Lethal High-Level Waste

Background

No High-Level Waste To New Mexico

No Nuclear Waste
Photo Courtesy of No Nuclear Waste Aqui

"The most toxic and dangerous type of radioactive waste created by the nuclear industry"

This is waste generated by nuclear power plants called 'high-level radioactive waste' (HLW), also known as 'spent' or 'irradiated' fuel. This waste contains plutonium, uranium, strontium, and cesium; and will be radioactive for millions of years.

It is not like the waste currently stored at the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP) or any other waste site that exists today in the U.S.: it is far worse.

Two companies are proposing to build waste facilities near Carlsbad and Hobbs for the most toxic and dangerous type of radioactive waste created by the nuclear industry.

Holtec International is working with the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance, LLC (ELEA) to apply for a license to build a Consolidated Interim Storage (CIS) facility approximately halfway between Carlsbad and Hobbs, and 16 miles north of WIPP.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has declared the Holtec/ELEA application complete, NRC initiated a public comment period with 60 days for public comment. Note that transport of this waste poses risks to the environment and all life located near transportation routes.

Holtec proposal:

  • New CIS facility to store 100,000 metric tons of HLRW, with the potential to increase to 120,000 metric tons for 120 years
  • Shallow sub-surface burial system

New Mexicans and Texans are fighting the attempted licensing of these two proposed CIS facilities - Waste Control Specialists near Andrews, Texas and Eddy Lee/Holtec International east of Carlsbad, New Mexico.

These sites and any transport to these sites are not only dangerous but environmentally unjust. These sites present clear examples of environmental racism.

New Mexico's demographic is largely Latino. There are many communities of color, especially in the southern part of the state where the sites are being proposed. People of color would be disproportionately affected if the Eddy Lee/Holtec CIS site were licensed and constructed.

New Mexico and Texas do not consent to either proposed CIS facility and are fighting to avoid the environmental injustice and the unnecessary shipment of irradiated high-level nuclear waste through their communities.

NRC Environmental Report

Here's the Federal Register Notice

Consolidated Interim Storage Handout

A Better Option: Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS)

Hardened On-Site Storage

Overview

Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS) is a community-based concept that aims to protect the public from the threats posed by the current vulnerable storage of commercial irradiated fuel.


History

For decades, high level radioactive waste has accumulated at reactor sites and continues to do so as nuclear reactors generate more waste. Without a credible plan to permanently isolate it, storage pools, where irradiated nuclear waste is currently stored until it becomes less hot, have been tightly packed and re-racked to accommodate all the waste.

Unfortunately, the pools and dry casks have no robust containment. If the cooling pumps stopped operating or the water in the pools drained out, temperatures would quickly increase, as happened in Fukushima Japan, and could result in a similar disaster.

cask storage at reactor sites
Current dry cask storage at reactor sites (pictured above) is extremely vulnerable. There is often nothing more than a chain-link fence and a short distance that separates the highly radioactive waste containers and public access.

Establishing interim hardened on-site storage (HOSS) is a top priority. Hardened on-site storage allows waste generators to store high level waste as close to the site of generation as possible, thereby exposing fewer people to radiation, as safely as possible.

Rather than storing dozens of vulnerable dry-casks next to each other in the open air, the HOSS Principles established by concerned citizens mandate:

  • Irradiated fuel must be stored as safely as possible as close to the site of generation as possible;
  • HOSS facilities must not be regarded as a permanent waste solution, and thus should not be constructed underground and the waste must be retrievable;
  • The facility must have real-time radiation and heat monitoring for early detection of problems with containers;
  • The overall objective of HOSS should be that the amount of releases projected in even severe attacks should be low enough that the storage system would be unattractive as a terrorist target;
  • Placement of individual canisters that makes detection difficult from outside the site boundary.

Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS) is supported by organizations in all 50 states. The Principles of Securing Nuclear Waste at Nuclear Reactor Sites are posted here. It would provide better security at reactor sites with robust dry storage and community oversight, including real-time monitoring of heat and radiation. HOSS is rooted in values of community protection and environmental justice and will provide increased protection from human or natural disasters, like terrorist attacks and earthquakes

HOSS facilities are not permanent waste solutions, and therefore should not be constructed deep underground as the waste must be retrievable. However, they are a workable solution that will allow us to explore scientifically sound, and socially and environmentally just long-term management systems.

Nuclear Power Has No Place in a Green Energy uture

Because of: Time Delay, Success of Renewables, Huge Costs, Dangers, Weapons Connection, and Wastes

from Yahoo News, 21 Oct 21, ”…….Practical concerns also temper enthusiasm for a nuclear future. The next generation of reactors, heralded as a game changer by supporters, still haven’t been proven in the real world. Even if those technologies are as revolutionary as advertised, skeptics say it could take decades before they make a real difference in the global energy grid — too long if the worst outcomes of climate change are to be avoided.

Renewable energy technologies can be enough on their own

“The drawbacks to nuclear are compounded by the burgeoning success of renewables — both solar and wind are getting cheaper and more efficient, year after year. There is also a growing realisation that a combination of renewables, smart storage, energy efficiency and more flexible grids can now be delivered at scale and at speed — anywhere in the world.” — Jonathon Porritt, Guardian

The world doesn’t have time to wait for next-gen nuclear

“When it comes to averting the imminent effects of climate change, even the cutting edge of nuclear technology will prove to be too little, too late. Put simply, given the economic trends in existing plants and those under construction, nuclear power cannot positively impact climate change in the next ten years or more.” — Allison Macfarlane, Foreign Affairs

A major ramp-up in nuclear technologies isn’t economically feasible

“While nuclear power may have once been cheaper than wind or solar, the economics have since changed dramatically. Nuclear power plants are very expensive to build and the economics of nuclear power are getting steadily worse. By contrast, renewables continue to come down in price.” — Ian Lowe, Conversation

There’s no way to guarantee that nuclear plants will be safe

“People around the world have witnessed the Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents. It is more than enough to believe that a safe nuclear power plant is nothing but a myth.” — Jang Daul, Korea Times

More nuclear power could lead to more nuclear weapons

“Some nations — India and Pakistan, and in all probability Israel — became nuclear powers after originally seeking nuclear technology for research or to develop nuclear power. … This is important: The technology used to turn on lights or charge mobile phones shouldn’t need to involve national or international defence apparatus.” — Editorial, Nature

Nuclear waste is still a major problem

“Nuclear waste lasts for hundreds of thousands of years before they are half-decayed. Our United States government — perhaps the longest continuous government in the world — is only 232 years old. Who will be around to manage uranium wastes?” — David Ross, Courier-Journal

Atomic Histories & Nuclear Testing

LANL’s Central Mission: Los Alamos Lab officials have recently claimed that LANL has moved away from primarily nuclear weapons to “national security”, but what truly remains as the Labs central mission? Here’s the answer from one of its own documents:

LANL’s “Central Mission”- Presented at: RPI Nuclear Data 2011 Symposium for Criticality Safety and Reactor Applications (PDF) 4/27/11

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NukeWatch Compilation of the DOE/NNSA FY 2020 Budget Request – VIEW

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LANL FY 2020 Budget Request – VIEW

Sandia FY 2020 Budget Request – VIEW

Livermore Lab FY 2020 Budget Chart – Courtesy TriValley CAREs – VIEW

Updates

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Click the image to view and download this large printable map of DOE sites, commercial reactors, nuclear waste dumps, nuclear transportation routes, surface waters near sites and transport routes, and underlying aquifers. This map was prepared by Deborah Reade for the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability.

Nuclear Watch Interactive Map – U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex

Waste Lands: America’s Forgotten Nuclear Legacy

The Wall St. Journal has compiled a searchable database of contaminated sites across the US. (view)
Related WSJ report: https://www.wsj.com

NUCLEAR POWER

Important Documents & Articles Related to Nuclear Energy Production

Most Recent

Energy Department Nominee Shifts on Yucca Mountain Question

“The administration will not be pursuing Yucca Mountain as a solution for nuclear waste, and I am fully supportive of the president’s decision and applaud him for taking action when so many have failed to do so,” [Mark] Menezes told Cortez Masto.

BY GARY MARTIN | reviewjournal.com
Energy Department Nominee Shifts on Yucca Mountain Question
A contractor walks into the south portal of Yucca Mountain during a congressional tour near Mercury on Saturday, July 14, 2018. (Chase Stevens Las Vegas Review-Journal @csstevensphoto)

WASHINGTON — Mark Menezes, the nominee for deputy secretary of the Energy Department, on Wednesday clarified remarks he made in February, saying the Trump administration has no plans to use Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste storage site.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., pressed Menezes during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, asking for a clarification.

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Raytheon to close ABQ site

Raytheon Technologies Corp. is shutting down operations at the Sandia Science and Technologies Park in southeast Albuquerque, where the company employs about 200 people.

BY KEVIN ROBINSON-AVILA | abqjournal.com
Raytheon Technologies is closing its facility at Sandia Science and Technologies Park in Albuquerque and laying off some of its 200 local employees. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Raytheon’s Albuquerque operations will be transferred to other company facilities outside of New Mexico, company spokesperson Heather Uberuaga told the Journal Tuesday.

“After careful and deliberate consideration, Raytheon Technologies has chosen to close the company’s Albuquerque facility and relocate support for key capabilities and customer programs to our other facilities around the country,” Uberuaga wrote in an email.

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North Korea is advancing its nuclear program and increasing illicit trade, new UN report says

North Korea is advancing its nuclear program and increasing illicit trade in new and more opaque ways, according to a 267-page U.N. report that provides surveillance photos and new evidence.

PAMELA FALK | cbsnews.com

The annual report, produced by sanctions monitors called the “Panel of Experts,” is a product of the U.N. Security Council. The purpose of the report is to offer recommendations on how to hold North Korea accountable for skirting restrictions imposed by U.N. sanctions since 2006, that are designed to curtail the nation’s nuclear weapons program.

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There’s a new world super-villain (COVID-19), it’s time for nuclear disarmament

 | diggers.news

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, second from right, inspects the preparation of the launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in North Korea’s northwest. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

THE Associated Press (AP) this week reported that a barrage of North Korean missiles fired from both the ground and fighter jets splashed down on the waters off the peninsular’s east coast on Tuesday. AP further reports that North Korea also launched several Sukhoi-class fighter jets that fired an unspecified number of air-to-surface missiles toward the North’s eastern waters. According to a South Korean defence official, North Korea seems to be resuming its military drills that it had scaled back due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. This, consequently, pushing back the deadlocked denuclearisation negotiations fostered by the United Nations.

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SFCC, Los Alamos lab join to offer machinist program

BY DILLION MULLIN | santafenewmexican.com

Santa Fe Community College and Los Alamos National Laboratory announced last week a new collaboration to revamp the college’s machinist program.

With the campus providing the latest equipment and curriculum and the lab offering hands-on internships, community college President Becky Rowley said she hopes the first group of students can begin working toward a certificate or associate’s degree in the overhauled program this fall.

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“While the 20th century equated national security with bombs, bullets and geography, national security in the 21st century is focused on 1s and 0s — the basis of our digital world — and dollars and cents. Reprioritizing spending away from weapons and towards maintaining U.S. economic, scientific and technological superiority will put us on the path toward economic growth and prosperity.” Coronavirus unmasks America’s real national security vulnerabilities

Russia’s nuclear workers isolated onsite as coronavirus spreads

Workers at Russia’s nuclear power plants will be isolated from the general public and required to live in onsite clinics at their respective stations as nuclear authorities tighten their response to the coronavirus after a number of industry infections.

BY CHARLES DIGGS | bellona.org

The order came Tuesday from Rosenergoatom, Russia’s nuclear utility, and specified that both primary and back up crews of nuclear technicians, who “facilitate process continuity” would now be required check in to dispensaries at their plants, where they would be provided with daily living essentials and isolated from outside contact.

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“Let us not recover from the coronavirus only to find ourselves in an even more dangerous world, one menaced by an uncontrolled arms race and persistent fear of nuclear escalation.” Now Is Not the Time to Start an Arms Race

Pentagon press briefing on the Defense Department’s Covid-19 response. (Lisa Ferdinando / Defense Department)

As the coronavirus spreads, Congress still has to review the Pentagon’s defense budget request.

Legacy Nuclear Weapons Maintenance Wastes

Every base where legacy nuclear weapons (early-generation) were deployed (Bomber, Fighter Interceptor Squadrons (FIS), Nike Ajax, BOMARC Missile, ICBM), were maintained, or decommissioned, is potentially contaminated with highly classified 91(b) radioactive material (RAM) from the maintenance of the nuclear weapons during the replacing of the polonium-beryllium (Po-Be) TOM initiators.

BY ANNETTE CARY | georgeafb.info

There is an under-reported news story about radioactive contamination at Air Force bases that were closed and transferred to the public by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC).

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Most Hanford workers to stay home over coronavirus concerns. No word on for how long

The site in Eastern Washington was used during World War II and the Cold War to produce plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program. It was left massively contaminated with radioactive and hazardous chemical waste, which is being cleaned up now at a cost of about $2.5 billion a year.

BY ANNETTE CARY | tricityherald.com

Most Hanford nuclear reservation workers will stay home temporarily as planning is done to increase safety related to COVID-19 coronavirus. Essential employees will report to the site. COURTESY DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Thousands of Hanford workers will stay home for a second day Tuesday after the Department of Energy announced Sunday evening that the site was going into a temporary planning status to ensure the safety of employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Only workers essential to the nuclear reservation’s safety and security should report to work, unless they receive a call from their supervisor saying they are needed for planning work, DOE said.

Hanford employs about 9,300 workers, plus some additional subcontractor employees.

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Nuclear Watch Interactive Map – U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex

Waste Lands: America’s Forgotten Nuclear Legacy

The Wall St. Journal has compiled a searchable database of contaminated sites across the US. (view)
Related WSJ report: https://www.wsj.com

LANL’s Central Mission: Los Alamos Lab officials have recently claimed that LANL has moved away from primarily nuclear weapons to “national security”, but what truly remains as the Labs central mission? Here’s the answer from one of its own documents:

LANL’s “Central Mission”- Presented at: RPI Nuclear Data 2011 Symposium for Criticality Safety and Reactor Applications (PDF) 4/27/11