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writing for godot

1000 Tons of Radioactive Waste to Be Imported From Germany

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Written by Kathleen Ferris   
Saturday, 18 December 2010 22:43
Energy Solutions of Oak Ridge, TN, has applied to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to import up to 1000 tons of radioactive waste from Eckert and Ziegler Nuclitec, a German company that specializes in the collection, processing, and disposal of these materials from hospitals, research, and technical facilities throughout Europe and beyond. Should the application be approved, Energy Solutions plans to burn the incinerable dry material in its Bear Creek incinerator and return the remaining ash to Germany. The materials would be transported over a 5 year period beginning in 2011 by boat to Portsmouth or Norfolk, Virginia and by truck from there to Oak Ridge. The Tennessee Division of Radiological Health has already approved the plan. They believe it is good business for Tennessee.

This is a terrible plan that will benefit only Energy Solutions. When nuclear waste is incinerated, it is not destroyed. Only the bulk is diminished, while the radiation is condensed. And in the process of burning, some of the radiation is vented into the atmosphere, where people unknowingly breathe in radionuclides. These can cause cancer. Also, people are exposed to radiation during the transportation of nuclear waste. These trucks will be traveling across Virginia and Tennessee.

Furthermore, the NRC has scheduled deadlines for December 29, at the height of the Christmas holidays, when most people are very busy and few people are paying attention. The deadlines need to be extended.

Written comments on this plan will be accepted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission until December 29, 2010. I have enclosed a draft letter which can be downloaded, modified and printed, then sent by snail mail to:

Office of the Secretary
U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555
Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications

DRAFT LETTER

Your Address
December __, 2010
Office of the Secretary
U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555
Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications

To the Members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission:

I am disturbed to learn that Energy Solutions of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, has applied for a license to import up to 1000 tons of radioactive waste from Germany. Eckert and Ziegler Nuclitec, a German-based company, collects these materials from hospitals, research, and technical facilities throughout Europe and beyond. The plan, over a five year period beginning in 2011, is to transport this radioactive waste via boat to Portsmouth or Norfolk, Virginia, and then by truck to Oak Ridge. Energy Solutions would then incinerate the dry material in its Bear Creek processor and return the remaining ash to Germany.

As Congressman Bart Gordon has said, "If a country like Germany has the capacity to produce large quantities of nuclear waste, it should also have the capacity to treat it and store it....I am concerned once that waste is imported, nothing but an individual corporation's word prevents it from being shipped to U.S. disposal sites."

The enormity of this enterprise demands thorough study and public participation. This is the foot-in-the-door to bringing all the world’s nuclear waste to the United States so that businesses such as Energy Solutions can turn a profit. Our citizens ought to have ample time to become informed and to have a say in whether we want nuclear waste brought into our country. This plan should not be quietly approved during the middle of the holiday season, while few people are paying attention. Therefore I am asking for a 45-day extension period for public comments and for deadlines to file for hearings or for interventions.

We need a thorough study of what kind of waste and what levels of radioactivity Energy Solutions proposes to bring to the United States. We need to know exactly how much radiation people would be exposed to during transportation. We need to know how much radiation would escape into the atmosphere during the incineration process. We need to know by what means of oversight the NRC plans to ascertain that the ashes would actually return to their place of origin. We need to know how much foreign waste has already been brought to the U.S. and how it has been disposed of. And above all, we need to know WHY this practice is being followed.

Yours truly,
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+1 # Eileen Rence 2010-12-20 14:08
This should not even be considered, much less carried out. Do the right thing!
 
 
+1 # Eileen Rence 2010-12-20 14:10
We have enough pollution problems of our own without importing other peoples'.
 

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