DOE Plans To Store Nuclear Waste At Yucca Mountain - Protect Bear Butte
Kathy recently won another 1st Place Award from the Associated Press in "beat reporting" for her series on Post-71 uranium miners in Grants, New Mexico.
WINDOW ROCK -- The U.S. Department of Energy submitted a license application Tuesday to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission seeking authorization to build America’s first national repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, Nev.
DOE plans to isolate the waste in tunnels deep underground at Yucca Mountain, a remote ridge on federally controlled land in the Mojave Desert 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The full licensing process could take three to four years.
“The United States simply must have a permanent repository for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel as well as high-level radioactive waste. Currently, this waste is stored at 121 temporary locations in 39 states all over our country,” said Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman.
DOE said the earliest the estimated $80 billion facility could be opened, based on funding profiles received over the last couple years, is probably 2020. However, that assumes an unconstrained cash flow with appropriations from the federal government once DOE gets the construction authorization. It also still needs approval for the land withdrawal.
The federal agency expects to issue a revised cost estimate in the next couple weeks as well as an assessment of the adequacy of the nuclear waste fund fee – 1 mil per kilowatt hour paid by the nuclear utilities.
Trucking nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain along Interstate 40, and potential risks associated with an accidental spill as it passes through the Navajo Nation, raises special concerns for Emergency Management Executive Director Jimson Joe.
Asked how the Nation is prepared to deal with such an event, Joe said, “Well, good question.”
When the Nation is notified of a shipment coming through, it must inform local communities along the route. “There are certain things that communities will be informed to do,” he said. Community eduction probably will come through hands-on demonstrations and presentations.
The buffer zone along I-40 has been narrowed from 1 mile on both sides of the roadway to a half-mile, Joe said. “The narrowing of the buffer zone is something that we feel changes a great deal of how we are going to have to conduct our activities involving what community members need to do. Just because it's narrower doesn't mean that we take less precautionary measures.”
Informing the Navajo public of potential risks through radio announcements and keeping them away from areas where they could be exposed to radiation also is problematic and will require a coordinated effort among specially trained personnel, according to Joe.
“Even though people live out in an isolated area, we can't assume that they're not going to be affected. Some may not be at home when something happens. They may be out herding sheep.” Articulating the dangers of radiation is another concern, he said, “because they are not going to understand what they don't see.”
The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended, established a process for approval of a permanent waste storage site. “This submission will further encourage, in my judgment, the expansion of nuclear power in the United States, which again, in my judgment, is absolutely critical to our energy security, to our environmental health, and to our national security,” Bodman said.
“If we are to meet growing energy demand and slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, nuclear power must be a larger part of our energy mix. It is a mature technology with significant potential to supply large amounts of emission-free baseload electricity to our nation.”
Critics argue, however, that nuclear power is not emission-free and that if it were, the benefits would be offset by the radioactive waste it produces and costs associated with disposal and long-term monitoring.
Even proponents of Yucca Mountain have admitted that if the repository were built tomorrow, it could not contain all the waste now in storage, much less another 40 years of wastes from a new generation of nuclear reactors.
“I know that some Americans have deeply felt concerns about the Yucca Mountain facility, and I do not seek to dismiss those concerns nor to minimize them,” Bodman said. “On the contrary, issues of health, safety and security have been paramount during this entire process. They are the driving factors in all decisions that we have made, and that will continue going forward.”
For more information on the more than 8,600 page license application and the Department Of Energy’s Yucca Mountain Project visit:
Protect Bear Butte
Submitted by Western Shoshone Defense Project
We still need YOUR help and support for our petition to Protect Bear Butte. We are currently at 859 signatures, which is great, however we need to keep it going. Thank you to everyone that signed so far, your support is greatly appreciated!
Our goal is to be over 2000 signatures by June 30th, which is the deadline! Please don't wait until the last minute to sign. The Meade County Commissioners hearing is July 1st at 3:30.
The struggle to Protect Bear Butte continues, in addition to trying to stop the liquor license issue, we are now battling Broken Spoke Campgrounds new addition of helicopter rides over Bear Butte during biker week!
We have been working non stop since it was announced this past week, making calls and filing complaints to various agencies, including the FAA. I have also inquired about legal assistance from NARF and NCAI, hoping to hear back this week.
This is a blatant violation of the Native American Freedom of Religion Act. If they are allowed to fly the helicopter over Bear Butte, regulations are only 500 to 1000 feet above the mountain. This is harassment and must be stopped.
They could potentially be right above where a tribal member is in the middle of ceremony and praying. Who knows what they will be doing.......taking pictures, video, or who knows what.
Everything has been put into motion to put a stop to this, have more follow up to do in the next few days and will keep you all posted as we go.
In the mean time, if you haven't had a chance to sign our petition, please take a moment to sign and forward to as many people as possible!
For UP TO DATE info and more details about the CURRENT struggle at Bear Butte, please visit us at http://www.protectbearbutte.com/
Our organization is continuing the campaign to Protect Bear Butte and hope you will join us in these ongoing efforts!
If you have any questions, please contact me at Tamra@ProtectSacredSites.org
Thank you again for helping to Protect Bear Butte!
In peace & solidarity,
Protect Sacred Sites Indigenous People, One Nation
"Our sacred lands are all that remain keeping us connected to our place on Mother Earth, to our spirituality, our heritage and our lands; what’s left of them. If they take it all away, what will remain except a vague memory of a past so forgotten?"
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