New Maps from Common Sense Campaign Reveal Another Cost of New Nuclear Power: Southbound Mobile Chernobyl

News from NIRS Nuclear Information and Resource Service
6930 Carroll Avenue # 340 Takoma Park, Maryland 20912
301-270-6477, www.nirs.org nirsnet@nirs.org

May 22, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Kevin Kamps 301-270-6477 ex 14
John Sticpewich 828-675-1792

New Maps from Common Sense Campaign Reveal
Another Cost of New Nuclear Power: Southbound Mobile Chernobyl

May 22 – Today 41 community-based groups nationwide teamed with Nuclear Information and Resource Service and the Common Sense at the Nuclear Crossroads Campaign are releasing new maps showing one set of likely transport routes (road, rail and water) that high-level radioactive waste (irradiated or spent fuel) would take from nuclear power reactors to the federal Savannah River Site in South Carolina for reprocessing, if that location is chosen under the federal Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP). Eleven sites are currently under consideration for GNEP; two in South Carolina. Implementation of GNEP would redirect the transportation of this waste, previously assumed to target the flawed and unsuitable Yucca Mountain site in Nevada.

Part of a study by John Sticpewich entitled “A Study of the Problems With Transport and Reprocessing of Nuclear Waste in the Carolinas,” the maps were generated using Department of Energy (DOE) data and the on-line DOE routing program, TRAGIS. “Credit analysts on Wall Street have suggested that moving the accumulated high-level waste from the reactor sites would make investment in new nuclear power more likely,” said Sticpewich. “This report documents the huge tonnage of radioactive waste that must be dealt with, the very high costs of transporting it, and the potential for impact that such a move would have on hundreds of communities along the way.” John Sticpewich did this work on behalf of the Common Sense at the Nuclear Crossroads Campaign based in Asheville, NC. The maps and his report are available at: http://www.nuclearcrossroads.org/secondreport.htm .

If implemented, GNEP would move accumulated waste from 75 sites in 33 states. Due to limited resources, the new maps show only a defined “study area:” waste sites that are east of the Mississippi River, and from the Carolinas, north. While routes are shown in all states east of the Mississippi, those in MS, AL, GA and FL include only out-of-state waste – the reactors in those states are not included as a points of origin – though they would be under the GNEP program.

“This case study of one scenario and a limited study area includes two thirds of the nation’s reactors. It is a good start on looking at the impact of bringing the nation’s high-level waste into the South,” said Mary Olson, Director of the Southeast Office of Nuclear Information and Resource Service. “Another scenario we do not show is a possible plan for this deadly waste to be centralized for storage at a “parking-lot dump” -- a top candidate for so-called “temporary” storage is the Piketon site in Appalachian Ohio” concluded Olson. Piketon is another of the 11 sites being considered under GNEP.

“NIRS coined the slogan ‘Mobile Chernobyl’ back when Congress weighed shipping this high-level nuclear waste to Nevada to a parking-lot style dump. It refers to the elevated risk of accidents or incidents that will travel with this deadly waste if put on the roads and rails,” said Kevin Kamps, Nuclear Waste Specialist with Nuclear Information and Resource Service. “The risk of terrorist attack means that these shipments are potential dirty bombs on wheels or water,” says Kamps. “The big news in these maps is the water routes to SRS – the Great Lakes could be hit by many hundreds to thousands of these shipments, along with rivers, canals, and coastlines in every region.” Although Yucca Mountain cannot be approached directly by water, DOE proposed barge shipments for segments of transports there as well.

“Coincidentally, Dairyland Power’s intensely radioactive Genoa atomic reactor pressure vessel shipment by train from LaCrosse, Wisconsin to Barnwell, South Carolina for dumping in a ditch, is about to roll – perhaps as early as today -- down the tracks, most likely via IL, IN, KY, TN, and GA, the very routes identified in this new study,” said Kevin Kamps of NIRS. “This real-life shipment, happening right now, has its own radiological hazards, but these are dwarfed by the many thousands of high-level radioactive waste shipments that would follow it in years ahead if South Carolina opens a reprocessing facility,” said Kamps.

“There are 32 new reactors moving forward, and of these 30 are in the South,” said Mary Olson. “In 2005 Congress started talking about reviving the failed, unprofitable reprocessing technology – that would bring the worst nuclear waste to South Carolina. This is a major shift in ‘the deal.’ We were told that nuclear waste would not be a problem—effectively it would be dumped on someone else! Now if GNEP goes forward, more of the real cost of those new nuclear power reactors will be clear: nuclear waste would stay here in the South and more would come from all over the country – and possibly the world!” concluded Olson.

Groups taking participating in the May 22nd release:
Common Sense at the Nuclear Crossroads (Asheville, North Carolina); Nuclear Information and Resource Service (Takoma Park, MD and Asheville, North Carolina); Physicians for Social Responsibility of Western North Carolina; Citizen’s Awareness Network (Massachusetts); Green Party of Onondaga County (New York); Central New York Citizens Awareness Network; Syracuse Peace Council (New York); Don't Waste Michigan; Nuclear Energy Information Service (Chicago, Illinois); Earth Day Coalition (Cleveland, Ohio); Southern Ohio Neighbors Group; Citizen Action Coalition of Indiana; Yggdrasil/Earth Island (Kentucky); Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League; The Canary Coalition (North Carolina); Nuclear Watch South (Atlanta, Georgia); Citizens For Environmental Justice (Savannah, Georgia); Atlanta WAND (Georgia); Action for A Clean Environment (Georgia); South Carolina Chapter, Sierra Club; HIPWAZEE (Columbia, South Carolina); Environmentalists Inc. (Columbia, South Carolina); Carolina Peace Resource Center (Columbia, South Carolina); Columbia Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (South Carolina); Charleston Peace (South Carolina); Thinking People (Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina); South Carolina Alliance for Sustainable Campuses + Communities; Environmental Coalition on Nuclear Power (Pennsylvania); Energy Justice Network (Pennsylvania); Don't Waste Connecticut; Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone; North American Water Office (Lake Elmo, Minnesota); Citizen Alert (Las Vegas, Nevada); Southern Nevada Group of the Toiyabe Chapter of the Sierra Club; NatCap Inc. (Colorado); Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes (Monroe, Michigan); Citizens Resistance at Fermi Two (Livonia, Michigan); Toledo Coalition for Safe Energy (Ohio), Port Hope Community Health Concerns Committee (Port Hope, Ontario), Canada Voices for Earth Justice (Roseville, MI), Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination (Lake Station, MI), Huron Environmental Activist League (Alpena, MI).