Plutonium Fuel (MOX) BOONDOGGLE ALERT- It's a New Year but Same Old Coverup
photo: heart of the cover-up - $8-12 billion MOX plant under construction at Savannah River Site, ©High Flyer, SRS Watch Air Force, October 25, 2014
Business at its Ugly Usual at DOE: As of January 30, 2015, there is No Accountability to the Tax-Paying Public for the U.S. DOE's Grossly Mismanaged $30+-billion Plutonium Fuel (MOX) Project, a Textbook Case of Big Government's Inability to Manage a Costly, Complex Project. When will Secretary of Energy Moniz and Congress act to hold those responsible accountable?
As DOE spins out of control in its management of large projects, the MOX coverup drags on and on and on. When will there be any accountability for the failed MOX project?
SRS Watch requested in a letter hand delivered to US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz on July 29, 2014 that he "Take immediate steps to hold managers in DOE, NNSA and Shaw AREVA MOX Services accountable for the massive cost overruns and schedule delays associated with MOX project." Will Secretary Moniz act responsibly and fulfill his obligations as a public servant? Will he hold specific individuals accountable and make sure that their glaringly inadequate abilities in managing the MOX boondoggle are not used elsewhere in DOE? Let us know who you think must be held accountable: email@example.com
294: Days since AREVA was requested by Savannah River Site Watch to release their life-cycle cost estimate for the MOX program and days they have stonewalled the request. Warning: AREVA has challenged DOE's $30+ billion MOX estimate but refuses to back up its criticism with verified cost figures.
288: Days since Senator Lindsey Graham and Representative Joe Wilson were requested by SRS Watch to help obtain and release AREVA’s MOX life-cycle cost estimate and days they have failed the American people in not getting the estimate or holding DOE, NNSA or Shaw AREVA MOX Services accountable. Warning: We are dealing with big spenders who are protecting inept DOE officials and $pecial interest$ who are profiting from the MOX mega-boondoggle.
SAVANNAH RIVER SITE WATCH
--- working for the public interest by monitoring activities at the U.S. Department of Energy's Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina and other DOE and commercial nuclear projects in the southeastern U.S. region and beyond ---
1112 Florence Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29201
tel. 803-834-3084, firstname.lastname@example.org
- unsolicited documents informational in nature are welcome, particularly related to "waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement" with SRS projects -
Breaking news, January 30, 2015: Georgia Power admits big delays in Vogtle AP1000 nuclear power project (across the river from SRS), cost increases to hit rate payers hard
SRS Watch publicly stated in August 2014 that these delays were coming, as South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) announced 12-18 month delays in its AP1000 project in Fairfield County, South Carolina. The two projects are twins so delays and cost increases at one project mean the same thing will happen at the other, both being designed and built by Westinghouse and CB&I (also building the MOX plant). We estimate that this large delay could add $1 billion to the cost of the project but it's not yet clear who will pay. Watch out Georgia Power rate payers!
see 8K filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, dated January 29, 2015
UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D. C. 20549
FORM 8-K CURRENT REPORT
"Georgia Power has been notified by Westinghouse Electric Company LLC and CB&I / Stone & Webster, Inc. (collectively, the “Contractor”) of the Contractor’s revised forecast for completion of Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4, which would incrementally delay the previously disclosed estimated in-service dates by 18 months (from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the second quarter of 2019 for Unit 3 and from the fourth quarter of 2018 to the second quarter of 2020 for Unit 4). Georgia Power has not agreed to any changes to the guaranteed substantial completion dates. Georgia Power does not believe that the Contractor’s revised forecast reflects all efforts that may be possible to mitigate the Contractor’s delay."
see complete SEC filing by Georgia Power here
SRS Watch news release of August 12, 2014: "SCE&G Reveals Significant Delays with VC Summer Nuclear Reactor Construction Project; Additional Schedule Delay of 12-18 Months with Unknown Cost Increases to Rate Payers" -- linked here
January 26, 2015: SRS Cleanup Cost Estimate Soars, with Major Delay
WOW!!! This could have a huge impact on the already stressed DOE budget for the next 50 years, with enduring environmental risks. This news underscores the need to terminate the $30+-billion MOX project and stop pursuing such things as German nuclear waste dumping, reprocessing and imaginary reactors, all of which are costly and would result in yet more nuclear waste at SRS.
DOE reveals before SRS Citizens Advisory Board that estimated clean-up cost of SRS Cold War waste soars $23 billion to $91 to $109 billion, with site clean-up completion delayed from 2042 to 2065
Presentation to the SRS Citizen Advisory Board by Doug Hintze – January 26, New Ellenton, South Carolina (city right by main entrance to SRS)
“Environmental Management Cleanup Program Fiscal Year 2014 Integrated Lifecycle Estimate Update”
See slide 7:
Extended Environmental Management (EM) Completion Schedule 23 year [sic] from Fiscal Year 2042 to Fiscal Year 2065
Cost increase of $25.2 billion
Lifecycle Estimate Range of $91 billion to $109 billion with 8.6 year Schedule Contingency - Includes $23 billion Actual Cost through Fiscal Year 2013
see presentation linked here
January 18, 2015:
Over the Last Forty Year, there Have Been Major Savannah River Site (SRS) Victories on Behalf of the Public and Environment!
See them here.
Costly and unnecessary projects designed to bilk the taxpayer and add large amounts of nuclear waste to SRS have been defeated, saving the taxpayer billions of dollars. Examples of DOE programs defeated by the concerned public: a new reactor to produce nuclear bomb materials, halt of operation two decrepit defense reactors (without containment domes) at the site, defeat of plans to bring highly radioactive commercial spent fuel to the site in a $25-billion reprocessing plant & defeat of plans for a facility to build the plutonium "pits" (cores) of nuclear weapons at SRS.
See list of public victories here
These victories underscore that managers at the site must keep the focus on the urgent clean-up of hazardous nuclear waste at the site and not get diverted by fanciful programs designed to enrich only a few. Clean-up is the king of jobs at the site and managers must renew efforts to secure adequate funding to carry out the essential programs over the next 30 years.
Special Interests Out to Rip Off the Tax Payer be Warned! SRS Watch is proud to have been a part of most of the SRS victories and pledges to keep fighting with others for the environment, tax payers and general public located near SRS in South Carolina and Georgia!
Comment of Savannah River Site Watch, at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Public Meeting on MOX Plant Construction Regulation, New Ellenton, SC (adjacent to SRS), January 15, 2015
The meeting included an NRC presentation on why a 10-year license extension, to 2025, was given for the MOX project. The NRC should have been more thorough in its review of the license extension request and should have delved into the reasons for the massive cost overruns and schedule delays, including if safety is being impact by chronic budget stresses on the project. But at least the NRC did interact with the public at the meeting, something that mangers of the DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and CB&I AREVA MOX Services dare not do given that their abhorrence of the public is a key strategy in their cover-up of MOX mismanagment.
Is the NRC’s 10-Year License Extension for the MOX Plant Construction a Prelude for More Delays?
"As most aspects of the U.S. Department of Energy’s troubled MOX program are being hidden from the public, as part of an apparent cover-up by DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration and its contractors, a public meeting on the role of the NRC in regulating the MOX plant construction is welcome."
"As the NRC has taken into account the problems outside its scope in reviewing the status of the license, it is incumbent upon the NRC to now reveal just when it thinks that the project will be concluded within the additional 10 years it has allotted for construction. At the outside, only a few years’ extension was warranted and one must wonder why a full decade’s extension was allowed when the project supposedly should be finished within 5 years from now. The NRC must have an idea that given the problems we have seen to this point that more such problems can be anticipated. The 10-year license extension thus appears to have put the NRC in the position of simply accepting that more construction delays are inevitable."
see full statement here
January 15, 2015
No surprise here: The US DOE's monthly schedule of "KEY ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENTS" was posted today and the release of plutonium disposition final EIS, including on MOX use, has been once again delayed.
The "Surplus Plutonium Disposition Supplemental EIS, AL, NM, SC, TN
(DOE/EIS-0283-S2)" is listed as being "under departmental review," which has been the case for over 1 1/2 years. How much longer will this defunct EIS be listed?
Suggestion to DOE: As it's clear the MOX boondoggle is going nowhere, go ahead and formally cancel the EIS. This will pave the way for a new EIS on disposition of plutonium as waste. Time to get on with it!
see EIS schedule here
SRS Watch news release - January 12, 2015
DOE Management Report Outlines Deep Problems with Management of Plutonium Fuel (MOX) Project and Indicates Cost of the MOX Plant could be Up to $12 Billion
MOX Cost and Schedule Continues to Spin Out of Control as DOE Studies the Problem - Will Secretary Moniz Act and Ax MOX?
Columbia, SC – A report on project management problems just released by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) indicates that the cost of construction of the plutonium fuel (MOX) plant at the Savannah River Site (SRS) could reach a stunning $12 billion, which is far above the current public estimate of $7.7 billion.
The report, to be formally released by Secretary of Energy Moniz on January 15, indicates that the MOX plant is 50% complete and that the cost to the tax payer of the project’s “capital work range from $8‐12 billion depending on the funding profiles.” Currently, DOE’s publicly released cost estimate for the construction of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) is $7.7 billion but the public interest group Savannah River Site Watch (SRS Watch) is seeking, via the Freedom of Information Act, internal cost estimates being withheld from public scrutiny.
full news release linked here
Websites for report:
DOE's Improving Project Management Report linked here
SRS Watch news release - January 7, 2015
FOIA Documents Reveal Savannah River Site (SRS) Forced by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to Halt Promotion of “Small Modular Reactors” (SMRs) with Improperly Diverted Clean-Up Funds
Failure of SRS and Contractors to Secure SMR Funding Doomed “Enterprise SRS”
as a “Vision” for Future of SRS
Indications are that the diverted funds in question have not been reimbursued into the SRS clean-up fund. If you have information about that please contact SRS Watch at email@example.com and/or contact the DOE's Inspector General's hotline.
Columbia, SC – Documents obtained by Savannah River Site Watch under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reveal that the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site (SRS) was halted from diverting clean-up funds into promotion of “small modular reactors” (SMRs). The improper use of clean-up funds was the beginning of the demise of “Enterprise SRS,” the project which had based future of SRS on highly speculative “small modular reactors,” according to the public interest group Savannah River Site Watch (SRS Watch).
The documents confirm that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directed SRS in September 2012 to stop the main site contractor, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS), from improperly spending clean-up funds on SMR promotion. The action resulted in almost $750,000 of clean-up funding via DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) being identified as being improperly used on SMRs from the “General and Administrative” (GA) account administered by SRNS.
full release linked here
SRS Watch news release - December 30, 2014
DOE Ends 2014 by Failing to Justify Bonus Payment to Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) for Managing Security-Related Projects at Savannah River Site (SRS)
With No Explanation, DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Pays SRNS an Additional $16 Million for Work for Fiscal Year 2014
Columbia, SC -- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has paid the main contractor at the Savannah River Site (SRS) an additional $16.02 million for simply carrying out agreed contractual commitments for security related work during Fiscal Year 2014. According to the public interest group Savannah River Site Watch (SRS Watch), the payment has not been publicly justified and the procedures to award such annual fees remains unacceptably murky.
full SRS Watch news release linked here
DOE's November 28, 2014 fee memo linked here
DOE's November 2013 "Performance Evaluation Plan" linked here
How much money will the construction of the plutonium fuel (MOX) plant receive for Fiscal Year 2015?
As of December 31, funding in the current fiscal year (October 1, 2014 - September 30, 2015) for the monumental MOX failure remains unclear. True to form, DOE simply won't inform the public as to how much of its money is being wasted on the construction of the MOX plant at the Savannah River Site.
Congress has recently passed legislation appropriating $345 million “for continued construction of the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility, including Other Project Costs.” (see language here from Congress on “Energy and Water” funding for DOE) But what are those "other project costs?"
The portion of the $345 million for actual construction of the MOX plant at the Savannah River Site is yet to be revealed. If it all goes to construction, where will support and other associated funding come from?
One Thing is Clear: Senator Lindsey Graham, a big spender from South Carolina who places protection of MOX contractors above all else, suffered a big defeat with his failed attempt to secure higher MOX funding
The amount passed for the construction of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) and other costs is far below what Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) got through the Senate Energy and Water Development Subcommittee last June. Graham got $515 million through the committee “to support plutonium and uranium disposition activities,” with $400,000,000 to continue construction of MFFF. (see Senate report on the funding here) With lower funding per year for MOX, the overall cost will only increase if the project is dragged out over a longer period of time. (But isn't that a goal of some contractors? Make a failed project like this as costly as possible for as long as possible...)
Considering that DOE reports in the Plutonium Disposition Working Group report (page A-6) of April 2014 (and in the FY 2015 budget request, page 552 ) that the operation of the MOX plant alone is estimated to be $543 million per year, the $345 million is far below the amount needed per year to make the program sustainable. Where will Senator Graham find ~$800 million per year for the next two decades to carry out this grossly mismanaged project? Meanwhile, he hasn’t lifted a finger to hold managers of the MOX boondoggle accountable for their irresponsible actions in creating the MOX mess.
When will Senator Graham and his MOX booster allies, particularly Senator Tim Scott and Representative Joe Wilson, act to reign in this out-of-control project and hold top managers accountable? Though their pals at CB&I AREVA MOX Services may continue to rake in tax-payer money as they stumble around with their failed project, the MOX albatross will only continue to be a weighty burden around the necks of those politicians if they don't act in the public interest. (We agree that there is no evidence that they will ever act in the public interest concerning the funding and management of the MOX boondoogle.)
The dirty MOX ball is in Senator Graham’s court and he is bobbling it badly.
South Carolina GOVERNOR’S NUCLEAR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEETING
Gressette Building, Room #207
January 8, 2015
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Agenda includes: Barnwell LLW Disposal Facility Annual Update,EPA Update on SRS Site Remediation & Cleanup, DHEC Update, SRNL Annual Update, H Canyon Update, Used Nuclear Fuel Storage Update & Public Comments
agenda linked here
SRS Watch news release - December 17, 2014
Savannah River Site (SRS) Considers Controversial Direct Disposal of Containers of Surplus Weapon-Grade Plutonium in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico
DOE Receives Transport License from NRC for Plutonium Shipping Container; Plan to Directly Dispose of Plutonium in WIPP Would Require Costly, Problematic Security Upgrades at WIPP
Photos: DOE 9975 35-gallon shipping container with smaller DOE 3013 nested container that stores plutonium
Columbia, South Carolina – Documents quietly released by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reveal that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is taking initial steps for the controversial direct disposal of containers of unprocessed weapon-grade plutonium in the currently closed Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) facility in New Mexico, according to the public interest group Savannah River Site Watch (SRS Watch).
The documents, discovered by SRS Watch in the NRC’s digital library, reveal that DOE has now obtained a required license from the NRC for transport of a specialized plutonium shipping container to be taken to WIPP for disposal. DOE has confirmed to SRS Watch that the plutonium transport container has received the needed license. The approved shipping container would hold a smaller inner container bearing up to 5 kilograms of plutonium materials now stored at DOE’s Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina.
The unprecedented, formative plan to directly place plutonium containers in WIPP with no processing or downblending appears to be in the preliminary stages of development. DOE has confirmed to SRS Watch that it is looking into such direct disposal of plutonium.
The disposal method, if WIPP were to reopen and was available, would pose a number of challenges, particularly in relation to placement of costly, extensive security upgrades at WIPP in order to safeguard the plutonium from theft. The cost and political sensitivity of adding security measures at WIPP would likely make implementation of the disposal method difficult to implement, according to SRS Watch.
full release here
The Release of DOE’s final “Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement” (SEIS) on plutonium disposition and MOX is delayed yet another month, remaining “under department review.” No surprise there given how the poorly managed project remains in limbo, with no updated, verified cost analysis or schedule for the failed MOX project.
This listing of the schedule of key DOE EIS documents was posted on the website of the DOE's Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance on the late afternoon of December 15, 2014. All but one EIS listed under the DOE's Office of Environmental Management (EM) or DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) have uncertain schedules, revealing the extent of DOE's poor planning across the board.
See “Surplus Plutonium Disposition Supplemental EIS, AL, NM, SC, TN (DOE/EIS-0283-S2)” - linked here
Note that the release of the document remains "Under Departmental Review" as has been the case for the last year and a half.
NNSA's "Surplus Plutonium Disposition Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement" website linked here
"Upstate Forever" opposes German spent fuel import to SRS
This well-respected conservation group in northern South Carolina (Greenville & Spartanburg South Carolina area, to the mountains - "the Upstate") has sent a memo to the SC congressional delegation and Governor Nikki Haley against import of German spent fuel. Upstate forever is a key player in the South Carolina legislature and with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), the state regualtory entity which regulates many aspects of clean-up at SRS.
See the memo here
Thanks to Upstate Forever!
U.S. Nuclear Non-Proliferation Policies On the Line: Has DOE Prepared a"Nuclear Non-Proliferation Impact Assessment" for New Spent Fuel Reprocessing Technique being Developed at SRS?
In a letter to SRS Watch dated December 8, 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy has acknowledged receipt of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requesting the "nuclear non-proliferation impact assessment" prepared on a new reprocessing technology being developed by Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL), to reprocess German graphite spent fuel to remove uranium. The new reprocessing method for the German commercial spent fuel holds proliferation concerns in that it could be used to extract weapon-grade uranium from such graphite spent fuel.
--- see FOIA initiial response letter linked here
Given that DOE is actively considering the import of German commercial graphite spent fuel to SRS, has the proliferation impact assessment actually been prepared? If not, why not?
The response to the FOIA request will be telling and will indicate if DOE aims to honor the spirit of the nuclear non-proliferation regime or is attempting to weaken it so that special interests can profit by the reprocessing and dumping of German spent fuel at SRS.
Stay tuned to see if DOE is working to strengthen nuclear non-proliferation policies or undermine and weaken them.
December 10, 2014 - SRS Watch: Anticipated Funding Level for the Plutonium Fuel (MOX) Boondoggle Hands Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) a Defeat in His Effort to Increase Construction Funding; Funding Level and Legislative Language Show Congress Will Not Fund MOX to the $800+ Million Annual Level it Needs to be Viable
Congress to Authorize a Report on Plutonium Disposition Evaluating the Cheaper Option "to downblend and dispose of the material in a repository"
Photo from October 25, 2014: MOX plant under construction at SRS, from the legal height of 2000 feet, ©High Flyer, special to SRS Watch - this photo and others from the same monitoring overflight may be used with permission, contact srswatch(-at-)gmail.com
Omnibus Energy & Water funding language linked here
page 49 (94 pdf)
Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility, Savannah River.-The agreement provides $345,000,000 for continued construction of the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility, including Other Project Costs. The agreement includes statutory language that prohibits the NNSA from using funds to place the project in cold standby in fiscal year 2015. Instead of the reporting requirements in the House report, the NNSA is directed to submit to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate not later than 120 days after enactment of this Act an independently-verified lifecycle cost estimate
for the option to complete construction and operate the MOX facility and the option to downblend and dispose of the material in a repository.
A U.S. Department of Energy official revealed at the SRS Citizens Advisory Board (SRS CAB) on December 2 that the release of a draft "environmental analysis" on the import and dumping of German commercial spent fuel had been delayed from January until some point before March 1.
Photos above: Tom Clements, director of SRS Watch, in front of the AVR reactor building at Juelich, Germany on September 23, 2014. Some officials at the Juelich site aim to illegally dump 300,000 graphite fuel balls from the long-closed commercial gas-cooled AVR reactor on SRS. That spent fuel is stored in 152 robust casks stored in a building near to the reactor. Clements was able to visit that building on his tour of Forschungzentrum Juleich (FZJ) but no photos of the waste casks were allowed.
While the delay may in part be due to technical reasons related to processing of the spent fuel at SRS, it's clear that the political situation in Germany over the proposal to illegally export the spent fuel to SRS remains in turmoil. Now, we are learning that there may be no transport at all in 2015 of the spent fuel, meaning that delay in the decision-making in Germany about this controversial issue has likewise been delayed.
It's time to end the illegal scheme to dump German spent fuel on the Savannah River Site!
"Atommülltransporte aus Jülich? NRW erwartet bis Ende März gutachterliche Bewertung" - article linked here
Publiziert am 5. Dezember 2014 von Dirk Seifert
Bis Ende März 2015 bewerten im Auftrag der Atomaufsicht unter Minister Duin in NRW Gutachter die Alternativen für die weitere Lagerung bzw. den Abtransport von hochradioaktivem Atommüll aus Jülich. Weil die Erdbebensicherheit im Lager in Jülich nicht nachgewiesen ist, muss der Betreiber, das Forschungszentrum Jülich, aufzeigen, wie Abhilfe geschaffen werden kann, um die Sicherheit dauerhaft zu gewährleisten. Neben einer weiteren Lagerung vor Ort, sind der Abtransport nach Ahaus sowie der Export in die USA als Option zu prüfen, so der Minister heute in der Endlager-Kommission. Ende des ersten Quartals sollen für das Land NRW externe Gutachter jetzt die Vorschläge prüfen und bewerten, bevor danach die Politik entscheiden wird. Transporte in 2015 erwartet der Minister aber nicht.
Translation via Google Translate:
Nuclear waste transports from Jülich? NRW expected by the end of March expert evaluation
Posted on December 5, 2014 Dirk Seifert
By the end of March 2015 vote on behalf of the Nuclear Regulatory under Prime Duin in NRW appraiser alternatives for further storage or removal of highly radioactive nuclear waste from Jülich. Because the earthquake safety in the warehouse in Jülich has not been established, the provider, Forschungszentrum Jülich show how this can be remedied in order to ensure the safety permanently. In addition to further storage spot, the transport to Ahaus and export to the United States shall be tested as an option, as the minister today. In the repository Commission End of the first quarter to the NRW external experts now consider and evaluate before then will decide the policy proposals. Transport in 2015 not expected but the Minister.
SRS Watch news release on MOX funding authorized by Congress - MOX Slowly Bleeding to Death, Wasting as Much Money as Possible as it Goes Down - December 3, 2014
photo: MOX boondoggle is in rear of this October 25, 2014 shot of H-Area, ©High Flyer, special to SRS Watch - can be used with credit
news release linked here
Defense Act Passes in U.S. House on December 4 and Heads to Senate: MOX Construction Clings to Life, Funding Level Authorized for MOX Plant Construction - $314 Million - is Far below the Amount Need to Make MOX Viable Over the Long Term; Report on Plutonium Disposition Options and MOX Closeout Required, Reflecting Deep Bipartisan Concern About Fate of Mismanaged Program
Columbia, SC – The language of the agreed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 has been released and, as expected, the funding of construction of the plutonium fuel (MOX) facility at the Savannah River Site (SRS) is authorized at a level which barely keeps it alive. Reflecting continued bipartisan concern about the troubled MOX project, the act requires a report on alternatives to MOX, with the report to address both a future funding profile if MOX continues as well as steps and cost to close out the MOX program.
“The low funding level authorized for the MOX plant construction and requirement of a report on plutonium disposition alternatives is a sign of continued congressional disapproval of how the mismanaged project is proceeding,” said Tom Clements, director of Savannah River Site Watch. Clements has tracked plutonium disposition since its inception in the mid-1990s.
“By requiring the report to inform the secretary about how the MOX project would be closed out is a strong indication that the fate of the MOX project continues to hang in the balance and that Congress is leaving open the option to eliminate the mismanaged program,” added Clements. “The low level of funding for the MOX projects will guarantee that it will fall further behind schedule and that the cost of the program will go up, more reasons that beleaguered project should be terminated once plutonium disposition alternatives are clarified.” SRS Watch has long endorsed disposal of plutonium as waste, via immobilization in existing high-level waste at the Savannah River Site.
The Lutheran Church in Jülich, Germany - the city adjacent to the site where German gas-cooled reactor spent fuel is stored - has adopted a resolution against export of the commercial nuclear waste to the Savannah River Site.
Photo: On a panel with German colleagues, SRS Watch gave a presentation in Jülich to church members and the public on September 23, 2014 and made it clear that DOE's claim that SRS is a "disposition" site for German spent fuel is totally incorrect.
"Kein Export von radioaktivem Material in die USA aus dem rückgebauten AVR-Reaktor in Jülich" - dated November 15, 2014
- linked here, in German
"No export of radioactive material to the USA from the decommissioned AVR reactor in Jülich"
link to the Jülich church:
"Herzlich Willkommen im Kirchenkreis Jülich"
What kind of game is DOE's Office of Management playing in regard to it's chronic lack of proper management and oversight of the MOX project?
On November 26, 2014, the "project dashboard" for the month was released and the cost of the MOX plant remains frozen at a figure from 2008: $4.8 billion. The official figure has been reported to be $7.7 billion and at least one DOE official has testified to Congress that the cost could be closer to $10 billion.
"Project Dashboard - November 2014 - Post CD-2 Active Projects" - linked here
The monthly assessment still has the project in the red zone - "Project is expected to breach its Performance Baseline cost, schedule, or scope" - but no updated, validated cost estimate.
When will DOE's Office of Management finally exercise proper control over the MOX boondoggle? After a decade of continuous mismanagement we aren't holding our breath on that one.
Meanwhile, release of DOE's Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) on MOX use remains under department review after about about a year and a half of being totally stalled - "Surplus Plutonium Disposition Supplemental EIS, AL, NM, SC, TN
(DOE/EIS-0283-S2)" - linked here
Article on German spent fuel dilemma and plans to dump on the Savannah River Site (SRS) - in the November 2014 magazine of the German environmental group
"Atommüll nach Amerika: Jülicher Castoren sollen zur Wiederaufbereitung in die USA exportiert werden"
- article linked here
with translation: "Nuclear waste to America"
--- photo above : of Tom Clements of SRS Watch during presentation in Hamburg, Germany, September 24, 2014, by Robin Wood
photos of Robin Wood action at the Juelich site - German commercial spent fuel is stored at the site and some want to profit by dumping it at SRS
Things are already gearing up in Germany to protest the shipment of German commercial highly radioactive commercial spent fuel, in CASTOR casks, from Forschungszentrum Juelich (FZJ) to the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. Anyone up for a trip to Germany in 2015?!
--- more photos on Ausgestrahlt Facebook page
This demonstration - see photos below and on the SRS Watch Facebook page - took place on November 19, 2014 outside the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in Bonn. SRS Watch thanks our German friends and colleagues for the demonstration and for providing photos. Though a decision may not come until mid-2015, opposition to the transport is strong in Germany and public opinion near SRS is firmly against more nuclear waste imported to SRS with no exit strategy. Everyone knows that SRS is not a spent fuel "disposition" site so why are German and US officials continuing with their feeble efforts to claim it is?
As FZJ says in "Frequently Asked Questions on the AVR Fuel Elements:" "In its current form, the nuclear fuel in the spent AVR fuel elements is not weapons-grade."
So why is DOE refusing to prepare a "non-proliferation impact assessment" on the new reprocessing technique being developed at SRS (at Germany's expense)? One answer: as the new reprocessing method poses the biggest proliferation threat in this whole messy deal, DOE would prefer not to talk about the US and German contribution to increasing global nuclear non-proliferation risk. Can such a shaky, self-serving strategy endure?
On November 12, SRS Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request with DOE for its "non-proliferation impact assessment" so we'll see if they come up empty or produce a document. (linked here)
November 20, 2014: "Supplemental EIS" on MOX Use Remains "Under Departmental Review"
The DOE's MOX boodoggle remains in perpetual uncertainly, as reflected by the status of the "supplemental environmental impact statement" (SEIS) on use of experimental weapon-grade MOX fuel in reactors owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). For about
1 1/2 years, the SEIS has been "under departmental review" and as of November 14 that remains the case.
See the DOE's EIS monthly schedule here.
On the chart linked above, see number 13 in the list: "Surplus Plutonium Disposition Supplemental EIS, AL, NM, SC, TN (DOE/EIS-0283-S2)"
It's been over three years since the draft SEIS was released, demonstrating just long DOE and Congress have floundered about plutonium disposition and the unsustainable costs of the MOX program. See link to DOE's SEIS documents here.
Meanwhile, TVA has confirmed to SRS Watch that its consideration of MOX use remains in limbo, as has been the case for two years or more.
SRS Watch news - November 19, 2014 - news release linked here
Documents Obtained via FOIA Reveal Extent of Secret Planning to Import, Dump German Spent Fuel at Savannah River Site; Public Knowingly Kept in Dark for Over Two Years about Controversial Plans to Import Highly Radioactive Waste via Charleston, SC; Proliferation Concerns being Ignored
-- six Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents linked in news release and at:
Columbia, South Carolina, USA – Documents obtained via a U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request reveal that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) engaged in secret planning to import and dump German spent fuel at the Savannah River Site (SRS), located near Aiken, South Carolina, well over two years before DOE bothered to inform the public about the ongoing bilateral negotiations on the controversial plan.
The technical and diplomatic documents, obtained by the public-interest group Savannah River Site Watch (SRS Watch), reveal details of plans for the unprecedented import of German highly radioactive graphite commercial spent fuel. The documents confirm that U.S.-Germany negotiations on the controversial deal began in earnest as early as February 2012, according to a letter from DOE to Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
“It is now clear DOE officials, by calculation, kept plans from the public for over two years that they were engaged in plans to dump highly radioactive spent fuel from Germany at SRS,” said Tom Clements, director of the public interest group SRS Watch, based in Columbia, South Carolina. “The plans developed in secrecy confirm that DOE has little regard for growing public concern about nuclear waste import to SRS, a risky and arrogant strategy that will likely sink the misguided proposal,” added Clements. “This scheme is nothing short of illegal nuclear dumping of problematic nuclear waste by Germany that has no legal basis under German law."
see full news release release here
A big congratulations to Harold Simon and Nina Spinelli for being elected at the November 18 meeting of the Savannah River Site Citizens Advisory Board (SRS CAB) as chair and co-chair! A wonderful team to lead the CAB!
With their leadership, we can expect the CAB to address a host of SRS clean-up issues with openness and objectivity. We look forward to the future of the CAB under their leadership.
Also - thanks to Marolyn Parson, who has done a great job chairing the CAB over the last year and who has helped increase public awareness about the risks of more nuclear waste being brought into SRS with no exit path. Marolyn won't leave until after the January meeting, so we can expect her steady hand for a while longer.
SRS Watch news release - November 18, 2014:
SCE&G Set to Remove Highly Radioactive Spent Fuel from Cooling Pool at V.C. Summer Nuclear Plant and Place it in On-Site “Dry Cask” Storage Facility
Columbia, SC – Underscoring the increasing risks of build-up of highly radioactive spent fuel at the site, South Carolina Electric and Gas (SCE&G) is set to soon start off-loading spent fuel from the crowded storage pool at the V.C. Summer nuclear plant north of Columbia, South Carolina, for placement in large storage casks adjacent to the reactor building.
SCE&G notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in a letter dated November 12 that it “plans to begin its initial spent fuel loading campaign on or after May 4, 2015.” The notification, required by NRC regulations, was posted in the NRC’s digital library (ADAMS) on November 17 and was discovered by Savannah River Site Watch (SRS Watch). The notification means that SCE&G is soon to open the “dry cask” facility that has been under construction at the site.
see full release
Is SRS prepared for an accident or not? The U.S. Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) isn't so sure....
See DNFSB weekly report posted on November 13 (for the week of October 10, 2014):
"Emergency Preparedness (EP): A site rep review of the fiscal year (FY) 2005 – 2014 budgets found that FY-to-FY funding for the central SRS EP program declined in 7 of the last 9 intervals, including the last five straight years. The number of SRNS staff supporting EP in the central organization and the facilities (excluding those who directly support the SRS Operations Center) declined 40% between FY11 and FY14. These numbers do not tell the whole story because the EP program has lost several experienced EP staff due to attrition while recent hires have often had little to no prior EP experience beyond being a drill participant. The decrease in staff has reduced the capability to conduct routine assessments of the EP program and develop new emergency drill and exercise scenarios. For example, SRNS currently only has one employee working on EP scenarios and that person is dedicated to the annual site EP exercise. The shortage of drill scenario writers contributes to issues like: 1) the backlog of drills that need to be written or updated to be
consistent with current emergency action levels, 2) the age of drill scenarios (some have not been revised in 9 years), and 3) the limited number of EP drills in some facilities (some facilities only have 2 or 3 active EP drill scenarios). Repeated use of the same limited number of old drill scenarios can lead to a false sense of preparedness when emergency responders know what initiated each scenario and what “surprises” are coming up later in the drill."
see full weekly report
Foreign plutonium secretly dumped and stranded at Savannah River Site - Why? In spite of their being no security concerns now that it's at SRS, DOE/NNSA fumbles the issue and ain't talking....
DOE has openly discussed receipt of Swedish plutonium at SRS. Why is DOE afraid to openly talk about plutonium from Canada, Belgium and Italy being brought this year to SRS? As there are now no security concerns about those transports, via a PNTL ship into Charleston, South Carolina, could it be that DOE and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) are embarrassed to discuss this as there is no disposition plan at all for this stranded material (not a part of the program to dispose of US weapons plutonium)? DOE/NNSA: What is the disposal plan for this foreign-origin plutonium and why was it brought to SRS? Is import of UK-origin plutonium now stored in Japan being considered for dumping at SRS? (It belongs in the UK...)
Photo: On the docks in October 2013: Pacific Nuclear Transport Ltd. (PNTL) ships docked in Barrow-in-Furness, UK, south of the Sellafield nuclear site. Can we expect our old friend the Pacific Egret to attempt another "secret" plutonium run into Charleston? On the Pacific Heron, on the left, note the covered weapon to the left on the small deck just below the escape boat; you can almost see the cover over the barrel of the gun. Would such a weapon stop someone aiming to steal US-origin weapon-grade plutonium from Japan? Or, will that be done under US naval escort (lurking beyond the horizon)?
For information on the Swedish plutonium to SRS - see this document:
"REMOVAL OF LEGACY PLUTONIUM MATERIALS FROM SWEDEN"
Proceedings of the 17th International Symposium on the
Packaging and Transportation of Radioactive Materials
August 18-23, 2013, San Francisco, CA, USA
U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Office of
Global Threat Reduction (GTRI) recently removed legacy plutonium materials from Sweden in collaboration with AB SVAFO, Sweden. This paper details the activities undertaken through the U.S. receiving site (Savannah River Site (SRS)) to support the characterization, stabilization, packaging and removal of legacy plutonium materials from Sweden in 2012. This effort was undertaken as part of GTRI’s Gap Materials Program and culminated with the successful removal of plutonium from Sweden as announced at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit. The removal and shipment of plutonium materials to the United States was the first of its kind under NNSA’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative. The Environmental Assessment for the U.S. receipt of gap plutonium material was approved in May 2010. Since then, the multi-year process yielded many first time accomplishments associated with plutonium packaging and transport activities including the application of the of DOE-STD-3013 stabilization requirements to treat plutonium materials outside the U.S., the development of an acceptance criteria for receipt of plutonium from a foreign country, the development and application of a versatile process flow sheet for the packaging of legacy plutonium materials, the identification of a plutonium container configuration, the first international certificate validation of the 9975 shipping package and the first intercontinental shipment using the 9975 shipping package. This paper will detail the technical considerations in developing the packaging process flow sheet, defining the key elements of the flow sheet and its implementation, determining the criteria used in the selection of the transport package, developing the technical basis for the package certificate amendment and the reviews with multiple licensing authorities and most importantly integrating the technical activities with the Swedish partners.
document linked here
German State Government Analysis: Export of THTR Spent Fuel NOT Legal
On November 12, 2014, the Committee of Science and Education of the German Bundestag (Parliament) will discuss the issue of export of German commercial spent fuel to SRS. As part of that debate, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia has released an analysis that it commissioned determining that the export of the THTR spent fuel is not legal.
The analysis, dated February 2, 2014, determined, among other things, that:
1. The THTR gas-cooled reactor was not a research reactor and was a commercial reactor.
2. Reprocessing of the spent fuel in the US is not allowed under German law.
3. The material involved is high-level nuclear waste and its export to the US would constitute a breach of Euratom directives.
See "Rechtliche Zulässigkeit der Verbringung der bestrahlten THTR-Brennelementekugeln in die USA zum Zwecke der Wiederaufarbeitung und des Verbleibs unter Berücksichtigung des europäischen Rechts und diesbezügliche Rechtsschutzmöglichkeiten Dritter" (Legal admissibility of shipments of irradiated fuel elements THTR-balls in the United States for the purpose of reprocessing and fate in the light of European law and related legal protection of third parties) linked here.
The analysis was commissioned by the Ministeriums für Klimaschutz, Umwelt, Landwirtschaft, Natur- und Verbraucherschutz des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen
(Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Conservation and Consumer Protection of North Rhine-Westphalia)
Photo above: SRS Watch joins local citizens outside the Ahaus storage facility in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, where the THTR spent fuel is stored. Ahaus is located in northwest Germany near the Dutch border.
The presentations at the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board's October 29 meeting in Augusta, Georgia have been posted on November 5. The meeting
was on spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste management at SRS.
Click here for a link the the NWTRB website.
Jay Rhoderick, DOE; Overview of Spent Nuclear Fuel and Tank Waste Program at the Savannah River Site
Maxcine Maxted, DOE; SRS L-Basin Used Nuclear Fuel Program Update
David Rose, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions; Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage in L Basin
H. Allen Gunter, DOE; SNF Processing at H-Canyon and the H-Canyon Roadmap
Maxcine Maxted, DOE; SRS Spent Nuclear Fuel Management Alternatives
[After much confusion on DOE's part with terminology, note the general return to the legally defined term "spent nuclear fuel."]
SRS Watch made two oral public comments and those will be available when the transcript is released.
see agenda here
If you live in South Carolina or Georgia, please attend this important meeting on SRS clean-up issues and comment in one of the several public comment periods
SRS Citizens Advisory Board - Combined Committees Meeting
Monday & Tuesday, November 17-18, 2014
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Snelling Conference Center-Augusta, GA
3165 Washington Road, Augusta, GA 30907
agenda linked here
SRS Watch, a member organization of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA), is headed to Knoxville, Tennessee to talk about ANA's work on DOE issues
from Frank Munger's Atomic City Underground blog (Knoxille News Sentinel)
November 5, 2014
"Alliance for Nuclear Accountability activists gather"
Activists from sites around the nuclear weapons complex are gathering this week in Knoxville for their fall meeting, hosted this time by the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance. The network of activists is known as the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability.
for full post click here
New aerial photo of the MOX plant - October 25, 2014. This is what a colossal waste of $10 billion of US tax payer money looks like from 2000 feet. ©High Flyer - special to Savannah River Site Watch. May be used with credit. Other aerial photos of the MOX boondoggle are available on request: firstname.lastname@example.org
MOX Boondoggle Mini-Update - November 5, 2014
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) board of directors is to meet on November 6, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. Though there is an agenda item entitled "Report of the Nuclear Oversight Committee," it is believed that the issue of use of experimental weapon-grade MOX fuel by TVA won't be discussed.
see agenda here
To say the least, TVA's interest in MOX use in its aging Browns Ferry boiling water reactors and the Sequoyah pressurized water reactors (ice condenser design) has been tepid. There have been few developments in the last two years concerning a TVA review of MOX use and the TVA board hasn't discussed the matter in the last few years.
The completion of the US DOE's "Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement" (SEIS) on MOX use by TVA has been frozen for years and, as of Ocfiber 15, remains "under departmental review." In the draft SEIS document, released in July 2012, it was revealed that TVA had balked at MOX use: "The TVA does not have a preferred alternative at this time regarding whether to pursue irradiation of MOX fuel in TVA reactors and which reactors might be used for this purpose."
click here for DOE's EIS schedule released on October 15, 2014 - stay tuned for the next schedule update around November 15
Revealing how far it is from instituting sound project management for the MOX boondoggle, DOE's Office of Management still listed as of October 30 the "project budget" for the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility construction at $ 4,857,129,000. This is the estimated cost of the project from about 6 years ago. DOE states that the "Project is expected to breach its Performance Baseline cost, schedule, or scope." Uh, well, yeah... DOE admitted in early 2014 that the construction cost is officially at $7.7 billion and at least one official has publicly stated to Congress that the cost could be closer to $10 billion. Does this mean that MOX construction is $3-6 billion over budget? Where has DOE stated what the current budget for the project is?
In the Washington world of blank checks for failed projects, does the Office of Management even care about getting the MOX project under control? We've seen no sign of that after years of waiting. Heads should roll in the Office of Management but we know how that goes as the public waits for accountability for the MOX project. To Anne Boleyn and Mary, Queen of Scots and Marie Antoinette: we can only hope that the arc of the universe indeed does bend toward justice.
See the Office of Management - Office of Acquisition and Project Management "Project Dashboard" of October 30, 2014 here
Be alert to action by the US DOE to shift from use over the last 3 years from use of the extra-legal term "used nuclear fuel" back the legally defined term "spent nuclear fuel."
DOE has had an embarrassing dance on its hands trying to explain why in 2011 it stopped using the term "spent nuclear fuel," which is defined by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, and shifted to the cooked up term "used nuclear fuel." The NRC, EPA and NWTRB all correctly stuck with the legally defined terminology. The shift by DOE and pro-reprocessing allies in the nuclear industry to "used nuclear fuel" was to indicate a bias for reprocessing.
With Dan Poneman gone from the deputy secretary's position, it looks like DOE is quietly drifting back to use of the correct term as Poneman's hand is no longer pushing use of the extra-legal term. As for reprocessing of commercial spent fuel, its day hasn't and won't come despite sophomoric trickery with terminology.
See lame explanation (linked here) in 2011 by DOE as to why "used nuclear fuel" was being used, with the pro-reprocessing admission that "Use of the alternative term "used fuel" is one way of representing the potential that such fuel may have value in the future."
Photo: Outside Nuclear Waste Technical Review (NTWRB) meeting during informal poster session at conclusion of meeting in Augusta, Georgia on October 29. The board heard about DOE's plans that are stuck on reprocessing research reactor spent fuel at SRS and that such reprocessing adds high-level waste to the aging tanks. As SRS strives to keep the cash-cow H-Canyon reprocessing plant alive, it was noted that there is no consistent system-wide plan for DOE's managment of spent fuel. Expect a report out soon from the NWTRB that addresses this matter.
DOE Management of Spent Nuclear Fuel and
High-Level Radioactive Waste at Savannah River Site Is Focus of U.S. NWTRB Meeting in Augusta, Georgia, on October 29, 2014
see full agenda here
see news release here
"The U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board will meet in Augusta, Georgia, on Wednesday, October 29, 2014, to review U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) activities related to managing DOE spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level radioactive waste (HLW). Among the topics that will be discussed at the meeting is work underway at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina related to storage and processing of DOE SNF and vitrification and storage of HLW at the SRS. The Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act (NWPAA) of 1987 charges the Board with conducting an ongoing and independent evaluation of the technical and scientific validity of DOE activities related to implementing the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982.
The meeting will be held at the Marriott Hotel, Two Tenth Street, Augusta, Georgia 30901; Telephone 706-722-8900
The meeting will begin at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 29, 2014..."
On October 23, SRS Watch has joined with other public interest groups in calling for needed reform to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which SRS Watch uses frequently:
"Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), along with 49 other groups, sent a letter to President Obama urging his support for needed reforms to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) policies at federal agencies. The letter identifies a minimum set of components that must be legislatively mandated to achieve the president’s publicly stated FOIA agenda and support his pledge to oversee the most transparent administration in history. Each of the recommendations is included in pending legislation, the FOIA Improvement Act of 2014 introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and John Cornyn (R-TX). The letter asks the president to commit publicly to the codification of these reforms."
see letter here
SRS Watch news release - October 23, 2014 - linked here
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Favors 10-Year Extension of MOX Plant Construction Authorization - from 2015 to 2025 - Underscoring Lengthy Delays in Construction of Mismanaged Plutonium Fuel Facility
SRS Watch Notes that More Delays Mean More Costs and Schedule Uncertainty as the Fate of the $30+-Billion Project Hangs in the Balance
Construction Authorization first issued in 2005; problems for the the MOX boondoggle of CB&I, AREVA and DOE/NNSA continue to mount
The WIPP salt mine received transuranic waste (plutonium-contaminated) from DOE sites including SRS until a serious accident in February 2014. Now, they want to release more radiation in October 2014 as part of restart efforts?!
See presentation linked here
see slide 12: surface ventilation fan 860A has been of of service but "when the fan is restarted, a small amount of residual contamination may be released"
Is the price of restart of WIPP - whose self-delusional motto was "Start Clean, Stay Clean"- the release of more plutonium and americium into the environment? More proof that nuclear dumps start clean but always leak. Uh, don't worry as DOE say that "enhanced environmental monitoring will occur" when the radioactive material is released.
April 15, 2014 presentation to SRS Citizens Advisory Board (SRS CAB) on
"SRS Transuranic Waste Program Update"
Plutonium Container Attack Beetles at SRS Call it a Day!
With 13 metric tons of plutonium stored in thousands of 9975 plutonium storage containers (holding 3013 cans - as shown in photo) packed into the old K-Reactor at SRS it's good to know that the beetles won't be attacking them!
EXAMINATION OF BEETLE-INFESTED SHIPPING PACKAGE 9975-03996
W. L. Daugherty
Savannah River National Laboratory
Materials Science & Technology
Publication Date: September 2014 (released week of October 13)
Package 9975-03996 was identified as being infested with drugstore beetles in April 2012. It was shipped to SRNL, where the possibility of using acoustic emission detection to detect the beetles was explored. This technology has potential for this application, although additional work would be needed to improve the sensitivity and automate signal processing to make it practical for use with a large number of packages.
In April 2014, the infested package was re-opened and examined. Compared to the regions photographed in 2012, relatively little additional damage was observed. The overall pattern, extent and rate of damage appear consistent with that observed previously in two infested packages from Hanford. It was then decided that further observations of this package be terminated. The remaining beetles were killed by freezing, and the package was rehabilitated and made available for service.
--- more documents on the plutonium beetles:
DETECTION OF DRUGSTORE BEETLES IN 9975 PACKAGES USING ACOUSTIC EMISSIONS - Shull, D. (Mar. 2013) -----
Status Report - Cane Fiberboard Properties and Degradation Rates for Storage of the 9975 Shipping Package in KAMS - Daugherty, W. L. (Jan. 2013)
South Carolina Governor’s Nuclear Advisory Council (GNAC) to meet on Thursday, October 9 at 1:00pm in room 207 of the Gressette Senate Office Building at the South Carolina state capitol complex in Columbia.
On October 9, Tom Clements of SRS Watch will be touring the area around the Sellafield nuclear complex in the UK and will not be able to attend the GNAC meeting.
Stay tuned for photos of the Sellafield tour of October 11 and for photos of the PNTL ships - based in Barrow-in-Furness, UK - that carry nuclear materials. The Oceanic Pintail, which was spotted in Barrow, carried weapon-usable plutonium from Belgium and Italy to SRS, via the port of Charleston, SC, earlier this spring. For misguided and self-deceptive PR reasons the DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration remains mum about the shipments and receipt at SRS. It is well known that such European plutonium has no disposition path at SRS and is not included in the program to "dispose of" US weapons plutonium so why don't NNSA officials publicly admit the obvious? If they can't muster a smidgen of courage to admit the truth about the smaller things then the warning to the public is clear: that they may not be trusted to share the truth or accept responsibility about bigger matters (ie the MOX debacle - $$$$).
see GNAC agenda here - presentations at this link
Topics include SRS, Westinghouse nuclear fuel plant and an update from the South Carolina Department of Environmental Control (SC DHEC).
See it here: 20th anniversary re-release of an important document on illegal reprocessing cooperation between the US and Japan. Given the enduring proliferation implications of reprocessing to obtain weapon-usable plutonium, this report is still worth a read. Revelation of illegal cooperation between the U.S. Department of Energy under Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary garnered major news and seemed to have, at least for a while, inhibited the transfer of "sensitive nuclear technology" (SNT) - some of which was developed at the Savannah River Site - from the U.S. to Japan. Unfortunately, since the report was issued Japan has continued its plutonium stockpiling program but at least the future of the Rokkasho reprocessing plant and Monju breeder reactor are in serious doubt. (For the "The Current Situation of Plutonium Management in Japan," dated September 11, 2013, by Japan's Atomic Energy Commission, and how Japan has blatantly violated its "no surplus plutonium" pledge click here.)
"The Unlawful Plutonium Alliance - Japan's Supergrade Plutonium and the Role of the United States"
by Shaun Burnie & Tom Clements, Greenpeace International, September 1994
Send any comments on this topic or anything else on this website to email@example.com.
The South Carolina flag flies at the gates of Germany's Juelich facility on September 21, proudly representing public opposition in South Carolina to the scheme to process and dump German commercial spent fuel into the aging high-level waste tanks at SRS. More high-level nuclear waste will negatively impact the urgent clean-up at SRS. Development by Savannah River Nuclear Lab of a new reprocessing technique for the German graphite fuel holds proliferation risks that DOE has so far refused to analyze.
Photo: SRS Watch at railway exit from spent fuel storage facility at the Juelich research center in Germany on September 21, 2014.
A lot of articles below are in German, but you can get a sense by looking at them and the photos with the articles that public opposition to dumping German spent fuel at SRS is growing in Germany. Use Google Translate if you want to get a semblance of what they are talking about. "Atommüll," by the way, is nuclear waste.
Google translation of article in the Dusseldorf paper (Rheinische Post) on September 23 - well, you can more or less get the point:
Widerstand in USA gegen Atommüll aus Jülich
"Resistance in United States against nuclear waste from "
"Dusseldorf. Against a possible nuclear waste transport from the Forschungszentrum Jülich in the U.S. nuclear facility Savannah River Site in South Carolina there is resistance in the United States suggests. "Germany wants the problems with its nuclear waste must pass on to the United States," criticized Tom Clements, a leading environmental activists in the State of, in the WDR. Clements also complained that private operators wanted to earn money in the United States with nuclear waste from Germany."
BUND erwägt Klage wegen Atommülltransporten
In NRW sammelt sich Atommüll – sowohl im Forschungszentrum Jülich als auch im Zwischenlager in Ahaus. Sind die USA eine Lösung? Umweltschützer wollen den langen Atommülltransport stoppen.
Die Welt, September 22, 2014
Forschungszentrum Jülich: BUND erwägt Klage gegen Atommüll-Export
Der Spiegel on line, September 22, 2014
"Die Forschungsminister von Bund und Land hatten bereits im vergangenen April mit dem US-Energieministerium eine Absichtserklärung über die Abnahme der Atomabfälle unterzeichnet. Die dort genannte Atomanlage Savannah River Site in South Carolina sei aber als Atommüll-Lager ungeeignet, unterstrich Tom Clements, Direktor der Nichtregierungsorganisation Savannah River Site Watch, die das Nuklearzentrum kritisch begleitet."
"Schon die Lagerung des US-amerikanischen Atommülls dort sei nicht sachgerecht und werde Jahrzehnte dauern. Die Bevölkerung sei gegen weitere Belastungen. "Wir wollen keine internationale Atommüll-Deponie werden", sagte Clements. Für die USA gehe es nur um ein lukratives Geschäft, während sich Deutschland seiner ungelösten Endlagerprobleme entledigen wolle. "Ein solches Endlager existiert aber weltweit nicht - und damit auch in den USA nicht."--
September 21, 2014 - a demonstration was held at the entrance of the Juelich nuclear facility in Germany, with German groups and SRS Watch. Stay tuned for information here about efforts to stop Germany from illegally trying to dump highly radioactive nuclear waste from Juelich on Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The SRS Watch tour of Germany began with a TV interview on Sept. 19 and will continue of the ground from Sept. 21-26, to Juelich, Dusseldorf, Ahaus (here more spent fuel is stored but may have been withdrawn from dumping consideration), Hamburg and Berlin. DOE officials: why do persist in pursuing activities that are clearly illegal in Germany?
articles with SRS Watch during German tour:
Widerstand in USA gegen Atommüll aus Jülich
Rheinischen Post - Düsseldorf - September 22, 2014
"Gegen einen möglichen Atommülltransport aus dem Forschungszentrum Jülich in die US-Atomanlage Savannah River Site in South Carolina regt sich Widerstand in den USA. "Deutschland will die Probleme mit seinem Atomabfall unbedingt auf die USA abwälzen", kritisierte Tom Clements, einer der führenden Umweltaktivisten in dem US-Bundesstaat, im WDR. Clements bemängelte auch, dass private Betreiber in den USA Geld mit dem Atommüll aus Deutschland verdienen wollten."
Atommüll aus Jülich soll in die USA : Wie sicher ist das Zwischenlager in South-Carolina?
WDR Radio - Von Helga Hermanns - September 21, 2014
"Atomkraftgegner haben am Sonntag (21.09.2014) gegen einen Transport der Brennelementkugeln aus dem Jülicher Versuchsreaktor demonstriert. Dabei erhielten sie Unterstützung von Tom Clements, dem Sprecher einer Bürgerinitiative in Savannah im US-Bundesstaat South Carolina."
Wohin mit dem Atommüll aus Jülich?: Kein Ende im Streit um Atomkugeln
WDR Radio - Von Rainer Striewski - September 22, 2014
"Mittlerweile regt sich auch in den USA Widerstand gegen eine mögliche Verschiffung der Atomkugeln zur Atomanlage Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina. "Deutschland muss sich schon zu Hause um eine Atommülllagerung kümmern und die Probleme nicht auf uns abschieben", forderte Tom Clements von der US-Organisation "SRS Watch" am Montag in Düsseldorf. Die Atomanlage Savannah River Site sei kein Atommüllager oder gar eine Deponie - und damit gar nicht geeignet, so Clements weiter. Während die Atomlager-Betreiber in den USA auf kräftigen Profit hofften, wolle Deutschland sein "gravierendes Atommüllproblem" nur an ein anderes Land abschieben."
Wohin mit den Atomkugeln?
WESTPOL vom 21.09.2014
TV report - WDR TV
BUND erwägt Klage wegen Atommülltransporten
In NRW sammelt sich Atommüll – sowohl im Forschungszentrum Jülich als auch im Zwischenlager in Ahaus. Sind die USA eine Lösung? Umweltschützer wollen den langen Atommülltransport stoppen.
Die Welt, September 22, 2014
Forschungszentrum Jülich: BUND erwägt Klage gegen Atommüll-Export
Der Spiegel on line, September 22, 2014
"Die Forschungsminister von Bund und Land hatten bereits im vergangenen April mit dem US-Energieministerium eine Absichtserklärung über die Abnahme der Atomabfälle unterzeichnet. Die dort genannte Atomanlage Savannah River Site in South Carolina sei aber als Atommüll-Lager ungeeignet, unterstrich Tom Clements, Direktor der Nichtregierungsorganisation Savannah River Site Watch, die das Nuklearzentrum kritisch begleitet."
"Schon die Lagerung des US-amerikanischen Atommülls dort sei nicht sachgerecht und werde Jahrzehnte dauern. Die Bevölkerung sei gegen weitere Belastungen. "Wir wollen keine internationale Atommüll-Deponie werden", sagte Clements. Für die USA gehe es nur um ein lukratives Geschäft, während sich Deutschland seiner ungelösten Endlagerprobleme entledigen wolle. "Ein solches Endlager existiert aber weltweit nicht - und damit auch in den USA nicht."
Efforts in Germany to stop dumping of highly radioactive German spent fuel at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina are ramping up. German and US authorities should end their pursuit of a bad, half-baked idea.
On September 17, Greenpeace Germany projected a banner on the AVR reactor at the nuclear center (FZJ) at Juelich that read (in English)
"South Carolina Not a Nuclear Waste Dump for Germany!"
see photo here and below - by Daniel Mueller/Greenpeace
And, a lawyer for Greenpeace released a report in Berlin clarifying that it is illegal to export the high-level nuclear waste. Greenpeace Germany news release on the attempt to conduct the illegal transport:
Illegaler Castortransport - Die Bundesregierung und das Land Nordrhein-Westfalen planen einen Atommülltransport aus dem Forschungszentrum Jülich in die USA. Dieser wäre rechtswidrig.
(with photo of the projection on the AVR reactor, In German)
Legal brief, for Greenpeace Germany, finding that the export is illegal (as we have been saying all along): "Rechtsgutachten --- zur Zulässigkeit der Verbringung von abgebrannten Kernbrennstoffen aus dem stillgelegten Kernkraftwerk AVR Jülich in die Wiederaufbereitungsanlage Savannah River Site (USA)."
See Der Spiegel on line:
"Castoren aus Jülich: Atommüll-Export in die USA ist laut Gutachtern illegal"
Von Holger Dambeck
"Die Bundesregierung will Atommüll aus dem Forschungszentrum Jülich zur Aufarbeitung und Endlagerung in die USA schicken. Ein Rechtsgutachten erklärt den geplanten Export von 152 Castoren jetzt für illegal."
Come Again?! DOE Makes Astounding Claim that it Aims to Complete Major Capital Projects on Budget & Schedule
In a September 17, 2014 email, DOE finally admits a huge "baseline" cost increase in the Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF) at SRS. The cost of the facility, which will process liquid high-level waste from the aging tanks (and disposes of much of the volume on site) has risen dramatically, from $1.3 billion to $2.3 billion. Based on DOE's usual track record, the cost is likely to rise yet again and with more schedule delays. But DOE claims it's good at project managment and states the following, with a straight face:
"The Department places significant emphasis on completing major capital projects within established baselines for scope, cost, and schedule by aligning contract incentives with taxpayer interests, and improving the structure and management of the Department’s contracts by ensuring contractors are held accountable for their actions. This revised baseline aligns with those principles."
Ooops, besides overlooking problems they just admitted with the SWPF, they just happened to forget that the MOX boondoggle is more than a decade late and 1000% over the initial cost of construction of the plant. There has been absolutely no attempt whatsoever to control the costs or schedule of the project so any claim that DOE is efficient management of costly capital projects is not supported by the facts.
see SRS email here
Also released today by SRS:
"The Savannah River Site Environmental Report for 2013 has been released and is available on-line at: http://www.srs.gov/general/pubs/ERsum/er13/index.html"
Deutscher Atommüll in die USA?
Atommüll Alarm (Nuclear Waste Alarm)
--- with schedule, in German, of SRS Watch tour of Germany from September 21-26, against the half-baked scheme to dump highly radioactive German spent fuel at SRS
Auf Einladung der nordrhein-westfälischen
Bürgerinitiativen kommt Tom
Clements von der Organisation SRSWatch
im September nach Deutschland
und wird in Jülich, vor der Presse
in Düsseldorf, in Berlin und
See the schedule ("Termine") with SRS Watch, on the left
Savannah River Site Watch
For Immediate Release -
news release linked here
September 12, 2013
Contact: Tom Clements, firstname.lastname@example.org
photo: SRS Watch banner to be used at sites in Germany proposing to dump highly radioactive waste on SRS
SRS Watch to Tour Germany from September 21-26 to Oppose Import to Savannah River Site of Highly Radioactive Spent Nuclear Fuel from Germany; Over 15 German Groups and Politicians Sponsoring the Tour
SRS Watch Calls for Halt to Preparation of DOE’s “Environmental Assessment” Given Withdrawal of the Bulk of the Commercial Spent Fuel from Export Consideration by Germany
Columbia, SC – The public interest group Savannah River Site Watch (SRS Watch) today announces that it will participate with German groups and politicians in a 6-day tour of Germany to protest plans by German and U.S. Department of Energy officials to dump highly radioactive spent fuel from Germany at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina.
With over 15 German groups and politicians in formal support of the tour, the director of SRS Watch, Tom Clements, will participate in a series of events to inform the German public and elected officials that SRS is not a dump site and that the unprecedented plan to dump the waste at SRS must be rejected.
The tour will begin on September 21 with a demonstration at the entrance to the Juelich nuclear research center, where German commercial reactor spent fuel is stored. Clements will later tour the spent fuel storage facility at the site with a member of the Bundestag (parliament). At Juelich, about 300,000 radioactive spent fuel balls are stored in 152 large casks. The message at the Juelich facility will be for Germany to build a new storage facility at the site and not attempt to illegally dump a challenging nuclear problem on the US.
The tour will also include a public meeting near Juelich, a news conference in Dusseldorf, an event outside the gates of the Ahaus facility- where 600,000 spent graphite fuel balls from the THTR reactor are stored and that were previously discussed for export to SRS - a public meeting in Hamburg and the tour will conclude with various meetings with members of the Bundestag in Berlin on September 25 and 26.
“Informing German audiences and politicians that SRS is not a nuclear dump for Germany will add a strong voice to the growing opposition in Germany against the spent fuel export,” said Tom Clements, director of the public interest group Savannah River Site Watch.
The spent fuel in question that has been proposed for export is from the AVR and THTR experimental gas-cooled reactors. Both reactors were commercial nuclear reactors that were connected to the electricity grid. Under German law, such spent fuel is illegal to export but efforts are being made to skirt the law. Import into the US of commercial spent fuel would be unprecedented and could be used to open the door to more such dumping.
DOE does not appear to be aware of information from Germany, in response to formally posed questions to the German government by members of the Bundestag (parliament), that German officials have withdrawn consideration of dumping the THTR spent fuel, the bulk of the waste involved in the scheme. This new information dramatically impacts the overall situation and renders DOE’s plans moot, according to SRS Watch.
In response to “Kleine Anfrage” on September 3, the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) said: “In der Frühphase der Sondierungen wurde daher auch erörtert, ob die THTR-brennelemente einbezogen werden sollen. Diese Überlegungen sind konkret nicht weiter verfolgt worden.” (From Google Translate: “In the early phase of soundings was therefore also discussed whether the THTR-fuel assemblies are to be included. These considerations have been specifically not pursued.”)
DOE is preparing an “environmental assessment” on some of the environmental aspects of receiving, processing and dumping the German waste but that document as now proposed has been rendered moot given that the THTR spent fuel is not now being considered. “DOE must halt the preparation of the environmental assessment as the scope of it has been dramatically altered by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research’s withdrawal of the THTR fuel from consideration to be exported,” said Clements. “There is no basis for continuing with the preparation of the environmental document as proposed and it must be terminated.”
DOE has also so far refused to prepare a “proliferation impact assessment” of the new reprocessing technique being developed by Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL). A written request by SRS Watch for such an analysis was hand delivered on July 28, 2014 to Secretary of Energy Moniz and Administrator Frank Klotz of the National Nuclear Security Administration in a meeting near SRS. Administrator Klotz confirmed receipt of the SRS Watch letter in an August 28 written response.
Reprocessing of the highly radioactive graphite fuel would result in additional waste being sent to the SRS waste tanks, causing negative impacts to the urgent cleanup of the tanks. That new reprocessing method, to remove uranium from graphite fuel, poses a proliferation risks, according to SRS Watch, that DOE has so far refused to talk about. As the EA may be out in draft form by the end of the year - if it is to go forward - with a public comment period to follow. The public will not even be able to comment on details of the reprocessing technique and associated waste streams as the SRNL research will not have conclude by the end of 2014. Such blocking of ability to comment may also pose legal challenges for DOE, if it persists in preparing the EA document which now has no basis.
Some of the groups and politicians sponsoring the tour by SRS Watch include:
- Evangelischer Kirchenkreis Jülich (Lutheran Church, Department Jülich) www.kkrjuelich.de
- Strahlenzug Mönchengladbach, www. strahlenzug.de
- Wegberger Montagsspaziergänger gegen Atomkraft, www.montagsspaziergang.de
- AG Schacht Konrad, www.ag-schacht-konrad.de
- Anti-Atom-Bündnis Niederrhein, www.antiatom-buendnis-niederrhein.de
- Attac Jülich- Westcastor, www.attac-netzwerk.de
- AKW-nee Aachen- Westcastor, www.anti-akw-ac.de
- Friedensforum Duisburg, friedensforum-duisburg.de
- BUND NRW AK Atom, www.bund.net
- Sofa Münster (sofortiger Atomausstieg), sofa-ms.de
- Aktionsbündnis Münsterland gegen Atomanlagen, www.facebook.com/keincastornachahaus.
- Sayonara Genpatsu Düsseldorf e.V., www.sayonara-genpatsu.de
- Antiatomgruppe Fuku Düsseldorf, antiatom-fuku.de
- Ausgestrahlt ( Bundesweite Antiatomorganisation), www.ausgestrahlt.de
- Bürgerinitiative Kein Atommüll in Ahaus e.V.
- Hubertus Zdebel, MDB, Sprecher der Linksfraktion für den Atomausstieg, http://www.hubertus-zdebel.de
- Hans Jörg Rohwedder,MDL, Umweltpolitischer Sprecher der Piratenfraktion im Landtag NRW, email@example.com
Newspapers in Aiken, SC, Augusta, GA, Greenville, SC and Spartanburg, SC have editorialized against the spent fuel import proposal and a majority of individuals speaking at the DOE “environmental assessment” meeting on June 24 in N. Augusta, SC, spoke against the idea.
Across Germany, the message will be:
South Carolina ist kein Entsorgungsplatz für deutschen Atommüll!
South Carolina is not a Nuclear Waste Dump for Germany!
1. SRS Watch comments against bringing the spent fuel to SRS, at June 24, 2014 public meeting: “Savannah River Site Faces Unprecedented Import of Highly Radioactive Spent Nuclear Fuel from Two German Nuclear Power Reactors; Export from Germany Illegal and Unwarranted”:
2. DOE’s Federal Register notice, June 4, 2014, announcing preparation of the “environmental assessment” – “Environmental Assessment for the Acceptance and Disposition of Used Nuclear Fuel Containing U.S.-Origin Highly Enriched Uranium From the Federal Republic of Germany”:
3. DOE-SRS presentation of June 24, 2014, “Potential Acceptance and Disposition of German Pebble Bed Research Reactor Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) Fuel Environmental Assessment,” – misrepresents the contents of the graphite spent fuel:
4. SRS Watch - Freedom of Information Act request document confirming discussions began in December 2011 about the spent fuel plan:
5. “Statement of Intent” between The U.S. Department of Energy & two German government entities, signed on March 28/April 1, 2014:
6. Questions (“Kleine Anfrage”) posed by Bundestag members to Federal Ministry of Education and Research, August 13, 2014: http://www.srswatch.org/uploads/2/7/5/8/27584045/kleine_anfrage_13_august_2014.pdf
7. Response by Federal Ministry of Education and Research to questions, September 3, 2014:
Director, SRS Watch
Tom Clements, director of SRS Watch, and Pete Bradford, former commissioner with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (during the Three Mile island accident in 1979), on leaving a Bipartisan Policy Center meeting at Georgia Tech in Atlanta on September 5 - on management of high-level nuclear waste, including spent fuel and vitrified waste at SRS. Concerns was expressed about "consolidated" storage of spent fuel and its links to reprocessing. Tim Echols of the Georgia Public Service Commission and Patrick Sullivan of the private entitry Mississippi Energy Institute supported reprocessing in their public comments but pursuit of the issue with them revealed they know little more about reprocessing than AREVA's bullet point. We would gladly debate them on reprocessing at any point!
Thanks to Sara Barczak of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) for the photo!
Shaw AREVA MOX Services (SHAMS) has requested of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission that construction authorization proceedings for the MOX plant be put into the name of the new corporate entity CB&I AREVA MOX Service, LLC - posted by the NRC in the ADAMS digital library on September 9 - see letter here - while there is a new name it's the same old MOX boondoggle, for which there still is no accountability!
SRS Watch news release on MOX Boondoggle - September 3, 2014
Contractor Requests Ten-Year Extension to MOX Plant Construction License, from 2015 to 2025; Nuclear Regulatory Commission Has Not Approved Request, Public Meeting Needed on Mismanaged $30-billion Project
Shaw AREVA MOX Services (SHAMS) Sites Litany of Problems with MOX Boondoggle Construction but Avoids Details: Funding Shortfalls, Construction Challenges, Labor Shortages, Lack of Qualified Vendors
Click here for Shaw AREVA MOX Services License Extension Request to the NRC & at http://tinyurl.com/pldeeul
Columbia, SC – The contractor building the problem-plagued plutonium fuel (MOX) facility at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina has quietly requested a 10-year extension to the initial authorization to construct the facility. The extension request is indicative of a host of mounting problems facing the controversial MOX project, according to the public interest group Savannah River Site Watch (SRS Watch).
A Shaw AREVA MOX Services (MOX Services) letter, dated May 12, 2014, was filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and requested an extension in the construction authorization from 2015 to 2025. The letter, which was not publicized by either MOX Services, the National Nuclear Security Administration or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, gives no hint of when construction on the MOX plant might be completed, underscoring the belief that the project will never be completed and is soon to be abandoned.
SRS Watch has learned that the NRC has not yet granted the construction extension request. SRS Watch has been informed that an Environmental Assessment (EA) is being prepared by the NRC on the impacts of the request and a notice about the matter is expected to soon be published in the Federal Register.
The NRC does not at this point intend on holding a public meeting, but SRS Watch believes that a public meeting to air all the issues associated with the construction delay-request is warranted. “As the NRC did not hold an annual meeting this spring on the status of its MOX construction oversight, a public meeting on the construction authorization extension request is essential to fully discuss the matters associated with the massive delay of the mismanaged project,” said Tom Clements, director of the public interest organization SRS Watch.
see full news release here
see Shaw AREVA MOX Services (SHAMS) letter here
On August 29, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) denied the DOE request to delay "closure" of two high-level waste tanks at SRS for 15 months.
See letter from DHEC director Catherine Templeton to DOE here
DOE claims that funding problems have impacted the tank-closure schedule but the state didn't buy DOE's arguments for an extension of the legally binding closure schedule as agreed in the Federal Facilities Agreement (FFA) reiterated that it will "fully exercise its authority for penalty assessment if satisfactory commitment to the high level waste schedule is not reached."
SRS has 51 million-gallons tanks with about 37 millions gallons of high-level liquid waste, primarily a by-product of production of nuclear weapons materials for the Cold War madness. SRS produced about 36 metric tons of weapon-grade plutonium in five "defense" reactors. Six of the tanks have been cleaned out to a degree and filled with cement, which DOE calls "closure." The tanks will be left in place forever, mere feet above the water table.
See DHEC letter to Brian Hennessey, SRS Remedial Project Manager
SRS Watch is headed to Germany to protest the proposed dumping of German commercial spent fuel on the Savannah River Site. Come join us in Jülich on September 21, the first event in a week-long tour.
Jülich is where the spent fuel from the experimental AVR gas-cooled reactor is stored - 300,000 highly radioactive graphite balls that must be managed in Germany. According to the management of the
Jülich facility, "the nuclear fuel in the spent AVR fuel elements is not weapons-grade.” Thus is destroyed the claim that it should be dumped on SRS for nuclear non-proliferation reasons.
Sonntagsspaziergang in Jülich am 21.09.14 in Jülich um 14:00 Uhr ab Haltestelle Rurtalbahn:"Forschungszentrum" zum Tor des FZJ Forschungszentrum Jülich
STOPPT DIE KIPPUNG DES AVR REAKTORS UND DIE WESTCASTOREN!
Abfahrt in Köln:
13:00 Uhr Kalk Post (U Bahn 1 und 9, S Bahn: S12 bis Trimbornstrasse) > bilden
Anmeldung bitte unter: firstname.lastname@example.org
Redner: Tom Clements (SRS Watch, South Carolina, USA: er kommt von dem Ort, wohin die Westcastoren illegal abgeschoben werden sollen)
Rainer Moormann (Whistleblower aus FZJ)
Kommt in Massen!
Näheres unter: www.westcastor.de
translation from Google translate:
Sunday walk in Jülich in Jülich on 09/21/14 at 14:00 clock from stop Rurtalbahn: "Research" to the gate of the Forschungszentrum Jülich FZJ
STOP THE tilting of the AVR REACTOR AND THE WEST CASTOR!
Departure in Cologne:
Form> 13:00 clock lime Mail (S12 to Trimbornstrasse subway 1 and 9, S Bahn)
Please register at: email@example.com
Speakers: Tom Clements (SRS Watch, South Carolina, USA: he comes from the place where the West Castor to be deported illegal)
N.N. (West Castor)
Rainer Moormann (whistleblower from FZJ)
Comes in masses!
For more information: www.westcastor.de
SRS Watch news release - August 26, 2014
Constraint on Volumes of Liquid Waste from Aging H-Canyon Reprocessing Facility at Savannah River Site Could Hold Positive Impacts for SRS Waste Management and Result in Termination of Plans to Import High-Level Waste from Canada, Germany
Columbia, SC – Severe constraints placed on the volume of liquid high-level waste arising from operation of the H-Canyon reprocessing plant at the Savannah River Site (SRS) could result in the termination of plans to import foreign high-level nuclear waste to the Savannah River Site (SRS), according to Savannah River Site Watch.
“Limits placed on the volume of liquid highly radioactive from the H-Canyon over the next five years could curtail pursuit of misguided proposals to import nuclear waste into SRS,” said Tom Clements, director of Savannah River Site Watch (SRS Watch), a public interest organization that monitors SRS operations. “Questionable plans to import 20,000 liters of liquid high-level waste from Canada and 900,000 graphite spent fuel balls from Germany have now been placed in the crosshairs for elimination as H-Canyon waste volumes must be dedicated solely to on-going cleanup activities at SRS.” H-Canyon costs about $150 million per year to operate.
Space in the high-level waste tanks has been an on-going concern and the most recent high-level waste management plan for SRS – Liquid Waste System Plan, Revision 19 - released in May 2014, revealed that there would be “limited receipt of projected H-Canyon waste…during FY14, FY15, and FY16” but that “beginning in FY17, Tank Farms will fully support H-Canyon receipts, assumed to be 300 thousand gallons (kgal) per year through the end of H-Canyon operations.”
Now, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) revealed in a July 25, 2014 weekly report that “Based on projected budget impacts, DOE informed SRNS that they will be limited to transferring 50kgal of high level waste from H-Canyon to H-Tank Farms this fiscal year, 150kgal next year, and then 105 kgal each year between 2016 and 2019. While SRNS has been trying to reduce the volume of waste they transfer, these volumes will likely impact the amount of spent nuclear fuel, plutonium, and enriched uranium that can be processed.” (kgal = 1000 gallons)
for full SRS watch news release click here
BUT DOE is putting out misleading information about the H-Canyon reprocessing plant that doesn't mention the slowdown in operations. In the Environmental Management Update (Volume 6, Issue 8) of August 27, DOE discusses modifications to the aging facility but dodges mentioning that operations will be curtailed for at least five years:
AIKEN, S.C. – EM and its primary contractor at the Savannah River Site (SRS) safely completed 16 facility modifications three months ahead of schedule in support of the continued operation and sustainability of the H Canyon facility.
see text of full DOE update on H-Canyon here
"Impacts of Consolidated Nuclear Waste on Communities" - Georgia Tech, Atlanta, September 5, sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center
If you live near Atlanta, please attend this September 5 meeting on storage of highly radioactive spent fuel and speak up against "interim" storage of commercial spent fuel at the Savannah River Site. Listen to the insight of noted panelists Mindy Goldstein, Director of the Turner Environmental Law Clinic, Emory University School of Law and Sara Barczak, High Risk Energy Director, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) about spent fuel management options.
Recall that the SRS Citizens Advisory Board voted 16 to 0 on July 22 to renew its position against bringing spent fuel to SRS: "Position Paper for the Savannah River Site's Citizens Advisory Board on Using SRS for interim Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel (Renewed in July 2014).
"Impacts of Consolidated Nuclear Waste on Communities"
Date: Friday, September 5, 2014
Time: 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Venue: Georgia Institute of Technology
Address: Georgia Tech Hotel & Conference Center
800 Spring Street NW, Conference Room A, Atlanta, GA 30308
“Join the BPC's Energy Project for a discussion on consolidated storage of nuclear waste.”
“Experts, business leaders, academics and policymakers will discuss the lack of progress in addressing nuclear waste by state regulatory agencies, as well as the potential impacts of consolidated storage (be they positive or negative) on communities and states.”
To register and see the draft agenda, click here
Why bring up siting a new nuclear bomb plutonium "pit" plant at SRS? Don't bother as we don't want it at SRS!
Several years ago, public interest groups beat back an effort by special interests to locate the Modern Pit Facility (MPF) at SRS. Each year, that facility would have made up to 250 plutonium "pits" or trigger for nuclear weapons. The whole plan and the Environmental Impact Statement being prepared for it was scrapped, as some of us predicted it would be.
Now, is there something going on behind the scenes to site a new pit plant at SRS....? See mention of SRS below. Click here for link to this report:
Manufacturing Nuclear Weapon “Pits”: A Decisionmaking Approach for Congress
Congressional Research Service (CRS), August 15, 2014
"A “pit” is the plutonium “trigger” of a thermonuclear weapon. During the Cold War, the Rocky Flats Plant (CO) made up to 2,000 pits per year (ppy), but ceased operations in 1989. Since then, the Department of Energy (DOE) has made at most 11 ppy for the stockpile, yet the Department
of Defense stated that it needs DOE to have a capacity of 50 to 80 ppy to extend the life of certain weapons and for other purposes. This report focuses on 80 ppy, the upper end of this range."
"Since the United States no longer produces plutonium, all U.S. plutonium is “old,” such as from retired pits. As plutonium decays, it produces other elements, such as uranium and americium. These must be removed by chemical processes to purify plutonium for use in new pits. (Chemical processes do not remove specific isotopes of plutonium.) PF-4 uses 10,400 sf for plutonium recycle and purification. How much plutonium could that
area purify per year? How many ppy would that capacity support? How much more space would be needed to provide plutonium for 80 ppy? Alternatively, could these processes be moved to another site, such as Savannah River Site?" (page 15)
SRS Watch news - August 15, 2014
Member of German Parliament Calls for Halt to Plans to Export German Spent Fuel to SRS, Supports New Seismically Qualified Storage Facility in Germany; Letter Indicates that Political Pressure in Germany is Growing Against Dumping German Commercial Spent Fuel at the US Department of Energy's Savannah River Site (SRS) - letter in English
SRS Watch news release - August 15, 2014
letter in English
letter in German
Columbia, SC – A member of the German parliament (Bundestag) has written to the German federal government calling for a halt of plans to export German commercial spent nuclear fuel from the Juelich facility in Germany to the Savannah River Site (SRS). The letter increases pressure on the German government to drop the proposal to ship the highly radioactive spent fuel to SRS.
see SRS Watch news release here
Senator Graham Continues to Thumb His Nose at Requests for MOX Accountability
Despite requests by SRS Watch to Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to obtain and release any MOX plant costs estimates from AREVA, he continues to stonewall those requests and continues to protect AREVA from necessary public scrutiny. Likewise, Graham continues to protect officials in DOE, National Nuclear Security Administration and Shaw AREVA MOX Services from any accountability for their massive management failures with the MOX debacle. When will Graham stop his obstructionism and work on behalf of tax payers to hold managers responsible for the $30-billion MOX boondoggle?
See this July 7, 2014 letter for Graham's woefully inadequate response to a SRS Watch request for cost documents and for accountability.
April 30, 2014 Senate hearing linked here
SRS Watch news release - August 12, 2014
SCE&G Reveals Significant Delays with VC Summer Nuclear Reactor Construction Project; Additional Schedule Delay of 12-18 Months with Unknown Cost Increases to Rate Payers
Columbia, SC – In a stunning announcement, South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) has revealed that the nuclear reactor construction project at the V.C. Summer site has been delayed again, adding an additional year or more to the project, which will result in significant cost increases.
SCE&G officials stated on Monday afternoon, August 11, that the completion of the first new reactor at the V.C. Summer site, unit 2, has been delayed from the current date of late 2017/early 2018 “to late 2018 or the first half of 2019” and that associated cost increases are unknown. The second reactor, unit 3, is now delayed another 12 months.
“We have warned from the start of this risky project that it would face significant delays and cost increases so there is unfortunately no big surprise in SCE&G’s stunning news,” said Tom Clements, director of Savannah River Site Watch (SRS Watch). “SCE&G rate payers, already facing seven rate increases to pay in advance for the nuclear project, will likely take it on the chin due to the cost increases due to the announced delays,” said Clements.
-- high resolution aerial photos of VC Summer available on request: firstname.lastname@example.org - see some aerials shots at photos
click here for complete news release with lots of linked documents
"Hiroshima... Never Forget" Art Exhibit
OPENING First Thursday Aug 7th the public is invited to handcraft origami peace cranes, for all ages. 5:30 pm till closing at Tapp's on Main, 1644 Main St., downtown Columbia, South Carolina.
Featuring art from Jeri Burdick, Susan Lenz, Sean McGuinness (That Godzilla Guy), Kimi Maeda. and others, posters from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the short film “Witness to Hiroshima.” Runs August 7th through August 30th
Reservoir that is filled at SRS with radioactive tritium gas and shipped to sites with nuclear weapons, for insertion into the weapon. Tritium is injected during the explosion process to boost the power of the explosion. There is no scale on this DOE-supplied photo, for some type of security reason. The tritium in the reservoir is produced at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Watts Bar reactor in Tennessee, an example of the US double standard whereby nuclear weapons materials are produced in a commercial reactor.
The Case of Tritium Production for Nuclear Weapons in Commercial Reactors: DOE Violates Nuclear Non-Proliferation Norms and Proves that
Nuclear Power = Nuclear Weapons
SRS Watch news - August 5, 2014 - click here for release
---also linked at http://www.nukefree.org/
US Uses Civilian Nuclear Power to Make Radioactive Materials for its Nuclear Weapons
DOE Quietly Releases Draft Environmental Document on Tritium Production for Nuclear Weapons in TVA’s Nuclear Reactors; Perpetuates Production of Nuclear Weapons Materials in Civilian Nuclear Power Reactors, in Violation of "No-Dual Use" Policy (between military & civilian nuclear technologies)
Supplemental EIS Confirms No Irradiation of Plutonium Fuel (MOX) and Tritium Rods in Sequoyah Reactors at Same Time; Meetings Set in Athens, TN on Sept. 9 & Chattanooga, TN on Sept. 10
EIS-0288-S1: Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement - Production of Tritium in a Commercial Light Water Reactor :
draft SEIS: http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2014/08/f18/EIS-0288-DSEIS-S1-2014_1.pdf
National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) notice:
SEIS for the Production of Tritium in a Commercial Light Water Reactor
MOX Boondoggle: Profile in Cowardice?
Be sure to get your
nominations in for
those who must be held
accountable for the
$30-billion MOX debacle!
Summer time is here and it's apparently time for politicians and mis-managers of the plutonium fuel (MOX) project to kick back, count their piles of cash and raise their glasses in celebration. Nothing like being able to run a project into the ditch by being billions and billions of dollars over budget without a shred of accountability. Ah, how sweet it is when the tax payer can be so abused and nobody in Washington will step up to the plate to hold a single person accountable. Cowardice rules as nobody will claim ownership for the debacle they have helped create. The managers of the MOX debacle have ridden their cash cow hard and, as the Government Accountability Office (GAO) might say, the risky "fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement" ride isn't quite over yet. But responsible citizens and even some true public servants in DOE and the National Nuclear Security Administration are just waiting for the cow pie of accountability to hit the fan.
Be sure to get your nominations in for those who must be held accountable for the MOX debacle! Winners to be announced soon. Email your nominations and photos to email@example.com. Don't leave out big-spending politicians like Senator Lindsey Graham and Representative Joe Wilson, who now have draped the MOX albatross permanently around their own necks. If you are in any way responsible for the MOX boondoggle step up to the plate and be a profile in courage and not a profile in cow pie.
Below is an August 4, 2014 message from the Savannah River Site Citizens Advisory Board (SRS CAB), in which new members are being sought. We are aware of highly qualified applicants that have been rejected, perhaps due to political reasons. The CAB, a formally embodied federal advisory panel on SRS clean-up, needs to demonstrate it really is open to membership representing all viewpoints.
We need YOU on the Citizens Advisory Board!
Do you want to get involved in your community or learn more about the Savannah River Site? If so, please consider joining the Citizens Advisory Board (CAB). The CAB is currently looking for new members for its 2015-2017 term.
The CAB consists of citizens from South Carolina and Georgia. Citizens applying for membership to the Board are not required to have special training, extensive knowledge of SRS, or academic degrees, only a desire to learn and spread the word to local communities about SRS.
If you wish to apply, or know someone else who may be interested, you can find an application attached to this email or on the CAB’s website at: http://cab.srs.gov
Submit all applications by August 31st to the Support Team via mail, email, or fax.
Check us out on Facebook: facebook.com/SavannahRiverSiteCAB
Widerstand gegen Westcastoren und Reaktorverschiebung formiert sich in Amerika
Anti-Atom-Plenum Köln, 31 Juli 2014
Atomkugeln aus NRW für die USA
Strahlende Grüße (Radioactive Greetings)
Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln, 31 Juli 2014
audio: click here
SRS is not a nuclear waste dump for German spent fuel!
Savannah River Site Watch news
July 30, 2014
Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS), Main Contractor at the Savannah River Site, Fails to Meet Two Key Emergency Preparedness Objectives in May 2014 Drill, According to Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) Report
Columbia, SC – The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB), an independent agency which monitors DOE activities, has reported a failure by the main Savannah River Site (SRS) contractor to meet “Emergency Preparedness” objectives.
In a July 4 weekly report, the DNFSB reveals that Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) failed to meet emergency preparedness objectives in the areas of “facilities and equipment and exercise control and conduct.” The DNFSB stated that “While SRNS stated the equipment issues were relatively minor individually, the cumulative impact was that the emergency equipment needed to effectively respond to emergencies is seriously degraded.”
Click here to read full SRS Watch news release, with various document linked in "notes"
SRNS failed to meet objectives in mock drill, Aiken Standard, July 31, 2014
Below is a July 28 news release from Senator Vincent Sheheen on the plan to dump German spent nuclear fuel at the Savannah River Site. Sheheen is in the South Carolina legislature and is running for governor. Thanks to Senator Sheheen for standing up against plans aimed at making us a dump for German nuclear waste!
Sheheen to DOE Secretary: SC Is Not A Nuclear Waste Dumping Ground
Camden, SC – Today Vincent Sheheen urged Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to join him in preventing South Carolina from becoming a dumping ground for international nuclear waste, as the Secretary toured the Savannah River Site and visited the Aiken area.
The text of Sen. Sheheen’s letter to Secretary Moniz is pasted below. View a PDF of the signed letter at: http://vincentsheheen.com/?p=594
July 28, 2014
The Honorable Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy
US Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave. SW
Washington DC 20585
Dear Secretary Moniz,
As you will no doubt see on your visit today, South Carolina is a beautiful state, blessed with tremendous natural resources and hardworking people. We are also proud to have the Savannah River Site (SRS) in Aiken, which provides jobs in the community and does important work for our country. But South Carolina is not a nuclear waste dumping ground.
I write today to ask you to join us in preventing German radioactive waste from being dumped in our state. We've been down this road before, and South Carolina won't be fooled by promises again.
The federal government’s proposal to ship nearly 1 million highly radioactive graphite spheres from Germany to Charleston and then transport it to the Savannah River Site is deeply troubling. The proposal is unprecedented in its scope and size – and for the sake of the local families and businesses, for the sake of our state, the proposal should not move forward.
This German commercial nuclear waste was created by experimental reactors in Germany. The clean-up or storage of the radioactive by-product should be the responsibility of the German government. It’s not right for Germany or for the US federal government to throw this responsibility off to the people of South Carolina.
We know that once these highly radioactive graphite spheres are at the SRS they are going to stay here, likely forever. There is currently no disposal system at SRS – or anywhere in the United State for that matter – to handle the reprocessing of this waste. So, once it’s here, it will sit here. And sit here. And sit here.
Until we have made headway in dealing with the 37 million gallons of waste that we currently have at the SRS, we should not take on this burden from other countries. Our focus must remain on cleaning up the tanks at SRS remaining from its time producing plutonium.
These are tough issues that affect the people from Aiken to Charleston and around our state. Governor Haley refuses to speak out on this issue, but that does not mean South Carolinians support this proposal.
South Carolina is not a nuclear waste dump. Please help us keep it that way.
Sen. Vincent Sheheen
Savannah River Site Watch
July 28, 2014
Savannah River Site Watch (SRS Watch) Interacts with Secretary of Energy Moniz at “Meet & Greet” – Question about MOX Boondoggle Posed Directly to Moniz and Opposition to German Spent Fuel Import Expressed in Letter to Him
letter to be delivered in person to Secretary Moniz: "Place MOX Construction on Cold Standby; Terminate Plans for German Spent Fuel to SRS"
Columbia, South Carolina -- Savannah River Site Watch (SRS Watch), a public interest organization that monitors activities at the Savannah River Site, participated today in a “meet & greet” with Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz on his first visit to the U.S. Department of Energy's Savannah River Site.
The event will took place at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, July 28 at the Aiken County Applied Research Center, 227 Gateway Drive, Aiken, South Carolina.
Unfortunately, it does not appear that DOE made an effort to invite more public interest groups involved in SRS programs. Given that a number of public interest groups recently were visible at a June 24 DOE meeting on the proposed import of German spent fuel, the groups are known and should have been invited to the meeting, according to SRS Watch. The participation of public interest groups is essential in the SRS decision-making process as they are independent from DOE and contractors and their involvement should be solicited by DOE and not ignored, according to SRS Watch.
SRS Watch director Tom Clements engaged Secretary Moniz on two key SRS issues – the mismanaged plutonium fuel (MOX) project and the ill-conceived scheme to import highly radioactive spent fuel from Germany.
“I requested of Secretary Moniz that DOE follow through with placing the mismanaged MOX construction program on cold standby,” said Clements. “My main message on MOX was to ask of Secretary of Moniz that those DOE and Shaw AREVA MOX Services managers who have allowed the MOX project to run dramatically over budget and behind schedule to be held accountable. As DOE’s credibility has been severely eroded due to the mismanagement of the MOX project, he needs to demonstrate that he will hold those responsible for the boondoggle accountable.”
“In a letter given to him, I informed Secretary Moniz that there is strong opposition to importing highly radioactive commercial spent nuclear power fuel from Germany and request that the proposal be immediately terminated,” said Clements. “There is a feeling in South Carolina and Georgia that we do not want SRS the future of to be a nuclear waste dump and that waste already at the site must be cleaned up. By not inviting more public interest groups to interact with Secretary Moniz, he will likely get a biased view from contractors wishing to profit from dumping German nuclear waste at the site but that viewpoint does not reflect the wider public. Even if he didn’t hear a balance of views about importing more nuclear waste into SRS, over time both Secretary Moniz and DOE will eventually learn that public sentiment is against turning SRS into a waste disposal site.”
See links to four editorials in local papers – Aiken, Augusta, Greenville and Spartanburg – against importing German spent fuel at www.srswatch.org.
Director, Savannah River Site Watch
Here's news from a sister organization located near the Sellafield nuclear complex in the UK - Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE). The Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (THORP) has been a major failure that is a harbinger to the end of the spent fuel reprocessing experiment in in Europe. THORP and the associated Sellafield MOX Plant (SMP), the UK's equivalent of the SRS MOX boondoggle, have been economic and technological disasters that show that the only purpose that reprocessing serves is to line the pockets of those engaged in it.
CORE news release, July 25, 2014:
1000 tonnes of THORP contracts abandoned by overseas customers since 1994
" Since the £2.8Bn Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (THORP) was opened in 1994 – with the usual razzmatazz from its then owners British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL), Sellafield’s ’flagship’ reprocessing plant has lost some 1000 tonnes of business contracted by overseas customers. "
SRS Watch is proud to be associated with CORE, which produces spot-on analyses of the situation at Sellafield.
Export von Atommüll muss gestoppt werden
Like many public interest groups in Germany, the anti-nuclear group ".ausgestrahlt" is opposing export of highly radioactive German spent fuel to the US and supports protests against the transport of the spent fuel from Juelich, where it is now stored. German groups supports construction of a new earthquake-resistant storage facility and management of the spent fuel in Germany. Translation of their statement:
July 21, 2014 statement from .ausgestrahlt:
Export of nuclear waste must be stopped
Castor containers from Jülich should not go in the U.S.
"Research-Center Jülich is planning the transport of 152 Castor containers of highly radioactive nuclear waste in the United States.
Against all the promises the federal government and the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia the Research-Center Jülich and their partner want to export radioactive waste.
The planned transport and the treatment of nuclear waste in the United States is against the export ban in site selection law and the ban on reprocessing in the Atomic Energy Act.
The current interim storage facility in Jülich is not a safe place to store nuclear waste. However, the transport of Castor in the United States or, alternatively, to Ahaus is not a suitable solution. Basis of any
planning must be the avoidance of nuclear transports in order to exclude an unnecessary threat to the population.
We demand the whereabouts of nuclear waste in a new earthquake-proof interim storage facility at Jülich to be constructed and approved as quickly as possible.”
South Carolina, the world's waste dump? No thanks!
This July 22 Robert Ariail editorial cartoon, entitled "Green Box, says it all about how some regard South Carolina and the Savannah River Site - a dumping ground for waste of all types. But strong resistance to dumping of commercial nuclear waste from Germany demonstrates that the public is getting tired of our state being a dump.
For those of you not familiar with the geography of south Carolina, the waste bin is in the shape of the state.
A big thanks to Robert Ariail, editorial cartoonist, for permission to post the cartoon. See his website by clicking here.
July 22, 2014
Savannah River Site Clean-up Panel in 16-0 Vote Renews Position Against Bringing Commercial Spent Fuel to the Savannah River Site
SRS Citizens Advisory Board (SRS CAB) Continues to Stay Focused on SRS Clean-Up While DOE Chases German Nuclear Waste
It’s good to report that the Savannah River Site Citizens Advisory Board (SRS CAB), a duly embodied federal advisory panel to the US Department of Energy on SRS clean-up, has on July 22 unanimously renewed its “position paper” against bringing domestic commercial spent fuel to SRS for “interim storage.” The vote was in 16 to 0 in favor of renewing the position (which included a slight strengthening of language concerning the fact that SRS has never been studied for "indefinite" storage of spent fuel).
See full SRS Watch comment here.
“Position Paper for the Savannah River Site’s Citizens Advisory Board on Using SRS for interim Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel (Adopted July 2013)”
Congratulations to the members of the SRS CAB for letting DOE and special interests know of their concerns about SRS becoming an "indefinite" storage site for highly radioactive spent fuel.
July 21, 2014 - news from Germany
The stage has been set by the US Department of Energy and German entities for large protests in Germany if there is any attempt to move casks with highly radioactive graphite spent fuel.
A July 21 news release by 25 German environmental groups states that "Every nuclear transport is refused until the moment a terminal storage is found in Germany. Instead of this, a permitted earthquake-proof storage in Jülich is demanded." So, no matter if the waste is shuffled around in Germany with no disposal plans or if an attempt is made to export it to the Savannah River Site for dumping, the groups state that there will "resistance all along the transport tracks."
What kind of mess in Germany has SRS inserted itself? Let Germany deal with its own spent fuel any consideration of dumping the commercial nuclear power fuel at SRS must be terminated!
Press release 21.07.2014
Massive protests against Jülich-CASTOR Transports announced
Environmental and No-Nuke-Organisations all over Germany are announcing massive protests in the case of CASTOR Transports from the AVR interim storage Jülich all along the whole transport track.
In Jülich/Germany, 152 CASTOR Casks containing nuclear waste from atomic fuel elements are stored. Evidently the Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) is not able to produce a permit within the law. Whether this situation is produced knowingly by the FZJ or is due to incompetence, can only be guessed about.
Massive Proteste im Falle von Jülicher Castor-Transporten angekündigt! ahaus · jülich · nrw
Umwelt- und Anti-Atom-Organisationen aus dem gesamten Bundesgebiet kündigen für den Fall von Castortransporten vom AVR-Zwischenlager aus Jülich massive Proteste entlang der gesamten Strecke an. In Jülich lagern 152 Castoren mit hochradioaktivem Müll aus Brennelementen. Offensichtlich ist das Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) bisher weder in der Lage, eine rechtssichere Genehmigung für das Zwischenlager noch eine Transportgenehmigung für die Castoren zu erwirken.
July 21, 2014
Oooopppsss, the Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) research center in Germany has driven a nail into the coffin of the proposal to export commercial nuclear reactor spent fuel to the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. In a stunning admission that pulls the rug out from under special interests pushing the dumping of AVR spent fuel at the Savannah River Site, FZJ states:
"In its current form, the nuclear fuel in the spent AVR fuel elements is not weapons-grade.”
While the US Department of Energy has claimed that there are proliferation risks with the AVR spent fuel stored at Jülich, the operators of the site disagree. In a Q&A by FZJ, in German and English, it is clearly stated that the spent fuel contains no weapon-usable uranium:
“Die Strahlung, die von den Kugeln ausgeht, ist sehr hoch und damit sehr gefährlich. Die Kugeln müssen daher besonders verpackt und gelagert werden, um den Schutz von Mensch und Umwelt zu gewährleisten. In seiner gegenwärtigen Form ist der Kernbrennstoff in den abgebrannten AVR-Brennelementen nicht waffentauglich.”
“The intensity of the radiation emitted by the fuel spheres is very high, which makes the spheres very dangerous. This is why they must be packaged and stored in a special way in order to protect humans and the environment. In its current form, the nuclear fuel in the spent AVR fuel elements is not weapons-grade.”
DOE has presented that the spent fuel contains 900 kg of highly enriched uranium, or 1 g of HEU/graphite spent fuel ball but has presented no documentation to support this claim. But this amount of HEU appears to be what may have been in the AVR and THTR-300 fresh fuel about 30 years ago, before the fuel was irradiated in the experimental gas-cooled power reactors. When will DOE correct its misrepresentation of the amount of HEU involved? While the spent fuel in question may in the long term pose the risk of use in a radiological dispersal device, so does all spent fuel in Germany and elsewhere. The solution to that problem is not to dump the spent fuel at SRS but to safely manage it in Germany.
SRS is not a spent fuel dump for Germany! SRS ist kein Atommüllkippe!
Bundestag reveals truth on German spent fuel
Despite feeble efforts by DOE and certain special interests and a few in Germany to rebrand the AVR reactor as a "research" reactor, the proof is overwhelming that the AVR was an experimental power reactor that fed electricity to the grid. The evidence comes from the Bundestag as well.
See the response to a member of the Bundestag - Antwort des Parlamentarischen Staatssekretärs Stefan Müller vom 15. April 2014 - about the ownership of the AVR reactor at Juelich. Special interests are trying 25 years after the reactor's closure to claim that the experimental power reactor was actually a research reactor. This trickery, aimed at dodging the German law against export of spent nuclear power reactor fuel, is about 35 years too late and is not working.
"The General Experimental Reactor (AVR) belonged to the time of the establishment and the operation of the Working Group Experimental Reactor
GmbH. At its inception, the Working Group was experimental reactor GmbH, a consortium of 15 municipal electric utilities (EVU). The following table the individual utilities with the respective ownership percentage. During the
21 years of operation of the research reactor were 1.63 TWh fed to electrical energy into the public grid." (translation from Google Translate)
A list of the municipal electric company owners follows the above text.
This document has been submitted into the record of the DOE's "environmental assessment" being prepared on the dumping at SRS of 900,000 highly radioactive graphite fuel balls from the AVR and THTR-300 gas-cooled power reactors. The comment period ends on July 21 - see here for a message you can send in, even if it's sent after July 21.
Dr. Marolyn Parson, chair of the SRS Citizens Advisory Board (SRS CAB), a duly embodied federal advisory panel on SRS clean-up, has submitted comments to the US DOE on the proposal to import commercial spent fuel from Germany. Her letter states that "There are six additional areas that should be added to the scope of the Environmental Analysis: Impacts that would occur as a result of postulated delays in current Savannah River Site missions/projects."
See the July 18, 2014 letter here.
Recall that the SRS CAB meets on July 21-22 at the Doubletree Hotel, 2651 Perimeter Pkwy, Augusta, Georgia 30909. Please attend and speak up against importing German spent fuel to SRS. See CAB agenda and location of meeting here.
From the SRS CAB website:
Dr. Parson retired in 2007 from the National Association of Home Builders, where she served as the Director of Environmental Policy. Her career as an environmental scientist included environmental research and university teaching. Since retiring, she has earned two “green” building certifications. She holds a Bachelor and Master of Arts in Education, and a Doctorate in Biology. Dr. Parson resides in Bluffton, South Carolina. She serves as the chair of the SRS Citizens Advisory Board.
The Savannah River Site (SRS) is not a dump for Germany's high-level nuclear waste (spent fuel)!
For those in Germany and other places who do not know where the Savannah River Site is located, take a look at the map above. The 310-square mile U.S. Department of Energy site is in the state of South Carolina, southeast of Augusta, Georgia and south of Aiken, South Carolina.
SRS is NOT a disposal site for any form of high-level nuclear waste, which includes spent fuel (as defined by US law). High-level waste (HLW) now at SRS is required by US law to go to a geologic repository. But the US has no such repository, so HLW at the site is now stranded. Do not be fooled by any misinformation that commercial spent fuel brought from Germany is being sent to the site for disposal. SRS is a key facility in the US nuclear weapons complex, having produced 36 metric tons of weapon-grade plutonium and the site still processes all tritium gas for nuclear warheads. The site is struggling to deal with a large quantity of high-level waste - 37 million gallons, which were in 51 large tanks - remaining form nuclear weapons production. We do not want more waste brought into the site as it negatively impacts urgent and on-going clean-up activities.
SRS is not a spent fuel disposal site! SRS ist kein Atommüllkippe!
For more information, contact SRS Watch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Concern about and opposition to the proposed export of German spent fuel to the Savannah River Site in South Carolina is growing on a daily basis. It appears that the port of Nordenham, Germany, across the Weser River from the large port of Bremerhaven, is secretly being considered to export 457 casks containing German commercial spent fuel to SRS. Given that possibility, Die Linke, a German political party in the Nordenham city government, has taken notice that 300,000 highly radioactive graphite spent fuel balls from the AVR power reactor in Juelich could be exported via Nordenham and made an inquiry on July 14 about that to the city's "Bürgermeister." The US Department of Energy must reveal in its draft "environmental assessment" if it is considering use of Nordenham for this commercial venture and what the port's ability is to handle 30-tonne casks containing high-level nuclear waste.
Thank you, Representative Fortenberry for introducing some sanity into the discussion about the MOX boondoggle!
Though he withdrew his amendment to House legislation to fund the Department of Energy, Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebraska) spoke much-needed common sense about the dire situation with the mismanaged MOX program.
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD—HOUSE - July 9, 2014
"My amendment seeks to move $25 million from the mixed oxide fuel program and move it into the defense nuclear nonproliferation accounts, such as the global threat reduction initiative and other similar accounts."
"The reason I am offering this is I am very concerned about the future of the mixed oxide, the MOX, fuel program. So is the Department of Energy. So is the administration. So is our committee. Everyone is very concerned about the potential viability of this program which we have already spent $4 billion of taxpayer money on."
read on - see page 16 pdf
Representative Joe Wilson (R-South Carolina) responded with a comment in which he feebly attempts to perpetuate the lie that France has a similar MOX plant as the one being built at SRS: "I want you to be aware that this is actually proven technology. There has been a facility built in France already that has provided and proven that this will work..."
FACT CHECK: The plutonium proliferation company AREVA, a government-owned French company, has never built or operated a nuclear fuel facility to produce MOX fuel made from weapon-grade plutonium. They are attempting to design the US MOX plant to handle weapon-grade plutonium but it seems like their design is in trouble as they attempt to meet US standards. And, MOX fuel made from weapon-grade plutonium has NEVER been used commercially anywhere in the world. Representative Wilson, your repeated attempts to perpetuate untruths about MOX are deceptive yet transparent. Representative Wilson, why do you continue yoru attempts to deceive the tax payer about the costly MOX madness? Instead, why aren't you calling for full accountability and investigations into what has turned into a major disaster for DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration and Shaw AREVA MOX Services?
It's time for heads to roll. But we haven't even got a slap on the wrist of those responsible for the massive MOX debacle. And, nobody responsible has had the moral courage to step forward to assume responsibility. Such a sad testimony to the way DOE operates and that contractors think it's normal to exploit DOE and the tax payers. One day, justice will be served....
Comments by SRS Watch to the South Carolina Governor's Nuclear Advisory Council on July 10, 2014 - click here.
At the meeting in Columbia, South Carolina, the Department of Energy did a poor job presenting it's half-baked proposal to dump spent fuel from Germany on the Savannah River Site. The official, pictured above, stumbled over a barrage of questions from the council about the timing of a Department of Energy's study ("environmental assessment") now being prepared concerning import of the highly radioactive spent fuel. It was clear that Germany's schedule to remove the commercial spent fuel from the Juelich research center, in the form of highly radioactive graphite balls, is driving DOE's schedule. There was skepticism shown by the council about DOE dancing to Germany's tune in the effort to dump a radioactive mess on SRS. In oral and written comments, I revealed more about the scheme than DOE has so far cared to, underscoring the importance of having SRS Watch keeping an eye on what DOE is up to. Stay tuned for more on the meeting. Tom Clements, Director, SRS Watch
DOE's inaccurate and incomplete presentation to the Governor’s Nuclear Advisory Council:
Potential Acceptance and Disposition of
German Pebble Bed Research Reactor
Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) Fuel
Article about the meeting, about work at SRS to develop a new, proliferation-prone reprocessing technique to remove uranium from the graphite fuel: Scrutiny intensifies over German nuke waste shipments to SC, by Sammy Fretwell, The State, Columbia, South Carolina, July 11, 2014
video story on SC Governor's Nuclear Advisory Council meeting:
WLTX TV, Columbia, SC, July 10, 2014
Enriched Uranium From Germany Still In Works For SRS
Comment for public to send in to DOE
Statement by Ms. Sylvia Kotting-Uhl, Spokesperon on Nuclear Issues in the German Bundestag for the “Bundestagsfraktion BÜNDNIS 90/ DIE GRÜNEN” - July 8, 2014
-- opposition to the proposed shipment of German spent fuel from the long-closed AVR gas-cooled commercial prototype reactor at Forschungszentrum Jülich to the United States
Shipping the nuclear waste of the AVR to the USA is against all principles that we obliged to, last but not least by the German repository site selection act. This nuclear waste has to be disposed in our own country.
In my opinion the best option would be to build a new earthquake-proof interim storage for the nuclear waste on the FZJ ground or nearby.
I can no longer accept the blanket of secrecy that Germany's Federal Ministry of Research has thrown over this affair. Minister Wanka has to declare quickly what her plans for the disposition of the nuclear waste are.
[ Dr. Johanna Wanka has been Federal Minister of Education and Research and a member of the Government of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel since February 2013.]
SRS Watch thanks Ms. Kotting-Uhl for her statement and for her support of disposition of the AVR spent fuel in Germany!
SRS Watch MOX Boondoggle Alert - July 9, 2014
White House Statement on DOE Funding Indicates Veto Looming Over MOX Funding Language in Congress
Photo of MOX plant and area around it on May 22, 2014, taken by High Flyer, of the SRS Watch air force. Are you surprised to see what a $10-billion concrete box looks like? Some claim that there are 1500 workers at the site - where are their cars?
See more aerial photos of MOX plant from May 22 on SRS Watch website: http://www.srswatch.org/photos.html
Columbia, SC -- The Obama Administration has today threatened to veto Energy and Water Development legislation that funds the Department of Energy unless various matters of concern are not addressed, including language on continuing construction for the mismanaged plutonium fuel (MOX) plant under construction at the DOE's Savannah River Site in South Carolina.
Concerning the MOX program, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) stated: "The Administration strongly objects to language that would require the Secretary of Energy to continue construction of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility. The Administration plans to move the facility into cold stand-by in FY 2015 as it continues to explore the potential for more cost effective alternatives while maintaining the U.S. Government's commitment to disposing of unneeded plutonium."
The White House statement affirms that the Department of Energy is sticking to its proposal to place the MOX plant construction on cold standby in Fiscal Year 2014 (which ends on September 30) and that non-MOX cheaper alternatives continue to be analyzed.
"While DOE's hands must not be tied in its attempts to get the MOX program under control, it appears that any increase in funding for Fiscal Year 2015 will only prolong the inevitable shutdown of the massively over-budget project," said Tom Clements, director of Savannah River Site Watch. "Congress has not demonstrated in any way that it can get MOX spending under control or that it aims to hold managers of the problem-plagued project accountable and that's a recipe for shutdown. Dealing with MOX in Fiscal Year 2014 rather than throwing more money at it to barely keeps its nose above water next year is the soundest way to attempt to get plutonium disposition back on track. An increase in MOX funding by the House is contrary to sound fiscal management, especially given that the project is simply not sustainable over the long term."
In the floor discussion in the US House, it is believed that Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) may offer an amendment that strikes the language that requires MOX money to be used for construction in Fiscal Year 2015. In other words, the amendment would require that the MOX facility be placed on "cold standby" as requested by the President's budget. If no Energy & Water budget is agreed to by the Senate by September 30, the Administration may move ahead and place the MOX project on cold standby.
See White House statement of July 9:
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20503
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
H.R. 4923 — Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies
Appropriations Act, 2015
(Rep. Rogers, R-Kentucky)
The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 4923, making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015, and for other purposes. The bill significantly underfunds critical investments that develop American energy sources to build a clean and secure energy future, support the emerging clean
energy technologies that create high-quality jobs, and enhance the Nation's economic competiveness. The legislation also excessively restricts nonproliferation contracts with Russia and prevents the development of lower cost technologies for disposal of excess plutonium.
Further, the bill includes objectionable environmental riders that would prevent the use of funds to address known deficiencies and regulatory uncertainties related to Clean Water Act regulations that protect important aquatic resources while supporting economic development. If the President
were presented with H.R. 4923, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.
Disposition of Weapons-Usable Plutonium. The Administration strongly objects to language that would require the Secretary of Energy to continue construction of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility. The Administration plans to move the facility into cold stand-by in FY 2015 as it continues to explore the potential for more cost effective alternatives while maintaining the U.S. Government's commitment to disposing of unneeded plutonium.
House Report on Energy & Water Funding - search for "MOX"
The Savannah River Site Citizens Advisory Board (SRS CAB) will meet Monday and Tuesday, July 21-22, 2014 at the Doubletree Hotel in Augusta, Georgia. See draft agenda by clicking here.
Amongst the various topics to be discussed, there will possibly be a vote on Tuesday morning on renewing the July 2013 position paper against bringing highly radioactive spent nuclear power fuel to SRS for storage. Reflecting public sentiment against bringing commercial spent fuel to SRS, that position paper passed overwhelmingly in July 2013. Please attend on Monday and speak in support of the renewal of the position and against bringing German commercial nuclear reactor spent fuel to SRS for dumping.
Photo: Patriots from Georgia and South Carolina at SRS CAB meeting in March 2014. Thanks to citizens like these who attend SRS meetings and speak up for sound DOE policies!
July 6, 2014
The US Department of Energy's 310-square mile Savannah River Site (SRS) Faces Unprecedented Import of Highly Radioactive Spent Nuclear Fuel from Two German Nuclear Power Reactors; Export from Germany of Commercial Spent Fuel now Stored in CASTOR Casks at Ahaus and Juelich is Illegal and Unwarranted, Will Compound Waste Management Challenges at SRS and Must be Rejected
June 24 "Scoping Comments" by SRS Watch on the US Department of Energy’s “Environmental Assessment for the Acceptance and Disposition of Used Nuclear Fuel Containing U.S.-Origin Highly Enriched Uranium From the Federal Republic of Germany” - in Support of the "No Action" Alternative (No Import of the Commercial Spent Fuel)
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Reminder: the South Carolina Governors' Nuclear Advisory Council (GNAC) meets on Thursday, July 10 in Columbia, South Carolina and the urgent issues of German nuclear waste dumping and high-level waste management at the Savannah River Site are on the agenda. Please attend and make a public comment against foreign waste dumping at the Savannah River Site.
Click here for the agenda for the July 10 meeting.
Click here for the comments of SRS Watch and the League of Women Voters of South Carolina at the GNAC meeting on April 10.
GOVERNOR’S NUCLEAR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEETING - agenda
Gressette Building, Room #209 (by state capitol, downtown Columbia)
July 10, 2014
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Call to Order – Approval of Minutes & Karen Patterson, Chair (10 minutes) Update of GNAC activities
Duke Update Steve Nesbit, Director Nuclear Policy and Support (30 minutes)
SCDHEC Shelly Wilson, DHEC, SRS Federal Facilities Liaison
Break (10 minutes)
German HEU EA Maxine Maxted, DOE (20 minutes)
Z Area Salt Disposal Facility Update Steve Wilkerson, DOE, Defense Waste Processing Facility/Saltstone Director (20 minutes)
ARP/MCU Next Generation Solvent Update Neil Davis, DOE, Tank Farm/ETP Project Director
Tank Closure Status Dan Wood, DOE, Tank Closure and Regulatory Director (20 minutes)
Rev 19 Liquid Waste System Plan Peter Hill, DOE, System Planning Manager (20 minutes)
Closing Remarks Karen Patterson, Chair (5 minutes)
July 2 - The State Columbia, SC
MORNING BUZZ: Sheheen to discuss nuclear waste
Posted by CASSIE COPE on July 2, 2014
State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, the Democratic Camden attorney running for governor, will join leaders from Aiken and the Conservation Voters of South Carolina to discuss the effort to bring nuclear waste to the Aiken area from Germany. The conservation voters endorsed Sheheen in his second bid for governor against Republican Nikki Haley.
Note poster above, presented by DOE at the German nuclear waste dumping meeting on June 24 in N. Augusta, South Carolina - none of the "disposal" options result in the German high-level spent fuel by-products leaving Savannah River Site, which underscores the risk of SRS becoming an international nuclear dump
news release from Sheheen's campaign (for governor):
From: Sheheen for SC Press
Date: Tue, Jul 1, 2014 at 4:53 PM
Subject: WED at 10am: Sheheen & CVSC to Discuss Nuclear Waste Dumping in Aiken
TOMORROW at 10am: Sheheen, CVSC, & Local Leaders to Discuss Nuclear Waste Dumping in Aiken
Tomorrow, Wednesday July 2nd at 10:00 am, Sen. Vincent Sheheen will join leaders from the Aiken area and the Conservation Voters of South Carolina to discuss the effort to bring Nuclear Waste from Germany into the Aiken area.
WHO: Vincent Sheheen, state Senator and candidate for governor, with Alan Hancock of the Conservation Voters of South Carolina and local leaders from the Aiken area
WHAT: News Conference on German Nuclear Waste Dumping in Aiken
WHERE: 831 Hayne Ave, Aiken, SC 29801
WHEN: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 10:00 am
Pick your DOE boondoggle....
The plutonium fuel (MOX) program isn't the only management and financial debacle that DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) created and continues to push. The Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) at Y-12 (Oak Ridge) - to make the highly enriched uranium (HEU) part of nuclear weapons - is main contender for DOE's "boondoggle of the century." While the number of nuclear weapons goes down, spending on maintaining a vast nuclear weapons arsenal is shooting upwards. SRS Watch is a member group of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA), which advocates clean up of the weapons sites, like the Savannah River Site, and honoring of the provisions of Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to get rid of nuclear weapons. ANA and SRS Watch will continue to hold DOE accountable for wasteful and provocative spending. See the posted graphic, used during recent educational efforts with Congress and government agencies, at http://www.ananuclear.org/.
German Nuclear Waste at SRS Challenged -
from anibalshow video from DOE meeting on Tuesday, June 24
NORTH AUGUSTA, SC - Savannah River Site faces unprecedented import of Highly Radioactive Spent Nuclear Fuel from two German nuclear power reactors and 17 people opposing the idea against 13 in favor explained their concerns during a public hearing by the Department of Energy. Anibal Ibarra, anibalshow.com
As some were sowing confusion at the meeting on June 24 about the AVR reactor and whether it was connected to the electrical grid, SRS Watch has submitted an additional comment for the record of the "environmental assessment" (EA) on the German spent fuel dumping. This supports earlier comments about commercial production of electricity by the AVR and THTR-3000 reactors and that they were connected to the commercial electrical grid. The discussion is thus over - both of the German nuclear reactors were connected to the grid and were used for commercial production of electricity. They were experimental power reactors, not research reactors. The US must not set a precedent and import commercial spent fuel which will only be dumped at SRS as there is no way to "dispose" of it after any processing.
Stay tuned for more comments from SRS Watch before the EA comment period ends on July 21. Others are encouraged to also submit comments against the plan by special interests affiliated with the US DOE and/or Germany to dump commercial spent fuel at SRS - see Federal Register notice of June 4 for details on where to submit comments: "Environmental Assessment for the Acceptance and Disposition of Used Nuclear Fuel Containing U.S.-Origin Highly Enriched Uranium From the Federal Republic of Germany"
TV ad takes a well-deserved jab at the MOX debacle - truer now than when it first ran in June 2013 - thanks to Friends of the Earth
Oink: Stop Sen. Graham's plutonium pork boondoggle
Oh what a mess Senator Lindsey Graham and Representative Joe Wilson find themselves in with the MOX travesty!
MOX: boondoggle, debacle, travesty - take your pick about how to describe this textbook case of big-government mismanagement of a complex, costly project, which is "pure pork." The MOX contractors continue to feed at the public trough but their over consumption is soon to end as fiscal conservatism will triumph over MOX madness....check out the oink ad, which is spot on...
SRS Watch signs on to letter to improve the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) - June 26, 2014
--- see full news release from OpenTheGovernment.org:
Broad Coalition of Organizations Sign on in Support of FOIA Improvement Act of 2014
Fifty organizations representing a broad range of interests and crossing the political spectrum expressed support for the recently-introduced FOIA Improvement Act of 2014, S. 2520. The bill was introduced earlier this week by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), who have a long history of working together to develop and pass legislation that makes the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) a better tool for the public to obtain government records.
Download the letter here: http://www.openthegovernment.org/sites/default/files/Senate%20FOIA%20Bill%20Support%20Press%20Release.pdf
Carolina Peace Resource Center ACTION ALERT: Oppose Dumping German HEU Nuclear Waste at SRS - June 26
The Department of Energy (DOE) is considering proposals to bring German HEU (Highly Enriched Uranium) commercial spent fuel to the Savannah River Site for processing and disposal. But there is no place to dispose of it for the long-term meaning it would wind up dumped at SRS for decades if not permanently. Environmentalists and concerned citizens have already spoken out at a DOE Hearing in North Augusta in opposition on Tuesday June 24th… now it is YOUR TURN TO SPEAK UP!
TAKE ACTION! Tell DOE to Consider the Environmental & Financial Liabilities of Dumping German Nuclear Waste at SRS.
The DOE is soliciting comment from the public to make an Environmental Assessment (EA) on whether bringing German HEU Nuclear Waste to SRS would have a “significant impact” on the local community, thus requiring a more researched “environmental impact statement” (EIS) under federal law. Boosters and supporters of bringing German HEU Nuclear Waste to SRS are urging a finding of “no significant impact” to avoid an environmental impact statement. Tell DOE to consider the environmental & financial liabilities of dumping German nuclear waste at SRS. Please include any additional factors…environmental or socioeconomic… that should be weigh in on considering a community impact.
Submit Comments to Andrew Grainger at email@example.com
SUBMIT COMMENT BY MONDAY JULY 21st
More Background/Share this ACTION ALERT: http://bit.ly/GERHEUSRS
Meeting on proposal to illegally export German spent commercial fuel to SRS draws public opposition & support from "boosters" who are chasing a big financial payoff from the Germans for the unprecedented import into the US of commercial spent fuel - June 24, 2014
see short video clip linked from the Augusta Chronicle article on the left
Suzanne Rhodes of the South Carolina League of Women Voters expresses concern about import of German high-level nuclear waste to the Savannah River Site. (Export of such high-level nuclear waste is illegal under German law so a scheme is being devised to get around that big problem by redefining the reactors from which spent fuel would be shipped as "research" reactors - see SRS Watch testimony below.)
About 17 people spoke against the proposal and 13 in favor. Most of those in favor had a connection to SRS or contractors that would profit from the lucrative deal. That's the way it goes at these meetings - the general public with no financial connection expresses concern about questionable proposals while those who would make money (or who are connected to those who would make money) support the proposal no matter how bad it is for the environment, budget or public health. The deal in questions could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars so there were a lot of DOE officials and contractors at the meeting. This was noted by many of those attending, who were aware that many in the crowd were financially motivated by the German dumping scheme and were there to follow the money $$$$$. A draft "Environmental Assessment" (EA) on the proposal will be out in several months, with a public meeting to follow, but that EA will likely dodge the overarching policy questions driving this dodgy deal for the unprecedented import of commercial spent fuel into the United States.
To comment, by July 21, and for more information, see DOE's Federal Register notice of June 4: "Environmental Assessment for the Acceptance and Disposition of Used Nuclear Fuel Containing U.S.-Origin Highly Enriched Uranium From the Federal Republic of Germany"
Savannah River Site Faces Unprecedented Import of Highly Radioactive Spent Nuclear Fuel from Two German Nuclear Power Reactors; Export from Germany Illegal and Unwarranted, Will Compound Waste Management Challenges at SRS and Must be Rejected
June 24 "Scoping Comments" on the US Department of Energy’s “Environmental Assessment for the Acceptance and Disposition of Used Nuclear Fuel Containing U.S.-Origin Highly Enriched Uranium From the Federal Republic of Germany” - in Support of the "No Action" Alternative (No Import of the Commercial Spent Fuel)
list of 25 attachments that DOE must address, with some additional comments - click here
by Tom Clements
Director, Savannah River Site Watch (www.srswatch.org)
Columbia, South Carolina
DOE to webcast June 24 meeting on the proposal to dump German commercial spent fuel on SRS - WEBCAST HAD TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES BUT AUDIO MAY HAVE WORKED
DOE is preparing to web cast the scoping meeting on the German HEU Fuel Environmental Assessment. We intend to begin the broadcast at approximately 7:00 pm, June 24. At that time, please go to http://sro.srs.gov/ and follow the link posted there. Please feel free to distribute this information to anyone who may be interested.
Andrew R. Grainger, NEPA Compliance Officer
Office of the Assistant Manager
for Infrastructure & Environmental Stewardship
Department of Energy, Savannah River
DOE paid advertisement on the environmental meeting, in The State, Columbia, SC, June 23
Savannah River Site Watch news June 23, 2014
Please attend the June 24 meeting in N. Augusta, SC and Speak Out Against Illegal Spent Fuel Dumping by Germany!
U.S. DOE Environmental Meeting on June 24 on Import to Savannah River Site (SRS) of German High- Level Nuclear Waste; DOE Wrongly Claims there would be a Plan for its “Disposition” in the US
Germany Must Halt Plans for the Unprecedented Export of German Commercial Spent Fuel, via Charleston, South Carolina, for Dumping at SRS; Violates German Law, European Commission Directive on Nuclear waste Management
Details on meeting and about the proposed scheme in Federal Register Notice of June 4: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-06-04/pdf/2014-12933.pdf
Please attend the July 10 public meeting of the South Carolina Governor's Nuclear Advisory Council and make a comment against turning the Savannah River Site into a nuclear dump for highly radioactive commercial spent fuel from two nuclear power reactors in Germany. (These were not research reactors, which DOE and Germany are feebly now trying to claim.) Entrance to the meeting is just a few feet from the statue of Senator Strom Thurmond at the state capitol complex in Columbia, SC. (The confederate flag flies sadly on the other side of the "state house.")
GOVERNOR’S NUCLEAR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEETING - agenda - Gressette Building, Room #209 July 10, 2014 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm Call to Order – Approval of Minutes & Karen Patterson, Chair (10 minutes) Update of GNAC activities Duke Update Steve Nesbit, Director Nuclear Policy and Support (30 minutes) SCDHEC Shelly Wilson, DHEC, SRS Federal Facilities Liaison (20 minutes) Break (10 minutes) SRS German HEU EA Maxine Maxted, DOE (20 minutes) Saltstone Vault Cracks Remediation Jim Folk, DOE, Asst. Manager for Liquid Waste Progreams (20 minutes) ARP/MCU Next Generation Solvent Jim Folk, DOE, Asst. Manager for Liquid Waste Programs (20 minutes) Tank Closure Update Jim Folk, DOE, Asst. Manager for Liquid Waste Programs (20 minutes) Rev 19 Liquid Waste System Plan Jim Folk, DOE, Asst. Manager for Liquid Waste Programs (20 minutes) Public Comments, Closing Remarks Karen Patterson, Chair (5 minutes)
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) stands up to DOE on problems with new high-level waste management plan - June 16, 2014 letter to Secretary of Energy Moniz:
"On May 29, 2014, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) received Revision 19 of the Savannah River Site (SRS) Liquid Waste System Plan. This plan projects that every single liquid waste milestone will be missed. This would result in a total cumulative delay of over 200 years for waste removal, tank closure, treatment startup and waste treatment completion milestones. These delays will not be tolerated by the State of South Carolina." Click letter on SRS Watch website
Speak up against commercial spent fuel from Germany being dumped on SRS! You are encouraged to attend a DOE environmental assessment (EA) meeting on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the North Augusta Community Center, 495 Brookside Drive, North Augusta, South Carolina 29841 about bringing 455 30-tonne canisters of unique, hard-to-manage German nuclear waste to SRS, via the port of Charleston, SC. Please attend and make a comment against the unprecedented move by DOE to bring highly radioactive spent fuel to SRS from two German gas-cooled experimental power reactors, the AVR and THTR-300. SRS is looking into processing 900,000 spent graphite fuel balls to remove uranium but the resultant high-level radioactive waste has no disposition path and would simply be stored or dumped at SRS, magnifying waste management problems at the site. Germany wants to get rid of a nuclear waste problem but SRS must not become a waste dump for commercial spent fuel. See Federal Register Notice of June 4: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-06-04/pdf/2014-12933.pdf for more details and where to send comments by July 21.
Below is a photo of the UK-flagged Pacific Egret, which secretly brought plutonium and highly enriched uranium into the US, via Charleston, SC, in February and March 2014. DOE has still not formally admitted that foreign plutonium on the ship was taken to SRS, where it now has no disposition path. Are DOE and the Germans eyeing one of the sister PNTL ships for the dirty job of transporting German commercial spent fuel from a European port to the US? Photo by Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE), Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, UK.
The U.S. House Appropriations Committee has today (June 17) posted the report on its version of spending for DOE programs. This report accompanied passage of the bill in the Energy & Water Development Subcommittee, which funds DOE programs, and is today being made public.
The committee recommends that the day of reckoning on the financial unsustainability of MOX reckoning be postponed and once again takes a big dodge in holding DOE/NNSA/Shaw AREVA MOX Services accountable for the MOX travesty. MOX funding has been increased to $345 million, $124 million above the administration request. This may keep the project on life support but is less than half of what it needs to make it sustainable for the next 25 years (IF MOX customers are ever found and IF the MOX plant can ever operate).
The report cuts funding for high-level waste management at the Savannah River Site. Politicians in South Carolina need to get to work to get the funding restored!
The full House Appropriations Committee will mark up the bill at 10:00 a.m. on June 18 and it will be webcast.
MOX Boondoggle Alert! June 17, 2014
As problems for the plutonium fuel (MOX) program mount, the cover-up of costs and mismanagement of the boondoggle at the Savannah River Site only deepens. When will DOE/NNSA/Shaw AREVA MOX Services managers be held accountable for this textbook case of mismanagement of the tax payers' money?
Days since AREVA was requested by SRS Watch to release their life-cycle cost estimate for the MOX program and days they have stonewalled the request: 63
Days since Senator Lindsey Graham and Representative Joe Wilson were requested by SRS Watch to help obtain and release AREVA’s MOX life-cycle cost estimate and days they have failed the American people in not getting the estimate: 58
As the Government Accountability Office (GAO) stated in their February 2014 report on the MOX program, MOX remains on the list of NNSA programs at "high risk of fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement." Nothing appears to have changed with the mismanagement of the MOX project since the GAO issued its report. If anything has changed, SRS Watch challenges DOE, NNSA, Shaw AREVA MOX Services, Senator Graham and Representative Wilson to openly demonstrate those changes to the public. The truth about the MOX mismanagement is ugly but it's time to come clean as to how this program was allowed to run so far off the tracks and into the ditch.
Statement by Tom Clements of SRS Watch Concerning the Just-completed Revised Plan for High-Level Nuclear Waste Management at the Savannah River Site (SRS), the Most Urgent Program at SRS - June 9, 2014
Liquid Waste System Plan SRR-LWP-2009-00001 Revision 19, dated May 15, 2014 – on the SRS Watch Website: http://www.srswatch.org/uploads/2/7/5/8/27584045/r19_liquid_waste_plan_may_2014.pdf
Savannah River Site has quietly completed its revised plan on the most important program at the site: management of dangerous high-level nuclear waste created primarily as a by-product of production of nuclear weapons materials during the Cold War.
The Liquid Waste System Plan SRR-LWP-2009-00001 Revision 19 has been obtained by Savannah River Site Watch, which, as its role is public education and service, is making the document more readily available to the public and decision makers.
--- see full statement at link at top ---
Savannah River Site Watch news - June 4, 2014
U.S. DOE Releases Details of Environmental Meeting on June 24 on Import to Savannah River Site of German High-Level Nuclear Waste and Wrongly Claims there would be a Plan for its “Disposition”
Unprecedented Import of Commercial Spent Fuel, via Charleston, South Carolina, for Dumping at SRS May Violate International Norms Related to Nuclear Waste Management
Federal Register Notice of June 4: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-06-04/pdf/2014-12933.pdf
Columbia, SC – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has moved a step closer to what is believed to be the first import into the United States from a foreign country of highly radioactive commercial spent nuclear fuel. As there is no disposition path in the United States for such highly radioactive nuclear waste, there is concern that DOE is complicit in Germany’s plan to dump a daunting nuclear waste problem on the U.S.
DOE has today provided more details in a Federal Register notice about a June 24 meeting to be held near the 310-square mile Savannah River Site (SRS) on the proposed import of the hard-to-manage commercial spent fuel from Germany. DOE proposes to import 455 large storage casks of the unusual highly radioactive waste, which poses a management challenge in either Germany or the United States, over a period of three years via the port at Joint Base Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina.
According to Savannah River Site Watch, a public interest group located near SRS, the planned import of commercial spent fuel may well be a violation of both the international “Convention on Nuclear Safety,” signed in 1994, and ratified by both Germany and the United States as well as the “Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management,” also ratified by both countries. The two countries must explain how the proposed shipment of the commercial spent fuel to the US does not violate the conventions establishing international safety and management norms. The 5th Review Meeting of the Joint Convention will take place beginning on May 11, 2015.
The Federal Register notice states that an “environmental assessment” (EA) would be prepared to “analyze the potential environmental impacts of a proposal to accept, process, and disposition” of the import of spent fuel, in the unusual form of graphite spheres contained uranium and thorium, from the AVR and THTR-300 experimental gas-cooled reactors.
“While DOE is presenting the import of this spent fuel as step being taken for nuclear non-proliferation reasons, it is becoming clearer that the main driver is the lack of will by Germany to properly address its own nuclear waste problem,” said Tom Clements, director Savannah River Site Watch. “While some at SRS are eyeing the large sum of money that could be made on processing the spent fuel at SRS, Germany is obligated to implement the best practices in managing its own highly radioactive commercial spent fuel and that does not include dumping their problem on the Savannah River Site.”
According to SRS Watch, given a halt to plans to develop a a high-level waste repository in the United States and no final disposal facility at SRS, the notice is erroneous as there is no disposition plan for this waste nor any other high-level waste now at SRS. The only option for the waste, even if processed, would be long-term storage in one problematic form or another. “DOE is totally erroneous is presenting that a disposition path exists in the U.S. as such is clearly not the case,” said Clements. “DOE must clarify that there is no known disposition path in the U.S. for the German commercial nuclear waste being considered for import.”
The notice states that an environmental meeting on the proposal will be held on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, from6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the North Augusta Community Center, 495 Brookside Drive, North Augusta, South Carolina 29841. The notice also includes information as to where written comments can be sent.
SRS Watch encourages the public to attend the “scoping meeting” and make comments on both the proposed import of the German waste and also the trend of SRS to accept foreign nuclear waste and plutonium.
SRS Watch is aware that the total number of irradiated graphite spheres (the size of a billiard ball) is 290,000 for the AVR fuel and 605,000 for the THTR fuel. Both reactors were experimental commercial facilities, not research reactors. The issue of export to the U.S. has only come up in the last few years given lack of German will to manage the problematic gas reactor spent fuel.
The highly radioactive material from them is now stored in 30-tonne CASTOR casks at the two sites and is described in the Federal Register notice:
“The EA will to analyze the potential environmental impacts of a proposal to accept, process, and disposition used nuclear fuel from Germany containing approximately 900 kilograms (kg) of HEU from the United States. The used nuclear fuel is composed of kernels containing thorium and U.S.-origin HEU embedded in thousands of small graphite spheres. The United States provided the HEU to Germany between 1965 and 1988. The fuel was irradiated at the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Versuchsreaktor (AVR) reactor, which operated from 1967 to 1988, and the Thorium High Temperature Reactor (THTR)-300, which operated from 1983 to 1989. These reactors operated as part of Germany’s program to research and develop pebble bed reactor technology. AVR reactor fuel is stored at Juelich, Germany, and the THTR–300 reactor fuel is stored at Ahaus, Germany.” Due to irradiation and radioactive decay, it is unknown how much HEU remains in the spent fuel. [The German word “versuchs” means “experimental.”]
The notice mentions three possible ways to manage and process the spent fuel but as no final disposition path exists it would stay at SRS, raising public concern about the proposal and larger issue of importation of nuclear waste and foreign plutonium to SRS. It appears that DOE may be attempting to keep the import of the spent fuel in its domain without involvement of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the U.S. licensing agency for commercial nuclear waste import. This will be raised at the June 24 meeting by SRS Watch.
“The NRC may well have a licensing role for this commercial venture if DOE decides to pursue it,” said Clements. “DOE must fully explain how this proposal is not simply a commercial waste management operation disguised as nuclear non-proliferation and so far they have fallen far short of an adequate explanation.”
Concerning transportation, today’s notice states “Under the proposed action, the German government would work with DOE to transport the used fuel by oceangoing vessel to the United States in DOE/U.S. Department of Transportation-certified Type B casks. The used fuel would be received at Joint Base Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, and then the casks would be transported by rail to SRS. DOE estimates that this could involve approximately 455 casks received over a period of approximately 3 years.”
1. Federal Register notice, June 4, “Environmental Assessment for the Acceptance and Disposition of Used Nuclear Fuel Containing U.S.-Origin Highly Enriched Uranium From the Federal Republic of Germany”
2. “Statement of Intent” between The U.S. Department of Energy & two German government entities, signed on March 28/April 1, 2014:
3. Kein Export von Jülicher Atommüll nach South Carolina - SRS Watch statement against proposed export of spent fuel from Germany to the Savannah River Site, March 8, 2014 at Fukushima event in
4. SRS Watch news release, May 30 – with links to key documents in “notes”:
Department of Energy to Analyze Import of Highly Radioactive German Spent Fuel from Experimental Gas-Cooled Reactors, with Savannah River Site in South Carolina as a Destination
Dumping of Waste from Juelich, Ahaus on SRS to be Opposed: Waste is in 457 30-tonne CASTOR Casks Holding 895,000 Graphite Balls
5. Convention on Nuclear Safety:
6. Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management
Director, Savannah River Site Watch
Columbia, South Carolina
Savannah River Site Watch news release - June 3, 2014
New Aerial Photos of Major U.S. Nuclear Projects Released by Savannah River Site Watch:
1. Plutonium Fuel (MOX) Plant Boondoggle at Savannah River Site (SRS) – the $10 Billion Concrete Box
2. South Carolina Electric & Gas’ VC Summer AP1000 Reactor Project
3. Southern Company’s Vogtle AP1000 Project in Georgia
4. Photos of Duke’s Lee Reactor Project and Nuclear Ship Savannah Docked in Baltimore also Released
Columbia, SC – The public interest group Savannah River Site watch (SRS Watch) has obtained aerial photos of three of the main nuclear projects being undertaken in the United States and is publicly releasing them.
See photos in last four rows on SRS Watch website: http://www.srswatch.org/photos.html, (photos by ©High Flyer of the SRS Watch Air Force)
“We are releasing the photos of the MOX boondoggle and nuclear reactor projects as a public service to inform the public about where billions of their dollars are being spent,” said Tom Clements, director of Savannah River Site Watch. “Especially given the endless cost increases and schedule delays with the mismanaged $10-billion MOX plant, it is essential that the public be able to closely scrutinize the situation on the ground as problems mount and the project heads to cold standby.”
The photos, all legally taken at an altitude of 2000 feet and which have been posted under “photos” on the SRS Watch website, include:
The problem-plagued Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) construction site at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina, photos taken on May 22;
The VC Summer twin-reactor construction project of South Carolina Electric & Gas in Fairfield County, South Carolina, taken on May 22;
The Vogtle twin-reactor construction project by Southern Company near Waynesboro, Georgia (and directly across the river from SRS), taken on May 22.
Also, a photo of Duke Energy’s Lee reactor site, planned location for two AP1000 reactors, was taken on May 24 – the photo reveals no activity at the site.
The photos can be used publicly, with credit to High Flyer (a South Carolina professional who prefers to remain anonymous). More photos, and of higher resolution, are available on request.
A photo of the Nuclear Ship Savannah (NS Savannah), taken on May 24, has also been posted. The NS Savannah, now permanently anchored in Baltimore, Maryland after spending years anchored with the “ghost fleet” in the mouth of the James River in Virginia, was the first commercial nuclear powered ship designed to both cargo carry cargo and passengers. The project failed as the ship did not serve either of its two functions well. The ship languishes at dock while boosters hope to make a museum of the vessel. The fuel has been removed but the reactor vessel remains on the ship.
June 2 plutonium flash: MOX hoodwinking cracking apart as history of boondoggle slowly revealed
DOE's failed plutonium fuel (MOX) project: 1999 DOE document reveals a deception of stunning proportions
Don’t be fooled when DOE officials, MOX contractors and the media compare costs of the failed plutonium fuel (MOX) program to much higher estimates from 2008. This is being done in order to make it look like costs increases are much smaller than they really are and obscure the fact that Congress and the public were hoodwinked from the start about costs of the failed MOX project.
The calculated hoodwinking is coming to an end but when will DOE/NNSA officials and Shaw AREVA MOX Services be held accountable for the massive MOX boondoggle??? How long can self-serving politicians like Senator Lindsey Graham and Representative Joe Wilson continue the cover-up?
When will hearings be held to get to the bottom of this text-book case of mismanagement and deception?
See DOE document “LIFE CYCLE COSTS FOR THE DOMESTIC REACTOR-BASED PLUTONIUM DISPOSITION OPTION” for estimates from 1999 ---- The document reveals a staggering cost increase in the estimated life-cycle cost of the MOX project, including MOX plant construction, from 1999 to 2014.
MOX program life-cycle cost in 1999: $1.4 billion; in 2014: $30 – $35 billion
Cost increase: $28.6 billion to $33.6 billion
MOX plant construction in 1999: $723 million; in 2014: $7.7 billion official, but DOE officials say it’s closer to $10 billion
Cost increase: $7 billion to $9.2 billion
A historic document taken from the archives and posted recently by the DOE's Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI):
“LIFE CYCLE COSTS FOR THE DOMESTIC REACTOR-BASED PLUTONIUM DISPOSITION OPTION”
ORNL/TM-1999-257, Oak Ridge National Lab, published October 1999
Overall life-cycle cost: $1.4 billion estimate
“The baseline cost elements used for this document are the same as those used for examination of the preferred sites described in the site-specific final environmental impact statement and in the DOE Record of Decision that will follow in late 1999. Cost data are separated by facilities, government
accounting categories, contract phases, and expenditures anticipated by the various organizations who will participate in the program over a 20-year period. Total LCCs to DOE/MD are projected at approximately $1.4 billion for a 33-MT plutonium disposition mission.”
Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF): $723 million estimate
“For this estimate, a TPC (design, construction, and cold startup cost) of $723M has been calculated from the SRS-sited DO-CDR estimate and includes the addition of design/construction cost data for the aqueous polishing portion of the MOX FFF building not included in the DO-CDR but covered separately in the final EIS.”
SRS Watch news release, May 30, 2014
Department of Energy to Analyze Import of Highly Radioactive German Spent Fuel from Experimental Gas-Cooled Reactors, with Savannah River Site in South Carolina as a Destination
Dumping of Waste from Juelich, Ahaus on SRS to be Opposed: Waste is in 457 30-tonne CASTOR Casks Holding 895,000 Graphite Balls
--- see DOE email in news release of May 29: “DOE-SR Update: German Spheres Notice of Intent (NOI)” ---
SRS Watch news release, May 29
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Applies to Nuclear Regulatory Commission to Export Bomb-Grade Uranium to Canada
National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Seeks to Export 7 Kilograms of Highly Enriched Uranium to NRU Reactor at Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario, for Medical Isotope Production - Hopefully Among the Last of HEU Shipments to Canada
Misguided Plans to Ship 23,000 Liters of Liquid High-Level Waste from Chalk River to DOE's Savannah River Site Slowly Proceeding
SRS Watch news release, May 29, 2014
South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) Expected to File for Seventh Pay-in-Advance Rate Hike Request for V.C. Summer Nuclear Project on May 30, 2014
Rate Shock Hitting SCE&G Bills Due to AP1000 Nuclear Project: Nuclear Construction Costs on SCE&G Bill Already Exceed 10% and Are Expected to Go Higher
Aerial Photos of V.C. Summer Project from May 22, 2014 Linked in "Photos"
SRS Watch news, May 27: DOE’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) Releases Report on Mismanaged MOX Project at Savannah River Site;
In SRS Watch Meeting with Inspector General on May 20, Concerns about MOX Project Cost Management Affirmed: Group Photo from Meeting
Was transuranic waste - contaminated with plutonium - from the Savannah River Site involved in the radiation accident at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico? DOE won't answer and this statement, sent by SRS to SRS Watch on May 12, is all they will say:
To maintain the Energy Department’s commitment to the protection of workers, residents, and the environment, shipments of a specific Los Alamos National Laboratory waste stream to Waste Control Specialists have been temporarily halted. As part of the ongoing efforts to identify the cause of the February 14 event at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, we are evaluating all possible causes including the waste packages themselves. All possible scenarios will be thoroughly investigated until the cause of the event has been determined.
Based on recent entries into the WIPP underground the team is evaluating the contents of a set of waste drums that came from LANL that are located in Panel 7, the location of the event. The team is looking at the possibility that a chemical reaction may have occurred within a drum, causing a potential release. As they evaluate this possibility it is prudent to stop shipments of this specific LANL waste stream to WCS.
If you have additional questions, please contact DOE's Carlsbad Field Office: 1-800-336-WIPP (9477)
SRS Watch news - May 14, 2014
Safety Problems at Savannah River Site Draw Attention of Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB); In May 13 Response to SRS Watch, SRS Acknowledges Problems and Says it is Addressing Them
SRS Watch to Meet with DNFSB in Washington on May 21 to Discuss SRS Operational Issues
Statement of Dr. Monica Regalbuto to Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, May 13, 2014, at the hearing on her confirmation to be DOE Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management (EM-1)
In what can only be called a cursory confirmation hearing, few key issues beyond the WIPP situation and Hanford were discussed. Regalbuto commented at progress at SRS and INL but nothing controversial came up. Given her background in spent fuel reprocessing, which is of concern regarding “consolidated spent fuel storage” and reprocessing at SRS, does she have sufficient background in clean-up issue to get the important job done? Let’s hope so. We and other public interest groups will look forward to meeting with her when she visits SRS.
SRS Watch News , May 8, 2014
MOX Boondoggle Boosters Suffer Blow in U.S. House Armed Services Committee Over “Zombie” MOX Project --
Defense Authorization Act Amendment Cuts MOX Budget “Plus Up” of $120 Million
Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) stated at the meeting: "Surely, 200 million dollars is enough for our friends in South Carolina for a dead project. Because this isn’t just an earmark, this is a zombie earmark. This is a dead project." *
Government Accountability Office report, February 2014, PLUTONIUM DISPOSITION PROGRAM - DOE Needs to Analyze the Root Causes of Cost Increases and Develop Better Cost Estimates: "NNSA has not analyzed the underlying, or root, causes of the Plutonium Disposition program construction cost increases to help identify lessons learned and help address the agency’s difficulty in completing projects within cost and schedule, which has led to NNSA’s management of major projects remaining on GAO’s list of areas at high risk of fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement."**
SRS Watch news, May 8, 2014
NRC “Event Notification”: Radioactive Tritium Leak Reported at Oconee Nuclear Reactor Site - Why is Tritium Leaking from the Oconee Reactors and What is Duke Doing to Stop it?
SRS Watch news of May 6, 2014
Surplus Weapon-Grade Plutonium at Savannah River Site can still be Vitrified in High-level Waste, According to Savannah River National Lab Document Obtained via FOIA Request
DOE Analysis on Plutonium Disposition Incorrect in Stating Not Enough High-Level Waste Remains at Savannah River Site for Immobilization of 34 Metric Tons of Plutonium
Statement on Encouraging Testimony of NNSA Administrator Klotz on Placement of Mismanaged Plutonium Fuel (MOX) Project on Standby, to Senate Energy & Water Subcommittee, April 30, 2014
"....the MOX project will be placed in cold stand-by, meaning we will cease all construction activities in order to minimize costs."
Congressional Cleanup Caucus Schedules Briefing on Savannah River Site - May 8, 2014, 9 a.m. - Congressional Caucus
DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration releases Report of the
Plutonium Disposition Working Group: Analysis of Surplus Weapon‐Grade Plutonium Disposition Options, April 29, 2014 - MOX life-cycle cost is an unsustainable $30 billion or more, MOX plant construction $10 billion or more
SRS Watch news: U.S. Confirms Discussions with Germany regarding Import of Highly Radioactive Spent Nuclear Fuel;
FOIA Document Indicates Discussions Began in 2011 for Import of Graphite Spent Fuel from Shuttered Gas-Cooled Experimental Power Reactor – to DOE’s Savannah River Site - April 29, 2014
SRS Watch Director Tom Clements to speak on DOE's mismanaged plutonium disposition/MOX program at the 2014 Council Meeting of the League of Women Voters of South Carolina (LWVSC) - Building League Leadership to Make Democracy Work in South Carolina - Saturday, April 26, 2014
SRS Watch news release - April 23, 2014
DOE, NNSA (Office of Fissile Materials Disposition) and Shaw AREVA MOX Services Continue Stalling Despite Urgent Need to Release Assessments of Costs of Failed Plutonium Fuel (MOX) Program
FOIA Paper Trail on Plutonium Disposition – Leads to the NNSA’s “FOIA Graveyard” in New Mexico: http://www.srswatch.org/freedom-of-information-act-documents.html
Secretary Moniz: Wake Up and Implement Openness, Shut Down FOIA Graveyard
More Cracks Found in VC Summer Nuclear “Reactor Vessel Head” During Current Refueling Outage; Cracks, First Found in November 2012, Pose Risks and Indicate Aging and Need to Replace Vessel Head, April 21, 2014 news release
UPDATE: NRC informed of two more cracks, bringing total to five - see NRC "event notification" of April 28
SRS Watch Suggestion: Many families were expelled in the early-1950s from the land to create the Savannah River Plant as the madness of preparing for nuclear war reigned supreme. To read about the expulsion, read "Cold War Dixie" and "The Unexpected Exodus." http://www.ugapress.org/index.php/books/cold_war_dixie/ & http://www.amazon.com/The-Unexpected-Exodus-Displaced-Southern/dp/1570037094
News Release on Request of Shaw AREVA MOX Services & AREVA for MOX Life-Cycle Cost Estimate, April 17, 2014 - see letters linked under "library" - Department of Energy documents
South Carolina Supreme Court to Hear Big Industry and South Carolina Sierra Club Challenge to $278 Million in Cost Overruns of New Nuclear Plant in South Carolina, on April 16 in Columbia, SC - Sierra Club news release of April 14, 2014
$27 Billion Life-Cycle Cost Estimate for Department of Energy’s Mixed Oxide (MOX) Plutonium Fuel Program - $22 Billion Left to be Spent on Top of $5 Billion Sunk – April 2013
-- This is the Only Public Estimate as DOE/NNSA, Shaw AREVA MOX Services and Senator Lindsey Graham and Rep. Joe Wilson Refuse to Release their Estimates ; A FOIA Request was Filed in December 2013 for DOE's Internal Assessment on Plutonium Disposition
By Tom Clements
Kein Export von Jülicher Atommüll nach South Carolina - SRS Watch statement against proposed export of spent fuel from Germany to the Savannah River Site, March 8, 2014 at Fukushima event in Jülich, Germany
NNSA Boss Confirms to Congress MOX Plant Cost Estimate “A Minimum” of $10 Billion; Affirms that a Cheaper Alternative for Plutonium Disposition Exists - April 4, 2014
Savannah River Site Watch (SRS Watch) Formed to Monitor, Engage DOE Activities at the Savannah River Site - Including the Mismanaged MOX Program - and Track Nuclear Issues in the Southeast - April 3, 2014
NNSA Budget Request Affirms Cold Standby for MOX project and that an “Independent Assessment” will be Conducted on Cost of Preferred Plutonium Disposition Option, March 17, 2014
SRS Plutonium Fuel (MOX) Plant Continues to Spin Out of Control: Cost Jumps to $7.7 Billion, with Three Year Delay
IN THE NEWS
SRS Watch in:
"Savannah River Site clean up pushed to 2065, costing extra $25 billion"
Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle, January 28, 2015, by Meg Mirshak
article linked here
SRS presentation on the massive increase in cleanup costs linked to the left & here
Before the U.S. federal government desecrated the 310-square miles of land that came to be known as the Savannah River Plant (SRP), there was a history at the site with aspects richer than anything produced by the site since....
"Who was Dave the Potter?"
"Documentary explores the life and work of artisan slave"
Connect Savannah, January 20, 2015, by Jessica Leigh Lobos
article linked here
Rebranding the nuclear weapons complex won't reform it
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, January 18, 2015, by Bob Alvarez
article linked here
Two new reports raise fundamental questions on Savannah River MOX plant
International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM) blog, January 17, 2015, by Shaun Burnie and Mycle Schneider
Profile of Tom Clements, Diector, SRS Watch
photo with article: credit to
CHRIS THELEN - Augusta Chronicle staff
Transparency motivates longtime nuclear activist
Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle, January 17, 2015, by Meg Mirshak
"Why Sellafield costs us all a bomb" - UK article linked below
Photos (can be used with credit to SRS Catch): Tour around Sellafield by SRS Watch in October 2015; hosted by Cumbrains Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE). Inclued are shots of the PNTL nuclear transport ships anchored in the port of Barrow-in-Furness. These ships have secretly brought research reactor spent fuel and plutonium into Charleston, South Carolina.
The week of January 12 held great changes at the Sellafield, UK nuclear complex as the site contractor has been dismissed. As there is involvment of former SRS employees, we wonder what their fate will now be and expect some of them to again show up at SRS. One thing is sure, reprocessing of spent fuel at the THORP facility and resultant stockpiling of plutonium must must be promptly halted and no new MOX plant should be built.
"Why Sellafield costs us all a bomb"
"After a private consortium tried, and failed, to rescue the power station from decades of neglect, it is back in the arms of the public sector once again"
The Telegraph (UK), by Geoffrey Lean, January 17, 2015
article linked here
NRC Holds Public Meeting About MOX Facility and Changes in Inspections
WJBF-TV, Augusta, Georgia, January 15, 2015
linked here, with video on line, includes SRS Watch quote
Residents address MOX concerns at public meeting
Aiken (South Carolina) Standard, January 16, 2015, by Derrek Asberry
Union of Concerned Scientists calls for closing down MOX facility at Savannah River Site
Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle, January 15, 2015, by Meg Mirshak
article linked here
on-line article includes photo by High Flyer, provided by SRS Watch
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) in Washington, DC releases import report on U.S. plutonium disposition options now that the MOX project is doomed to failure
January 14, 2015
"Excess Plutonium Disposition: The Failure of MOX and the Promise of Its Alternatives"
Union of Concerned Scientists news release:
"ENERGY DEPARTMENT SHOULD REPLACE COSTLY MIXED OXIDE NUCLEAR FUEL PROGRAM WITH SAFER, CHEAPER ALTERNATIVES, REPORT FINDS"
"IMMOBILIZING PLUTONIUM IN GLASS OR DOWNBLENDING IT FOR GEOLOGICAL DISPOSAL WOULD MAKE MORE SENSE"
--- report by Dr. Ed Lyman, Senior Staff Scientist in the UCS Global Security Program (who has been monitoring the US DOE's program on plutonium disposition for around 20 years)
full report linked here
executive summary linked here
A tip o' the hat from SRS Watch to UCS for their on-going, well-informed work on the plutonium disposition dilemma!
This report will be invaluable as we continue to look for viable plutonium disposition alternatives given the massive NNSA/DOE and CB&I AREVA MOX Services management failures with the MOX program.
No surprise here - see news release to the left:
Federal report on mismanaged projects makes example of MOX facility at Savannah River Site
Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle, January 13, 2015
by Meg Mirshak
article linked here
"Small modular reactor development faces slow, fading progress at Savannah River Site"
Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle, Januray 12, 2015
by Meg Mirshak
article linked here
"Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 2 Pilot Planning (2014)"
Author: National Academy of Sciences
"Committee on the Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities-Phase 2 Pilot Planning; Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board; Division on Earth and Life Studies; National Research Council"
Description: "Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations near Nuclear Facilities is a pilot study requested by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) to assess the risk of cancer near nuclear facilities in the United States. This effort is being carried out in two phases. The Phase 1 study recommended two study designs appropriate for assessing cancer risks near nuclear facilities. It also recommended a pilot study of seven nuclear facilities to assess the technical feasibility of the recommended study designs. The Phase 2 study is the assessment of cancer risks. The pilot, which is part of the Phase 2 study, is being carried out in two steps: pilot planning and pilot execution. The pilot planning (current step) aims to plan for the pilot study. The pilot execution (next step) aims to carry out the pilot study and evaluate the technical feasibility of implementing the two study designs recommended in the Phase 1 study. If implementation of the study designs is feasible, the methods developed and tested in the pilot study could be used to conduct a nationwide study. Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 2 Pilot Planning provides advice to the National Academy of Sciences in performing a number of tasks related to the planning for a pilot epidemiological study, such as identifying the processes for selecting qualified individuals and/or organizations to perform epidemiological and dosimetric tasks and initiating effluent release and meteorological data collection in preparation for estimating doses to the people who live near the pilot nuclear facilities. This report brief report serves as a public record of the committee s advice to the National Academy of Sciences on general methodological considerations involved in carrying out the pilot study."
"How the Obama Administration Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb"
"US nuclear policy is undermining our safety and national security."
Theodore Postol (former employee at Los Alamos National Lab) in The Nation, December 10, 2014
"Georgia State Regulators Approve Massive Water Withdrawal Permit from the Savannah River for Water-Guzzling New Vogtle Nuclear Reactors"
"Concerns from citizens, organizations disregarded"
December 10, 2014 news release from Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) linked here
Photo: Plant Vogtle aerial shot of October 25, 2014, ©High Flyer, special to SRS Watch, this photo and others on the same overflight may be used with permission - contact srswatch(-at-)gmail.com
Note: Georgia Power's Vogtle site is directly across the Savannah River from the DOE's Savannah River Site.
As the MOX Ship Goes Down, Project Mismanagers Search and Search for New Employees
We've noticed on the job site indeed.com that the MOX boondoggle is frequently advertising for positions. What else could we expect given all the reports and rumors about how poorly the work site is managed and as the MOX construction budget teeters on the brink?
A job advertisement for December 10 is for a "communications specialist," a hard job indeed. Only a well-trained spin doctor could put out finely tuned propaganda in an attempt to make the MOX boondoggle look good. Good luck with such a hard and dubious mission!
Job advert linked here
AFS - Communications Specialist I (MOX)
Areva - Aiken, SC Looking for an exciting opportunity in the nuclear industry? "Energize" your future with AREVA!
AREVA AFS (MOX) is looking for a Communications Specialist I.
The position is will assist in the implementation of internal and external project communications working under the guidance of more senior communications team members and the communications manager.
Responsibilities include assisting as needed with news releases, advertisements, internal communications, and online communications. The position will also assist with photography, graphics, special events, community relations activities, and project tours.
Shaw AREVA MOX Services, LLC is a consortium of companies based in Aiken, SC and formed to advance the Department of Energy's mission to dispose of surplus weapon grade plutonium.
To see MOX job postings, go to indeed.com and type in "MOX" in the "what" box and "Aiken, SC" in the "where" box. You can automatically gets updates on MOX jobs by activating the email alert on the page.
"U.S. Nongovernmental Organizations Urge Prompt Action to Make Nuclear Disarmament a Global Enterprise"
Dec. 9, 2014 - Statement to 3rd Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna
- linked here
Recall that the Savannah River Site is an essential cog in the nuclear weapons complex as it processes tritium used in all U.S. nuclear weapons. The EIS on expanding tritium production in additional commercial reactors, undermining sound non-proliferation policy, has been stalled. (See web page here.)
SRS Watch congratulates OpenTheGovernment.org in helping get legislation passed which " includes several much-needed reforms that will help make federal agencies more open and accountable to the public." SRS Watch signed on to a letter supporting the bill and will continue to support stronger Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and full compliance by U.S. Government agencies such as the compliant-averse National Nuclear Security Administration.
"OpenTheGovernment Welcomes Senate Passage of Bipartisan FOIA Reform"
December 8 news release
"OpenTheGovernment.org warmly welcomes the Senate's passage of S. 2520, the bipartisan FOIA Improvement Act, and thanks Chairman Leahy (D-VT), Ranking Member Grassley (R-IA), and Senator Cornyn (R-TX) for their tireless championship of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)."
"FOIA Improvement Act of 2014" linked here
Wind Energy Primary Source of New U.S. Generating Capacity in October
article posted in The Energy Collective, November 29, 2014
The SRS Watch request to the SRS Citizens Advisory Board for a presentation on health claims by former SRS workers still stands. Good to see national coverage of the matter as local press hasn't touched it despite requests that they cover it. SRS Watch helped the reporter with this story.
McClatchy news service, November 30, 2014
"Some $800M paid to SRS workers for Cold War radiation exposure"
Key web sites on SRS worker's health claims:
U.S. Department of Labor site for claims by DOE workers - over $800 million paid to former SRS workers
Department of Labor - Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC)
A U.S. General Accounting Office report released on November 25 underscores well-known problems by DOE/NNSA in managing the MOX project. DOE response to yet another GAO report on MOX managment problems: "HO HUM, we have never been held accountable for massive overspending on the MOX project so we just don't care what anyone says as long as the blank checks keep coming." (But will the blank checks continue forever...?)
How many times must the GAO issue such reports before DOE/NNSA does a single thing to get the MOX boondoggle under control?
DOE management, the Obama administration and Congress are allowing MOX managers to get away with abuse of the tax payer. WHEN WILL THE MISMANAGERS OF THE MOX RIPOFF BE HELD RESPONSIBLE? One of the mismanagers, AREVA's Kelly Trice, has already walked but what about the rest of them?
"DOE Needs to Revise Requirements and Guidance for Cost Estimating and Related Reviews"
GAO-15-29: Published: Nov 25, 2014. Publicly Released: Nov 25, 2014.
GAO report of February 2014: "PLUTONIUM DISPOSITION PROGRAM - DOE Needs to Analyze the Root Causes of Cost Increases and Develop Better Cost Estimates"
"Environmentalists protest at Federal Conference of Delegates of the Greens -- Greenpeace activists demand: No Castor transport from Jülich to the US"
("Umweltschützer protestieren bei Bundesdelegiertenkonferenz der Grünen Greenpeace-Aktivisten fordern: Kein Castor-Transport aus Jülich in die USA")"
Greenpeace Germany - November 21, 2014:
see Greenpeace Germany news release here
Contrary to the error in the Aiken Standard article, we're not aware that anyone has claimed that the deal to dump German spent fuel has been finalized but FOIA documents obtained by SRS Watch confirm that the deal was cooking over two years before DOE informed the public. It all smells bad as contractors are chasing German money so they can reprocess the German commercial spent fuel and dump the high-level waste in the aging SRS tanks, with no disposition path out of SRS.
"DOE officials dispute German spent fuel claims"
Aiken (South Carolina) Standard, November 24, 2014
Another demonstration in Germany against spent fuel dumping on SRS! Thanks to the German group Robin Wood and other German friends and colleagues for this action right at the entrance of the site in Jülich where the highly radioactive commercial spent fuel is stored (and which SRS Watch visited on September 23).
Photos & more from Robin Wood: "Jülich, 19.11.2014: Kein Atommüll-Export in die USA - Protest vor dem Forschungszentrum Jülich"
article: Super Sonntag, Jülich, Germany - 23 Nov 2014
Scharfe Kritik an Atommüllplänen in Jülich
Umwelt-Aktivisten und Atomkraft-Gegner protestieren vor Forschungszentrum
Jülich. „Stoppt die Castoren“ stand auf einem großen Banner, das Aktivisten von „Robin Wood“ über die Hauptzufahrtsstraße zum Forschungszentrum gespannt hatten.
etc. - see full article, in German
More photos from Robin Wood
From the GUACAMOLE FUND, which financially supports SRS Watch from benefits to music concerts by Crosby, Still and Nash, Jackson Brown and Bonnie Raitt – thanks Guacamole!
HISTORICAL BENEFIT POSTER DONATION DRIVE
Our donation drive this week through the Thanksgiving holiday, is a gorgeous poster from our special benefit concert in 1992 held for Hurricane Relief from the Imua Hawaii Hurricane.
The16x22 benefit poster was designed by Graham Nash and Mac Holbert.
The shows were in the Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, on November 8th and 9th and featured Crosby Stills and Nash, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and the Pahinui Brothers. The t-shirts from this concert also feature Jimmy Buffett who joined the show.
There are only five of these posters available, and five t-shirts, all size large. For each donation of $100, we will send you this beautiful poster, and the matching concert tshirt.
For more information, please go to www.guacfund.org
November 20, 2014 - from the office of Senator Patrick Leahy:
"Judiciary Committee Unanimously Approves Leahy-Cornyn FOIA Improvement Act"
"WASHINGTON (Thursday, November 20, 2014) -- The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday unanimously approved bipartisan legislation authored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) that strengthens the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the nation’s premier open government law."
In his statement, Senator Leahy noted that more than 70 public interest groups supported the legislation - SRS Watch was one of those groups. See group letter here. As the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a tool that SRS Watch frequently uses and which has a host of weakness, especially in that offices such as DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration get away with non-compliance, we are very supportive of strengthening FOIA laws to better ensure that information from out government is accessible.
Thanks to Senators Leahy and Cornyn!
see full statement from Senator Leahy
"French Nuclear Giant Areva Says Future Is Uncertain, Prompting a Sell-Off"
Nov. 19 - PARIS — Areva, the French nuclear technology giant, warned of an uncertain outlook for its business amid delays to important projects and sluggishness in the global atomic energy sector, sending its stock tumbling on Wednesday.
The company, which is about 87 percent state-owned, said late Tuesday that it was suspending its financial outlook for 2015 and 2016.
Nov. 19 article in New York Times
AREVA news release - "AREVA suspends its financial outlook for 2015 and 2016"
Analysis of the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi NPS Accident
Nuclear Regulation Authority, Japan
"Future Regulatory Activities
The NRA has analyzed most of unexplained issues raised by the National Diet Investigation Commission report and the NRA's conclusions are showed in this report.
However, there still remain some issues for that the NRA could not conduct site investigation due to the high dose rate. The NRA should continue conducting site investigation, analyses, and evaluation.
Moreover, with the progress of the decommissioning work in Fukushima Daiichi NPS, it is needed that the NRA should also continue conducting analyses of new findings in long-term based on result of site investigation and TEPCO's analyses."
Japan's Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant: Delayed Again but is the Monster Dead?
There was never any reason for Japan to build or continue with its Rokkasho spent fuel reprocessing plant. Now that there is another long delay in start up of the $20 billion facility, to 2019, the continuation of it is simply more theft of money for a dead-end project. When will Japan declare an end to its senseless plutonium stockpiling program and focus on spent fuel management?
ANALYSIS: Abe bereft of reasons to continue nuclear recycling program
Asahi Shimbun, November 3, 2014
[Note: the "word" recycling is incorrect to describe "reprocessing" as much of the separated material is not reused and there are a host of waste streams that are simply dumped. Use of the incorrect term "recycling" often indicates ignorance about reprocessing, that the writer has been duped, or that the term is being used to show a reprocessing bias. When you see use of the term your warning flags should immediately go up.]
Articles on Nuclear Waste Tehnical Review Board meeting of October 29 on SRS high-level waste, with comment from SRS Watch:
Officials evaluate SRS waste work
Aiken (South Carolina) Standard, October 30, 2014
The CB&I AREVA MOX $ervices project manager walks away from the MOX debacle he helped create! When will he held responsible for the MOX boondoggle???? More proof that that big government, a la Senator Lindsey Graham and Representative Joe Wilson, will not act to serve the tax payers. Prima facie evidence as to why people have had it with dysfunctional government that serves special interests and not public interests.
DOE Photo - Kelly Trice (on left): Guilty of mismanagement of the MOX debacle? Will justice be served for such monumental failure of managing a government project?
Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle
New leadership named for MOX project
[Uh, has there ever been any proper "leadership" of the project...?]
By Meg Mirshak
Monday, Oct. 27, 2014 7:43 PM
The vice president of the mixed oxide fuel fabrication facility project at Savannah River Site has been promoted.
David Del Vecchio, formerly vice president of project management of CB&I Areva MOX Services, is replacing Kelly Trice, according to a news release. Trice remains president of CB&I Project Services Group and has been named senior vice-president of CB&I’s power division.
Prior to joining the MOX project in August 2011, Del Vecchio worked at the Plutonium Finishing Plant, a decommissioning and demolition project at the Hanford site in Richland, Wash.
Gilles Rousseau is taking over Trice’s position as chief operating officer for the MOX project. Rousseau was executive vice president and deputy project manager for CB&I Areva MOX Services.
The MOX project at SRS continues to careen out of control as made clear by a request by the company in charge of construction, CB&I AREVA MOX Services, in seeking a 10-year construction license extension. As is usual with such big-government projects rum amok, the goal is to milk the tax payer for as long as possible for as much of our money as possible. When will there ever be any DOE or congressional oversight over this horribly mismanaged project?
"10-year extension under review for MOX facility"
Tonya Maxwell, Greenville (South Carolina) News
--- see SRS Watch news release on the license extension here
"Assessment of Disposal Options for DOE-Managed High-Level Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel"
US DOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE), released October 22, 2014
linked here & from this NE web page
As if pursuit of a single geologic repository for high-level nuclear waste (which includes commercial spent fuel) wasn't hard enough, DOE now wants to take a multi-track approach. If they're eyeing use of the now-closed WIPP salt mine for HLW that will require a change in federal law which might not be so easy to pull off. Does this report make a positive contribution to the dilemma now facing the nation about management of spent fuel and DOE high-level waste or compound the problem?
The report is in error about the number of vitrified HLW canisters to be filled at the Defense Waste Processing Facility at SRS. It's not 7824 as stated in this report but rather 8582 canisters now scheduled to be filled in DWPF (according to the current waste plan). An error of this size, which indicates that whoever wrote the report was not well informed on DOE HLW issues, does not instill confidence in the report.
"Results of the assessment indicate that multiple disposal options are technically feasible and have the potential to provide excellent long-term isolation of DOE-managed HLW and SNF, and that there are programmatic advantages to a phased strategy that allows for flexibility in disposal pathways for some DOE-managed HLW and SNF. This report, therefore, recommends that DOE pursue options for disposal of DOE-managed HLW from defense activities and some thermally cooler DOE-managed SNF, potentially including cooler naval SNF, separately from disposal of commercial SNF and HLW. Other DOE-managed HLW and SNF, including HLW and SNF of commercial origin and naval SNF with relatively higher heat output, would be disposed of with commercial SNF and HLW. This report also recommends that DOE retain the flexibility to consider options for disposal of smaller DOE-managed waste forms in deep boreholes rather than in a mined geologic repository." page iii
See a comment to this October 22 article on the MOX boondoggle in the Augusta Chronicle - "No safety issues at MOX site, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission" - for a disturbing allegation of waste, fraud and abuse with construction of the $10-billion MOX plant at SRS. Let's hope that the person making the accusation, as well as others who have accurate and first-hand information about fraud at the MOX construction project, report things like this (if true) to the DOE's Office of Inspector General Hotline: http://energy.gov/ig/services
"The MOX contractor was Shaw, LLC which was sold out to Chicago Bridge and Iron which has its home office in the Netherlands. The original contract with the Department of Energy has an incentive clause which now pays CB&I millions of dollars for having a safe project. CB&I give very large bonuses to those managers responsible for the “REPORTING” of the information to the DOE. Not the truth, but the facts which are needed to guarantee the bonus. CB&I is due over $15,000,000 for fiscal year 2013-2014 for no lost time accidents so CB&I does not report them. Instead, they send a vehicle to the home of the injured, bring them to the site, let them hang around for a couple of hours, and take them back home. The employee is paid for 40 hours, no lost time accidents is shown on the books, CB&I gets its bonus, which trickles down to the VP’s and managers, and everyone goes home happy, except us tax payers. In the real world it is called fraud, in the world of government contracts it is business as usual."
Beside contacting the IG's office you can also let SRS Watch know - firstname.lastname@example.org - and we can help get your information into the proper oversight agnecy.
NRC Chairman Allison M. Macfarlane Announces Decision to Leave NRC
"Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Allison M. Macfarlane announced today she will leave the NRC effective January 1 to take a position at George Washington University."
see October 21, 2014 news release here
Interview by Tom Clements, SRS Watch director with Greenpeace Germany about illegal plans to dump German commercial spent fuel at SRS - September 26, 2014 - text in German, audio in English
"USA - Atommüllkippe der Welt Geht es nach der Bundesregierung, wird Savannah River Site zur Müllhalde für das AKW Jülich. Was das für die US-Bevölkerung bedeutet, erzählt uns Tom Clements"
+ see photo of the MOX plant by High Flyer at the link
Given the huge cost increases with SCE&G's AP1000 nuclear reactor project north of Columbia, South Carolina and (as of now) a 3-year delay in start up of the first unit, there is no place for Santee Cooper, the junior partner (45% owner at this point) in the project, to go with its electricity rates but Up, Up and Away. Santee Cooper customers: stand by for a nuclear rate-hike gut shot in early 2016.
"Santee Cooper Board Authorizes Rate Study"
MONCKS CORNER, S.C. – The Santee Cooper Board of Directors today authorized management to study the utility’s current electric rates and whether the rates will support future expenses, in particular continued construction of the nuclear units at V.C. Summer Nuclear Station.
read complete news release here
Plutonium Proliferation Alert: The Japanese and Russian plutonium stockpiling programs continue apace, with no plans for use of the material.
The Japanese stockpile of weapon-usable plutonium, most of which is stored in Europe, tops 36 metric tons and the Russian stockpile of "commercial" reactor-grade plutonium is more than 50 metric tons. Why does such dangerous accumulation of plutonium continue? Despite promises to the contrary, why has Japan continued a program focused on accumulating as much plutonium as possible?
INFCIRC 549 for Japan, reported to the International Atomic Energy Agency on 10 October 2014 - "Communication Received from Japan Concerning its Policies Regarding the Management of Plutonium."
INFCIRC 549 for Russia, reportrf to the IAEA on 10 October 2014, "Communication Received from Russia Concerning its Policies Regarding the Management of Plutonium."
SRR Pours 15th million pound of Vitrified Waste
Savannah River Site news release, October 9, 2014
An opportunity for the issue of immobilization of plutonium in high-level waste at SRS to be raised by a federal panel:
DOE Management of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste at Savannah River Site is Focus of U.S. NWTRB Meeting in Augusta, Georgia, on October 29, 2014
Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board news release
September 12, 2014
Business for plutonium immobilization if it were seriously pursued at SRS:
Japan’s plutonium stockpile rose to 47 tons as of 2013
Kyodo news, September 17, 2014
With MOX program's many drawbacks, its support remains puzzling
by Rose Hayes, member of SRS Citizens Advisory Board, Augusta Chronicle September 14, 2014
SRS Watch tour of Germany to oppose dumping of commercial spent fuel from Germany on SRS:
Group to oppose fuel shipments to SRS during German tour
by Derrek Asberry, Aiken (South Carolina) Standard, September 13, 2014
SRS Watch on proliferation concerns about the U.S. Department of Energy's production of nuclear weapons materials in civilian reactors owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) - a dangerous policy that sets a horrible proliferation example:
DOE reviews tritium production at TVA; split views on making bomb material at Watts Bar
by Dave Flessner, Chattanooga (Tennessee) Times Free Press
article linked here
"How can we question Iran for possibly using nuclear power plants to make bomb material when we've already crossed that line in our country at Watts Bar?" asked Tom Clements, director of the Savannah River Site Watch in South Carolina. "Using civilian nuclear power plants for military purposes sets a terrible precedent in our efforts to try to limit nuclear proliferation around the world."
Yes, that's the same TVA that DOE has tried to saddle with using experimental MOX fuel made from weapon-grade plutonium - so far NO SALE! And no other utilities are biting either. So why is DOE still throwing vast amounts of our money at the MOX boondoggle??? CB&I Shaw AVREA MOX Services (formerly Shaw AREVA MOX Services - SHAMS) is laughing at our expense all the way to the bank. When will anyone be held accountable by DOE for the MOX debacle?
Nuclear Regulatory Commission "SUMMARY OF AUGUST 14,2014, PUBLIC MEETING WITH TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY, PACIFIC NORTHWEST NATIONAL LABORATORY AND NATIONAL NUCLEAR SECURITY ADMINISTRATION OF DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY REGARDING INCREASE IN TRITIUM PRODUCTION" - linked here - to increase the amount of rods leaking weapons tritium into the cooling water of TVA's Watts Bar unit 1 reactor and thus into the environment
Nuclear power’s insanities — taxpayer-guaranteed
by Ralph Nader, Press TV, September 6, 2014
"The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) – the corporate lobbyist in Washington, D.C. for the disintegrating atomic power industry – doesn’t have to worry about repercussions from the negative impacts of nuclear power. For nuclear power is a government/taxpayer-guaranteed boondoggle whose staggering costs, incurred and deferred, are absorbed by American taxpayers via a supine government regulatory and subsidy apparatus."
"If your reactors experience ever larger cost over-runs and delays, as is now happening with two new reactors in South Carolina, no problem, the supine state regulatory commissions will just pass the bill on to consumers, despite the fact that consumers receive no electricity from these unfinished plants."
Ralph Nader hits the nuclear power nail on the head in regard to handouts, subsidies and bailouts for the "crony capitalism" that nuclear power sadly embodies.
SRS Watch in MOX boondoggle article:
MOX facility contractor requests construction extension for work at Savannah River Site
by Meg Mirshak, Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle, September 4, 2014
SCDHEC says ‘no’ to SRS tank closure extensions
Derrek Asberry, Aiken (SC) Standard, August 29, 2014
"The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, or SCDHEC, has denied the Department of Energy’s request to extend waste tank closure dates at the Savannah River Site and reaffirmed its threat to fine the Energy Department more than $100 million if dates aren’t met."
Are SCE&G’s new reactors a mistake?
letter to The State newspaper, Columbia, South Carolina, August 29, 2014
Tom Clements, director of SRS Watch, in TV news report:
Construction Delay Could Mean SCE&G Rate Increase
Jenny Wirzberg, WLTX-TV, Columbia, South Carolina, August 25, 2014
"Final voyage for Atlantic Osprey"
World Nuclear News, 22 August 2014
"After years of transporting materials to facilitate nuclear recycling, UK-registered nuclear cargo vessel Atlantic Osprey has begun its final voyage to the Swansea dock where it is itself destined to be broken up and recycled."
Photo above is of the Atlantic Osprey being greeted by Greenpeace Germany in 2012. Can you imagine what may happen if the scheme to ship 457 large canisters of commercial spent fuel fom Germany to the Savannah River Site goes forward? Whatever the shipping plans may be it will be interesting to see how it all develops on the ground in Germany, where there is strong opposition by public interest groups and many politicians to moving the spent fuel from storage at the Juelich and Ahaus sites.
"34 GROUPS URGE NRC TO POSTPONE KEY VOTES IN ORDER TO AVOID “TAINT” OF MAGWOOD CONFLICT OF INTEREST"
"Latest Step Follows Announced August 31st Departure of “Fatally Compromised” Magwood on Heels of June and July Letters Urging Him to Step Down for Violations of Ethics Laws in Seeking and Landing a Job Promoting Nuclear Energy."
WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 21, 2014 – Nearly three dozen groups and individuals – including leading national and regional organizations Friends of the Earth, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Sierra Club Nuclear Free Campaign, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy – are urging Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman Allison Macfarlane to postpone two major votes on nuclear waste storage and reactor licensing until after the announced August 31, 2014 departure of embattled NRC Commissioner William D. Magwood.
In their joint letter available online at http://tinyurl.com/magwoodconflict, the groups said the step is necessary to “alleviate the taint on the integrity of the NRC’s decision-making process created by Mr. Magwood’s continued participation in NRC safety and environmental decisions.”
full release here
see letter on Commissioner Magwood's conflict by clicking here
Given that Babcock & Wilcox has pulled back from development of a conceptual "small modular reactor" (SMR) in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), can NuScale's similar demise be far behind...?
TVA plans record capital spending but small modular reactors still wait
by Dave Flessner, Chattanooga (TN) Times Free Press, August 21, 2014
"TVA President Bill Johnson said last week the federal utility is now taking a "wait and see" approach to mPower reactors, which TVA doesn't anticipate needing for at least another decade."
full article linked here
Mississippi Public Service Commission Opposes Highly Radioactive Spent Fuel Storage Site in Mississippi - following a similar position taken in July by the SRS Citizens Advisory Board in July
August 18, 2014 news release from the Office of Commissioner Brandon Presley (photo above) - MISSISSIPPI PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION NORTHERN DISTRICT
for more information contact:
Commissioner Brandon Presley ~ P.O. Box 1174 ~ Jackson, MS 39215-1174
1-800-356-6428 ~ email@example.com ~ www.psc.state.ms.us
"Presley Forwards Anti-Nuclear Waste Resolution to
Washington Leaders and Mississippi Delegation"
Jackson, Mississippi (August 18, 2014) – Today, Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley reached out to President Barack Obama, Mississippi’s Congressional Delegation and other Washington leaders in an attempt to block any federal government attempts to dispose of the nation’s nuclear waste on Mississippi soil. In a letter sent today, Presley shared copies
of recent unanimously passed PSC Resolutions opposing the siting of a permanent nuclear waste disposal site in Mississippi and requesting refunds for the $80 million paid by Mississippi residents for a failed government storage facility in Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Presley writes that he encloses the Resolutions “in the hope that they will present you with an accurate account of Mississippi nuclear waste storage policy and correct any impression you may have been given that Mississippi would welcome the nation’s waste.”
see full news release my Misssisippi PSC
The Mississsippi PSC joins the Savannah River Site Citizens Advsiory Board (SRS CAB) in taking a position against commercial spent fuel storage:
Position Paper for the Savannah River Site's Citizens Advisory Board on Using SRS for interim Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel (Renewed in July 2014)
Georgia Public Service Commissioners Fail to Protect Consumers
Regulators approve spending on over budget, delayed Vogtle nuclear reactors
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), August 19, 2014 - news release
Energy Department Reports Highlight Strength of U.S. Wind Energy Industry - U.S Department of Energy news release, August 18, 2014
"The U.S. continues to be a global leader in wind energy, ranking second in installed capacity in the world, according to two reports released today by the Department of Energy. Wind power is a key component of the nation’s all-of-the-above strategy to reduce carbon pollution, diversify our energy economy, and bring innovative technologies on line. With increasing wind energy generation and decreasing prices of wind energy technologies, the U.S. wind energy market remains strong and the U.S. is moving closer to doubling renewable electricity generation from energy resources like wind power yet again by 2020."
Boosters, the endless flow of money from tax payers is over, so the ball is in your court: MOX or decrepit SRS infrastructure?
See SRS 10-year plan at: http://sro.srs.gov/docs/tysp.pdf
"SRS deferred maintenance (DM) is currently estimated to be just over one billion dollars. This deteriorating infrastructure has increasingly resulted in reduced operational capability and higher repair or replacement costs."
That $1 billion is nowhere to be seen and will only grow if the $30-billion MOX boondoggle goes forward.
Report highlights ongoing concerns with aging SRS infrastructure
by Meg Mirshak, Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle, August 16, 2014 "Federal budget constraints have mounted to more than $1 billion in deferred maintenance costs for Savannah River Site’s Cold War-era infrastructure, leading to more expensive future capital investments, according to a federal report projecting the next decade of activity at the Department of Energy site."
Costs overruns and schedule delays due to mismanaged AP1000 nuclear construction project in South Carolina hit credit rating of South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) and SCANA (parent company) - SC public Service Commission must not force rate payers to take the hit for company errors:
"Fitch Revises SCG and SCE&G Rating Outlook to Negative"
Fitch rating agency news release on Business Wire, August 15, 2014
SRS Watch in "Same old story: Summer reactors delayed, overbudget"
in GreenWorld, August 12, 2014
Delays and Cost Increases Plague New Vogtle Nuclear Reactors - Georgia Public Service Commission urged to protect consumers in upcoming vote on construction monitoring docket
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) news release, August 14, 2014
--- slideshow: shots of the Vogtle site (in Georgia), across the Savannah River from the Savannah River Site (in South Carolina), with two old reactors and construction of two AP1000 experimental reactors visible, May 22, 2104, photos by High Flyer
SRS Watch in articles on problems at two nuclear plants in South Carolina: Duke's 3-unit Oconee plant (see photos below) & SCE&G's VC Summer plant (see photo the the left), where two experimental AP1000 reactors are under construction and facing schedule, cost and technical challenges
Duke cited for Oconee nuclear safety lapse
by Eric Connor, Greenville (South Carolian) News, August 14, 2014
SCE&G nuclear plants facing more delays, cost overruns
by Roddie Burris, The State (Columbia, South Carolina), August 13, 2014;
--- with quote from SRS Watch
Two nuclear reactors under construction in Fairfield County are facing another significant delay, utility provider S.C. Electric & Gas confirmed.
The delay will put the $10 billion project at V.C. Summer Nuclear Power plant outside the 18-month contingency allowed by state regulators and likely will drive up the costs, but utility officials said they would not know how much until later this year.
full article here
Deutscher Atommüll in die USA?
(German Nuclear Waste to the US?)
Der Spiegel magazine , August 10, 2014 - on line and in print edition
- translate article via Google translate or Freetranslation.com
Jülicher Castoren: Pläne in der Kritik
Jülich Castor Casks: Export Plan Criticized
Aachener Nachrichten, 11 August 2014
Aachener Zeitung, 11 August - here
Aachen, Germany - city near the Jülich site, where 300,000 spent graphite fuel balls are stored, scheme to dump them at SRS faces more criticism
Stoppt die Atommüll-Exporte in die USA!
Während die Atommüll-Kommission palavert, will die Regierung Fakten schaffen
"Stop the Nuclear Waste Export to the USA! -- While the nuclear waste commission chatters, the government wants to create facts"
.ausgestrahlt, Rundbrief 25, Sommer 2014, Hamburg
Summer 2014 circular linked here
If you like DOE's MOX boondoggle at the Savannah River Site, you'll love this article about the horrid situation at the Y-12 nuclear bomb complex at Oak Ridge...
Y-12: Poster child for a dysfunctional nuclear weapons complex
by Bob Alvarez, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, August 4, 2014
Here's another editorial against dumping German spent fuel at SRS:
Nuclear dump heading South?
The Daily News, Jacksonville, North Carolina, August 4, 2014
Also in the Sun Journal (New Bern, NC), Tuesday, August 5, 2014
"Court Rules Against Barnwell Nuclear Waste Dump" -
see July 31 article here
Open-trench burial of "low-level nuclear waste" and nuclear reactor components at the Barnwell nuclear dump in Snelling, South Carolina. Looks like rain water was allowed to enter the trenches with no control, doesn't it? No wonder there is a radioactive plume moveing off the site and that the SC Appeals Court has acted. (see ruling linked below)
Nuclear justice! In an amazing and long-delayed ruling in a case brought by the South Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club, the South Carolina Court of Appeals ruled on July 30, 2014 that the Barnwell low-level nuclear waste dump in South Carolina must comply with environmental protection regulations in its permit. Congratulations and thanks to the Sierra Club and the South Carolina Environmental Law Project! The Barnwell dump, located on the Savannah River Site's eastern boundary, accepted waste from across the US until mid-2008 but now only South Carolina, New Jersey and Connecticut (in the Atlantic Compact) can dump there.
Court rules against Barnwell nuclear waste dump
by Sammy Fretwell, The State, Columbia, South Carolina, July 31, 2014
Leaks at Barnwell nuclear dump focus of court hearing
by Sammy Fretwell, The State, February 2, 2014
See SC Appeals Court July 30, 2014 ruling by clcking here - "Sierra Club, Appellant, v. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental
Control and Chem-Nuclear Systems, LLC, Respondents"
From appeal court's ruling: "...we order DHEC and Chem-Nuclear to submit a written plan for compliance to the ALC [Administrative Law Court] within ninety days of this opinion. The ALC shall promptly determine if Chem-Nuclear will come into compliance with the regulations under the plan."
See link to South Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club here.
Photo: Tom Clements, Director of SRS Watch, reviews SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) documents released under the state's Freedom of Information Act in March 2014. The documents prove that leaking radioactive tritium and other radioactive isotopes, including Carbon-14, can be detected in monitoring wells at the 235-acre Barnwell dump (managed by Chem-Nuclear Systems, a subsidiary of EnergySolutions ). Inexplicably, DHEC's annual monitoring report for 2103 fails to mention radioactive carbon or other isotopes. The dump is owned by the State of South Carolina Budget and Control Board and its fate is in public hands. But the court ruling shows that public diligence is required to get DHEC and the Budget and Control Board to comply with regulations. Let's hope the DHEC report for 2014, likely to be released in December, is accurate and reports that other isotopes besides tritium are leaking due to rain water infiltration and ground water movement. We'll be paying attention to what the 2014 report says. See DHEC contacts for the Barnwell dump here. And a link to the South Carolina Energy Office (of the Budget and Control Board) here.
Advisory board renews position against spent fuel at SRS
by Derrek Asberry, Aiken (SC) Standard, July 29, 2014
Group denounces MOX in letter to Moniz
by Derrek Asberry, Aiken (SC) Standard, July 29, 2014
SRS Watch letter of july 28 to Secretary of Energy Moniz on failed MOX program and German spent fuel dumping scheme: click here
Requests of Moniz:
-- Continue with the plan to place the MOX plant on cold standby.
-- Hold managers in DOE, NNSA and Shaw AREVA MOX Services accountable for the massive cost overruns and schedule delays withMOX project.
-- Continue development of alternatives to MOX, including the vitrification of plutonium in high-level waste at SRS.
-- Immediately terminate plans to import German spent fuel to SRS.
-- Direct DOE to prepare, with public involvement, a “non-proliferation impact assessment” on the new graphite spent fuel reprocessing technique being developed by Savannah River National Lab.
World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014 (WNISR) released - "The Independent Assessment of Nuclear Developments in the World" - by Mycle Schneider (in photo), Antony Froggatt, et al.
Paris, London, Washington, 29 July 2014. The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014 (WNISR) provides a comprehensive overview of nuclear power plant data, including information on operation, production and construction. The WNISR assesses the status of new-build programs in existing as well as in potential newcomer nuclear countries and looks in detail at how the changing market conditions are affecting the economics of nuclear power. WNISR2014 also updates a Fukushima Status Report featured for the first time in 2013 that triggered widespread media and analyst attention. While the Nuclear Power vs. Renewable Energy chapter provides comparative data on investment, capacity, and generation and assesses how nuclear power performs in systems with high renewable energy share.
The ship that totally failed to change the world
"Fifty years ago the world's first nuclear-powered cargo-passenger ship sailed from the US to Europe on a publicity tour to persuade the world to embrace the atomic age. It didn't quite work out like that."
BBC News Magazine, July 25, 2014
Well, things with the Nuclear Ship Savannah (NS Savannah), known as "The Mother Ship" by some of us born in Savannah, Georgia , didn't quite work out as plan but she sure is attractive, even as she rusts away at her dock in Baltimore, Maryland. The picture above was taken on May 24, 2014 by Tom Clements, who wasn't quite sure why she's alll dressed up with the pretty pennants but has nowhere to go and no way to get there (as the reactor is inoperable).
Moniz: MOX seeking funding streams, hints at 'cold stand-by'
by Derrek Asberry, Aiken (SC) Standard, July 29, 2014
- note side bar in the article about SRS Watch letter to Secretary Moniz on the MOX boondoggle and half-baked German nuke waste dumping scheme -
see letter here
SRS "Nuclear waste site needs monument"
Columbia County (Georgia) News-Times -- near Augusta, GA & SRS),
July 27, 2014
Representative Brian Higgins (New York) Calls on Energy Department to Conduct Environmental Review of Liquid High-Level Nuclear Waste Transportation Proposal, from Ontario to Savannah River Site
"Congressman Says Further Investigation Necessary Before Nuclear Waste Crosses Peace Bridge, Warns of Mobile Chernobyl"
July 24 news release from the Office of Rep. Higgins & link to letter to Secretary of Energy Moniz
"Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) is asking the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to assess a proposal which could transport liquid nuclear waste from Ontario, Canada to a location in South Carolina crossing the Peace Bridge and traveling through Western New York. "
A big thanks is due to to Representative Higgins as people in South Carolina don't want the Canadian highly radioactive waste dumped here!
So far, DOE has only prepared a cursory "supplemental analysis" of the proposal to ship, process and dump the liquid nulear waste at SRS. Public interest groups have long called on Canada to deal with its own waste and for DOE to conduct an EIS. For more on the matter, contact Tom Clements of SRS Watch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chalk River nuclear shipments opposed in Washington
Ottawa (Ontario) Citizen
by Ian MacLeod, July 25, 2014
Shipments of nuclear waste could start here in 2015 - Higgins demands review of safety for bridge route
Buffalo (New York) News article, July 24, 2014
news in Germany about concern in South Carolina about plans to dump German spent fuel here...
Jülich: Neue Probleme um Reaktor-Zwischenlager
Westdeutscher Rundfunk, July 23, 2014
Export von Atommüll muss gestoppt werden
Greenpeace Deutschland magazin, 21 July 2014
German nuclear fuel to USA?
"Germany authorities are contemplating the return of nuclear fuel kept in 152 containers to the United States. A storage permit at the former Jülich research reactor facility in western Germany is nearing expiry. "
Deutsche Welle, July 8, 2014
Advisory board renews position against spent fuel at SRS
by Derrek Asberry, Aiken (SC) Standard, July 22, 2014
"The Savannah River Site Citizens Advisory Board renewed its 2013 position paper taking a stance against the Site becoming an interim storage site for commercial spent nuclear fuel. The board, also known as CAB, put the issue to a vote Tuesday on the second day of its bimonthly meeting. The results came out in an overwhelming 16-0 decision opposing shipments of spent fuel."
Advisory board to discuss German fuel, celebrate 20 years
by Derrek Asberry, Aiken (SC) Standard, July 19, 2014
Activists Speak Out against Importing German Nuclear Waste to Savannah River Site, at Hearing
by Courtney Hanson, Atlanta Progressive News, July 18, 2014
SRS is not a spent fuel disposal site! SRS ist kein Atommüllkippe!
"Nuclear Reactor Offline After Valve Leaks Water" - South Carolina Electric & Gas' V.C. Summer reactor shut down - This was no routine leak which caused the unplanned shutdown of the VC Summer nuclear reactor north of Columbia, South Carolina. A valve leaked radioactive water inside the containment- a pressurizer relief valve - which was similar to the situation that caused the accident at Three Mile Island. Leakage this time was 5 gallons/minute, below the 10 gallon/minute Nuclear Regulatory Commisson requirement for action to be taken but the company had no choice but to shut the reactor (on July 13). The leakage could have gotten worse or signaled something more ominous, like a cooling pipe break.
Nuclear Reactor Offline After Valve Leaks Water
by Clark Fouraker, WLTX TV, Columbia, South Carolina
photo - V.C. Summer unit 1 is in the background, by the lake; two new units under construction in the foreground; photo by High Flyer (SRS special air force...)
When it rains, it pours... Another leading South Carolina paper has come out against import of the German commercial spent fuel to the Savannah River Site, where it could be processed and then dumped.
"German waste shouldn’t go to SRS"
Greenville News, July 16, 2014
"A plan to ship spent nuclear fuel from Germany to the Savannah River Site near Aiken deserves close scrutiny, and if the transfer does not meet the requirements for such shipments, South Carolina should work actively to turn it away. "
SRS Watch agrees: We ain't no nuclear dump for Germany or anyone else!
More headaches for the scheme to import German commercial spent fuel. Now that Savannah River Site Citizens Advisory Board (SRS CAB), a federal panel that advises SRS on clean up of the site, has indicated concern about the import of the German high-level waste the scheme can only be in deeper trouble. Attend the upcoming CAB meeting and speak up against German spent fuel dumping at SRS!
SRS oversight board challenges waste assessment
by Meg Mirshak, Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle, July 14, 2014
See draft agenda for the CAB's July 21-22 meeting by clicking here.
Castor für Übersee – Hochradioaktiver Atommüll aus NRW
Publiziert am 29. Juni 2014 von Dirk Seifert
Publiziert am 29. Juni 2014 von Dirk Seifert
Another hard-hitting article in German:
Atommüll soll in die USA exportiert werden
(Nuclear waste is to be exported to the United States)
Frankfurter Rundschau, July 14, 2014
Yet another editorial against importing German high-level nuclear waste to the Savannah River Site - good to see it even if it gets off track about Yucca Mountain (which has nothing to do with the illegal export of commercial spent fuel from Germany):
Nation's nuclear dump -Taking in German waste is the latest federal task for the Savannah River Site
Spartanburg (South Carolina) Herald, July 13, 2014
photo: AVR reactor at Juelich, Germany - a gas-cooled eperimental reactor that was connected to the eletricty grid and which was not a research reactor. As it is illegal under German law to export spent fuel , the feeble efforts to redefine the reactor as a "research" reactor over 25 years after it was closed is a transparent deception that isn't working. The 900,000 highly radioactive graphite balls from the AVR and THTR experimental reactors , stored in 457 large CASTOR casks, must be diposed of in Germany and not dumped on SRS.
White House threatens veto of House bill with MOX construction funding - by Meg Mirsahk, Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle, July 9, 2014
see White House statment of July 9, 2014:
"Disposition of Weapons-Usable Plutonium. The Administration strongly objects to language that would require the Secretary of Energy to continue construction of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility. The Administration plans to move the facility into cold stand-by in FY 2015 as it continues to explore the potential for more cost effective alternatives while maintaining the U.S. Government's commitment to disposing of unneeded plutonium."
Aiken (SC) Standard article, July 9, 2014, by Derrek Asberry
Washington threatens to veto House bill that includes MOX
News about the misguided scheme to dump German commercial nuclear reactor spent fuel at the Savannah River Site is increasing, with the public and politicians in Germany now becoming aware that SRS is not a high-level nuclear waste disposal site. South Carolina will "nicht Deutschlands Atommüllkippe werden!" (South Carolina will not become Germany's nuclear dump.) Is the half-baked scheme now on the ropes?
Energy Dept.: SRS researching how site could handle German wasteby Derrek Asberry, Aiken (SC) Standard, July 12, 2014
video story on SC Governor's Nuclear Advisory Council meeting:
WLTX TV, Columbia, SC, July 10, 2014
Enriched Uranium From Germany Still In Works For SRS
Scrutiny intensifies over German nuke waste shipments to SC
by Sammy Fretwell, The State, Columbia, South Carolina, July 11, 2014
- also in Myrtle Beach (SC) Sun News
Plan to ship German nuke waste to SC questioned
by Eric Connor, Greenville (South Carolina) News, July 9, 2014
-- also posted by WLTX TV website, Columbia, SC on July 10, 2014
Resistance grows against German nuclear waste transport to US
Wed, 9th Jul 2014
Castor container: Do the USA help Germany from the case of radioactive waste?
News Round Today, July 8, 2014
Atommüll aus Jülich: Atomkugeln: Transport in die USA rechtswidrig?
WDR Deutschland, July 8, 2014
German nuclear fuel to USA?
Deutsche Welle, July 8, 2014
"Germany authorities are contemplating the return of nuclear fuel kept in 152 containers to the United States. A storage permit at the former Jülich research reactor facility in western Germany is nearing expiry. "
"US watchdog rejects Jülich leftovers - DPA quoted Tom Clements of the Organization Savannah River Site Watch as saying that it did not want foreign atomic waste in South Carolina. The "correct way for Germany" was to use its law to find its own local means of disposal, he said."
-- see photo of the AVR experimental power reactor at the link to the article
DPA - big German news agency - this article is getting picked up all over Germany:
Der Präzedenzfall - Deutscher Atommüll in die USA?
Berlin/Washington (dpa), July 8, 2014
"The precedent - German nuclear waste in the United States?" - from www.freetranslation.com - article to be formally issued in English on July 9
""Wir wollen keinen ausländischen Atommüll in South Carolina, wenn der korrekte Weg für Deutschland wäre, seinem Atomgesetz zu folgen, das eine Entsorgung im Inland vorsieht", sagt Tom Clements, Direktor der Organisation Savannah River Site Watch, die das Nuklearzentrum kritisch begleitet. Die Anlage ist nur 32 Kilometer von der historischen Stadt Augusta entfernt, wo auch das weltberühmte Golf-Masters stattfindet. Hier werden schon 140 Millionen Liter radioaktiver Abfall und Giftmüll in alten Tanks gespeichert. Eine dauerhaft sichere Lagerung tief unter der Erde ist nicht in Sicht."
Senator Vincent Sheheen, in the South Carolina legislature, continues to speak out against bringing German nuclear waste to SRS...
Sheheen's clear stance on the unclear future of nuclear waste in SC
by Hannah Moseley, WCSV TV, Charleston, SC, July 8, 2014
The naval station in Charleston has already been named as the port of entry of the waste.
Port of Charleston could be at risk if German nuclear waste comes through, Vincent Sheheen says
by Schuyler Kropf, Charleston (SC) Post & Courier, July 8, 2014
The newspapers near the Savannah River Site have editorialized on the risks of bringing German spent fuel to SRS. Good to see the papers' sound positions against SRS becoming a nuclear waste dumping ground. Thanks!
Photo: Senator Vincent Sheheen, in South Carolina Senate, who opposes import of German nuclear waste into our state. Thank you Senator Sheheen!
Don't dump this on us
Permanent storage of nuclear waste is an alarming turn in SRS' mission
Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle
by Augusta Chronicle editorial staff, July 6, 2014
New German waste another bad signal
Aiken (South Carolina) Standard
by Aiken Standard editorial staff, July 7, 2014
Castortransporte aus Jülich?
152 Castoren mit hochradioaktivem Atommüll sollen das Zwischenlager im Forschungszentrum Jülich verlassen. Favorisiert wird ein Transport in die USA. Dieser wäre rechtswidrig.
"Amerikanische Atomkraftgegner leisten massiven und berechtigten Widerstand gegen deutsche Atommülltransporte in die USA. Ein Hauptgegner ist Tom Clements, Leiter der Organisation Savannah River Site Watch. „South Carolina will nicht Deutschlands Atommüllkippe werden”, sagt Clements. „Wir lehnen den Vorschlag ab, von dem nur Savannah River Site und Deutschland profitieren, die amerikanische Bevölkerung aber draufzahlt.“"
Greenpeace Germany news release, July 5, 2014
- photo above of German spent fuel storage casks posted by Greenpeace Germany on home page - 457 of these casks are stored at the Juelich and Ahaus sites and contain about 900,000 highly radioactive graphite fuel balls that some in Germany and in the US Department of Energy want to dump at the Savannah River Site, compounding waste management problems at the site - SRS is not a nuclear dump (Atommüllkippe) for German waste!
South Carolina gubernatorial candidate state Senator Vincent Sheheen speaks up against German nuclear waste dumping at SRS. Along with increased coverage of the controversial proposal in the US and Germany, this could be a game changer.
Sheheen: No German materials in Aiken County
by Derrek Asberry, Aiken (South Carolina) Standard, July 3, 2014
Sheheen: Halt German nuke waste at SRS
by Andrew Shain, The State, Columbia, SC, July 3, 2014
SC-Gov: Sheheen (D) Fights Back To Prevent SC From Becoming More Of A Nuclear Waste Dumping Ground - see email alert from Sheheen
Daily Kos, July 2, 2014
Sheheen addresses SRS nuclear waste dilemma
by Nick Lulli, WXFG TV, Augusta, Georgia, July 2
German nuclear waste could be on way to SRS
by Travis Ragsdale, WRDW TV, N. Augusta, SC, July 2
Public comments heard on proposed German waste shipments to Savannah River Site
by Meg Mirshak, Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle, June 25
- article includes a link to a short video clip featuring Tom Clements of SRS Watch and a poster he displayed on the matter, including information that the German reactors in question are not research reactors, and Susan Corbett of the South Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club
photo of Tom Clements, Director, SRS Watch, speaking at the meeting, with poster explaining how nuclear waste export is illegal under German law - by Jon-Michael Sullivan, Augusta Chronicle
photo of SRS Watch poster at waste dumping meeting - by Augusta Chronicle
“We cannot open SRS to the world’s nuclear waste,” said Susan Corbett, of the South Carolina Sierra Club. “The citizens of Aiken County do not want to be known as the world’s spent dump.” (photo above is of Susan Corbett making her comments at the meeting)
Residents show mixed feelings on German fuel at SRS
by Derrek Asberry, Aiken (South Carolina) Standard, June 25, 2014
"Those who opposed accepting the HEU included the South Carolina Sierra Club and SRS Watch, which voiced its disapproval through Director Tom Clements."
"According to Clements, Germany is currently trying to rename the reactors that process the spent fuel as research reactors instead of commercial reactors, which would make it legal to ship the HEU."
“There's a big difference between the reactors, and the German law is clear. Evidently, the German government is conducting an assessment to rename them, but they're meeting friction from activists in Germany,” Clements said.
Deutscher Atommüll für die USA Brennelementekugeln des Versuchsreaktors Jülich sollen in ein Kernwaffenzentrum in South Carolina 152 Castor-Behälter lagern auf dem Gelände des Forschungszentrums Jülich. Der Atommüll soll in den USA wiederaufbereitet werden.
Von Ralf Streck - 24.06.2014 - Wirtscaht und Umwelt
Neues Deutschland Sozialistische Tageszeitung
Public meeting Tuesday on potential German waste shipments to SRS
by Meg Mirshak, Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle, June 23, 2014
SRS Watch in report on Deutschlandfunk - German public radio - June 20, 2014, Report on plans between Germany & DOE for the unprecedented import of highly radioactive commercial nuclear power fuel, for dumping at SRS.
print & broadcast linked here - Sprechen sie Deutsch?! Vielleicht ein bisschen?
by Heike Wipperfürth
Forschungsreaktor: Brennstäbe aus Jülich sollen zurück in die USA
Fuel rods from Jülich may go to the US
A highly dangerous cargo from Germany could soon be a shipped... to the US state of South Carolina. On board: highly radioactive fuel from a reactor at the Jülich research site closed since 1988 ....
See photo of commercial gas-cooled reactor with problematic commercial spent fuel that Germany aims to dump on SRS - at Deutschland funk website.
Articles on SRS revised high-level waste plan - obtained by SRS Watch and linked here
S.C. DHEC threatens fines for Savannah River Site cleanup delays
by Meg Mirshak, Augusta (GA) Chronicle, June 17, 2014
State may fine DOE $193M if closure milestones at SRS aren't met
by Derrek Asberry, Aiken (SC) Standard, June 17, 2014
Closure of WIPP casts long shadow
by Lauren Villagran, Albuquerque (New Mexico) Journal, June 15, 2014
Savannah River Site Becoming World’s Nuclear Dumping Ground, despite Safety Risks
by Gloria Tatum, APN, June 9, 2014
Savannah River Site tank closure schedule pushed back
by Meg Mirshak, Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle, June 10, 2014
see SRS waste management report posted as a public service by SRS Watch at: http://www.srswatch.org/uploads/2/7/5/8/27584045/r19_liquid_waste_plan_may_2014.pdf
Secret weapons-grade uranium shipments to Canada near end
by Ian Macleod, Ottawa (Ontario) Citizen, June 4, 2014
DOE seeks input on German fuel possibly coming to SRS
by Derrek Asberry, Aiken (South Carolina) Standard, June 4, 2014
SCE&G customers facing seventh rate increase for nuclear project
by Roddie Burris, The State (Columbia, SC), June 1, 2014
--- see SRS Watch in this article and the German waste dumping article below
SC site moves toward accepting German nuke waste - AP article in The Times & Democrat (Orangeburg, SC), May 30, 2014
Audit: Lack of cost control at South Carolina nuclear fuel plant
by Meg Kinnard, Associated Press, May 27, 2014
SRS Watch information used in article on SRS plutonium to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant - click on links in article:
WIPP Storing Weapons Grade Plutonium In Room 7
May 22, 2014
Does the article reveal the secret of "stardust," an inert material used to downblend plutonium for packaging for dumping in WIPP? Is this material an "exploding" form of the infamous kitty litter?
Letter: Graham, Haley shouldn’t be leading MOX debate -
Senator, governor do not have experience to make informed decisions on nuclear waste. Proposed mixed-oxide facility at Savannah River Site is a nuclear bridge to nowhere.
Greenville (SC) News, May 16, 2014
Nature magazine, May 13, 2014
editorial and article on the WIPP radiation accident - was SRS transuranic waste involved in the WIPP accident?
An accident waiting to happen - The release of radioactive material at a US nuclear-waste repository reveals an all-too-common picture of complacency over safety and a gradual downgrading of regulations.
Call for better oversight of nuclear-waste storage - Accident at US repository highlights need for tougher safety monitoring, say experts.
MOX neglect's costly fallout
by Walter Pincus, Washington Post columnist
in Charleston (SC) Post & Courier, May 14, 2014
SRS Watch in "Officials: No danger from Tritium leak at SC plant"
by Meg Kinnard, Associated Press
May 8, 2014
SC drops suit against feds over MOX plant
by Sammy Fretwell, The State (Columbia, SC), May 3
- wait till October 1 and Fiscal Year 2015 - the mismanaged MOX project is due to be shut down
Greenville (SC) News editorial - related to dodgy proposal to import German highly radioactive spent fuel: “Don’t bring more nuclear waste to SRS” -- May 2, 2014
“State should be wary of plan for more nuclear waste to SRS after years of broken promises. Plans for reprocessing, permanent storage in Nevada all have fallen by the wayside as waste piles up”
SRS Watch in articles on possible import of German spent fuel:
German nuclear waste may be headed to SC
by Eric Connor, Greenville (South Carolina) News, April 30
German nuclear waste could be shipped to Savannah River Site
by Meg Mirshak, Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle, April 30
Uranium from Germany could come to SRS
by Derrek Asberry, Aiken (South Carolina) Standard, April 30
SRS Watch in "MOX jobs safe through September, Graham says,"
by Sammy Fretwell, The State, Columbia, SC, April 29, 2014
South Carolina Sues as U.S. Seeks to Halt Work on Plutonium Disposal Site - by Matt Wald, New York Times, April 29, 2014
SRS Watch in "Cracks found at VC Summer nuclear plant; reactor head to be replaced in 2017"
by Roddie Burris, The State (Columbia, SC), April 29, 2014
A Botched Plan to Turn Nuclear Warheads Into Fuel
By Matthew Philips, Bloomberg Businessweek, April 24, 2014
Please comment on line - SRS Watch in the news:
Gov. Nikki Haley: Finish MOX plant
by Sammy Fretwell, The State (Columbia, SC), April 21, 2014
SRS Watch group requests MOX study assessments
by Derrek Asberry
Aiken (South Carolina) Standard, April 17, 2014
(South Carolina) Public Service Commission Secretly Approving Rate Hikes?
By Rick Brundrett
The Nerve (S.C. Policy Council), March 31, 2014
Watch group formed to monitor SRS, nuclear activities
By Derrek Asberry
Aiken (South Carolina) Standard, April 6
Activists launch effort to improve nuclear facility oversight
By Phillip Swarts
Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 5, 2014
MOX fuel sales would be government subsidized
By Mary Orndorff Troyan
Gannett Washington Bureau, April 4, 2014
New Watchdog Group Sets Sights on South Carolina Plutonium Facility
By Diane Barnes
National Journal/Global Security Newswire
NNSA administrator: MOX construction stop-order coming
By Derrek Asberry
Aiken (South Carolina) Standard, April 2, 2014
Covert Mission: Plutonium Source Might Be Canada - Questions being Asked About Mystery Cargo (to Savannah River Site)
By Ian MacLeod
Ottawa (Ontario) Citizen, March 29, 2014
Residents Get Update On Midlands Nuclear Reactor Site
WLTX TV, Columbia, South Carolina, March 27, 2014
Haley Fighting MOX Project Shutdown
By Andrew Shain and Sammy Fretwell
The State – Columbia, South Carolina, March 12, 2014
SC Arson Suspect Worked at Nuclear Plant
By Sammy Fretwell
The State – Columbia, South Carolina, March 11, 2014
Obama Backs Off Expensive, Risky MOX Nuclear Fuel Facility
Environment News Service, March 2014
MOX Project at SRS May Be Shelved
Greenville News – South Carolina, March 5, 2014