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E-M:/ Release: Potential for Radioactive Waste Barges on Great Lakes



Pasted below is a press release from Nuclear Information and Resource Service (signed by many Michigan and Great Lakes organizations) highlighting the potential for high-level radioactive waste barges on the Great Lakes. (Railway and highway transport of these lethal wastes is also a consideration.)

Note that maps and John Sticpewich's report: ?A Study of the Problems With Transport and Reprocessing of Nuclear Waste in the Carolinas,? are available at:  www.nuclearcrossroads.org/secondreport.htm

Public Citizen has some good fact sheets on the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership at: www.citizen.org/cmep/energy_enviro_nuclear/nuclear_power_plants/nukewaste/reprocessing/ The Bush administration is proposing reprocessing for not just U.S. nuclear plants, but essentially the world's. If this proposed reprocessing goes through at Savannah River Site (SRS) in the South, this would be the trigger for transporting Great Lakes irradiated fuel to SRS, and once again, subjecting our communities and the entire Great Lakes biosystem to grave danger. Further, past reprocessing in the U.S.has contaminated groundwater, has proved hugely expensive and has left radioactive wastes that are still not cleaned up! - Kay Cumbow

News from NIRS
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
6930 Carroll Avenue # 340    Takoma Park, Maryland 20912
301-270-6477, www.nirs.org nirsnet@nirs.org
 
May 22, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact:         Kevin Kamps         301-270-6477 ex 14
                        John Sticpewich    828-675-1792
 
New Maps from Common Sense Campaign Reveal
Another Cost of New Nuclear Power: Rad. Waste Barges on Great Lakes
 
May 22 ? Today, 30 community-based groups nationwide, and 14 more groups in the Great Lakes Basin, teamed with Nuclear Information and Resource Service and the Common Sense at the Nuclear Crossroads Campaign, are releasing new maps showing the likely transport routes (road, rail and water) that high-level radioactive waste (irradiated or spent fuel) would take from nuclear power reactors to the federal Savannah River Site in South Carolina for reprocessing, if that location is chosen under the federal Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP). Eleven sites are currently under consideration for GNEP; two in South Carolina. Implementation of GNEP would redirect the transportation of this waste, previously assumed to target the flawed and unsuitable Yucca Mountain site in Nevada.
 
Part of a study by John Sticpewich entitled ?A Study of the Problems With Transport and Reprocessing of Nuclear Waste in the Carolinas,? the maps were generated using Department of Energy (DOE) data and the on-line DOE routing program, TRAGIS. ?Credit analysts on Wall Street have suggested that moving the accumulated high-level waste from the reactor sites would make investment in new nuclear power more likely,? said Sticpewich. ?This report documents the huge tonnage of radioactive waste that must be dealt with, the very high costs of transporting it, and the potential for impact that such a move would have on hundreds of communities along the way.? John Sticpewich did this work on behalf of the Common Sense at the Nuclear Crossroads Campaign based in Asheville, NC. The maps and his report are available at: http://www.nuclearcrossroads.org/secondreport.htm .
 
If implemented, GNEP would move accumulated waste from 75 sites in 33 states. Due to limited resources, the new maps show only a defined ?study area:? waste sites that are East of the Mississippi River, and from the Carolinas North. While routes are shown in all states East of the Mississippi, those in MS, AL, GA and FL include only out-of-state waste ? the reactors in those states are not included as a points of origin ? though they would be under the GNEP program.
 
?This case study of one scenario and a limited study area includes two thirds of the nation?s reactors. It is a good start on looking at the impact of bringing the nation?s high-level waste into the South,? said Mary Olson, Director of the Southeast Office of Nuclear Information and Resource Service. ?Another piece we do not show is a scenario where this deadly waste would first be centralized for storage at a ?parking-lot dump? -- a top candidate for so-called ?temporary? storage is the Piketon site in Appalachian Ohio? concluded Olson. Piketon is another of the 11 sites being considered under GNEP.
 
?NIRS coined the slogan ?Mobile Chernobyl? back when Congress
weighed shipping this high-level nuclear waste to Nevada to a parking-lot
style dump. It refers to the elevated risk of accidents or incidents that
will travel with this deadly waste if put on the roads and rails,? said
Kevin Kamps, Nuclear Waste Specialist with Nuclear Information and
Resource Service. ?The risk of terrorist attack means that these
shipments are also potential dirty bombs on wheels or water,? says Kamps.
?The big news in these maps is the water routes to SRS ? the Great Lakes
could be hit by many hundreds to thousands of these shipments.? Although
Yucca Mountain cannot be approached directly by water, DOE proposed barge
shipments on Lake Michigan for segments of transports bound for there as
well.

Transport casks are designed to withstand submersion underwater to a
depth of 656 feet for several hours. But there are locations in the Great
Lakes deeper than that.

?These containers would weigh well over 100 tons, so it would take a
special floating crane to lift them from the bottom of the Great Lakes if
they were to sink, whether by accident or attack,? said Kamps.
?Retrieving such a downed cask could take many hours, or even days,
risking catastrophic releases of harmful radioactivity, or even nuclear
chain reactions on the bottom of the Great Lakes that would make direct
emergency response a suicide mission because of the deadly radiation that
would be given off.?

Water, due to its neutron-moderating characteristics, entering the
containers could initiate a nuclear chain reaction in the still-fissile
elements Uranium-235 and Plutonium-239 present in the high-level
radioactive wastes.
 
?There are 32 new reactors moving forward, and one of those is proposed by Detroit Edison,? said Kamps. ?When the public learns the risks and costs of reprocessing, GNEP will be abandoned, and wastes at reactors on the Great Lakes shorelines will remain stored there indefinitely into the future, vulnerable to accidents or attacks.?
 
?We need to stop generating radioactive waste, and protect what already exists from accidents or attacks,? said Kamps.

Great Lakes groups participating in the May 22nd release:
Don't Waste Michigan; Nuclear Energy Information Service (Chicago, Illinois); Earth Day Coalition (Cleveland, Ohio); Citizen Action Coalition of Indiana; North American Water Office, Lake Elmo, Minnesota; Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes (Monroe, MI); Citizens Resistance at Fermi Two (Livonia, MI); Lone Tree Council (Bay City, MI); Great Lakes United (Buffalo, NY); Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (Montreal, Quebec); Port Hope Community Health Concerns Committee (Port Hope, Ontario, Canada); Voices for Earth Justice (Roseville, MI); Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination (Lake Station, MI); Huron Environmental Activist League (Alpena, MI), Toledo Coalition for Safe Energy, Home for Peace and Justice (Saginaw, MI).
 
Other groups nationwide participating in the May 22nd release:
Common Sense at the Nuclear Crossroads (Asheville, North Carolina); Nuclear Information and Resource Service (Takoma Park, MD and Asheville, North Carolina); Physicians for Social Responsibility of Western North Carolina; Citizen?s Awareness Network (Massachusetts); Green Party of Onondaga County (New York); Central New York Citizens Awareness Network; Syracuse Peace Council (New York); Yggdrasil/Earth Island (Kentucky); Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League; The Canary Coalition (North Carolina); Nuclear Watch South (Atlanta, Georgia); Citizens For Environmental Justice (Savannah, Georgia); Atlanta WAND (Georgia); Action for A Clean Environment (Georgia); South Carolina Chapter, Sierra Club; HIPWAZEE (Columbia, South Carolina); Environmentalists Inc.  (Columbia, South Carolina); Carolina Peace Resource Center (Columbia, South Carolina); Columbia Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (South Carolina); Charleston Peace  (South Carolina); Thinking People (Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina); South Carolina Alliance for Sustainable Campuses + Communities; Environmental Coalition on Nuclear Power (Pennsylvania); Energy Justice Network (Pennsylvania); Don't Waste Connecticut; Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone; Citizen Alert, Las Vegas Nevada; Southern Nevada Group of the Toiyabe Chapter of the Sierra Club; NatCap Inc. Colorado; Portsmouth/Piketon Residents for Environmental Safety and Security. --End--