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Help Stop Radioactive Waste Dump and Thousands of Dangerous Shipments Across the US

By John Laforge | CounterPunch | October 5, 2018

The private company Waste Control Specialists (WCS) or “Interim Storage Partners” wants to place a high-level radioactive waste dump site (called a “centralized interim storage facility”) in West Texas.

If approved, opening this high-level waste dump would launch nation-wide transports of a total of 40,000 tons of irradiated reactor fuel (misleadingly known as “spent” fuel), to Texas from all over the country. The shipments are to be by rail, highway, and floating barge (even on Lake Michigan!). The planned-for thousands of such transports create risks for nearly everyone in the United States, because the ferociously radioactive material would pass near schools, hospitals, businesses, and farms, would travel on and over lakes, rivers, and waterways, and go through areas where our food is grown and where families live, play and work. Amazingly, no public meetings on the subject are planned in Texas or elsewhere.

Act now to stop this dangerous nuclear waste dump

Environmental and community right-to-know groups are demanding: 1) public meetings in Texas and along transportation routes across the country; 2) a halt to these transport and dumping plans; and 3) uniform publication of application and related materials in Spanish.  You can add your voice to these urgent demands by writing to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on the license application by WCS until Oct. 19th.

Tell NRC: Listen to the people! No mass radioactive waste shipments to Texas.

Under WCS’s license application, the 40,000 tons of high-level waste from commercial power reactors could move on railroads, highways and even on waterways using barges for decades. Then, because the Texas site is supposedly “temporary,” after being shipped there the waste would have to be packed-up and transported again, to a “permanent” waste dump site — if one is ever approved. This means that new transportation and repackaging dangers will continue for additional decades.

For this reason, experts like D’Arrigo at NIRS and elsewhere recommend against any “interim” storage sites, and instead suggest storage on or near the reactors, until a permanent waste dump is opened.

The Texas region where WCS wants to store the waste (above-ground, and in the open) is prone to earthquakes, intense storms, extreme temperatures, and flooding. West Texas is not the place to store the most hazardous waste in the world.

Under the guise of “managing” this deadly waste from nuclear power reactors, the centralized temporary storage plan would make the problem worse, changing the country forever by ushering in an era of intensely deadly reactor waste transports everywhere, moving regularly through our major cities and rural communities.

Yet, the United States NRC does not want to fully consider the impacts of repeatedly transporting radioactive waste to or from the supposedly “temporary” site. Please tell the NRC to hold public meetings, to extend the comment and intervention deadlines, and to fully consider all the dangers from high-level waste storage and transport in the WCS Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

You can email: WCS_CISF_EIS@nrc.gov.

A sample letter you could submit is available here.

October 5, 2018 - Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular |

1 Comment »

  1. The problem can be summed up in a paragraph or two. Spent fuel rods have been immersed in, on site, cooling ponds waiting for a final repository. All the ponds, across the USA, have reached their capacity limit and now, the spent rods must, be moved to final burial. The industry has no option here and the NRC, no say in the matter. We all know the expression, you can’t fit six pounds of potatoes in a five pound bag. By this I mean, the temporary pools are at full capacity, and do indeed overheat at times due to excessive neutron activity (temporarily attenuated) by adding soluble boron into the pools (an industry no-no) but it’s done anyway..

    The French have a good deal of know how in this area, and (I believe) have chosen the borosilicate glass encapsulation of highly radioactive material that is then, sealed in five inch thick stainless steel containers. The containers are then placed into solid rock at a location remote from agricultural areas and underground water tables. Rest assured that the French wine growers keeps a scrupulous eye on their nuclear industry!

    The bulk transportation of low and medium level wastes cannot be significantly reduced however there are novel ways to reduce the quantity of high level waste destined for permanent storage. The process of nuclear transmutation, although novel and purely experimental, can “kill two birds with one stone” For example; old nuclear weapons, such as the Genie class gravity bombs, once active during the late 1950’s to the 1960’s, can be detonated (underground) and in close proximity to intensely radioactive spent fuel rods. By converting the Genie weapons into neutron bombs, the detonation would change the nuclear chemistry of the rods into much more manageable and less radioactive fission products. This is a practical solution on two fronts; the Genies would not require costly dismantling for plutonium extraction and the HEU fission products from commercial power plants would be, literally by an Alchemy of sorts, be converted to lower level waste and thus have shorter half lives in burial.

    Comment by elmerfudzie | October 6, 2018 | Reply


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