[ RadSafe ] Nevada seeks to nix govt nuclear waste storage plan

Sandy Perle sandyfl at earthlink.net
Fri Dec 22 12:32:06 CST 2006


Nevada seeks to nix govt nuclear waste storage plan
Dungeness nuclear reactors set for shutdown 
Canada eyes nuclear power to boost Alberta oil sands production 
NRC: Nuclear workers fear retribution
Spent nuclear fuel brings millions to Russia
Fire at Hokkaido reactor; no radiation leak, casualties
Radiation fear with missing NW cargo
Baby mistakenly put through airport X-ray machine

Nevada seeks to nix govt nuclear waste storage plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The state of Nevada on Friday asked the 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission to reject the U.S. government's plan to 
store thousands of tons of nuclear waste temporarily above ground at 
a mountain located about 90 miles from Las Vegas. 
The Energy Department is set to file an application with the NRC in 
mid 2008 for a license to operate the Yucca Mountain permanent 
nuclear storage repository in Nevada, which would hold radioactive 
waste underground from more than 100 nuclear power plants, along with 
the tons of leftovers from the U.S. nuclear weapons program.

The permanent storage site is years behind schedule and until it is 
ready, the department wants to place the nuclear waste temporarily 
above ground.

Nevada has vehemently opposed Yucca Mountain becoming the country's 
nuclear waste dump, but has been overruled by the U.S. Congress. 
Blocking above ground interim storage at the site would delay the 
eventual arrival of any radioactive waste put permanently inside 
Yucca Mountain.

Nevada says it is worried the radioactive waste could linger at the 
allegedly temporary surface site for decades, pointing out that the 
21,000 tons of waste that might be stored above ground is seven times 
the amount of waste the permanent underground storage facility would 
be able to receive each year if it is finally opened.

In a petition to the NRC, Nevada said federal law specifically 
prohibits large interim storage in the state as long as it is the 
location for the country's permanent nuclear waste repository.

"Planned storage of seven times the annual emplacement rate at Yucca 
Mountain is nothing more than an unlawful interim storage site in 
embarrassingly thin disguise," said Bob Loux, executive director of 
the Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects.

Nevada asked the NRC to restrict the time any radioactive waste could 
be stored above ground to no more than 12 months.

"I can see the need for some limited storage capacity at a site to 
support operations, and that is why, in this petition, we are 
proposing that the commission's licensing rule limit surface storage 
at the site to a time period of no more than one year," Loux said.

Yucca Mountain originally was to open in 1998 but has been delayed 
until at least 2017 due to scientific foul-ups and political 

Nuclear waste sits at 131 temporary locations in 39 states, including 
the 103 nuclear reactors where it is produced.

There are currently about 54,000 metric tons of waste from civilian 
nuclear plants and 13,300 metric tons of U.S. military waste. Every 
year, the civilian waste stockpile grows by about 2,000 metric tons.

Nuclear reactors set for shutdown  
The power station site sits right on the shingle foreland at 

For more than 40 years one of the UK's first generation of nuclear 
power stations has had an ominous presence on the Kent coast. 
While members of the anti-nuclear lobby have spoken of getting "bad 
vibes" from Dungeness A, many residents who live in its shadow have 
praised its impact on the local economy. 

But now the plant's two reactors are due to be shut down on New 
Year's Eve. 

A timetable of de-fuelling, demolition and site clearance will then 
swing into action, but decommissioning a nuclear power station is a 
lengthy process. 

It can take at least 70 years for remnants of radioactive material to 
degrade to a safe level, although suggested new working methods mean 
the 91-hectare (0.91-sq-km) site could be fully cleared by the early 

Construction began on Dungeness A in 1960, with electricity 
generation following five years later. 

The reactor vessels and other buildings are surrounded by an expanse 
of shingle beach on the southern tip of the Romney Marsh area of 

Typically for any development concerning nuclear power, it has had an 
equal share of supporters and detractors over its 41-year lifetime. 

Louisa Whenday, Dungeness Residents' Association 
Site director Nick Gore, who is overseeing the winding down 
programme, said: "We have never had any significant safety event 
that's either harmed any member of staff or affected the community in 
any negative way. 

"To be able to generate electricity for 40 years in a nuclear power 
station without causing any harm to people or the environment is 
actually a fantastic achievement." 

But nuclear protesters, like Friends of the Earth campaigner Barry 
Botley, have made their voices heard outside the perimeter fences for 

"I just get a feeling when I look at it, I feel bad vibes from it, I 
don't like being too close to it," Mr Botley said. 

The power station has now become a recognised part of the Dungeness 

Louisa Whenday, secretary of the Dungeness Residents' Association, 
said: "To be honest, everyone is so used to seeing it, they'd miss 

"We recently had a survey on what people would like done with the 
site of A once it's cleared and de-licensed, and the largest number 
of people said a new power station." 

Local people and businesses will be consulted by the landowner, the 
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), on new developments at the 

But nothing major is likely to happen until 2021 at the earliest, by 
which time all the buildings except the reactor containment vessels 
will have been removed. 

A spokesman for British Nuclear Group (BNG), which runs Dungeness A, 
said: "Quite a large part of the site will be freed up. 

"The footprint of the two reactor buildings is relatively small 
compared to the rest of the site... and you can work around that." 
The cost of decommissioning the plant, opened in 1965, is £1.2bn 
He said the vast majority of radioactive material - more than 95% - 
would be removed by 2009. 

But some remains in the reactors themselves, and therefore the final 
site clearance and closure is some way off. 

It is currently scheduled for 2111, but advances in decommissioning 
techniques mean it could happen within 25 years. 

Any remaining radioactivity has historically required at least 70 
years to degenerate to a level considered safe enough for workers to 
enter and demolish the reactors. 

The NDA said the government had accepted in theory that robotic 
methods could be used, but a decision will not be made until 2007 on 
whether the Dungeness A decommissioning time frame can be reduced 
from 100 years to 25. 

The New Year's Eve closure involves the press of a button, with each 
reactor being shut down several hours apart. 

The plant was originally intended to generate power for 25 years, but 
that was ultimately extended by more than half. 

Its nuclear neighbour, British Energy-owned Dungeness B, which opened 
in 1983, also recently had its lifetime extended from 2008 to 2018. 

In July this year, the government announced it was in favour of the 
UK having a new generation of nuclear power stations, in order to 
secure future energy supplies and cut carbon emissions.

Canada eyes nuclear power to boost Alberta oil sands production 

OTTAWA (AFP) - Canada will likely use nuclear power to feed its 
booming Alberta oil patch, which needs large amounts of energy to 
produce oil to export, Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn told 
"It's not a question of if, it's a question of when in my mind," Lunn 
told the Canadian newspaper chain Sun Media. "I think nuclear can 
play a very significant role in the oil sands. I'm very, very keen."

"It's absolutely emission free. It's CO2 free," he said. "On this 
specific file, I've had discussions this week."

A spokeswoman in his ministry told AFP she could not elaborate on 
Lunn's comments.

At an estimated 179 billion barrels, Canada's oil sands rank second 
behind Saudi Arabia in petroleum reserves. However, due to high 
extraction costs, the deposits were long neglected, except by local 

While crude is pumped from the ground, oil sands must be mined and 
bitumen separated from the sand and water.

Since 2000, skyrocketing crude prices and improved extraction 
technology have persuaded several foreign companies to invest 
billions of dollars in projects.

Oil sands production is expected to continue climbing to 3.5 million 
barrels per day by 2015, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation 
and Development said in its annual report in June.

But a government environmental audit released in September found the 
oil patch, already Canada's worst polluter, would also double its 
harmful greenhouse gas emissions by then.

Lunn said he believes nuclear power could replace natural gas and 
other fossil fuels now burned to help extract bitumen from the oil 
sands, suggesting Atomic Energy of Canada would partner with an oil 
company to build a reactor.

But, the plan provoked concern from oil companies over the high cost 
of building a reactor and from environmentalists wary of nuclear 
power as a panacea to fight global warming.

NRC: Nuclear workers fear retribution

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Some workers at a nuclear power plant complex 
just north of New York City are reluctant to raise safety concerns 
because they fear retribution, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said 
During an inspection of the Indian Point complex in September, "We 
found out that there were workers who perceived that they would be 
treated negatively by management for raising issues and consequently 
some of the workers expressed reluctance to raise issues under 
certain circumstances," said NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan.

"We refer to it as a chilling effect, a situation when workers do not 
feel comfortable raising safety concerns," Sheehan said.

An NRC report was sent Thursday to Indian Point owner Entergy Nuclear 
Northeast criticizing Entergy for not acting on "chilling" issues 
raised last year and earlier this year.

Entergy issued a statement saying managers at Indian Point, about 30 
miles north of New York City, would discuss the report with workers 
and get their opinions on how to "reinforce a culture that encourages 
all workers to raise issues with management and not feel hesitant 
about it."

Spent nuclear fuel brings millions to Russia and turns it into 
radioactive dump  
The shipment of enriched uranium from Germany to Russia has recently 
made headlines in many Russian newspapers. Officials said, however, 
that it was a routine work that decreased the risk of nuclear weapons 
proliferation. On the other hand, the subject of uranium 
transportation catches terrorists´ attention. To make matters worse, 
nuclear garbage endangers the ecological security on the entire 

The delivery of over 300 kilos of high-grade enriched uranium from 
Germany to Russia was a part of the program to reduce the risk of 
nuclear proliferation. On May 27, 2004 Russia and the USA signed a 
document titled "The Initiative to Reduce Global Threat." The 
agreement stipulates cooperation between the two countries to return 
the nuclear fuel of research reactors to the Russian Federation at 
the mediation of the IAEA. 

For the time being, the high-grade enriched uranium of US or Russian 
production is used in research reactors of 40 countries. It goes 
about the spent nuclear fuel that was delivered to nuclear centers of 
many countries which maintained close links with the USSR. For 
example, the above-mentioned cargo of 300 kilos of uranium was 
delivered to Germany from the Soviet Union in the 1990s within the 
scope of a bilateral agreement between the USSR and the German 
Democratic Republic (GDR). 

The program gives Russia an opportunity to contribute to the struggle 
against the proliferation of nuclear weapons and receive considerable 
income from it. The returned nuclear fuel will be process to low-
grade uranium that will subsequently be used for the production of 
fuel elements for nuclear reactors. 

In 2004 Libya returned 16 kilos of enriched uranium-235 to Russia. 
The USSR sent the fuel to Libya in the middle of the 1980s. 

About 186 kilograms of enriched uranium have already been delivered 
to Russia from Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Libya, Uzbekistan, Latvia 
and the Czech Republic. Sixteen shipments of spent nuclear fuel are 
to be conducted during the forthcoming four years. 

The recent delivery of 300 kilos of uranium from Germany has given 
rise to many rumors saying that Russia is becoming a radioactive 
dump. This is a very serious problem indeed, although one should not 
mix up such notions as "unspent enriched uranium" and "nuclear 

The nuclear industry counts 60 years of history. However, none of 34 
countries using nuclear energy in their economies know the answer to 
the problem of nuclear wastes. The spent nuclear fuel maintains its 
radioactive capacity for up to 240 thousand years. This fuel needs to 
be isolated from the Earth´s biosphere. Burying the wastes deep under 
the ground has become the only solution of the problem nowadays. 
However, earthquakes or other natural disasters may break the 
isolation and 12,000 future generations may find themselves in 
serious danger. Millions of tons of radioactive wastes will be 
accumulated underneath the Earth´s surface.

Fire at Hokkaido reactor; no radiation leak, casualties

SAPPORO - A small fire took place Friday morning at a reactor in 
Hokkaido but no radiation leaks or injuries were reported in the 
incident, Hokkaido Electric Power Co said. 

The fire was put out by a fire extinguisher after it broke out at 
around 11 a.m. and burned a vinyl sheet in the turbine building of 
the No. 2 reactor of Hokkaido Electric's Tomari nuclear power plant 
in the village of Tomari, the Hokkaido prefectural government said. 
Both the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors of the Tomari plant are 579,000-
kilowatt pressurized-water reactors.

Radiation fear with missing NW cargo

Police are on alert after a canister holding 61kg of dangerous 
radioactive material went missing between Perth and Dampier. 
The 52cm-long canister contains Americium-Beryllium, used to search 
for minerals, oil and gas. Schlumberger Oilfield Services had 
imported it from the US to use in Dampier. 
Health Department acting director-general Simon Towler said the 
silver canister emitted a low dose of radiation and people needed to 
stay at least five metres from it, but he claimed it did not pose a 
hazard while in its shipping package. 
Dr Towler said freight company Toll was supposed to transport the 
canister to Dampier on November 18 and Schlumberger staff raised the 
alarm when it did not arrive. 
"There is no suggestion of foul play but police have been helping 
with the investigation since the Schlumberger radiation safety 
officer notified the (Health) department last Friday," he said. 
The State Security Investigation Group and local police have been 
searching for the dangerous consignment. 
Dr Towler said police had told him the canister did not contain the 
sort of material terrorists were interested in. "It cannot be used to 
create a bomb . . . it´s not explosive material," he said. "But 
radioactive material is by its nature dangerous." 
A Toll spokeswoman said she was confident the canister was not lost 
while "in the care, custody or control of Toll".  

Baby mistakenly put through airport X-ray machine

LOS ANGELES - A woman mistakenly put her 1-month-old grandson through 
an X-ray machine at Los Angeles International Airport, authorities 

A startled security worker noticed the shape of a child on the carry-
on baggage screening monitor and immediately pulled him out, the Los 
Angeles Times reported for a story in today's editions.

The infant was taken to a local hospital, where doctors determined he 
did not receive a dangerous dose of radiation.

"This was an innocent mistake by an obviously inexperienced 
traveler," said Paul Haney, deputy executive director of airports and 
security for the city's airport agency.

The incident happened early Saturday, airport officials said.

Haney said in 1988, an infant in a car seat went through an X-ray 
machine at LAX.

Sandy Perle
Senior Vice President, Technical Operations
Global Dosimetry Solutions, Inc.
2652 McGaw Avenue
Irvine, CA 92614 

Tel: (949) 296-2306 / (888) 437-1714  Extension 2306
Fax:(949) 296-1144

E-Mail: sperle at dosimetry.com
E-Mail: sandyfl at earthlink.net 

Global Dosimetry Website: http://www.dosimetry.com/ 
Personal Website: http://sandy-travels.com/ 

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