Committed to shutting down Diablo Canyon reactors – sunset for nuclear power in California.

Monthly Archives: September 2017

We have a radioactive waste emergency! 

In addition to the threat of imminent burial of intensely radioactive waste on the beach in San Clemente, California, we also have a NATIONAL radwaste emergency….


As you probably know, the Trump administration’s goal is to deregulate industry, privatize essential government services and preempt local authority. 


Now legislation is being moved quickly through the U.S. House of Representatives to do just that to radioactive waste handling!  The bill, HR 3053, would preempt any local authority, prohibit oversight and authorize eminent domain over local resources such as water, etc. 

SanOnofreSafety.org has an excellent overview and analysis. 

Thousands of shipments of deadly radioactive waste would be moving on barges, railways and highways through our country for decades if this bill is passed.  Major disasters would be inevitable with each canister of waste containing the equivalent amount of radioactivity of a Chernobyl just in the cesium alone.

We need your help!  Please call your legislator’s office in the House of Representatives.  Get the right staffer for this bill and use the following talking points. 

The main goal at this point is to prevent an automatic vote on HR 3053 by putting the bill onto the ‘suspense calendar.’  An automatic vote would not allow for any discussion about these ultra crucial issues to the planet’s DNA.  We must demand that these issues be carefully debated!

WHAT YOU CAN DO – Calls Needed!  (Capitol Switchboard is (202)224-3121)

Oppose H.R. 3053:
This bill would provide funds and plans to restart the faulty Yucca Mountain project in Nevada. It would also begin the process and funding of “consolidated (centralized) interim storage” (CIS) facilities operated by private companies.  

The WCS site is being targeted for Andrews County, in West Texas and the Holtec/ Eddy Lea Energy Alliance site is targeted for a site between Hobbs and Carlsbad in Southeast New Mexico. 

Both the Yucca project and the proposed facilities would result in massive numbers of shipments of spent reactor fuel on the nation’s deficient railways, and deadly radioactive waste could be shipped to ports in Houston and Corpus Christi, and then be transported by train across Texas.

ACTIONS:

  • Contact your federal representative (Capitol Switchboard is (202)224-3121), urging him/her to oppose H.R.3053, or any legislation that calls for a Yucca Mt. re-start or construction of a CIS (Consolidated Interim Storage) facility, which would threaten the health and safety of people in Texas and New Mexico and along all transport routes throughout the country.  
  • PLEASE ALSO SAY: DO NOT CUT OFF DEBATE ON YUCCA MOUNTAIN AND WASTE STORAGE—ask your Representative to oppose putting H.R.3053 on the “SUSPENSION CALENDAR” H.R.3053 is a controversial bill—nuclear waste policy is controversial! Only non-controversial bills should be handled by automatic voting on the ‘suspension calendar.’
  • Tell your reps to SUPPORT “HOSS” –  Hardened OnSite Storage of high-level radioactive wastes at reactor sites as a better alternative until a permanent repository is ready.  Don’t move this stuff twice!
  • Make sure to add “comments” to any news accounts in print, online, or on radio/TV opposing Yucca and CIS funding and construction, and promoting HOSS instead.
  Not sure who represents you?  Go to https://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ and enter your zip code. 

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Nuclear Waste in the House!
A hearing on HR 3053 – the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017 was held Sept. 26, 2017  in the Interior, Energy & Environment Subcommittee, of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas chairs the subcommittee. 
Committee members – Republicans: Paul Gosar, AZ-4, Dennis Ross FL-15, Gary J. Palmer, AL-6, James Comer, KY-01, Greg Gianforte, MT.  Democrats: Stacey E. Plaskett, Virgin Islands, Jamie Raskin, MD-08, Jimmy Gomez, CA-34.   https://oversight.house.gov/subcommittee/interior/  
You can watch THE VIDEO online at:  https://oversight.house.gov/hearing/examining-americas-nuclear-waste-management-storage/  (There are other documents posted there including testimony)
Before going to the House floor, HR 3053 will go to the Armed Services Committee and Natural Resources Committee, where we hope the committees will fully consider the bill and not waive jurisdiction.  


What Wasn’t Talked About in the Hearing

Comments by Donna Gilmore – SanOnofreSafety.org

Some transport risks and economic costs were mentioned at the Oversight Hearing yesterday. However, members were misled into thinking the over 2400 existing U.S. nuclear fuel waste dry storage canisters are safely stored and present little or no storage risk unless there is an earthquake or other major disaster. That is not true.
No mention was made of the short-term risks of these ticking time bomb “Chernobyl” cans (each containing about as much highly radioactive Cesium-137 as was released from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster).
Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD) asked great questions, but did not receive good answers.
  • No mention these Chernobyl cans may already be cracking and are not being and cannot be inspected (inside or out), cannot be repaired, and cannot be maintained or monitored to PREVENT leaks.
  • No mention a two-year old Diablo Canyon canister has all the conditions for cracking. We don’t know if cracks have started, but the NRC says once a crack starts it can grow through the wall in about 16 years.
Here’s a list of U.S. dry storage containers and year first loaded in each state. 
Calvert Cliffs has some of the oldest thin-wall canisters (Areva NUHOMS), similar to those at San Onofre. The vendor (Areva) now wants the NRC to approve measuring peak radiation levels at only the inlet air vents of the concrete overpack the thin-wall canisters are stored in, even though they know the high levels from leaking canisters will be at the outlet air vents. It appears the nuclear industry’s real plan is to hide radiation leaks.
  • No mention these cans are not being stored in hardened buildings for needed environmental and security protection.  They would be out on pads, exposed.
  • No mention there is no plan in place to deal with leaking or potentially exploding canisters. No mention we likely need hot cells (helium filled buildings) to unload the canisters, but none are available on site and none are available elsewhere that are large enough to transfer fuel to another container. (They could be build though.)
  • No mention proposals for DOE and private interim storage sites do not address these issues, either.
  • No mention the NRC is still studying whether train vibrations will cause the commonly used  high burnup fuel components to fail in transport.
  • No mention the NRC recently approved a Holtec transport cask by ignoring NRC transport regulations that require no partial cracks in canisters and that require inspection of canister contents for damage before shipping.  Are these regulations eliminated?
  •  No mention Holtec transport license excludes approval for unloading the canister once it reaches the destination.
  • No mention a disaster at a facility or in transport can result in permanent evacuation of local communities and beyond.
  • No mention the NRC statement that nothing can go wrong once fuel is in dry storage is based on false assumptions.  See Sierra Club Comments to NRC regarding NRC proposed decommissioning regulations, NRC ML16082A004
  • No mention by David Victor that Southern California Edison (Tom Palmisano) admitted at the recent Community Engagement Panel (CEP) meeting for San Onofre that partially cracked canisters have no seismic safety rating and they don’t know if any of their existing canisters have cracks or how deep the cracks are. 
Victor also didn’t mention that the majority of public comments at the CEP meeting demanded thick-wall casks because they don’t have the safety problems of the thin-wall canisters.  Victor responded to Rep. Raskin’s question about community safety concerns by stating at the hearing that a minority of people concerned about the safety of the dry storage system are uninformed about the safety.  David Victor knows better. Did he just lie under oath? 
Please share the below short letter from California communities and this email with other elected officials in order to know the real community concerns and facts regarding H.R. 3053 and nuclear waste storage issues.
What is the solution? 
See this summary of problems and solutions and recommendations regarding H.R.3053.
Oversight Hearing video and testimony documents link.

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Why Not Yucca Mountain?
From the Nevada Nuclear Waste Task Force

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CALL TO ACTION on the proposed Shimkus Nuclear Waste Bill

From Mary Olson, NIRS (Nuclear Information and Resource Service)

The Nuclear Waste Bill HR 3053 in the US HOUSE is moving…there was a hearing this week (link to video above and below). The sponsor, Shimkus, of Illinois, wants to move the bill by the end of October. We need ACTION!

Here is the current ALERT from NIRS to send an email:

http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5502/blastContent.jsp –this is a simple email to the House action… At the very bottom of this email are links for MORE INFO.

We need a lot more than emails! Shimkus has stated that he wants to use a “suspension” rule that would cut off debate, and call the bill non-controversial. Please tell your US REP that Yucca and consolidated storage of nuclear waste is worthy of debate!

Please CALL your own US Representative and if you have a group that has a broader reach, please do CALL as many as possible—speak to STAFF who work on the issue. Get their email. Follow-up with written info (links and talking points below) directed specifically to them.

Capitol switchboard: 202-225-3121

VERY GOOD TALKING POINTS:

Ask your Rep to OPPOSE HR 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017

The staff are often people who do not know as much as you. Here are the basics:

HR 3053 would try to restart the Yucca Mountain site that was shut-down more than a dozen years ago because of the geology and rock-type. Yucca will fail to isolate waste and leak, and because the people of Nevada oppose it they have a robust set of issues waiting to litigate if the licensing of the site resumes. The total cost of the proposed site is $100 BILLION—and that is not likely to be spent under current budget constraints, so Yucca provides only the “illusion of a solution.”

The first step to a permanent site for this waste is to permanently cancel Yucca. Moving the deadly waste is dangerous and should be done only once. Most US House districts have one or more transport route (roads and rails used invariably ALSO go through major cities). See here for Report on Congress and Routes: http://www.state.nv.us/nucwaste/news2017/pdf/Congressional_Districts_Affected.pdf

(these are pretty much applicable to NM, TX and NV…but specific to Yucca)

See here for nuclear waste transport routes to NV NATIONAL Map:

http://www.state.nv.us/nucwaste/news2017/ymroutes17.png

See here for state-by-state maps:

http://www.state.nv.us/nucwaste/news2017/pdf/States_Affected.pdf

See here for maps of 20 key cities (detail):

http://www.state.nv.us/nucwaste/news2017/pdf/Cities_Affected.pdf

Anyone can say that nuclear waste transport is “safe” until it is not. One single container holds more cesium than several hundred atomic bombs, and on a par with the release from the Chernobyl reactor…which means catastrophic impacts in the local area where that would happen. The Department of Energy EIS for the Yucca project forecasts 4—6 major accidents over the decades of shipments it would take to move the existing waste to a site in the West. This waste should only be moved one time.

HR 3053 promotes moving the waste more than once by setting up multiple options for consolidated storage sites that would supposedly be temporary. However the bill removes many safety provisions in the current nuclear waste law, overrides state authority and would be a worse-deal for taxpayers. The bill would drop protections in current law that require a permanent site to be in operation before the federal government accepts ownership and liability from the corporations that made the waste. Under HR3053  the taxpayers could get stuck paying indefinitely for problems at sites intended to be temporary.

Many letters would be good to send to your HOUSE MEMBER’s staff.

ALSO: Letters to the editor of your print-press papers. The US House members look at the letters daily! Probably Twitter too…

MORE INFO / LINKS

Donna Gilmore’s resource page: https://sanonofresafety.org/

REPORT showing the congressional districts that have transport routes: 

http://www.state.nv.us/nucwaste/news2017/pdf/Congressional_Districts_Affected.pdf

(these are pretty much applicable to NM, TX and NV…but specific to Yucca)

See here for nuclear waste transport routes to NV NATIONAL Map:

http://www.state.nv.us/nucwaste/news2017/ymroutes17.png

See here for state-by-state maps:

http://www.state.nv.us/nucwaste/news2017/pdf/States_Affected.pdf

See here for maps of 20 key cities (detail):

http://www.state.nv.us/nucwaste/news2017/pdf/Cities_Affected.pdf

HOT CARGO Fact sheet on basics of nuclear transport:

https://www.nirs.org/wp-content/uploads/radwaste/hlwtransport/hotcargoupdate2013.pdf

NIRS Don’t Waste America (sub page on End Yucca, Stop CIS and Implement HOSS)

https://www.nirs.org/campaigns/dont-waste-america/

High-Level Waste fact sheet:

https://www.nirs.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Fact-Sheet_NuclearBasics_HLW_2017Final.pdf

Cosponsors list: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3053/cosponsors

Don’t Dump on Texas!

Karen Hadden – SEED Coalition

WHAT YOU CAN DO – Calls Needed!  
(Capitol Switchboard is (202)224-3121)

Oppose H.R. 3053:
This bill would provide funds and plans to restart the faulty Yucca Mountain project in Nevada. It would also begin the process and funding of “consolidated (centralized) interim storage” (CIS) facilities operated by private companies.  

The WCS site is being targeted for Andrews County, in West Texas and the Holtec/ Eddy Lea Energy Alliance site is targeted for a site between Hobbs and Carlsbad in Southeast New Mexico. 

Both the Yucca project and the proposed facilities would result in massive numbers of shipments of spent reactor fuel on the nation’s deficient railways, and deadly radioactive waste could be shipped to ports in Houston and Corpus Christi, and then be transported by train across Texas.

What You Can Do:

  • Contact your federal representative (Capitol Switchboard is (202)224-3121), urging him/her to oppose H.R.3053, or any legislation that calls for a Yucca Mt. re-start or construction of a CIS (Consolidated Interim Storage) facility, which would threaten the health and safety of people in Texas and New Mexico and along transport routes throughout the country.  
  • PLEASE ALSO SAY: DO NOT CUT OFF DEBATE ON YUCCA MOUNTAIN AND WASTE STORAGE—ask your Representative to oppose putting H.R.3053 on the “SUSPENSION CALENDAR” H.R.3053 is a controversial bill—nuclear waste policy is controversial!
  • Tell your reps to SUPPORT “HOSS” –  hardened onsite storage of high-level radioactive wastes at reactor sites as a better alternative. 
  • Make sure to add “comments” to any news accounts in print, online, or on radio/TV opposing Yucca and CIS funding and construction, and promoting HOSS instead.

  Not sure who represents you?  Go to https://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ and enter your zip code. 

Scores of groups oppose H.R. 3053!  

See the environmental coalition’s June 27, 2017 letter to the U.S. House of Representatives, here.

 





The Nation’s Nuclear Ecocide Brainworks – Mission Unconscionable
On it’s website it humbly bills itself as “The Smartest Place On Earth.” Actually, it may well be the dumbest and most self-deluded institution on the planet. 

Although it makes the Orwellian claim, “Our mission is to make the world a safer place,” Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Livermore, CA is arguably THE key research and development hub in America’s nuclear weapons industry.  It’s staff of ‘Best Minds’ works daily on ever more effective ways  of killing, maiming and genetically poisoning large masses of people, contaminating the environment for millennia, and very possibly destroying the planet. Mission Unconscionable.

Founded by the University of California in 1952, and funded by the Department of Energy (DOE), Livermore Lab is now run by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (LLNS), a partnership of the University of California, Bechtel, BWX Technologies, AECOM, and Battelle Memorial Institute in affiliation with the Texas A&M University System.

Resisters
Every August a coalition of organizations led by the Livermore-based Tri-valleyCARES.org and its indomitable Director Marylia Kelly, holds a rally, march and non-violent action at the Lab to commemorate the 1945 American (as we now know, militarily unnecessary) atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

This year the geopolitical context was unique in its combination of both heightened nuclear threat and post-nuclear possibilities.  Bellicose blustering by two thermonuclear monarchs was in stark contrast to the recent vote by 122 United Nations member countries to promote a treaty making the possession, use and threatened use of nuclear weapons illegal under international law.

From Hypocrisy to Insanity
Obama had began his presidency with his dramatic Prague Speech calling for the US to lead the world to “a world free of nuclear weapons.”  He ended his second term by approving a $1 Trillion upgrade program for the US nuclear weapons arsenal over the coming decades, including new nuclear weapons and production facilities, a violation of the terms of the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Former US officials like Senator Sam Nunn, ex-Sec. of State Charles Schultz and ex-Defense Secretary William Perry are warning that the move risks triggering a new global nuclear arms race, and liken the current threat of nuclear war to that at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

Trump has begun his White House tenure by threatening North Korea with “fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen.”  His proposed budget would boost federal spending on the production of nuclear weapons by more than $1 billion in 2018, while de-funding diplomacy, social programs and climate research.

According to the Arms Control Association, the world’s 9 nuclear-armed states have a combined total of approximately 15,000 nuclear weapons.  The US has about 6,800 total nuclear weapons—about 1,400 strategic weapons in ground-, air-, and sea-based missiles, and the remainder stockpiled or retired, and the Russian stockpile is about the same.  More than enough to destroy the world many time over.



Voices of Sanity in a Mad, M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction) World

Here is EON’s video coverage of this year’s Livermore Lab event,
Nuclear Abolition for Global Survival, held August 9, 2017.

Nuclear Abolition for Global Survival – The Movie
Advocacy in Action – A Rally, March & Non-Violent Action – Hiroshima Day – 2017

In a world rife with nuclear threats, on a day commemorating the anniversary of 1945 US atomic bombing of Japan, TriVallelyCARES Director Marylia Kelly, Hiroshima Survivor Takashi Tanemori, Anthropologist Barbara Rose Johnson, Cancer doctor Jan Kirsch, Asia historian Christine Hong and celebrated Pentagon whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, together with musicians Pat Humphries & Sandy O. Of ‘Emma’s Revolution Now’ and Daniel Zwickel inspire a spirited rally, march and dramatic peaceful protest action at the gates of Livermore Lab, California’s national atomic bomb shop.

The UN Nuclear Weapons Ban vs.CA’s Nuclear Bomb Factory – Marylia Kelly

Marylia Kelly, Director of TriValleyCARES.org, speaks at the August 9, 2017 rally and march outside Livermore Lab, CA;s nuclear bomb design center, commemorating the Atomic bombing of Japan.

How a Hiroshima Survivor Learned to Forgive – Takashi Tanemori

Hiroshima Survivor Takashi Tanemori speaks at the August 9, 2017 rally and march outside Livermore Lab, CA;s nuclear bomb design center, commemorating the Atomic bombing of Japan.

The Nuclear Legacy of the Marshall Islands – Barbara Rose Johnson

Anthropologist Barbara Rose Johnson speaks at the August 9, 2017 rally and march outside Livermore Lab, CA;s nuclear bomb design center, commemorating the Atomic bombing of Japan.

A Cancer Doctor’s View of Nuclear War – Jan Kirsch M.D.

Oncologist and Public Health doctor Jan Kirsch speaks at the August 9, 2017 rally and march outside Livermore Lab, CA;s nuclear bomb design center, commemorating the Atomic bombing of Japan.

The Suppressed History of North Korea – Christine Hong

Asian-American historian Christine Hong speaks at the August 9, 2017 rally and march outside Livermore Lab, CA;s nuclear bomb design center, commemorating the Atomic bombing of Japan.

A Former Pentagon Warplanner Against Nuclear War – Dan Ellsberg

Daniel Ellsberg whistleblower, former Pentagon war planner, disarmament advocate speaks at the August 9, 2017 rally and march outside Livermore Lab, CA;s nuclear bomb design center, commemorating the Atomic bombing of Japan.