Postby Oscar » Wed Aug 17, 2016 11:12 am



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For Immediate Release: August 15, 2016

Plans are in place for up to 150 truckloads of inherently dangerous liquid radioactive waste to be driven through Canadian and US communities and across major waterway crossings, from Chalk River, Ontario, Canada to the Savannah River Site, South Carolina, USA.

On Friday, August 12, 2016, a coalition of seven nonprofit organizations challenged these unprecedented and high-risk shipments in federal court in Washington, DC, asking the court to issue an injunction until an adequate environmental impact statement is completed.

These shipments could begin at any time.

Court and relevant background documents are linked here:
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The coalition lawsuit charges that the Department of Energy (DOE) and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) failed to provide a thorough public process as required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to fully analyze the hazards of transporting liquid highly radioactive waste. An Environmental Impact Statement must be prepared and made available for other federal agencies and citizens to review and comment on, including a discussion of alternative ways to deal with the nuclear waste.

Experts drawn from organizations within the international coalition will testify that the shipments are unwarranted, ill advised and entirely unnecessary. Allowing highly radioactive liquid wastes from Canada to be shipped through communities and over major waterways in Canada and the United States, to be dumped in South Carolina, without the deliberative NEPA procedures, will set a dangerous precedent for decades to come. It will also intensify the pressures on the State of South Carolina to become an international nuclear sacrifice area.

U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins (NY - 26) has stated that the proposed shipments raise significant homeland security questions. The US House of Representatives unanimously passed Higgins sponsored legislation requiring a NEPA Environmental Impact Statement for the proposal.

Lynda Schneekloth, a Buffalo, NY Sierra Club member says: "It is irresponsible to ship liquid highly radioactive waste through our communities and over our waterways without truly studying the dangers and alternatives. Governments are responsible for the health and wellbeing of the citizens who elected them."

The liquid high-level nuclear waste in question is a corrosive acidic mixture of dozens of highly dangerous radioactive materials including cesium-137, strontium-90, iodine-129, plutonium-239, and weapons-grade uranium-235, left over from the production of medical isotopes at Chalk River, Ontario, north-west of Ottawa.

Although it was previously determined that this highly dangerous liquid waste would be solidified and stored onsite in Canada, the US Department of Energy now plans to truck the 6,000 gallons of extremely radioactive waste, in liquid form, to the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, in exchange for $60 million from Canada.

"Liquid high-level nuclear waste is known to be among the most dangerous materials on the planet, as we have seen at the Savannah River Nuclear Weapons Site and the nuclear power and weapons reprocessing site at West Valley, NY. There is a good reason why no one has ever tried to move this stuff over public roads before. The material from Chalk River is in the same category," said Diane D'Arrigo of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service.

"Our organization has fought against the needless and heedless transport of solid irradiated uranium fuel over public roads, rails, and waters," said Kevin Kamps, nuclear waste specialist at Beyond Nuclear. "The only thing worse than solid irradiated uranium is the liquid variety. It is a Mobile Chernobyl; it cannot be contained when spilled due to crash, fire, or deliberate attack."

"Shipping highly radioactive liquid waste to South Carolina is wildly inappropriate," said Dr. Gordon Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility. "Chalk River has been solidifying exactly the same kind of liquid waste for over ten years already. In 2011 Chalk River promised to handle all this material on site." He added, "It was recently learned that Indonesia is going to be down-blending its high-level liquid waste on site, rather than sending it to the Savannah River Site, and Canada can do the same thing, making the high-risk transport of this material over public roads completely unnecessary."

The lawsuit is being filed against the Department of Energy and National Nuclear Security Administration on behalf of a number of organizations whose individual members live along the potential transport routes who could suffer significantly in the event of a safety or security mishap allowing the escape of some of the highly dangerous liquid contents. The suit will also highlight specific problems at the SRS site that argue against the dumping of more nuclear waste there. - 30 -

Press Phone Briefing by Media Contacts Tuesday, August 16, 2016, 11:00 am till Noon, EDT.

Media are invited to call in at 605-562-3140, passcode: 723281#


Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Beyond Nuclear, (240) 462 3216,
Diane D'Arrigo, Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), (202) 841 8588,
Gordon Edwards, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR), (514) 489 5118,
Tom Clements, Savannah River Site Watch, (803) 240 7268,
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Postby Oscar » Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:56 am

Shipments of Liquid Nuclear Waste Scheduled to Begin Soon

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September 26, 2016

Authorities in Canada and the United States are preparing to ship approximately 150 truckloads of liquid nuclear waste from Chalk River, Ontario to the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The material is a mixture of bomb grade uranium together with a witches’ brew of highly radioactive fission products dissolved in nitric acid.

While shipments of nuclear material between these facilities have taken place for decades, this is the first time that highly radioactive liquid waste will be shipped. Whatever route is chosen, it will inevitably cross the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence and a number of important river systems in the United States, putting the drinking water of millions at risk in the event of an accident that could cause a dispersal of the contents into the environment.

While shipments of solid nuclear material always present a risk, the risk associated with these particular shipments is significantly higher due to the bewildering variety of hazardous radioactive materials and the fact that it is in liquid form. While dangerous, the clean-up of solid material is easy by comparison with a liquid which could quickly make its way into sewers or a river and end up in the water supply of millions in this highly populated area.

A number of groups in the US, including Sierra Club US, have joined forces to launch a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), claiming that the shipment of liquid nuclear waste containing weapons-grade Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) is uniquely dangerous and that the DOE failed to conduct the required environmental impact study, circumvented public notice and comment requirements, and didn’t consider safer alternative waste disposal options.

According to the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, at least two viable alternatives have been rejected: (1) on-site solidification of the liquid waste, a process that has been routinely utilized at Chalk River for many years, or (2) eliminating the weapons-grade uranium by mixing it with depleted uranium on-site (a process known as “down blending”, successfully utilized by Indonesia in recent months). Once the HEU has been down-blended from “highly-enriched” to “low-enriched’ uranium, there is no need to transport it off-site as it is no longer weapons-grade material.

Transporting this material should be the last option considered, not the first. Even the most direct route between these facilities is around 1,750 km and security concerns require them to vary the route taken, some of which are significantly longer. Every kilometer travelled is an unnecessary risk. Sierra Club Canada is working with a coalition of US and Canadian groups to lobby both governments to comply with the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement 2012 requiring that they provide public notice of this potential risk. We also demand that they conduct an environmental assessment and consider alternatives before authorizing the project.

Shipments that were scheduled to begin in September have been delayed.

There is time for the governments to fulfil their duties under the Great Lakes 2012 Agreement and to respond to the demands of Sierra Club and other environmental groups to conduct an independent and meaningful environmental assessment that considers alternatives to this risky proposal.

Peter Smith - Board of Directors, Sierra Club Canada Foundation


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Postby Oscar » Tue Oct 04, 2016 5:34 pm

Proposed liquid nuclear waste shipments from Ontario postponed

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October 3, 2016

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The Council of Canadians is opposed to the planned shipments of liquid nuclear waste from the Chalk River nuclear facility 180 kilometres north-west of Ottawa to the Savannah River nuclear waste processing site in South Carolina.

The liquid nuclear waste is a mixture of bomb-grade uranium and highly radioactive fission products dissolved in nitric acid. While shipments of solid nuclear waste have taken place in the past (and represent a serious threat), this is the first time liquid nuclear waste would be shipped.

In terms of context, then-prime minister Stephen Harper committed in 2012 to returning highly-enriched uranium inventories to the US to reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism. In February 2013, the Ottawa Citizen reported, "Federal law prohibits officials from releasing details of the plans."

In March 2013, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow wrote both the Canadian and US government to state, "The shipment of [liquid nuclear waste] would need to pass through Eastern Ontario, cross international waters, enter numerous indigenous territories and cut through communities in six US states."

She highlighted, "The impacts of any release of radioactive materials would be catastrophic, especially if it resulted in the contamination of our waterways.”

Now WRDW-TV reports shipments of the liquid nuclear waste have been postponed.

It reports, "Officials with the Savannah River Site said several environmental groups filed a lawsuit in August 2016 seeking a full Environmental Impact Statement of the proposed waste shipments from Ontario to [South Carolina]. The [US Department of Energy] did not prepare the statement and only prepared a supplement analysis that was conducted without public input." Now two US senators are calling on the Department of Energy to prepare an environmental impact statement before any shipments take place.

Alternatives that have been proposed to transporting the liquid waste include a process to solidify the waste on-site at Chalk River and that the highly-enriched uranium be down-blended to low-enriched uranium (so that it is no longer weapons-grade material) thus removing the need for it to be transported off-site

The Council of Canadians supports the ongoing efforts of the Quebec-based Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, the Maryland-based Beyond Nuclear and all other allies to stop these shipments and protect waterways.

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Political Director of the Council of Canadians
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