Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Citizens of Texas concerned about dangers of nuclear waste transport and dumping

 

Public Citizen, SEED ask for input on nuclear waste site https://www.oaoa.com/news/business/article_85d89190-e9f6-11e8-a78f-fbf0d8a1b844.html November 16, 2018 , By Royal McGregor rmcgregor@oaoa.com    Members of Public Citizen and Sustainable Energy and Economic Development have encouraged the public to voice their opinion on nuclear waste traveling through the state of Texas and being dumped in Andrews County.

In 2017, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission accepted Waste Control Specialists’ application to begin an interim storage facility for nuclear waste at an Andrews County dump.

The public can submit their opinion to the NRC at nonuclearwaste.org. The deadline for comments is midnight on Monday.

WCS initially hoped to break ground in 2020, but that timeline has been pushed back due to a change in ownership. The license decision from the NRC could be made as early as 2020 and according to NRC spokesperson David McIntyre, the NRC is currently working on an environmental safety and security reviews that won’t be completed until the fall of 2019.

In March, Orano, a French company specializing in nuclear power and renewable energy, and WCS formed a joint venture to license the interim storage facility.

Public Citizen and SEED have intervened in that license application citing a variety of hazards in transporting and storing that nuclear waste. Seven of the eight radioactive waste sites that have been proposed over the last 40 years in Texas have been stopped — the only one to pass is in Andrews County.

“There’s no benefit to Texas taking the nation’s high-level radioactive waste,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith, who was the former director of Public Citizen. “This is waste that nobody else wants that other states have said, ‘We don’t want it in our borders.’ It’s waste that people who live around nuclear reactors have organized to politically to send it somewhere else.

“Here in Texas it’s believed because of former governor (Rick) Perry and because Andrews County said, ‘we would like bring this waste to us,’ that somehow we have expressed consent. More than five million people that live in cities have expressed their opposition.”

SEED Director Karen Hadden said one of the reasons behind submitting opinions online is due to the lack of public meetings by the NRC. There was one meeting in Andrews that took place in 2017, one public meeting in Hobbs, N.M. and two meetings were in Rockville, Md.

McIntyre said after the environmental safety and security reviews is completed in 2019, the NRC will return to Texas for the public to voice opinions and concerns.

The interim storage facility could hold up to 40,000 tons of irradiated nuclear reaction fuel over the life of the 40-year permit. There are no restrictions on how many times WCS could renew its permit.

Hadden is concerned the interim nuclear waste site could stay permanently.

“We risk the waste could stay forever,” Hadden said.

The current application states the nuclear waste would be transported by railroads.

Yet, Dallas, San Antonio and Midland have already opposed the transport of nuclear waste in and around the city

Activist attorney Terry Lodge, who resides in Toledo, Ohio, said over the phone there’s an interim storage already in place — onsite storage.

Lodge continued to explain on a daily basis, it’s overseen by the NRC. It means there’s an alternative that’s taking place instead of the plan to ship everything to the middle of the desert — in some instances thousands of miles — through cities and risk accident, sabotage or terrorism.

“A lengthy petition has been filed to intervene rising 14 various technical points including objections to the legality and odd financing scheme that’s being proposed by WCS when there’s no federal law even allows it,” Lodge said.

The concern also arises when the nuclear waste is transported through neighbors.

Adrian Shelley, current Public Citizen director, said over last several weeks the company used EJSCREEN to look at communities along Class I rail routes across Texas. EJSCREEN can see age, race, education level, income level and language along rail routes.

Shelley said some of the urban areas along those routes have as high as 90 percent of minority residents and in other areas that number is closer to 70 percent. A majority of the people that live along these rail routes don’t speak English, Spanish being the most common.

Lodge said there are also safety concerns for thousands of trips — 3,000 minimum — and there are some Department of Energy policies under consideration that would double, triple or quadruple the number of shipments because of the need to reload the fuel rods into smaller canisters, so they could ultimately be disposed in a geological repository.

“It’s a massive transportation campaign, increasing risk with the number of trips and potential for a serious accident in transit that could have effects according to federal agencies as far as 50 miles downwind,” Lodge said.

Smith added that a 10-year survey from the U.S. Department of Transportation website discovered there have been more than 10,000 railroad accidents in Texas. Many of those involved hazardous cargos. During that 10-year period of time, 25 of the cars carrying hazardous materials had some sort of rupture or leak.

Smith said a report submitted that’s part of the Yucca Mountain licensing process stated an accident could cost $3.5 to $45 billion if the casks were penetrated, but not perforated. If there was a sabotage event and the casks were fully perforated, the cleanup costs could be somewhere between $300 and $648 billion dollars.

“The risk of a train accident is not insignificant,” he said.

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November 19, 2018 - Posted by | General News

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