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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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Wednesday
Apr192017

Beyond Nuclear media statement re: WCS, TX request to NRC to suspend licensing for high-level radioactive waste centralized interim storage facility

News from Beyond Nuclear

For Immediate Release, April 19, 2017

Contact: Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Beyond Nuclear, (240) 462-3216; kevin@beyondnuclear.org

Beyond Nuclear Media Statement

re: Waste Control Specialists, LLC (WCS) request to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to suspend the licensing proceeding and environmental scoping on its application to open a Centralized Interim Storage Facility (CISF) for highly radioactive commercial irradiated nuclear fuel in Andrews County, Texas

Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear’s Radioactive Waste Watchdog, stated:

“This latest radioactive waste Ponzi scheme has collapsed under its own weight. In its request to NRC to suspend the proceedings, WCS acknowledged ‘enormous financial challenges.’ In other words, WCS’s financial assurances for the future, and financial status at present, are little more than a wobbly house of cards, that have now come crashing down.

First and foremost, although the nuclear power industry would never admit it, this is yet another clear sign that there is no good solution for the dilemma of its forever deadly high-level radioactive waste. For this reason alone, the four new reactors under construction in Georgia and South Carolina should be terminated, and 99 dangerously age-degraded atomic reactors, located in 30 states across the U.S., should be permanently shut down, as soon as possible. Their electricity can be readily replaced with clean, safe, and ever more affordable energy efficiency and renewable sources, such as wind and solar power.

Our coalition of environmental groups and concerned local residents near WCS, and along targeted high-level radioactive waste railways, waterways, and highways across the country, in most states, celebrate this hard-won victory. Given the proposed WCS CISF’s risks to the Ogallala Aquifer, as well as the area’s low-income Latin American communities, already heavily polluted by extensive nuclear and fossil fuel industries, this is most welcome good news for the environment and environmental justice.

Beyond Nuclear congratulates our legal counsel, Diane Curran of Washington, D.C., Robert Eye of Lawrence, Kansas, and Mindy Goldstein of Atlanta, Georgia, for their capable service as legal counsel to our environmental coalition opposing the WCS CISF.

We also congratulate our environmental coalition colleagues at SEED (Sustainable Energy & Economic Development) Coalition, Public Citizen’s Texas Office, Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), and most recently Sierra Club Nuclear-Free Campaign, including its legal counsel, Wally Taylor of Iowa, for their tireless commitment to this vital environmental justice fight.

And last but not least, we congratulate our allies at the grassroots, such as Rose Gardner in Eunice, NM, through whose community every single train car of high-level radioactive waste – up to 40,000 metric tons worth, about half of what currently exists in the U.S. -- bound for WCS, TX would pass. We are committed to trying to prevent this environmental injustice from ever coming to pass.

Our coalition will remain vigilant against any attempt by WCS to restart this licensing proceeding. We are equally committed to opposing, at every turn, the recently announced Holtec International/Eddy-Lea [Counties] Energy Alliance application to open a CISF, a mere 35 miles west of WCS, in New Mexico, very near WIPP. These twin proposals seek to turn this area into an ever-worsening nuclear sacrifice zone. This must be stopped.”

--30--

Additional background information:

In its request to NRC to suspend the proceedings, WCS acknowledged ‘enormous financial challenges’:

WCS also is faced with a magnitude of financial burdens that currently make pursuit of licensing unsupportable. This is so because following the recent docketing of the CISF application in January 2017, the cost profile for WCS’ pursuit of the CISF application has increased dramatically.

The NRC recently provided WCS an estimate of the cost of the application review of $7.5 million, which is significantly higher than we originally estimated. Also, the costs associated with the commencement of the public participation process and a potential adjudicatory hearing before the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, are estimated to be considerable, especially in the very near term. The cost sharing arrangement WCS had in place with one of its partners for this project has been depleted, and WCS has been unable to reach an agreement to extend these arrangements. At the same time, WCS has faced significant operating losses in each of its operating years, and the cost of actively pursuing the project only serves to increase those losses.

WCS nonetheless expresses optimism that its acquisition by competitor EnergySolutions (formerly EnviroCare) of Utah will enable the CISF application proceeding to resume, perhaps by as early as late summer 2017. But the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has taken antitrust legal action against the merger, scheduled for federal court hearings from April 24th to May 5th.  WCS’s confidence may well be false, given the unpredictable nature of the future court rulings.

WCS’s ‘enormous financial challenges’ also call into question whether CISF schemes even make good business sense. This specter will also haunt the prospects for the Holtec International/Eddy-Lea [Counties] Energy Alliance (ELEA) application to open a CISF a mere 35 miles to the west of WCS in New Mexico, very near the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), which has itself leaked plutonium and other radioactive wastes into the environment, internally contaminating workers at the surface. Already, both WCS and Holtec/ELEA have made clear that constructing, operating, and decommissioning their CISFs would require the transfer of all costs, risks, and liabilities onto the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) – that is, federal taxpayers, something prohibited by federal law, as pointed out by CISF proposal opponents like Beyond Nuclear.

 

Wednesday
Apr052017

Summary of Oscar Shirani’s Allegations of Quality Assurance Violations Against Holtec Storage/Transport Casks

Now that Holtec International and the Eddy-Lea [Counties] Energy Alliance (ELEA) want to open a parking lot dump in Southeastern New Mexico, it's time to look back at these whistleblower revelations from more than a decade ago:

Shirani questioned the structural integrity of the Holtec containers sitting still, going zero miles per hour, let alone traveling 60 miles per hour -- or faster -- on railways.

Landsman has compared the QA violations involving Holtec containers, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's incompetence (or worse, collusion) -- having done nothing about it -- as similar to the reasons why Space Shuttles have hit the ground.

Friday
Mar312017

Opponents gird for nuclear waste dump battles in New Mexico and Texas

Potential radioactive waste transporation routes to WCS, TX. As Eddy-Lea, NM is close by, the routing to there would be very similar.The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has extended the deadline for public comments on the environmental scoping of Waste Control Specialists' proposed centralized interim storage facility for commercial irradiated nuclear fuel in Andrews County, Texas until April 28th. Please submit comments! You can also make oral comments, on Thurs., April 6 from 7 to 10pm Eastern, during an NRC public comment teleconference/call-in meeting (Bridge Number: (800) 619-9084, Pass Code: 3009542; please register in advance, ASAP, by contacting Ms. Antoinette Walker-Smith at (301) 415-6957, or by email (to <antoinette.walker-smith@nrc.gov>). Please spread the word on these public comment opportunities!

NRC has also just extended the deadline for legal intervention against the WCS de facto permanent high-level radioactive waste parking lot dump, till May 31st; Beyond Nuclear fully intends to intervene, along with a coalition of environmental groups and concerned citizens, not only residing near the dump, but also along transport routes throughout the country. (See map, left; for a larger version, click here.)  

(And this late breaking news: Holtec International has just applied to NRC for a Centralized Interim Storage Facility (CISF) construction and operation license in Eddy-Lea County, Southeastern New Mexico -- just like WCS, TX, and only about 50 miles away! Combined with the Louisiana Energy Services/Uranium Enrichment Corporation, immediately adjacent to WCS, and the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP, for military trans-uranic waste disposal), close to the Holtec/Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance CISF, the nuclear establishment in government and industry is clearly attempting to turn the area into a nuclear sacrifice zone. Our coalition must rise to the challenge of resisting this latest environmental injustice. Stay tuned for updates as they come in, in the weeks and months ahead.)

Thursday
Mar302017

Holtec/ELEA apply to NRC for license to open CISF in S.E. NM, near WIPP, URENCO, & WCS!

As announced by a Holtec International press release, Holtec and the Eddy-Lea [Counties] Energy Alliance (ELEA) have just applied to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a Centralized Interim Storage Facility (CISF) construction and operation license in Southeastern New Mexico.

The Holtec-ELEA CISF would be very similar to the CISF proposed by Waste Control Specialists, LLC (WCS) in Andrews County, TX, only about 50 miles away!

Combined with the Louisiana Energy Services/Uranium Enrichment Corporation (LES/URENCO), immediately adjacent to WCS, and the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP, for military trans-uranic waste disposal), close to the Holtec/Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance CISF, the nuclear establishment in government and industry is clearly attempting to turn the local area into a nuclear sacrifice zone. Our coalition must rise to the challenge of resisting this latest environmental injustice, or radioactive racism, targeted at an area with a large Latin American population, as well as a significant poverty rate.

Stay tuned for updates as they come in, in the weeks and months ahead.

Thursday
Mar302017

Thursday, April 6, 7-10pm Eastern, NRC public comment mtg. on WCS CISF; please pre-register with NRC by 4/3

As posted at the website of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC):

[Please note that folks from around the country can call-in to this meeting, those close enough to NRC HQ in Rockville, MD can also attend in person -- please do so if you are able, and please spread the word!]

Purpose
To conduct a public scoping meeting for the NRC’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Waste Control Specialist LLC (WCS) license application to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for spent nuclear fuel at the WCS site in Andrews County, Texas. At the meeting, the NRC will receive comments from the public on the appropriate scope of issues to be considered in, and the content of the EIS.


Meeting Dates and Times

[Thursday] 04/06/17
7:00PM - 10:00PM [Eastern]

Meeting Location

NRC One White Flint North
11555 Rockville Pike
Commission Hearing Room
Rockville MD

Contact
James Park
301-415-6954

Participation Level
Category 3

NRC Participants
NRC Staff

External Participants
Public

Docket Numbers - Facility Names
07201050 - Waste Control Specialists LLC

Related Documents
ML17072A248 - 04/06/2017 PUBLIC SCOPING MEETING FOR THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT FOR WASTE CONTROL SPECIALISTS LLCS APPLICATION FOR A CONSOLIDATED INTERIM STORAGE FACILITY FOR SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL, ANDREWS COUNTY, TEXAS

Teleconference
Bridge Number: 8006199084
Passcode: 3009542

Comments
Members of the public who will attend the meeting in person, and those wishing to present oral comments may register in advance by contacting Ms. Antoinette Walker-Smith at (301) 415-6957, or by email to Antoinette.Walker-Smith@nrc.gov, no later than April 3, 2017. Those comments may be limited by the time available, depending on the number of persons who wish to speak. Please provide name and company or organization for each attendee. Arrive 30 minutes early to allow time for security registration.