Waste shipments to WIPP to soon resume

http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/WR-Waste-shipments-to-WIPP-expected-to-resume-soon-1602174.html

The shipment of transuranic wastes from generator sites to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico is set to resume in April. The US Department of Energy (DoE) expects a total of 128 shipments to be made to WIPP over the next 12 months.”

Scary huh?

Senators urge Kerry to fight Lake Huron nuke waste dump

US and Canadian governments must petition International Joint Commission ( IJC) to mitigate matter of building nuclear waste dump near Lake Huron.
According to the Daily Tribune: 

“US. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin are pushing Secretary of State John Kerry to fight the Canadian government’s plan to build a huge nuclear waste dump near the Lake Huron shoreline.”

‘Site will be located in Kincardine Ontario less than mile from lake shore north of Blue in Port Huron.’

Continue reading

Lessons for Iranians to heed – NYTimes.com

Warning – I am going to get normative here – politics should be solving nuclear waste storage issues not impeding it despite budget constraints. The clean up of liquid highly radioactive waste is not just a burden on future generations. The whole earth suffers. Here is an excerpt from the NYT about the delays in cleanup of this highly liquid nuclear bomb waste at the Savannah nuke plant, in the lowlands of SC. Implication for storage of Hanford’s similar waste is also effected. The waste is left over from the cold war race to make nuclear bombs. Does Iran and other power seeking nations understand the problems and complexity that go along with producing weapons grade plutonium for bombs? Here is an excerpt from the NYT:

“At Savannah, the Energy Department did succeed in building the world’s largest factory for stabilizing the liquid bomb waste, done by mixing it with molten glass and pouring it into stainless steel canisters, 10 feet high by two feet across. The stabilized waste should then last for millenniums.

The department has also perfected a technique for separating nearly all of the troublesome radioactive materials from salts in the underground tanks to reduce the volume that must be mixed with the molten glass. The rest of the radioactive material is mixed with cement that will bind it up for centuries. Last year the factory began the business of making the canisters and produced 325 of them — a respectable fraction of the 7,824 department officials say will be needed.

Over the years, production at the factory has become smoother as machines run more hours of the year and parts that were expected to last for only four or five years have been used successfully for 10. Such longevity is an important factor at a place where the radiation fields are so intense that all the work has to be done by remote control.

But because of the budget constraints, the factory intends to produce only another 125 canisters for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

Employment at the waste site, which once ensured stronger political support for the Energy Department in this conservative state, has dropped to 1,800 workers who manage the tanks and processed the liquid wastes, from 2,200. Another vast construction project here — a factory to turn weapons plutonium into reactor fuel — is faltering because of technical issues and budget problems, which may be another reason that state officials feel free to challenge the Department of Energy.

The tanks, which hold 750,000 to 1.3 million gallons each, sit under artificial hills, and above them is a forest of industrial equipment, some a half-century old. The equipment is used to carry off the heat the waste generates from radioactive decay. The equipment also vents and scrubs the explosive gases the waste produces. Steam is used to heat air, which is then pumped around the tanks to keep the tanks dry and inhibit rust.”

South Carolona is seeking millions of $ for the failure of Federal government to meet cleanup goals. Short-sighted GOP congressmen have committed a very serious and expensive problem with sequestration and military spending cap here. Saving money in the short term has increased costs for the future by jeopardizing health of people and surrounding environment and wildlife  for generations and eons to come. If this is not a priority here in the USA then imagine this problem in the former Soviet republics and other states with nuclear capabilities. Warning – I am going all normative here again -Iranian people and their leaders should think about these issues before continuing to develop nuclear grade plutonium for bombs, God forbid, they will never use.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/11/29/us/slow-cleanup-of-bomb-waste-pits-south-carolina-against-washington.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20131129

Old nuclear reactors seen as growth opportunity | Idahostatesman.com

An article “Old nuclear reactors seen as growth opportunity” in the Idahostatesman.com describes the decommissioning process of a civilian nuclear plant. Decommissioning is referred to as ‘razing’. Here is an excerpt from article:

“Razing a plant is tricky business. Radiation can seep into the concrete, pipes and metal of plant structures, and workers must be able to break down the units without exposing themselves, or the public, to contamination. Plants often sit idle for decades before being torn down, to let radioactive material decay.

“The whole objective of decontamination is to get the dose levels as low as possible so you can do the dismantlement work,” Christine King, director of nuclear fuels and chemistry at the Electric Power Research Institute in Palo Alto, Calif., said in a phone interview.

During a reactor decommissioning, the plant operator transfers radioactive fuel rods to cooling pools and, ultimately, to so-called dry casks for storage. Workers clean contaminated surfaces by sandblasting, chemical sprays and hydrolasing, a process that involves high-pressure water blasts, according to King.

“You do get to a point that you need someone to come in that has the equipment and the technology to actually dismantle the components,” she said. “That typically is hired out.”

New Orleans-based Entergy hasn’t determined the schedule or the cost for taking apart the Vermont Yankee reactor, though the company plans to let it sit long enough to let radiation decay, according to plant spokesman Rob Williams.

“The complete decommissioning process is likely to take decades,” he said in an e-mail.

When such work begins at a plant, it can create business for companies including EnergySolutions Inc. of Salt Lake City and Waste Control Specialists LLC of Dallas, both closely held, and Idaho’s US Ecology Inc. The companies dispose of low-level radioactive waste, including components and buildings at nuclear power plants.

The work doesn’t include removing the 65,000 tons of radioactive fuel that are now stored at about 75 operating and closed reactor sites across the country. The fuel will probably remain until lawmakers establish a plan for temporary or permanent disposal.

House Republicans have said the U.S. should resume its work on the Yucca Mountain repository, a move that President Obama’s administration and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., oppose.”

To read more go to:

http://www.idahostatesman.com/2013/09/06/2744783/old-nuclear-reactors-seen-as-growth.html

Lake Huron nuclear waste dump questioned by officials – News – Voice News

Jim Bloch reports on concerns about sitting nuclear waste near the Great Lakes. Here is an excerpt from The Voice:

‘This resolution uses similar language as the state of Michigan Senate Resolution 58, which does not outright oppose OPG’s proposed deep underground nuclear dump, but does raise serious concerns about its proximity to the Great Lakes, and quotes Michigan law that would prohibit such a dump in that location,” said Kay Cumbow, an anti-nuclear activist who advocated for the St. Clair County resolution.

The county resolution echoes much of the Senate resolution: “As part of an effort to protect water quality, Michigan’s siting criteria for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste prohibits any site located within ten miles of Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, the Saint Mary’s River, the Detroit River, the St. Clair River, or Lake St. Clair. It also excludes sites located within a 500-year floodplain, located over a sole source aquifer, or located where the hydrogeology beneath the site discharges groundwater to the land surface within 3,000 feet of the boundaries of the site.”

But the county board is somewhat softer that the Michigan Senate in its recommendations to OPG and Canadian officials.

“We encourage Canada to consider similar siting criteria,” the Senate resolution said.’
For more go to:

http://www.voicenews.com/articles/2013/08/30/news/doc5220b8aaad015274882554.txt?viewmode=fullstory

Nuclear waste: WIPP vs NNSS | Las Vegas Review-Journal

Senator Dean Heller asks Energy Secretary Dean Moniz for more information on transportation of nuclear waste from Oakridge to outside Los Vegas. Keith Rogers reporting in the following excerpt:

“Heller asked Moniz to respond to six points to clarify his July 30 testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and to elaborate on “additional information that has come to light.”

“Nevadans have a right to be safe in their communities and on the roads, and I am not convinced DOE has a plan to import waste to Nevada that meets this basic threshold,” Heller wrote.

“In the past, Nevada Governors and DOE have worked together to avoid shipping radioactive waste through Las Vegas to the NNSS (Nevada National Security Site). Will you commit to continue this practice?”

DOE spokeswoman Lindsey Geisler said the agency received Heller’s letter and is reviewing it.

“The Energy Department will continue to work with Congress and the state of Nevada to resolve these concerns,” she wrote in an email Thursday.

At the Senate hearing, Moniz said, “There were long discussions held, many memos signed on specifically this particular low-level waste movement. That exchange of memos to us was saying this works, with our special precautions.”

Gov. Brian Sandoval has objected to DOE’s plans to haul bomb-usable, uranium-laced waste from Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee for disposal in a shallow landfill at the security site, 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Disposing of the ton of waste containing atom-splitting uranium material and one isotope that decays into a form that emits deadly gamma radiation “sets a dangerous precedent,” Sandoval wrote in a June 20 letter to Moniz.

Instead of disposing the long-lived radioactive waste that could be used in a dirty bomb in a trench at the former Nevada Test Site, the waste, though considered by DOE to be low-level, should be disposed in the department’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, Sandoval said in his letter.”

Contact reporter Keith Rogers at krogers@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0308.

http://m.reviewjournal.com/news/nevada-and-west/heller-asks-doe-chief-clear-discrepancies-over-nuclear-waste

Nuclear waste probed in Senate Committee | Mobile Augusta

An excerpt from the Augusta Chronicle on fate of highly radioactive waste:

The intent of the 2013 Nuclear Waste Administration Act is to implement recommendations from a blue-ribbon committee formed after the Obama administration halted a planned repository in Nevada’s Yucca Mountain.

The bill, which goes before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on July 30, outlines “consent-based” siting policies that require support of state and local governments before waste storage or processing facilities can be established.

The legislation recommends no specific locations for “consolidated interim storage” of spent nuclear fuel, but Savannah River Site in South Carolina has already been discussed as a possible venue.

In March, consultants hired by the SRS Community Reuse Organization, an economic development consortium, unveiled a $200,000 study concluding that the site’s H Canyon processing facilities and history of nuclear involvement make it suitable for such programs.

The SRS Citizens Advisory Board has become involved in similar discussions. Its waste management committee voted 12-10 for a position paper opposing the idea. That draft resolution is scheduled for a formal vote by the full board Tuesday.

Until a solution is found, spent fuel will continue to accumulate at commercial power plants, which now store about 75,000 tons of the material on-site in pools or above-ground casks.

http://m.chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2013-07-22/senate-committee-discuss-how-choose-nuclear-waste-sites