Speak Up! Speak Out! on America’s nuclear future
The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future will meet in Atlanta Tuesday, October 18 to hear from community leaders, elected officials, technical and policy experts, environmental organizations and interested citizens (this means YOU) on a report they recently released regarding nuclear waste.
The Commission is tasked with conducting a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle, including all alternatives for storage, processing and disposal of civilian and defense used nuclear fuel, high level waste and other materials derived from nuclear activities and is offering this rare and important opportunity for public discourse on these issues.
Georgia WAND Executive Director has been asked to address the Blue Ribbon Commission at 11:45 on Tuesday. Please support Bobbie and come with your own comments!
Blue Ribbon Commission
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Bobbie Paul speaks, 11:45 am, Public Comments begin at 3pm
Marriott Marquis, 265 Peachtree Center Avenue, Atlanta, GA
The Commission needs to hear from ALL GEORGIANS concerned about nuclear power, what it does to our environment, our health and our bank accounts! Please speak up and speak out during the public comments portion of the meeting, 3pm to 5pm. Click here for an entire schedule for the day.
Recognizing the environmental, health and safety hazards suffered by those living in the shadow of nuclear weapons facilities and commercial nuclear power reactors, Georgia WAND advocates for the restoration of environmental monitoring to the state of Georgia (through Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division) This important monitoring would expose radioactive impacts on vegetation, rainfall, well water, the Savannah River, livestock, peanuts and other crops and the air, specifically in Georgia’s Burke and Screven counties.
Scroll down for more important nuclear issues that the BRC needs to hear. These can be used as supplemental information, or as a guide for your public comments.
It is irresponsible to recommend continued American reliance on nuclear power. The first step to solving the nuclear waste crisis is to stop making more waste. The BRC should recommend decommissioning U.S. reactors as they reach the end of their original licenses.
Interim On-Site Storage
Page 49 of the BRC draft report states that “interim storage of substantial quantities of spent fuel at operating reactor sites can be expected to continue for some time”. Therefore cooling pool density needs to be addressed. The BRC should recommend that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) take action to get spent fuel out of cooling pools and into Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS). HOSS needs improved regulation and the BRC should recommend this course of action to the NRC. HOSS is not just about preventing terrorism, as mentioned in the draft BRC report; it would also prevent much of the radioactive release in a catastrophe such as Fukushima. Let’s move to HOSS now, before an accident occurs at a US cooling pool.
Interim storage need not be consolidated. Shipping nuclear waste around the country is extremely expensive and creates unnecessary environmental and human health risks. Nuclear waste should not be moved unless it is bound for a permanent disposal site. HOSS can provide safe and secure interim storage without transportation risks and expenses. Operating reactors already have the level of security that HOSS would require; therefore it is not clear why consolidating storage might be more cost effective.
Permanent Storage and Public Involvement
Public involvement is key to siting and safely operating nuclear waste storage facilities. Nuclear waste storage should be a “science based” enterprise, but public acceptance is critical to a facility’s success. Public involvement should not end with siting – transparency and public oversight should be important aspects of the “new organization” that the BRC recommends take responsibility for long term nuclear waste storage/disposal in the U.S.
Reprocessing is not a solution to the challenge of nuclear waste and should not be re-started in the U.S. We applaud the Commission for not recommending that the U.S. pursue reprocessing, but push you to reject it more explicitly. Reprocessing is dirty; many of the world’s most contaminated sites are reprocessing plants (Hanford, West Valley, the Savannah River Site, and Chelyabinsk). Reprocessing is not recycling. Reprocessing creates new toxic waste streams and does not eliminate the long-term need for nuclear waste storage. Additionally, reprocessing is not a good economic choice. Reprocessing facilities around the world are closing (Sellafield, UK), relying on huge government subsidies (France), or failing to open at all (Rokkasho, Japan). Private investors are not interested in this technology and US taxpayers cannot afford to subsidize it.