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E-M:/ FW: Urgent Radioactive Waste Alert for Michigan -- take action now!

NIRS Action Alert




1. Urge your elected officials to stop H.R. 5427 – the U.S. Senate version of the Fiscal Year 2007 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill – dead in its tracks!


Contact information for elected officials:


Governor Jennifer M. Granholm, P.O. Box 30013, Lansing, MI 48909

Phone 517-373-3400; Fax 517-335-6863; or send her a web form at http://www.michigan.gov/gov/0,1607,7-168-21995-65331--,00.html

Attorney General Mike Cox, G. Mennen Williams Building, 7th Floor,
525 W. Ottawa St., P.O. Box 30212, Lansing, MI 48909
Phone (517) 373-1110 or Toll Free (877) 765-8388; Fax (517) 373-3042; email: miag@michigan.gov


U.S. Senator Carl Levin, 269 Russell Office Building, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510-2202
Phone (202) 224-6221; Fax (202) 224-1388; or send him a web form at http://levin.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm


U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, 133 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Phone (202) 224-4822; Fax (202) 228-0325; email: senator@stabenow.senate.gov ; or send her a web form at http://stabenow.senate.gov/email.htm


Urge them to contact Sen. Domenici, as numerous Governors and State Attorney Generals already have. Urge them to do all they can to oppose H.R. 5427 and its undermining of the State of Michigan’s authority to protect the health, safety, and environment of its citizens against the risks of high-level radioactive waste. See “Background” for additional information, below.


2. As an alternative to this dangerous proposal, consider adding your group to the national coalition calling for safety and security upgrades for radioactive waste stored at nuclear power plants in Michigan. See the “Principles for Safeguarding Nuclear Waste at Reactors” at http://www.citizen.org/documents/PrinciplesSafeguardingIrradiatedFuel.pdf and send your name, title, group name, and full contact information to mboyd@citizen.org to sign on. Note that NIRS, Citizens Resistance at Fermi Two, Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes, and Don’t Waste Michigan have already endorsed these Principles.




---Kevin Kamps

Nuclear Waste Specialist

Nuclear Information and Resource Service

6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 340

Takoma Park, Maryland 20912




(and board member, Don’t Waste Michigan, representing the Kalamazoo chapter)




U.S. Senator Pete Domenici (Republican, New Mexico), powerful chairman of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, as well as chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee for Energy and Water Development, has proposed creating “consolidation and preparation” (CAP) facilities – centralized interim storage sites – for commercial high-level radioactive waste in every state with nuclear reactors.


 Despite the agency’s abysmal radioactive waste management record, Sen. Domenici would grant the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) final say over the location of such interim storage sites – thus the ability to override Michigan’s Governor, Legislature, as well as county and local governments. And if a state refuses to name one or more CAP facilities, Sen. Domenici’s bill would allow DOE to build a regional “parking lot” dump for high-level radioactive wastes from multiple states in that “uncooperative” state.


The opening of CAP facilities would happen in a frighteningly short three and a half year long “streamlined” period. The license would be for 25 years of “interim” storage (if 25 years can be called “temporary”!), although waste could remain at CAP facilities for significantly longer than that. DOE has admitted its proposed national repository for high-level waste – targeted at Yucca Mountain, Nevada -- won’t open for another 11 years, till 2017, at the earliest. Sen. Domenici himself has admitted it would take an additional 30 years, or more, to transport wastes to Yucca.


Even after those 41+ years, Yucca would not be able to accommodate all the waste generated by that point in the U.S., meaning that the excess waste would remain stuck back at the reactor sites. In fact, any waste generated after 2010 – 4 short years from now – will be excess to Yucca’s legal capacity. The Palisades nuclear reactor near South Haven hopes to operate till 2031. The twin reactor Cook nuclear power plant south of St. Joe already has permission to run till 2037. And the Fermi 2 reactor near Monroe will likely seek permission to generate waste till 2045. That’s many decades of excess waste in Michigan with the untrustworthy DOE arbitrarily empowered to decide where it would be “temporarily” stored, overriding state and local authority to protect Michigan’s citizens and environment.


This half-baked scheme could very well result in helter skelter waste shipments around the State of Michigan for no good reason whatsoever. High-level radioactive waste could be rushed onto the roads and rails across Michigan, and even the waters of Lake Michigan, bound for hastily built “overflow parking lot dumps” from which it would have to be moved again someday, doubling transport risks. Transporting radioactive waste is the stage in the nuclear fuel chain that is most vulnerable to accidents and attacks. Each shipping container would hold 40 to 240 times the long-lasting radioactivity released by the Hiroshima atomic bomb. It is nothing to rush into!


To see how close such shipment routes could come to you, go to http://www.ewg.org/reports/nuclearwaste/find_address.php and type in your address to find out. For proposed barge routes on Lake Michigan, see http://www.nirs.org/factsheets/mibargefactsheet92804.pdf.


Sen. Domenici’s dangerous scheme, just like the scientifically indefensible Yucca Mountain dump proposal, is merely an attempt to create the “illusion of a solution” (as Michael Keegan of Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes has put it) to the radioactive waste problem, in order to justify license extensions at old reactors and to build new reactors for the first time in over 30 years.


To be sent a detailed analysis of H.R. 5427 prepared by Michele Boyd at Public Citizen, or for any other questions, contact me at the numbers above.


We’ve stopped similar dangerous proposals time and time again for many years, and we can do it again!