No Nuclear Waste! We Dont Want It!

‘Learning Curve’ as Rick Perry Pursues a Job He Initially Misunderstood

JANUARY 18, 2017

Rick Perry
Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas and the nominee for energy secretary, at Drumpf Tower in Manhattan in November. Photo by TODD HEISLER.


By CORAL DAVENPORT and DAVID E. SANGER
THE NEW YORK TIMES

WASHINGTON — When President-elect offered Rick Perry five weeks ago, Mr. Perry gladly accepted, believing he was taking on a role as a global ambassador for the American oil and gas industry that he had long championed in his home state.

In the days after, Mr. Perry, the former Texas governor, discovered that he would be no such thing — that in fact, if confirmed by the Senate, he would become the steward of a vast national security complex he knew almost nothing about, caring for the most fearsome weapons on the planet, the United States’ nuclear arsenal.

Read more at the New York Times website.

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This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. SEED Coalition is making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of ecological sustainability, human rights, economic democracy and social justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a "fair use" of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Senate committee postpones Zinke, Perry votes

01/23/17

BY DEVIN HENRY
The Hill

Rick Perry and Ryan Zinke
Photo by © Greg Nash

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has postponed a hearing to vote on two of President Drumpf’s Cabinet nominees.

The committee announced Monday afternoon that members would meet on Tuesday morning to consider Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) to be Interior secretary and Rick Perry’s nomination to lead the Department of Energy.

But on Monday night, the committee said the hearing would be postponed "until further notice."
Committee officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the reason for the change.

Zinke and Perry have not been considered especially controversial nominees. Even though Democrats peppered them with questions about climate change and other issues during confirmation hearings last week, the nominations haven’t garnered the same outspoken opposition as other Cabinet picks, such as Environmental Protection Agency nominee Scott Pruitt.

Even so, the postponement comes at a tense point in Senate deliberations on Drumpf’s nominees. The Senate confirmed only two Drumpf picks on Friday, the day he was sworn in, a slate of confirmations so scant it left Republicans fuming.

The Senate approved Drumpf’s CIA director nominee, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), on Monday night, but only after a protracted fight over surveillance delayed the nomination. Only 15 Democrats votes to confirm Pompeo.

Drumpf’s secretary of State pick, Rex Tillerson, cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Monday on a party line vote.

Fair Use Notice
This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. SEED Coalition is making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of ecological sustainability, human rights, economic democracy and social justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a "fair use" of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

DOE Seeks More Information on Private Interim Nuclear Waste Storage Facilities

10/31/2016

Sonal Patel
POWER Magazine

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a request for information to assess the future role of private consolidated interim storage facilities in the agency’s plans for an integrated nuclear waste management system.

The DOE noted in an October 27 notice published in the Federal Register that since it unveiled a strategy for the management and disposal of the nation’s spent nuclear fuel in January 2013, it has become aware of a number of private initiatives that have been established and could provide the DOE or utilities with interim storage facilities.

"[Private initiatives], although were not envisioned in the Administration’s Strategy, represent a potentially promising alternative to federal facilities for consolidated interim storage," the agency said.

The request for information seeks input on questions such as how private initiatives, as part of an overall integrated nuclear waste management system, would provide a "workable solution" for interim storage of spent nuclear waste and high-level waste.

It also questions what benefits or drawbacks such initiatives offer, compared to a federally financed capital project for a government-owned contractor-operated interim storage facility, which business models those initiatives would pursue, and how they would manage liabilities during the storage period.

The DOE’s request comes days after Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told attendees at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event that inaction on spent fuel management posed a "significant headwind for many decisions in the nuclear space."

The DOE’s planned integrated waste management system will include transportation, storage, and disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. It may include (among other elements) pilot interim storage facilities, initially focused on accepting spent nuclear fuel from shutdown reactor sites. It may also include full-scale, consolidated interim storage facilities that provide greater capacity and flexibility within the waste management system.

The DOE’s January 2013–released strategy document proposes a pilot facility for consolidated storage by 2021. That facility is to be followed by a larger storage facility by 2025, and then by a geologic repository for final disposition of used nuclear fuel by 2048.

At least two private sector players have proposed interim storage solutions to date. In April 2016, Waste Control Specialists LLC, with support from AREVA, submitted a license application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a consolidated interim storage facility in Andrews County, Texas.

Holtec International is also gearing up to submit safety documentation to the federal nuclear agency for a proposed consolidated interim storage facility in Southeast New Mexico.

Opposition to the Andrews County nuclear waste storage site, at least, is already mounting. On October 27, antinuclear groups Beyond Nuclear and Nuclear Information and Resource Service, citizen group Public Citizen, and environmental group SEED Coalition, called on the NRC to terminate its review of the license application.

"The groups are concerned that the ‘interim’ storage facility may become the de facto permanent home for the highly toxic waste," the groups said in a joint statement. "Given the long battle over Yucca Mountain, the groups have zero confidence that Congress or federal regulators would have the stomach for fighting to move the nuclear waste a second time from WCS or any other ‘interim’ site. And, with utilities totally off the hook and taxpayers footing the entire bill, those that generated the waste would have no incentive to ensure its safe disposal in a permanent geologic repository."

—Sonal Patel, associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel)

Fair Use Notice
This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. SEED Coalition is making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of ecological sustainability, human rights, economic democracy and social justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a "fair use" of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Statements on Radioactive Waste risks and NRC docketing the WCS application

The NRC announced today that they’ve docketed the application from Waste Control Specialists for a consolidated radioactive waste storage in Andrews, TX. The NRC will accept public comments on the scope of its Environmental Impact Statement for the application through March 13th.

SEED Coalition and Public Citizen will hold organizing meetings to help citizens prepare for the upcoming Feb. 13th and Feb. 15th NRC hearings to be held in Hobbs, New Mexico and Andrews, TX. Details are being finalized. An additional NRC hearing will be held the following week in Rockville, MD.

Karen Hadden, Director, Sustainable Energy & Economic Development (SEED) Coalition 512-797-8481, karendhadden@gmail.com:

"WCS" plan to import the most dangerous of all radioactive waste and dump it on poor communities on the Texas/New Mexico border represents environmental injustice and poses risks of accidents and terrorism and potential contamination along the transport routes throughout the country. The WCS location is close to the Ogallala Aquifer, the nation’s largest aquifer, that lies beneath eight states. A single train car load with dry casks of radioactive waste would contain as much plutonium as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The waste should remain secured in place until a scientfically viable isolation system for permanent disposal can be designed and built.

The Department of Energy (DOE) failed to come to Texas in 2016, but held nine meetings elsewhere around the country but failed to come to Texas or New Mexico – ground zero of where they want to dump high-level radioactive waste. Hundreds of people would likely turn out to oppose this dangerous plan if hearings were held in a major Texas city, but now NRC plans to only host meetings in small communities that stand to benefit economically, as well as have huge health and safety risks. The two agencies are trying to manufacture consent, but we do not consent to being dumped on."

Tom "Smitty" Smith, Public Citizen, 512-797-8468, smitty@citizen.org:

"This plan is all risk, not only for the states of Texas and New Mexico, but for the whole country and it should be halted immediately," said Tom "Smitty" Smith, director of Public Citizen’s Texas Office. "Why is our region being targeted to become the nation’s dumping ground for high-risk high-level radioactive waste? Putting this waste on our highways and railways invites disaster. Radioactive waste moving through highly populated cities across the country could be targeted for sabotage by terrorists." A state report, the Assessment of Texas’ High-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Options, says that "spent nuclear fuel is more vulnerable to sabotage or accidents during transport than in storage because there are fewer security guards and engineered barriers, and that the consequences could be higher since the waste could travel through large cities."

NRC to Review WCS Application, Announces Hearing Opportunity And Meetings on Scope of Environmental Review?

Nuclear Regulatory Commission – Press Release
No: 17-004 January 26, 2017
Contact: Maureen Conley, 301-415-8200

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has docketed and accepted for formal review an application from Waste Control Specialists to build and operate a spent nuclear fuel consolidated interim storage facility in Andrews, Texas. The NRC’s decision follows an acceptance review to determine whether the application contains sufficient information for the agency to begin its formal review.

WCS is seeking to store 5,000 metric tons uranium of spent fuel received from commercial nuclear power reactors across the United States.

The agency’s review will proceed on two parallel tracks – one on safety issues, the other on environmental issues. Both the safety and environmental reviews must be completed before the NRC makes a final licensing decision on the application.

The NRC’s Jan. 26 letter to WCS sets a schedule for its safety and environmental reviews, with a target of making a licensing decision by the third quarter of fiscal year 2019, assuming WCS provides high-quality responses, on schedule, to any NRC requests for additional information. The public will have 60 days from publication of a notice of docketing in the Federal Register, which will appear shortly, to submit requests for a hearing and petition to intervene in the licensing proceeding for the proposed facility. Details on how to submit those requests and petitions will be in the Federal Register notice.

The NRC will accept public comments on the scope of its Environmental Impact Statement through March 13. Details on how to submit those comments will be published shortly in the Federal Register and can be found below.

The NRC will hold two public meetings near the site of the proposed facility to take public comments on the scope of the environmental review. The meetings will be held

  • 7-10 p.m. Mountain Time, Feb. 13, at the Lea County Event Center, 5101 N. Lovington Highway, in Hobbs, N.M.
  • 7-10 p.m. Central Time, Feb. 15, at the James Roberts Center, 855 TX-176, in Andrews, Texas.

Anyone interested in attending or speaking is encouraged to pre-register by calling 301-415-6957 no later than three days prior to the meeting. The public may also register in person at each meeting. The time allowed for each speaker may be limited, depending on the number of registered speakers.

The NRC is also planning to hold additional scoping meetings at agency headquarters in Rockville, Md., during the week following the local meetings. Details are being finalized. Anyone interested in attending should check the NRC public meeting schedule for the dates and times.

Written comments on the EIS scope should refer to Docket ID NRC-2016-0231. Comments will be made publicly available and should not include identifying or personal information you do not wish to be disclosed. Comments can be filed via the federal rulemaking website; or by mail to Cindy Bladey, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: OWFN-12 H08, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.