lower Saxony salt dome.

Currently, 113 flasks containing high-level waste are housed in a temporary store there.

One flask of high-level waste contains as much radioactivity as 30 Hiroshima bombs,” says Wolfgang Ehmke, who has been a campaigner for 40 years. “We cannot bury this waste here in northern Germany [because] there could be 10 ice ages, with glaciers scraping away the rocks, before the waste is safe.”

The protesters have wide popular support. And the problems at the Asse salt mine have led to further distrust of engineers and their solutions.

The abandoned mine was bought by the German government in 1965, ostensibly to research the suitability of salt domes for disposing of radioactive waste. Yet after two years, without waiting for scientific reports, the authorities secretly turned it into a cheap and supposedly permanent nuclear dump.

By then, 90 per cent of the mine’s 5 million cubic metres of salt had been excavated, and the mine was already buckling under the weight of the rocks above, says Ingo Bautz of the BfS, who oversees activities at the site.

As the walls bent, cracks formed. And because the miners had dug to within 10 metres of the impervious rock, in 1988, underground water started to trickle in.

The true state of affairs only became public knowledge in 2008. Despite hurried backfilling of much of the mine, the degradation continues. Brine seeps in at a rate of around 12,000 litres a day, threatening to flush radioactive material to the surface. “It is a disastrous situation,” says Jochen Flasbarth, state secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Environment.

Painfully slow

In 2011, the BfS ruled that the waste had to be removed. But the task is hard and likely to take decades. Just checking the state of the 13 chambers holding the waste drums is painfully slow. Engineers drilling to reach them through 20 metres of rock don’t know whether the drums have leaked, and of course they cannot risk a release of radioactivity.

Since work started in 2012, just one borehole has been completed into one of the chambers. Engineers say they will need to sink a second shaft and open up big new galleries where the drums can be made safe before they are retrieved.

But exploratory drilling has revealed that the salt dome is not as big as thought, says Bautz.

And unless care is taken to keep clear of the geological barrier, the excavations risk allowing more water in. “We can’t rule out that the mine could flood,” he says. “If that happened, retrieval would be impossible. We would backfill it all.”

Nothing will be moved until at least 2033, says Bautz. Meanwhile the bills keep rising. It costs €140 million a year just to keep the mine safe for work to continue. The final bill will run into many billions.

Is it worth it? Many experts fear that digging up the drums, with consequent risks of radioactive leaks, could create a much greater hazard than leaving them where they are.

A former top official on the project, geochemist Michael Siemann, told the media in 2012 that safe retrieval was unrealistic. “Many people know this, but no one wants to say it.”

“There could be a conflict between protecting future generations and creating risks for today,” Bautz concedes.

Germany may ultimately perform a service to the world if it can pioneer solutions that other nuclear countries may look to in the future, including the UK, which is struggling with its own waste legacy.

But if Germans ever thought that abandoning nuclear power would end their nuclear problems, they couldn’t have been more wrong.

Read more: Waste away: Nuclear power’s eternal problem

Fred Pearce’s costs during the field trip to the mine were paid for by Clean Energy Wire, an independent non-profit media service.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2075615-radioactive-waste-dogs-germany-despite-abandoning-nuclear-power/

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

— Would You CONSENT to Nuclear Waste? Tell DOE “NO” to Fukushima Freeways — deadline July 31

The DOE proposal is about the “future” of nuclear energy. DOE wants to continue promoting nuclear power plants, continue creating nuclear weapons, continue churning out nuclear waste. Without disposal, there is no future. We can collectively refuse.

Sane people want to  know: how can there be “disposal” for something that lasts millions or billions of years?

From Nuclear Information and Resource Service

July 27, 2016

Dear Friends,

What would it take for you to consent to accept nuclear waste in your region? The Department of Energy (DOE) wants to know.

DOE has held 9 public meetings across the country this year, and is now taking written comments, on the concept of public “consent” to accept high-level radioactive waste.

Send DOE  your comment today: No more nuclear waste – No Fukushima Freeways!

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 now want to know what it will take to get people to “consent,” or at least appear to consent, to take nuclear waste in their communities.

DOE acknowledges this is also “consent” to future nuclear waste production as part of setting up an “integrated waste management system.” The federal agency says that the future of nuclear energy in this country depends on this.

Tell DOE what you think of nuclear waste by clicking here.

DOE seeks public input on how to be FAIR, WHO to include in the consent process, and what RESOURCES it will take to induce community participation in the nation’s radioactive waste program.

  • DOE wants to identify who adequately represents a community and will consent to take nuclear waste on its behalf.
  • DOE is not defining exactly what or how much nuclear waste we would be “consenting” or not consenting to accept.
  • And DOE is 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.

Tell DOE what you think of nuclear waste by clicking here.

No consideration of the rights or consent of communities 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 has stated that there is complete federal preemption over transport of nuclear waste, so states and communities along the transport routes would have no voice, no matter how much waste DOE plans to move through them.

DOE is giving no consideration of the rights of future generations who will inevitably be affected.

DOE and the nuclear industry are eager for volunteering or consenting communities to take the waste and for the DOE to take title to it–absolving the industry of responsibility for managing the waste it creates before there is even a proven solution for its long-term management.

Thanks for all you do!

Mary Olson – Southeast Office Director
Diane D’Arrigo – Radioactive Waste Project Director

For More Information

NIRS Info Materials on Fukushima Freeways and Consolidated Storage
Talking Points on Consent-Based Siting from Beyond Nuclear

Click here to read a Federal Register notice that explains more about DOE’s request for public comment on these issues. There is also information on this DOE website.

You can contact Diane D’Arrigo or Mary Olson at NIRS for more information about the other meetings and the issue generally.

Submit a Public Comment! We encourage everyone to submit your own thoughts on these issues to DOE. Comment deadline is July 31, 2016. Please send an email to consentbasedsiting@hq.doe.gov. Please include “Response to IPC” in the subject line.

Stay Informed:

NIRS on the web: http://www.nirs.org

GreenWorld: (NIRS’ blog chronicling nuclear issues and the transition to a nuclear-free, carbon-free energy system) http://www.safeenergy.org

NIRS on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nuclear-Information-and-Resource-Service/26490791479?sk=wall&filter=12

http://www.facebook.com/nonukesnirs

http://www.facebook.com/groups/nukefreeclimatefreemarch/

NIRS on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/nirsnet

NIRS on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/nirsnet
http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5502/t/0/blastContent.jsp?email_blast_KEY=1369374

— Idaho: Ready to give “consent” to allow more commercial nuclear waste?

From Idaho Statesman

Guest Editorial
by BreBrent Marchbanksnt Marchbanks
July 12, 2016

Longtime Idahoans remember being shocked some 40 years ago when it was revealed the INL was dumping radioactive waste water directly into the volcanic, porous ground above the Snake River Aquifer; the source of our agricultural irrigation and the water supply for thousands.

Many have seen the pictures from the ’70s of trucks dumping blue barrels full of transuranic waste into ditches at the site.

Public outcry stopped those specific practices. But that waste is still there. Radioactive isotopes have leached into the aquifer. Tons and tons of other people’s nuclear waste kept arriving.

In 1995 Gov. Phil Batt worked a deal with the U.S. Department of Energy: In exchange for a limited amount of new military waste shipments (the “nuclear Navy,” Three Mile Island, etc.) the DOE would: 1) Build a permanent site for those (and previous) shipments, and 2) Clean up the mess that was already there.

The agreed-to shipments began to arrive. Neither the permanent storage nor the cleanup has happened.

The military waste shipments that were allowed into Idaho continue to this day; I saw new shipments in rail cars at the Pocatello yard two weeks ago.

Many of us anti-nuclear types, including the Snake River Alliance, opposed the Batt 1995 Agreement at the time, believing it was too weak; it allowed for too much waste and caved in to the Feds.

But, even if too weak, it was at least some kind of a brake on the seemingly endless shipments to our state. Idaho voters approved the Batt Agreement. Even the campaign slogan of the pro-Batt Agreement forces, including INL itself, was ”Keep the Waste Out.”

Now, those same forces want to get rid of the Batt Agreement altogether; not because it’s too weak, but because it’s too strong. It doesn’t allow enough waste in. It commits the feds and our state to clean-up. Apparently, they want more waste, with no permanent repository in sight, and they want it without a commitment for cleanup. They want to throw out the people’s referendum vote. The governor has used state dollars to support this campaign by creating the Leaders In Nuclear Energy (LINE) Commission. One of the appointed members is Larry Craig.

The DOE is coming to Boise on Thursday [July 14] for a discussion of whether Idaho is willing to throw out the Batt Agreement. The federal jargon being used is whether Idaho is now willing to become a become a “Consent State;” volunteering to allow tons and tons of new shipments of commercial waste generated by the dying nuclear power plant industry (in our own country and overseas.)

The meeting is being held 5 to 9:30 p.m., at the Boise Centre on the Grove.

The public is invited to listen, ask questions and comment.

Brent Marchbanks is a retired lawyer and longtime Boise resident. He remains active in social issues.

— Nuclear info sessions across South Australia

From Great Lakes Advocate
July 19, 2016

CONSULTATION: Nuclear consultation sessions will be held around EP.

LOCALS are urged to have their say on nuclear as part of the state’s largest community engagement program.

Teams from the state government’s Nuclear Consultation and Response Agency will run sessions at more than 100 sites including 10 on the Eyre Peninsula.

The key themes discussed will be community consent and the importance of an informed opinion, economics including the benefits and risks to the state, safety including key issues around storage, health and transport, and trust.

Eyre Peninsula consultation sessions will run from 11am to 7pm at Streaky Bay on August 2, Ceduna on August 3, Elliston on August 4, Port Lincoln on August 5, Kimba on August 16, Cummins on August 17, Cowell on August 18, with separate Aboriginal community consultation at Port Lincoln and Ceduna.

There will also be a booth at the EP Field Days at Cleve on August 9 and 10.

For more information about the sessions visit the YourSAy nuclear website. http://yoursay.sa.gov.au/

http://www.greatlakesadvocate.com.au/story/4039198/nuclear-info-sessions-across-sa/?cs=2452