ENOUGH ¡BASTA! Say No to High Level Nuclear Waste Dumping in New Mexico
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Posts from — May 2013

What to expect during a solid waste fire when Nuclear Waste is involved

An underground landfill fire near tons of nuclear waste raises serious health and safety concerns – so why isn’t the government doing more to help?

St. Louis Is Burning
By Steven Hsieh – 10 May, 2013 – Rolling Stone

There’s a fire burning in Bridgeton, Missouri. It’s invisible to area residents, buried deep beneath the ground in a North St. Louis County landfill. But the smoldering waste is an unavoidable presence in town, giving off a putrid odor that clouds the air miles away – an overwhelming stench described by one area woman as “rotten eggs mixed with skunk and fertilizer.” Residents report smelling it at K-12 school buses, a TGI Fridays and even the operating room of a local hospital. “It smells like dead bodies,” observes another local.

On a Saturday morning in March, one mile south of the landfill, several Bridgeton residents have gathered at a small home in a blue-collar subdivision called Spanish Village. Concerned citizens Karen Nickel and Dawn Chapman are here to answer questions posed by four of their neighbors. “How will I ever sell my house?” “Am I going to end up with cancer 20 years down the road?” “Is there even a solution?”

In February, the landfill’s owner, Republic Services, sent glossy fliers to residents within stink radius claiming the noxious odor posed no safety risk. But official reports say otherwise. Temperature probes reveal the fire has already surpassed normal heat levels. Reports from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) indicate dangerously high levels of benzene and hydrogen sulfide in the air. In March, Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) – which has jurisdiction over Bridgeton Landfill – quietly posted an Internet notice cautioning citizens with chronic respiratory diseases to limit time outdoors. A month after Republic distributed its potentially misleading flier, the state attorney general sued the company on eight counts of environmental violations, including pollution and public nuisance. And this week, as part of a settlement set to be announced Tuesday, Republic sent another round of fliers offering to move local families to hotels during a period of increased odor related to remediation efforts.

Nickel and Chapman are stay-at-home moms; Chapman has three special-needs kids. Neither of them wants to spend her time worrying about a damn landfill fire. But until someone higher up the power chain intervenes, they have sworn to call municipal offices, file Sunshine requests and post notices to the community’s Facebook group, no matter how unsettling the facts they uncover. Scariest of all: The Bridgeton landfill fire is burning close to at least 8,700 tons of nuclear weapons wastes.

“To have somebody call you at 11 P.M., and they’re in tears, concerned for their family, that’s heartbreaking,” Chapman tells Rolling Stone. “We’re doing this because we don’t have a choice. If we don’t come together as a community and fight, no one’s going to do it for us.”

America’s Nuclear Nightmare

West Lake Landfill is an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund site that’s home to some of the oldest radioactive wastes in the world. A six-foot chain-link fence surrounds the perimeter, plastered with bright yellow hazard signs that warn of the dangers within. On one corner stands a rusty gas pump. About 1,200 feet south of the radioactive EPA site, the fire at Bridgeton Landfill spreads out like hot barbeque coals. No one knows for sure what happens when an underground inferno meets a pool of atomic waste, but residents aren’t eager to find out.

At a March 15th press conference, Peter Anderson – an economist who has studied landfills for over 20 years – raised the worst-case scenario of a “dirty bomb,” meaning a non-detonated, mass release of floating radioactive particles in metro St. Louis. “Now, to be clear, a dirty bomb is not nuclear fission, it’s not an atomic bomb, it’s not a weapon of mass destruction,” Anderson assured meeting attendants in Bridgeton’s Machinists Union Hall. “But the dispersal of that radioactive material in air that could reach – depending upon weather conditions – as far as 10 miles from the site could make it impossible to have economic activity continue.” …more (http://www NULL.rollingstone NULL.com/politics/news/st-louis-is-burning-20130510)

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May 15, 2013   No Comments

Representitive Pearce wants to make New Mexico a Deadly Nuke Waste Dump for a few jobs

Pearce files bill to expand WIPP mission
The Associated Press – 13 May, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—New Mexico Republican Rep. Steve Pearce has introduced legislation to expand the mission of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad.

Pearce says that because the plant is only tasked with handling radioactive waste generated by the Department of Energy as part of a defense mission, it is running out of material to process. And that will mean a loss of jobs.

Pearce says that under his bill, there would be no change in what type of waste WIPP handles. The site currently processes exposed materials like gloves, clothing and tool, from federal facilities like Los Alamos National Laboratory. But it would be allowed to accept transuranic waste from the federal government as a whole.

Pearce says WIPP has demonstrated great success, safely removing more than 85,000 cubic meters of waste from Department of Energy sites around the country. …source (http://www NULL.ruidosonews NULL.com/ci_23230632/pearce-files-bill-expand-wipp-mission)

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May 15, 2013   No Comments

Congressman Pearce, “out of waste, out of jobs” – change dumping rules to allow really deadly nuke waste

Rep. Pearce files bill to expand WIPP mission
13 May, 2013 – SFNM

ALBUQUERQUE — New Mexico Republican Rep. Steve Pearce has introduced legislation to expand the mission of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad.

Pearce says that because the plant is only tasked with handling radioactive waste generated by the Department of Energy as part of a defense mission, it is running out of material to process. And that will mean a loss of jobs.

Pearce says that under his bill, there would be no change in what type of waste WIPP handles. The site currently processes exposed materials like gloves, clothing and tool, from federal facilities like Los Alamos National Laboratory. But it would be allowed to accept transuranic waste from the federal government as a whole.

Pearce says WIPP has demonstrated great success, safely removing more than 85,000 cubic meters of waste from Department of Energy sites around the country. …source (http://www NULL.santafenewmexican NULL.com/news/local_news/article_75320cee-9447-5f9b-8597-62c1ffa5236e NULL.html)

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May 14, 2013   No Comments

Nuclear Waste Administration Act, Solution of Convenience and Consent

Senators’ New Nuclear Waste Legislation Opens Door For Cleaner and Safer Energy Outlook
14 May, 2013 – Politics365

Producing almost 20 percent of the United States’ electricity, nuclear energy plays a vital role in today’s energy portfolio. However, many critics have pointed to the disposal of nuclear waste materials as a justification to halt the expansion of the industry; one that would see the construction of 20 to 25 new units by 2035 in order to maintain the percentage share of the nation’s energy makeup.

The discussion draft of a Senate bill, Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2013 (NWAA), released April 25 and open for public comment until May 24, launches a process to create a “centralized interim storage” site (CIS) for nuclear waste.

The nation has accumulated more than 50,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel from nuclear reactors. One proposal sought permanent underground storage at the Yucca, but it was effectively cancelled. Instead, waste has been and continues to be stored mainly at individual reactor sites.

The bill will establish a new federal agency, headed by a single administrator, appointed by the President and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to manage the nuclear waste program in place of the Department of Energy. It will also direct the new agency to build a pilot spent fuel storage facility to store spent fuel from decommissioned nuclear power plants and emergency shipments from operating plants.

“This legislation is a good first step toward implementation of a sustainable, integrated program to safely and efficiently manage commercial used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste from U.S. defense programs,” said the Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior vice president for governmental affairs, Alex Flint. “…the United States must establish a new management entity with the authority necessary to be successful, including appropriate access to funds. This proposal is a major step in that direction.”

Meant to carry out the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, convened by the Department of Energy in 2010 and sponsored by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the bill will also establish a new siting process.

Among the requirements of the new process will be soliciting states and communities to volunteer sites and obtaining state consent to study and site a repository or storage facility.

The NWAA, while clearly garnering the support of NEI and industry officials, appears to be a monumental step forward in ensuring the nation is able to meet its growing demands by planning new, advanced nuclear plants, strengthen the nation’s energy independence, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and all while providing affordable energy to American communities.
…source (http://politic365 NULL.com/2013/05/14/senators-new-nuclear-waste-legislation-opens-door-for-cleaner-and-safer-energy-outlook/)

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May 14, 2013   No Comments

Hanford Site Operators, had no plan to deal with leaks – except hiding them from Public

No plan in place when leak alarm sounded at Hanford
by SUSANNAH FRAME – KING 5 News – 10 May, 2013

At Hanford, the former plutonium production facility located in Eastern Washington, not much takes place without a carefully designed plan. With 56 million gallons of the most highly contaminated nuclear waste on the planet stored in underground tanks at the site, human and environmental health depend on the precise work of Hanford employees and their strict adherence to written procedures.

Documents called Alarm Response Procedures, commonly known as ARPs, spell out what steps need to be taken when an alarm goes off to indicate an anomaly or emergency, such as a release of radioactive particulates into the environment or a leaking tank.

But KING 5 has found that on October 9, 2011, when an alarm sounded to alert the monitoring staff that -– for the first time ever — one of 28 double-shell tanks holding the worst waste at Hanford might be leaking nuclear waste, the shift manager on duty couldn’t find the ARP that would give detailed information about what to do. The manager hand wrote in his log book that the tank’s leak detection system “is in alarm,” but he is “unable to find ARP”

The day after the alarm sounded, the private company hired by the U.S. Department of Energy to manage the underground waste tanks at Hanford — Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) — sent veteran instrument technician Mike Geffre out to inspect the equipment monitoring the tank, called AY-102. Geffre found the leak detection system was in proper working order — meaning the alarm that sounded on the 9th was not false. But after confirming the alarm, Geffre had no ARP to consult to see what action should be taken.

“I thought there would be a whole protocol of investigation, looking to see what was going on, maybe putting cameras in and looking to see where the waste was coming from. I just assumed that was in place,” said Geffre. “Well, there wasn’t any of that in place. There was nothing. No plan. Zippo.”

Rainwater theory

The company reported to federal and state regulators that its experts believed rainwater, not nuclear waste, had seeped into the space between the tank’s primary and secondary shells. WRPS managers noted that it had been raining in the Tri-Cities area for several days and suggested that the rain must have triggered a false alarm. …more (http://www NULL.king5 NULL.com/news/local/Hanford-no-ENRAF-nuclear-waste-leak-alarm-response-plan-207008571 NULL.html)

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May 13, 2013   No Comments

Hanford Contractors Illegally Stored, Handled and Transported, Deadly Nuclear Waste

Unsealed documents reveal serious violations by Hanford contractor
by GARY CHITTIM – KING 5 News – 8 May, 2013

KING 5 has uncovered serious violations by a company treating radioactive waste near the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Perma-Fix Northwest handles materials nobody else can – radioactive, highly toxic dangerous items generated at Hanford and other parts of the world.

KING 5 News has learned that during an inspection last year, the Environmental Protection Agency found five serious violations.

The violations involve the treatment of low level radioactive waste, PCBs and other contaminants at its Richland lab on the edge of the Hanford reservation.

The violations include unlicensed storage of waste, storage of waste in unauthorized containers, storing waste longer than the permit allows, charges the EPA deemed the facility unacceptable to receive contaminated items.

Investigators say the most serious threat of these types of violations is to workers.

The company responded quickly and was re-approved a few months later to resume operations but it does not appear this is over. We expect some penalties to be assessed. The last time this company was cited by the EPA it cost them more than $300,000.

And KING 5 is also investigating unconfirmed reports of some illegal transportation of radioactive items involving Hanford contractors. …source (http://www NULL.king5 NULL.com/news/environment/Hanford-contractor--206693891 NULL.html)

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May 13, 2013   No Comments

New Mexico Navajo’s wonders where the money is to finish clean-up of its Uranium Contaminated Land

Decades of dealing with environmental degradation, racism

Navajo Nation battles uranium corporations, nuclear industry
By Bethany Woody – 8 May, 2013 – Liberation

Since European settlers first arrived on this continent, they set out to accumulate as much wealth and land as humanly possible. Their reign of terror on the indigenous populations —destructive of land, culture and entire communities—was the basis for immense fortunes that spurred the global economy and advancing capitalism.

This struggle, now over 500 years in the making, is ongoing on many fronts, including the Navajo Nation’s current battle over U.S. companies’ uranium extraction.

In early 2013, uranium companies approached the Navajo Nation in hopes they will allow them to renew mining operations on their land. These companies claim that they have developed newer and safer methods for extracting uranium, after decades of environmental destruction and abuse led the Navajo Nation to officially ban their mining.

This decades-long battle for environmental justice is part and parcel of the struggles for workers’ rights and Native self-determination, and against the forces of militarism and capitalism.

This decades-long battle for environmental justice is part and parcel of the struggles for workers’ rights and Native self-determination, and against the forces of militarism and capitalism.

Exploitation of Navajo lands

The Navajo Nation sits on 27,425 square miles in the four corners area of the southwestern United States. The area holds a vast amount of uranium ore and thus has become a center in the struggle over nuclear energy and weaponry.

Since the end of World War II, and the onset of the so-called Cold War, the U.S. government began mining uranium domestically in order to not rely on foreign supplies. Uranium is one of the most common naturally occurring radioactive metals on the planet, and was understood as essential for the development of nuclear weapons and technology.

Due to the unique geology and consistent climate of the Southwest, mining companies saw the Navajo reservation as the most profitable site to open mining operations in the 1940s. In 1948, the United States Atomic Energy Commission declared it would be the sole purchaser of all uranium mined in the country, initiating a mining boom of private companies and contractors who knew they had a guaranteed buyer.

Of the thousands of uranium mines, 92% were located in the Colorado Plateau on which the Navajo Nation is located. Between 1944 and 1986 approximately 4 million tons of uranium ore was mined from Navajo Tribal land.

In the early days of mining, Navajo people flocked to the low-wage work given the scarcity of jobs around the reservation. The Navajo workers dealt with racist bosses and coworkers while going into the most dangerous and undesirable jobs at lesser pay. Nonetheless, after Navajo Code Talkers’ had famously contributed to U.S. forces in World War II, many Navajo workers believed they had a patriotic duty and responsibility to the United States.

Mineworkers were also lied to about the dangers of Radon poisoning. …more (http://www NULL.pslweb NULL.org/liberationnews/news/uranium-and-the-navajo-nation NULL.html)

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May 13, 2013   No Comments

DOE coughs-up funds to finish decades old LANL contanmination as it seeks to dump HWL at WIPP

DOE bid to boost LANL budget
By Michael Coleman – 7 May, 2013 – Albuquerque Journal

Extra $19M would help clean up waste

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Energy wants to send an extra $19 million to Los Alamos National Laboratory this year to clean up radioactive and other wastes.

The DOE has asked Congress to approve a “reprogramming” of its current-year budgets — or a shifting of money among existing accounts — to expedite cleanup at several sites around the country, including LANL.

Across-the-board federal budget cuts that went into effect March 1, commonly referred to as sequestration, have crimped cleanup budgets.

Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and Rep. Ben Ray Luján, all New Mexico Democrats, wrote to House and Senate appropriators on Monday. They urged approval of the DOE’s request for additional money for the cleanup, saying it could help save jobs.

The current budget amount for LANL cleanup for FY 2013 is $173 million, not including the extra money now requested by the DOE.

“We would like to impress upon you the importance of this reprogramming and the urgency of its approval,” the lawmakers wrote. “Without additional funding, environmental management will begin to slow operations and issue furlough notices as soon as this week, with full operations scheduled to shut down next month.

“This would have serious impacts to the productivity of LANL’s workforce, the surrounding environment, the security of the transuranic waste and the federal government’s legal obligations to the state of New Mexico,” the letter said.

Udall is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Transuranic nuclear and other waste has been stored above ground and kept in drums and other containers stacked at the Los Alamos lab’s Area G for decades.

Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration and members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation have urged the DOE to speed up removal of the waste since a massive wildfire burned to within 3 1/2 miles of Area G in 2011. Last year, the lab leadership committed to having all the drums shipped to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad by the end of June 2014.

Enrique Knell, the governor’s spokesman, said Martinez hopes the budget reprogramming request is “a sign that the federal government shares her desire to get this work done quickly.

“This funding should help save some of the area jobs that have been threatened or lost, particularly among contractors in the Los Alamos area,” Knell said. “Governor Martinez urges Congress to move swiftly to approve this reprogramming request.”
…source (http://www NULL.abqjournal NULL.com/main/2013/05/07/politics/doe-bid-to-boost-lanl-budget NULL.html)

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May 13, 2013   No Comments

DOE wants WIPP – Martinez finds deep Federal Government Pockets for DOE unfinished Nuke Waste clean-up in NM

Martinez seeks more money for LANL cleanup
May 9, 2013 – Albuquerque Business First

Gov. Susana Martinez wants the federal government to spend another $40 million so the removal of radioactive waste from the Los Alamos National Laboratory will be done by next summer.

Gov. Susana Martinez wants the federal government to spend another $40 million so the removal of radioactive waste from the Los Alamos National Laboratory will be done by next summer.

The Albuquerque Journal reported that Martinez talked about the matter with Vice President Joseph Biden last week when she was in Washington, D.C.

The Department of Energy has said it has set aside $19 million to the cleanup in its proposed budget.

Several members of New Mexico’s Congressional delegation this week also said they have asked the National Nuclear Security Administration to add another $21 million to the project.

…source (http://www NULL.bizjournals NULL.com/albuquerque/blog/2013/05/martinez-seeks-more-money-for-lanl NULL.html)

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May 13, 2013   No Comments

Congressman Pearce Introduces Bill to Allow Most Toxic Nuclear Waste to be Buried in New Mexico

Pearce: Expand WIPP criteria
By Michael Coleman – 12 May, 2013 – Albuquerque Journal

WASHINGTON – Rep. Steve Pearce has reintroduced legislation that would allow the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad to accept federally owned transuranic nuclear waste from outside the Department of Energy.

Pearce introduced his bill – a carbon copy of legislation he proposed in 2001 – late Thursday. The transuranic waste now going to WIPP is mostly plutonium-contaminated waste from nuclear weapons work within the Department of Energy. Pearce’s bill would allow WIPP to accept transuranic nuclear waste from agencies across the federal government. Transuranic waste disposed of at WIPP includes material exposed to nuclear radiation, such as gloves, clothing, tools and aprons.

Pearce said his bill would not alter the type or grade of waste handled by WIPP, maintaining restrictions to just federally owned transuranic waste that meets existing federal guidelines. He also said his bill would help ensure WIPP remains open, providing jobs in the Carlsbad area well into the future.

“WIPP plays a key role in the safety of the nation and the state, as well as the economy of Carlsbad,” Pearce said in a statement. “While modest, this proposal will help ensure that these important jobs remain in New Mexico.”

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., co-sponsored the identical bill that Pearce introduced in 2011, when Heinrich was a member of the U.S. House representing New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District. Heinrich stopped short of endorsing Pearce’s bill Friday but signaled that he is open to sending waste other than that generated by DOE to WIPP.

“I support WIPP’s mission and believe it is scientifically the right location to safely dispose of transuranic waste that meets the waste acceptance criteria,” Heinrich said in a statement provided to the Journal.

Sen. Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat who sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee, took a more cautious approach. “Sen. Udall is focused on securing the funding to ensure WIPP can fulfill its mission safely and securely,” Udall spokeswoman Marissa Padilla said. “He will study it carefully if it reaches the Senate, but given WIPP’s history, proposals like this to expand the mission will need very thorough vetting and acceptance throughout the state.”

Don Hancock of the Albuquerque-based Southwest Research and Information Center and a longtime observer of WIPP, opposes Pearce’s bill. He said the extra waste WIPP could accept under Pearce’s bill wouldn’t come from other federal agencies, because they don’t produce such waste. Instead, Hancock said, the “non-defense federal government-owned” waste Pearce’s bill would accept is at West Valley, N.Y., and is the result of commercial industry reprocessing in the late 1960s and 1970s.

“It’s not national security or defense waste,” Hancock said in an email to the Journal on Friday. “It is a bailout of the commercial nuclear industry, which walked away from reprocessing that failed economically and created a huge environmental problem. If what Rep. Pearce wants to do is to bail out the nuclear power industry, he should say that … .” …source (http://www NULL.abqjournal NULL.com/main/2013/05/12/news/pearce-expand-wipp-criteria NULL.html)

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May 13, 2013   No Comments

Make Radioactive Waste Mobile, Contamination Sharing, in the mix from Obama’s, “Nuke Waste Team”

U.S. Senators introduce Mobile Chernobyl bill on eve of Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe anniversary
1 May, 2013 – Beyond Nuclear

An infrared photo of a high-level radioactive waste rail shipment. The high temperature of such shipments, however, is the least of our worries. A severe accident, or attack, involving such a shipment could breach the container, leading to disastrous releases of hazardous radioactivityFor the second year in a row, U.S. Senators have introduced the latest Mobile Chernobyl bill on the eve of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe anniversary. On April 25, 2013 — the eve of the 27th anniversary of the beginning of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe — U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), the Chair and Ranking Member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, as well as Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), published a “Discussion Draft” of proposed legislation on high-level radioactive waste management. They issued a press release, one page summary, section-by-section summary, and the full text of the 58-page bill.

In essence, if enacted, the proposal would launch shipments of high-level radioactive waste onto the roads, rails, and waterways in unprecedented numbers, bound for “consolidated interim storage sites,” from which they would have to be removed someday, to permanent dumpsites. Unless, that is, they never are transferred — which would lead to de facto permanent surface storage, parking lot dumps for high-level radioactive waste.

Last year, on April 26, 2012 — the actual 26th anniversary of Chernobyl, to the day — Sens. Feinstein and Alexander led the passage of a Mobile Chernobyl bill through not only their Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, but through the full Senate Appropriations Committee. Their bill, however, was never considered by the full Senate last year.

Now, Sens. Feinstein and Alexander have — simultaneously to the “Discussion Draft” rollout — proposed alternative legislative language. It would further expedite the shipment of high-level radioactive waste on our roads, rails, and waterways to “consolidated interim storage sites.” Their alternative proposal, and its summary, are also available.

As this is a “Discussion Draft” of the proposed bill, the Senators state in their press release:

“The members are seeking comment on the discussion draft and a number of policy and technical questions from experts and stakeholders, including utilities, conservation groups, Blue Ribbon Commission members and others, by May 24.”

Perhaps the single most important question involves “linkage” — or lack thereof — between “consolidated interim storage sites” and permanent dumpsites. As stated in the Senators’ list of “Nuclear Waste Questions”:

“Linkage between storage and repository

Should the bill establish a linkage between progress on development of a repository and progress on development of a storage facility? If so, is the linkage proposed in section 306 of the bill appropriate, too strong, or too loose? If a linkage is needed, should it be determined as part of the negotiations between the state and federal governments and included in the consent agreement rather than in the bill?” …more (http://www NULL.beyondnuclear NULL.org/radioactive-waste-whatsnew/2013/5/1/us-senators-introduce-mobile-chernobyl-bill-on-eve-of-cherno NULL.html)

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May 8, 2013   No Comments

Carlsbad to renew Nuke Waste Lobbist Contract to help grease skids for local Profiteers

Washington lobbyist contract back before county commission
By Stella Davis – 5 May, 2013 – Carlsbad Current Argus

A Washington-based lobbying firm representing Eddy County and the city of Carlsbad has changed ownership, and the local governments have to decide whether to stay with the new firm or cancel the contract they entered into with the initial firm.

The county and city entered into a contract with the C2 Group last year and jointly share the cost for the services provided by the firm. On Tuesday, during its regular meeting, the Eddy County Commission will make the decision to stay with FTI Consulting Inc., the firm that acquired C2 Group, or cancel the contract.

In a letter to the commission, FTI said the acquisition of C2 is an “exciting change that combines strategic communication, investor relations, reputation management and digital and social media with the traditional lobbying and institutional knowledge that is a hallmark of C2 Group.” FTI says C2 Group will continue to work under its own brand during a transition period, and will remain in its current offices in Washington.

The commission will also hear a presentation on the U.S. Department of Energy’s preferred alternative to retrieve, treat, package, characterize and certify Hanford tank waste for disposal at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, if that type of waste is correctly classified in the future as defense-related mixed transuranic waste.

WIPP is a nuclear waste repository located about 27 miles east of Carlsbad.

The DOE is preparing to submit a Class 2 permit modification to
the New Mexico Environment Department asking for the state to modify the excluded waste prohibition in the state permit.

Federal officials are looking to ship some 3 million gallons of radioactive waste from Washington state to WIPP, giving the government more flexibility to deal with leaking tanks at Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state.

The DOE said its preferred plan would ultimately dispose of the waste where radioactive materials are buried in rooms excavated in vast salt beds nearly a half-mile underground.

The federal proposal was quickly met with criticism from a New Mexico environmental group that said the state permit allowing the government to bury waste at the plant would not allow for shipments from Hanford, the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site. Local officials and supporters of WIPP are working hard to garner letters of support for the DOE’s proposal urging the New Mexico Environment Department to approve the permit modification. …more (http://www NULL.currentargus NULL.com/ci_23175181/washingaton-lobbyist-contract-back-before-county-commission?source=most_viewed)

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May 8, 2013   No Comments

Texas to become much “Hotter” if Politicans can line the pockets of their Wealthy Supporters

Hotter Radioactive Waste Could Be Coming To Texas
1 May, 2013 – By David Barer – StateImpact

A man dressed as a nuclear waste drum stands in front of protesters holding hands on March 9, 2013 in the center of Paris. New legislation in Texas could promote the importation of more radioactive waste.

Update, May 1, 2013: The Senate has passed SB 791. The bill could allow states around the U.S. to import more of the “hotter” radioactive waste into a West Texas disposal facility and limit contested case hearings. Several amendments to the bill were passed, including ones that would make generators of radioactive waste responsible for the cost of transportation accident cleanup, allow for random audits of shipments of radioactive waste into the site and affect the Compact Commission Executive Director’s ability to modify disposal licenses. The bill now moves to the House Environmental Regulation Committee.

Original story, March 26, 2013: A controversial new bill could encourage states from around the country to send waste with higher levels of radiation to Texas. The legislation prompted some heated debate at a Senate Natural Resources Committee meeting today at the Capitol.

The bill, SB 791, by Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, would allow “hotter” radioactive waste into West Texas’ only radioactive waste disposal site, which started running last year after many years of controversy and debate, which continued in part today.

The disposal site is owned by Waste Control Specialists, a company owned by Dallas billionaire and top Republican donor Harold Simmons.

Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, a member of the committee, is concerned that the overarching goals and purpose of the Waste Control Facility are diverging from their original purpose. Initially, the site was meant to be a safe receptacle for all of Texas’, and other compact members’, dangerous radioactive waste, he said.

Now, “we are going to encourage more importation of higher radioactive waste,” Duncan said.

The majority of storage space at the 1,300 acre site is designated for members of the Texas Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission, which only includes Texas and Vermont. The crater-like disposal site is the only one in the nation built to store all three classes of low level waste — A, B and C. Class A waste is the least radioactive and most voluminous, Class C is the most radioactive but has lower volumes. …more (http://stateimpact NULL.npr NULL.org/texas/2013/05/01/hotter-radioactive-waste-could-be-coming-to-texas/)

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May 8, 2013   No Comments

Northern towns ‘bribed’ to take nuclear waste

Northern towns ‘bribed’ to take nuclear waste
4 May, 2013 – The Chronicle Journal

I have been following the nuclear waste issue since the early 1980s. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) decided in 1979 that its only option for nuclear waste was burial in the Canadian Shield.

We in the Northwest were not consulted on this matter and the new Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), a federal agency run by AECL, has as its only mandate to find (bribe) a struggling community to take the used nuclear fuel rods for burial.

With the destruction of the forest industry and little help from any form of government, federal or provincial, some towns are desperate to keep from closing up all together.

If these were good jobs, and great for the infrastructure of a community, do you really think we would be getting them?

If everything was great about this burial, we wouldn’t be getting the jobs up here; they would be fighting for the disposal site in southern Ontario.

Burial of this nuclear waste is a one-way street. Once they are buried, they can’t be retrieved.

Even the NWMO has stated that the canisters proposed to hold the nuclear fuel rods in a deep disposal site are only good for 500 years. The nuclear fuel they want to bury is still hot and will remain hot for much longer.
When they leak— not if they leak— the nuclear pollution will be far-reaching.

You will not be able to mine, harvest the forest, fish or hunt in the affected area, and being at the height of land, all the fresh water flowing downhill will be affected.

The nuclear waste will be coming from all the nuclear power plants across this country, from southern Ontario, New Brunswick, Quebec. And with the free trade deal with the States, might we see nuclear waste imported from there?

I believe the nuclear fuel rods should be kept at the nuclear power plants where they can be monitored and kept at a safe, controlled temperature. Leave our pristine wilderness alone.

These aren’t good jobs, clean jobs, safe jobs, and we will be forced to live with this toxic waste forever.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is a highly-paid group who work for Atomic Energy of Canada to find a place to bury and forget about highly-radioactive used fuel bundles that will be extremely dangerous for the next 10-15,000 years.
You can say to your children, sorry, but the story of jobs for the community sounded too good to pass up; now, pack up your bags because we have to abandon our home and community. It is too poisonous to live here anymore.

The First Nations will have nuclear radiation in their bodies, their children and their children’s children will live with the sickness that comes with nuclear waste, and we could see their population plummet. …more (http://www NULL.chroniclejournal NULL.com/editorial/letters/2013-05-04/northern-towns-%E2%80%98bribed%E2%80%99-take-nuclear-waste)

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May 8, 2013   No Comments

Leagacy of Nuclear Waste is continuing fallout from America’s first Nuclear Bomb

America’s Atomic Time Bomb: Hanford Nuclear Waste Still Poses Serious Risks
By Marc Pitzke – 24 March, 2013 – Spiegel Online

The disaster at Fukushima has raised questions around the world about nuclear safety. But contamination is much worse in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The former plutonium plant in Hanford, Washington is one of the most contaminated places on earth, and still decades from being cleaned up.

The lambs were born without eyes or mouths. Some had legs that had grotesquely grown together; others had no legs at all. Many were stillborn. Thirty-one were lost in a single night.

On a pasture nearby, a cow was found dead, stiff and with its hooves bizarrely stretched up into the whispering wind. Down by the river, men of the Yakama tribe pulled three-eyed salmon from the Columbia. Trout were covered in cancerous ulcers.

And then the babies started getting sick.

It was in the spring of 1962 that farmer Nels Allison first noticed something was ominously wrong. “Son of a bitch,” he said to his wife. Sheep were always “the first to lie down and die” when something was amiss on Allison’s farm near Basin City, a rural town near the Columbia River in the far northwestern corner of the continental United States. He started referring to that deadly night “the Night of the Little Demons.”

Although the Allisons have long since passed away, the shock endures. As chronicled by journalist Michael D’Antonio in his 1993 book Atomic Harvest, their tale is one of thousands of horror stories that took place in the area surrounding Hanford, Washington, the site of America’s first full-scale plutonium production facility. The site haunts the locals to this day — and imperils them.

Hanford is America’s original atomic sin. At this giant facility sprawled over 586 square miles (1,517 square kilometers), a four-hour drive southeast of Seattle into the vast emptiness of Eastern Washington, the United States once produced most of its nuclear raw materials for the Cold War. Though it was decommissioned in 1988, it remains the most contaminated location in the entire Western Hemisphere.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) recently revised its timetable for Hanford’s decontamination, the biggest environmental cleanup in American history. The end date was moved back, once again. It now hopes to finally wrap up this Herculean task by September 2052 — more than 108 years after Hanford was opened.

“Death Maps”

The nuclear catastrophe unfolding in faraway Fukushima has led many to raise questions about the safety of America’s nuclear reactors. But one of the gravest threats lurks deep in the ground at Hanford, one of the final stubborn relics of the Cold War.

Even more worrisome is the fact that an active nuclear power plant — the only one in the earthquake-prone Pacific Northwest — sits on the edge of the polluted site. Indeed, Gerry Pollet, the executive director of the activist group Heart of America Northwest, says the combination of Hanford’s legacy and potential seismic activity poses a “serious risk of harm.”

These fresh worries are nothing new to the people of Richland, the closest town to Hanford, and the roughly 240,000 people living within the sparsely populated surrounding counties. Their grandparents already paid the price for permanent contamination and radiation: miscarriages, birth defects and rare childhood diseases.

Back in the 1960s, Juanita Andrewjewski, a farmer’s wife, created a “death map” of the area near her house — with crosses for heart disease and circles for cancer. Soon, the map was strewn with crosses and circles; at one point, there were 67 of them. …more (http://www NULL.spiegel NULL.de/international/world/america-s-atomic-time-bomb-hanford-nuclear-waste-still-poses-serious-risks-a-752944 NULL.html)

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May 8, 2013   No Comments

Award Winning Handford Contractor got Millions to Ignore deadly Nuclear Waste Leaks

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May 8, 2013   No Comments

New Mexico Environment Department does dirty deed of Greening deadly Nuclear Waste

New Mexico Environment Department Presents WIPP Its Highest Recognition for Environmental Excellence
30 April, 2013

New Mexico Environment Department Presents WIPP Its Highest Recognition for Environmental Excellence CARLSBAD, N.M., April 30, 2013 – The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) was recognized by the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) with Green Zia Environmental Leadership Program (GZELP) Gold Level membership for excellence.

…more (http://ewallstreeter NULL.com/new-mexico-environment-department-presents-wipp-its-highest-recognition-for-environmental-excellence-9546/)

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May 8, 2013   No Comments

DOE pays out “hush money” to keep contractors quiet at Hanford

Bonus money trumps safety at Hanford, experts say
by SUSANNAH FRAME – KING 5 News – 2 May, 2013

The private companies working to clean up nuclear waste at the Hanford Site operate under contracts with the federal government that don’t reward them for reporting problems, creating a dangerous financial incentive that could delay responses to leaks of highly radioactive waste, according to one of the nation’s top nuclear policy experts.

“Reporting leaks in high-level waste tanks has been frowned upon at this site for decades,” said Bob Alvarez, a former presidential adviser on nuclear policy. “There’s this whole dynamic that is built up where people are totally discouraged from raising concerns, especially those that I call have a show-stopping nature to them, such as leaking high-level radioactive waste tanks.” …more (http://www NULL.king5 NULL.com/news/investigators/Bonus-money-trumps-safety-at-Hanford-experts-say-205901171 NULL.html)

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May 3, 2013   No Comments

Yucca Mountain to be hotly debated with Nuclear-Waste Bill in the Senate

Yucca Mountain Casts a Long Shadow Over Nuclear-Waste Bill in the Senate
1 May, 2013 – By Amy Harder – National Journal

WASHINGTON — The decades-long fight over Yucca Mountain looms large over draft legislation released Thursday by a bipartisan group of senators seeking to find a solution to the nation’s nuclear-waste-disposal problem.

The bill, drafted by Democratic and Republican leaders of both the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Appropriations subcommittee that funds the Energy Department, comes just as a federal appeals court is about to rule — perhaps as early as Friday — on whether it will require the federal government to resume its review of Yucca Mountain, the planned nuclear-waste repository 90 miles from Las Vegas that President Obama shut down in 2009 under heavy pressure from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

No matter what the court decides, the Yucca Mountain site that Congress designated as the nuclear-waste dump in 1987 is certain to dominate debate over the legislation, which was introduced by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and ranking member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and ranking member Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn).

The bill would shift the authority over nuclear waste from the Energy Department to a new independent agency that would seek to develop both interim storage facilities and a long-term repository for radioactive waste, now stored in a piecemeal way at nuclear-power plants and Defense Department sites throughout the country.

But the 58-page draft bill is silent on whether the new agency, to be called the Nuclear Waste Administration, should include Yucca Mountain in its consideration of future waste sites. One of the bill’s sponsors suggested Yucca Mountain was left out of the bill for a reason — it’s the only way Reid would allow it on the Senate floor.

“While I continue to support Yucca Mountain as a permanent repository site, I also recognize the current realities that make that outcome unlikely at this time,” Murkowski said.

Reid, in a statement to National Journal Daily, said he was open to considering the bill.

“I am pleased that this is a bipartisan effort and I look forward to learning more about the legislation as work on it continues,” Reid said. “Nevadans and all Americans need a nuclear waste policy that protects the health and safety of our nation. I am optimistic that we will finally have such a policy once the pro-Yucca zealots end their costly failed battle to dump nuclear waste in Nevada and join the bipartisan effort to solve this problem.”

Reid may have a stranglehold over any bills that mention Yucca Mountain in the Senate, but Republicans who control the House have no such constraints.

“We still believe that Yucca Mountain is the most viable solution to manage our nation’s nuclear waste and efforts to reopen this program should be included in any legislative solution,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said in a statement to NJ Daily. …source (http://www NULL.nti NULL.org/gsn/article/yucca-mountain-casts-long-shadow-over-nuclear-waste-bill-introduced-senate/)

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May 2, 2013   No Comments

DOE Helps Hanford Contractors Fight Whistleblowers

DOE Helps Hanford Contractors Fight Whistleblowers
by Sarah Damian – 30 April, 2013 – The Whistleblogger

The Department of Energy (DOE) has given contractors at the Hanford Nuclear Facility more than one million taxpayer dollars to pay for legal fees in the case against Hanford whistleblower Walt Tamosaitis. Tamosaitis, a former engineer at Hanford’s Waste Treatment Plant, revealed safety problems that ultimately led to changes in the plant’s design, but was reassigned to another post in retaliation. GAP spin-off organization Hanford Challenge brought the evidence of this shocking discovery to the media.

Tamosaitis has been a featured speaker on GAP’s American Whistleblower Tour. He spoke about his whistleblowing at Whitman College last fall, and will be appearing at Portland State University on May 22.

Key Quote: Today, the watchdog group Hanford Challenge obtained DOE documents that show contractors were eligible for nearly two million dollars in tax payer dollars to pay for legal fees to fight Tamosaitis’s case.

Hanford Challenge Executive Director Tom Carpenter said using government money to help multi-billion dollar companies fight charges from a respected whistleblower could discourage other employees from pointing out serious safety flaws.

Federal Circuit’s Decision Restores Cornerstone of Whistleblower Protection

Last Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in favor of GAP client Robert MacLean, a Federal Air Marshal who was terminated after alerting the public of an ill-conceived Transportation Security Administration (TSA) plan to remove Marshals from airline flights vulnerable to hijackings. The decision restores Whistleblower Protection Act rights for MacLean, and is being hailed as a major victory for federal whistleblowers. …more (http://www NULL.whistleblower NULL.org/blog/44-2013/2666-doe-helps-hanford-contractors-fight-whistleblowers-daily-whistleblower-news)

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May 1, 2013   No Comments