“Consent based siting” is the process proposed by the Department of Energy (DOE) to locate radioactive waste dump sites around the US. Fairewinds Energy Education believes that such a process is biased against communities struggling financially due to factory closings and the global economy. Choosing an atomic waste dump is tempting to towns and villages so anxious to increase short term income and economic survival that they are willing to sacrifice long-term environmental damage in return for that income.
At its heart, the consent based process is an environmental justice violation as well as a DOE method to avoid finding an appropriate scientifically viable site to dump by foisting it on impoverished citizens who will not mount a protest.
Nuclear waste remains toxic for tens of thousands of years. The consent based siting proposed by the DOE lures currently underemployed citizens to commit their hometown community for hundreds of future generations of potential genetic damage in return for a short term income gain to a few individuals, who own that land.
While atomic power reactors have left all of us with mountains of radioactive garbage that will need monitoring and special handling for hundreds, and even thousands, of years, instead the DOE must find the best waste dump location, and not just stick the waste where the fewest individuals will launch protest actions. When Litchfield County Connecticut and Orange County California have an equal chance at being chosen to be the site of a nuclear waste dump as environmentally sensitive low income counties in Texas or Native American reservations in the west, the DOE will have succeeded in optimizing its search for a waste disposal site. The current Consent Based Siting process violates the basic tenants of environmental justice.
RE: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Radioactive Protective Action Guides (PAGs) and Water PAGs
Docket Number (EPA-HQ-OAR-2007-0268; FRL-9947-55-OW)
Dear Janet McCabe – EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation and the EPA Docket:
Fairewinds Energy Education has prepared this brief report in response to the EPA’s suggested changes to its Radiation Protective Action Guidelines (PAGs). Specifically, the EPA is suddenly recommending a huge increase to “allowable” public exposure levels from radiation releases caused by a mishap or disaster at an atomic reactor, waste storage site, fuel production site, etc. What does this mean? It means that the EPA is arbitrarily choosing to increase human exposure levels to atomic radiation releases without conducting an adequate scientific review and without quantifying the significant health consequences to people.
Fairewinds Energy Education’s scientific review of the data has found no evidence or basis in science to allow such a health compromising transfer of risk to everyone living in the United States. Therefore, Fairewinds Energy Education strongly objects to the implementation of these proposed rule changes that will compromise public health and safety and benefit atomic corporations by allowing a significant reduction in each corporation’s mandated cleanup of costly radiation catastrophes.
The EPA is proposing that levels of 500 millirem per year are acceptable in radioactively contaminated water for general public consumption and an increase to 100 millirem per year of exposure levels to pregnant women and young children. These levels far exceed EPA’s acceptable risk range for cancer causing radiation exposure levels.
Let me simplify this for you and for readers of Fairewinds’ comments. If implemented, this proposed change in radiation guidelines greatly increase radiation exposure to people to a totally unacceptable radiation risk level. At the same time, the changes will reduce radiation disaster cleanup costs to corporations and transfer that horrific risk and cost of cleanup to states, cities, towns, and villages that will already be suffering astronomical losses.
Since the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi and its decimation of much of the Fukushima Prefecture (state) due to extensive ongoing radiation releases, Fairewinds’ Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen has traveled to Japan three times on public speaking and scientific fact finding research and analysis. Most recently, Mr. Gundersen spent one month in Japan in February of 2016 measuring the ongoing radioactive releases from the atomic disaster, and interviewing numerous “survivors”, who have been exposed to radioactive releases from the meltdowns and are continuing to be exposed to the ongoing buildup and movement of significant amounts of radioactivity. Mr. Gundersen has two degrees in Nuclear Engineering and more than 44-years of atomic energy operations and risk analysis experience.
A thorough review by Fairewinds of the evidence collected and the available published literature proves that the proposed changes to the PAGs are a convoluted attempt to shift excessive radiation risks to a population of innocent bystanders at the same time the EPA is transferring excessive profits to the corporate owners of atomic power reactors, waste storage facilities, atomic fuel producers, etc.
Beginning in February of …read more
How does the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown disaster show the enormous risk potential for the continued operation of the Diablo Canyon atomic reactor? Filmed by Ecological Options Network (EON) at Point Reyes Station in California, Fairewinds Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen presents A World in Danger. This presentation from the 2015 California speaking tour precedes a panel discussion “Tell All” between chief engineer Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds founder and president Maggie Gundersen, and EON co-directors Jim Heddle and Mary Beth Brangan. The follow-up conversation can be found here.
EMCEE: (:47) I want to begin with a quote by that celebrated and famous American philosopher, W. C. Fields, who once said, “There comes a time in human events when we must seize the bull by the tail and stare the situation squarely in the face.” And that’s what we’re going to do tonight. So Arnie Gundersen, please take it away. (applause)
AG: The thing I’d like to talk about, and Tim alluded to it, is how the nuclear industry has so successfully framed this argument on nuclear. There’s a book Don’t Think of an Elephant. What’s the first thing you think of – it’s an elephant. And the person who frames the argument usually wins the argument. We wind up being labeled as anti-nuclear this’s or that’s. We never call them pro-nuclear zealots. They’ve been able to frame the argument. Here’s an example. What’s wrong with this sentence – The Fukushima accident happened on March 11, 2011. (F: Accident) Accident. That’s one – there’s actually three, but the first – (F: It’s still happening) Yes. It’s still happening. When the nuclear industry talks about Fukushima in the past tense, the fact of the matter is that it’s still bleeding into the Pacific and it will take 100 years and a half a trillion dollars to clean up but they want you to think it’s over. So (1) is it’s still happening; (2) is the world accident. An accident is when you’re driving down the road and an owl flies in front of you and hits your window and takes you out. That’s an accident. You couldn’t foresee it. But the DIET commission – DIET is their parliament – has said this is not an accident. This was man-made. This was profoundly man-made. Engineers knew it for 40 years. So the wick on this time bomb was lit in 1967 when they started building it. And it happened to have exploded in 2011, but the accident was not an accident. It was a man-made disaster. So I try to remove that from my vocabulary but it’s so ingrained because I was an engineer and I would bet everybody would call it an accident. It’s ingrained. It’s not an accident; it’s a disaster. And the last one is – I said the Fukushima accident. Fukushima is a wonderful prefecture and …read more
TEPCO admits that ice wall will not stop groundwater from entering crippled Fukushima Daiichi reactor buildings
This week TEPCO officials at a meeting with officials from the Nuclear Regulation Authority in Japan admitted that the ice wall they promoted as an impermeable barrier to prevent groundwater from entering the crippled reactor buildings and mixing with highly radioactive water has failed to work as billed and is technically incapable of blocking off groundwater.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant continues to be overwhelmed by enormous amounts of contaminated groundwater that is generated every day as it mixes and interacts with contaminated water in the basement of the reactor buildings. Currently 400 tons of groundwater flows into the damaged reactor buildings every day and mixes with the highly radioactive water in the basements.
TEPCO had developed the ice wall and installed subdrain wells around the reactor buildings to pump up the contaminated groundwater, treat it, and discharge it into the Pacific Ocean, in the hopes that it would reduce the amounts of contaminated water generated every day. The wall consists of a series of underground refrigeration pipes that freeze the soil around them.
Before installation of the wall, TEPCO described the project to the public, saying, “We will create an impermeable barrier by freezing the soil itself all the way down to the bedrock that exists below the plant. When groundwater flowing downhill reaches this frozen barrier it will flow around the reactor buildings, reaching the sea just as it always has, but without contacting the contaminated water within the reactor buildings.”
The ice wall began operating in March of this year, but has not yet made a meaningful impact on reducing the amount of groundwater that enters the reactor buildings.
Experts are concerned that the increasing levels of highly radioactive water in the reactor buildings could escape into the local environment in the event of heavy rainfall or a tsunami.