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Centralized Storage

With the scientifically unsound proposed Yucca Mountain radioactive waste dump now canceled, the danger of "interim" storage threatens. This means that radioactive waste could be "temporarily" parked in open air lots, vulnerable to accident and attack, while a new repository site is sought.

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Tuesday
Mar192019

Beyond Nuclear meets court-ordered deadline in legal case against CISFs

On March 18, 2019, Beyond Nuclear's legal counsel, Diane Curran of Washington, D.C. and Mindy Goldstein of Atlanta, GA, filed a package of documents to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, by the second highest court in the land's deadline.

The court case is entitled Beyond Nuclear, Inc. versus United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The case manifests Beyond Nuclear's opposition to commercial highly radioactive waste (irradiated nuclear fuel) consolidated interim storage facilities (CISFs) -- namely, Holtec International/Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance in New Mexico, and Interim Storage Partners/Waste Control Specialists in Texas.

Beyond Nuclear's objection is that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensing proceedings are illegal. The legal argument is that both the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, as Amended (NWPA), as well as the Administrative Procedure Act, are violated by NRC's ongoing licensing proceedings re: both CISF applications.

Specifically, the NWPA forbids the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) from taking title (ownership) of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel, except at a licensed and operating permanent repository. The CISFs are not that -- and yet they both implicitly assume that DOE would take title (ownership) at these "temporary storage" facilities.

The documents package includes:

Petitioner's Certificate as to Parties, Rulings, and Related Cases;

Petitioner's Docketing Statement Form and Addendum with Exhibits;

Statement of Intent by the Parties to Utilize Deferred Joint Appendix;

Petitioner's Nonbinding Statement of Issues to Be Raised;

Petitioner's Statement of Underlying Decisions from Which Appeal or Petition Arises; and

Petitioner's Certificate of Service.

Monday
Mar182019

Sierra Club's Reply to Holtec's Opposition to Sierra Club's Amended Contention 16

As filed by Wally Taylor, legal counsel for Sierra Club in opposition to the Holtec International/Eddy-Lea [Counties] Energy Alliance's irradiated nuclear fuel consolidated interim storage facility targeted at southeastern New Mexico.

Monday
Mar182019

REPLY OF PETITIONERS DON’T WASTE MICHIGAN, ET AL. INREPLY OF PETITIONERS DON’T WASTE MICHIGAN, ET AL. IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO AMEND THEIR CONTENTIONS 4 AND 7

As filed in the Holtec/ELEA CISF proceeding, by Terry Lodge, legal counsel for Don't Waste Michigan, et al. (a seven-group environmental coalition).

The coalition includes:

Citizens’ Environmental Coalition of New York, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination of Michigan, Don’t Waste Michigan, Nuclear Energy Information Service of Illinois, Nuclear Issues Study Group of New Mexico, Public Citizen (with Texas and D.C. offices), and San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace of California.

Thursday
Mar142019

NRC Rejects Public Call for Separate Judges for Two Proposed High-Level Radioactive Waste Dump Licenses: Coalition Legally Challenges New Mexico and Texas “Temporary” Dumps Three Times Larger than Proposed Permanent Yucca Dump

Alliance for Environmental Strategies * Don’t Waste Michigan, et al. * Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) * SEED Coalition * Sierra Club

Media Release, Thursday, March 14, 2019

Contacts: Rose Gardner, Alliance for Environmental Strategies (AFES), nmlady2000@icloud.com, (575) 390-9634;

Karen Hadden, SEED (Sustainable Energy and Economic Development) Coalition, karendhadden@gmail.com, (512) 797-8481;

Diane D’Arrigo, Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), dianed@nirs.org; (301) 270-6477 x 3;

Wally Taylor, attorney, Sierra Club, wtaylor784@aol.com, (319) 350-5807;

Terry Lodge, attorney, Don’t Waste Michigan et al., tjlodge50@yahoo.com, (419) 205-7084;

Michael Keegan, Don’t Waste Michigan, mkeeganj@comcast.net,

(734) 770-1441.

NRC Rejects Public Call for Separate Judges for Two Proposed

High-Level Radioactive Waste Dump Licenses

Coalition Legally Challenges New Mexico and Texas “Temporary” Dumps Three Times Larger than Proposed Permanent Yucca Dump

Washington, D.C.— On Monday, March 11, 2019, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners voted unanimously to reject a call for separate agency judge panels to preside over licensing of the two separate highly radioactive waste storage facilities. Despite this setback, the coalition objecting to the licenses vows to redouble its efforts in opposition to the Holtec International/Eddy-Lea [Counties] Energy Alliance in southeastern New Mexico, and the Waste Control Specialists/Interim Storage Partners in Andrews County, western Texas. The former scheme would store 173,600 metric tons of irradiated nuclear fuel for decades, or even centuries, while the latter would store 40,000 MT. Together, the two consolidated interim storage facilities (CISFs), located just 40 miles apart in disproportionately large Hispanic communities, would hold three times more high-level radioactive waste than the 70,000 MT currently targeted for permanent disposal at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

The coalition opposed to the nuclear waste dumps includes the Sierra Club, the oldest and largest environmental group in the U.S., as well as a multi-group coalition referred to as Don’t Waste Michigan, et al. (also including, in the Holtec/New Mexico case, Citizens’ Environmental Coalition of New York, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination of Michigan, Nuclear Energy Information Service of Illinois, Nuclear Issues Study Group of New Mexico, Public Citizen (with Texas and D.C. offices), and San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace of California; and, in the WCS/ISP, Texas case, SEED (Sustainable Energy and Economic Development) Coalition of Texas). Sierra Club attorney, Wally Taylor, and Don’t Waste Michigan, et al. attorney, Terry Lodge, filed their Motion for Disqualification of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board in the WCS/ISP proceeding on November 26, 2018.

The environmental attorneys pointed out, among other arguments, that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) licensing proceeding for the proposed Yucca Mountain, Nevada permanent repository has utilized multiple Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) panels, comprised of numerous administrative law judges. However, the two CISF ASLB panels are both comprised of the same three members. This, despite the fact that the CISFs would hold three times the amount of high-level radioactive waste than would the Yucca dump, and would thus also involve three (to six) times the number of high-risk shipments – by road, rail, and/or waterway – to transport the high-level radioactive waste across most states, many major cities, and the vast majority of U.S. congressional districts, to the New Mexico/Texas borderlands (and then from the CISFs, to a permanent repository, the location of which is yet to be identified).

“These two proposed waste dumps, although with some similar issues, have different facts. We are concerned that, even if unintentional, the same licensing panel will be influenced by the decision in one case in making a decision in the other case. Having two separate licensing panels would ensure a fair hearing,” said Sierra Club attorney, Wally Taylor, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Taylor, of the Sierra Club Nuclear-Free Campaign, represents both the Sierra Club Rio Grande, and Lone Star, Chapters, before the NRC.

“My clients, who are stepping up to protect the health, safety, security, and environment of many millions of Americans who live along the high-level radioactive transport route roadways, railways, and waterways across the U.S., deserve better treatment by the NRC,” said Don’t Waste Michigan, et al. attorney, Terry Lodge of Toledo, Ohio.

“This is the largest and riskiest high-level waste disposal plan in history, because it supposedly doesn't involve the provision of permanent disposal. The public requires reassurance that the NRC is addressing it with extraordinary seriousness, and that should be reflected by the commitment of extraordinary agency resources in the legal determinations ahead,” Lodge added.

 “These so-called interim facilities are at risk of becoming de facto permanent surface storage ‘parking lot’ dumps,” said Michael Keegan of Don’t Waste Michigan. “That is why our coalition has filed nearly 50 contentions, not just against the transport risks, but also about the geologic, hydrologic, and other scientific failures of the host sites in New Mexico and Texas,” Keegan said.

“As scientifically unsuitable, and thus fatally flawed, as the Yucca Mountain, Nevada site is, radioactive releases in New Mexico and Texas would be at the surface, and thus more readily dispersed into the environment,” said Diane D’Arrigo of NIRS. “All of these proposals are environmentally unjust, as Yucca is on Western Shoshone Indian land, and the consolidated interim storage facilities would be very near the Mescalero Apache Reservation, as well as Hispanic communities,” D’Arrigo said. NIRS has long watchdogged these issues, and helped grassroots community organizing efforts.

“The fact that the two licensing boards have the exact same judges is unjust. The Texas case is being directly influenced by the New Mexico case for high-level radioactive waste storage, despite the fact that there are differences between the applications. The process is unfair to Texans,” said Karen Hadden, Director of SEED Coalition. “Our organization would have joined in on the New Mexico case if we’d known that this questionable arrangement would occur.”

“Given the gargantuan scale of the proposed facilities, the largest number of the best minds at the NRC’s licensing board panel are needed, to review these separate applications, that each represent high-level risks to my area and community,” said Rose Gardner of the Alliance for Environmental Strategies (AFES). Gardner lives in Eunice, New Mexico, seven miles from the WCS/ISP CISF, across the state line in Texas, and 39 miles from the Holtec/ELEA CISF in New Mexico.

Legal filings from the NRC licensing proceedings, as well as related news stories, are posted at Beyond Nuclear’s Centralized Storage website section (in backwards chronological order, with the most recent posts at the top).

--End--

Monday
Mar112019

NRC Commissioners' MEMORANDUM AND ORDER rejecting WCS/ISP opponents' request for recusal of ASLB

As published by the secretary of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, after an affirmation vote by the NRC Commissioners on 3/11/19.

Terry Lodge, a Toledo-based attorney, called for the recusal of the three administrative law judges on the Waste Control Specialists/Interim Storage Partners (WCS/ISP) application proceeding NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB), because the same three judges also serve on the Holtec International/Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance application proceeding.

WCS/ISP proposes "temporarily" storing 40,000 metric tons of highly radioactive irradiated nuclear fuel in Andrews County, Texas. Holtec/ELEA propose a 173,600 metric ton high-level radioactive waste "consolidated interim storage facility" just 40 miles from WCS/ISP, in southeastern New Mexico.

Attorney Wally Taylor of Cedar Rapids, IA joined Lodge in calling for the WCS/ISP CISF NRC ASLB to recuse itself.

The five NRC Commissioners voted unanimously to reject the recusal request.