Public Asked for Opinion of Nuclear Industry in Idaho

2012-12-04T02:00:00Z 2013-02-07T07:24:55Z Public Asked for Opinion of Nuclear Industry in IdahoBy Melissa Davlin - mdavlin@magicvalley.com Twin Falls Times-News

BOISE • A group tasked with studying Idaho’s nuclear future has released its initial recommendations to the governor. Now it’s the public’s turn to comment.

The Leadership in Nuclear Energy (LINE) Commission put out its findings Monday after holding a series of public meetings throughout the state. The commission and is now asking for public input before putting out a final report early next year.

The report gives preliminary recommendations in areas of education, work force, infrastructure, technology, safety and the environment. The recommendations will be compared with suggestions from the public, pared down and submitted to the governor in a report due in January 2013.

Among the dozens of recommendations: Starting a used fuel storage demonstration facility, increasing INL’s research capabilities, and improving infrastructure around INL.

The commission, assembled by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, was charged with exploring Idaho’s future in the nuclear industry, including potential research programs and creating storage facilities.

The first part of the 52-page report gives an overview of Idaho’s nuclear history, including Idaho National Laboratory and the 1995 agreement between the federal government and then-Gov. Phil Batt that stopped additional nuclear waste from being stored at INL and started the nuclear waste clean-up. In the agreement, the Department of Energy was required to remove all spent nuclear fuel from Idaho by 2035.

A lot has changed since that 1995 agreement, said LINE Commission chairman Jeff Sayer, director of the Idaho Department of Commerce. While the commission is still concerned about the environment, nuclear technology has evolved and improved, he said, and Yucca Mountain is no longer available as a waste storage site.

“We know (the waste) is not going to go anywhere,” Sayer said. “We might as well have the conversation.”

Ultimately, the commission wants to stay true to the agreement’s principles of holding the federal government accountable and protecting Idaho’s environment, Sayer said.

“You’re going to see us stay very true to the founding principles that started that document,” he said.

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(1) Comments

  1. PeterRickards
    Report Abuse
    PeterRickards - December 04, 2012 8:22 am
    Gee, another one-sided cheerleading ad for INL. I guess there is no need to report the lies in the LINE report. These yes-men falsely claim the 1995 settlement agreement got "all" the buried plutonium out, calling it a "success story."! I showed the LINE commission AND the reporter the Judge's words showing the State agreed to leave 90% of the plutonium buried.
    So "all" now means 10% in the Iduho dictionary.
    I guess the success story is being able to get away with lying. Here is the documentation LINE and Times-News wants you to ignore...
    IDAHO FAMILIES FOR THE SAFEST ENERGY



    Dear LINE Commission members,

    1) Please consider DOE's Dr Soderholm's work below on how easily plutonium nanoclusters move with water. This totally contradicts the present CERCLA decision that leaves 90 % of the buried plutonium over our water supply. Please recommend Atty Gen Wasden correct the flawed CERCLA decision to leave the near ton of billions of plutonium particles, and open the new plutonium dump, ICDF.

    2) Please study the STUXNET worm that destroyed Iran's nuclear infrastructure and centrifuges. As Homeland Security admits, nuclear power plants and the DOE are subject to daily attempts of cyber terrorism. Please recommend that gambling we can stay one cyber-step ahead of foreign enemies and disgruntled employees is a reason to NOT pursue nuclear power. It is best for defense to have widespread wind and other non-meltdown energy sources. Only nuclear power can force the evacuation of Idaho. Idaho is too great to evacuate.

    In order not to repeat history, you must understand the broken promise to remove all the buried plutonium. Governor Otter and DEQ have misinformed the public, claiming they won the "ALL means ALL" Court case, and now claiming "INL has constantly followed through on its promises." I will use the Judge's quotes to prove the State KNEW all NEVER meant ALL, and they have intentionally misinformed Idaho families.

    In the ultimate "fox guarding the hen house" moment, Idaho's nuclear Oversite Director Burke declared in media, "INL has constantly followed through on its promises." (4/27 -Times-News) That bold re-writing of history is approved by and repeated by Governor Otter. Meanwhile your Commission ponders inviting even more orphaned spent fuel into Idaho, just for the money.

    How do Governor Otter and Gallatin lobbyist Cecil Andrus sweep over a ton of loose plutonium particles under Idaho's rug? Why does media allow them to incorrectly declare they succeeded to "get the waste out" and pretend they won the "all means all" legal dispute? This really is not so hard to understand. I quote the Judge's words below to show you what the media has misreported for decades. I quote the details Otter, Batt, and Andrus agreed to, leaving 90% of the billions of plutonium particles dumped, and opening a new plutonium dump onsite.


    I detail exactly where DOE avoids the dangers of problems with plutonium colloids moving with water. They actually admit they expect the water barrier cap to fail. They admit they must make up estimates on colloids because they have no real data. They also admit if they removed all our acres of plutonium contaminated waste as promised, it would overfill the WIPP dump in New Mexico. This is not what Idaho was promised, and not what DEQ or politicians admit when they call the new plan "safe," and a "promise kept." I have more details, but here is a short summary of key statements and where to find them...Peter

    Dr. Peter Rickards DPM Spokesman for Idaho Families For The Safest Energy 969-0682






    ROD http://ar.inel.gov/images/pdf/200810/2008100100495TUA.pdf This is the final Record of Decision for the over a ton of scattered buried plutonium particles, billions of particles in each pound.

    In response to a public comment doubting the cap over the plutonium will work to stop water, the DOE responds they do NOT expect the barrier to work either! From page 136 or webpage 156/197

    "Response: The remedial action objective is to inhibit migration into the vadose zone and aquifer to
    meet the remediation goal of reducing infiltration to keep aquifer concentrations from exceeding MCLs.
    Objectives and goals are so formulated because completely “preventing any water from reaching the waste zone” is neither necessary nor achievable over time."

    ___________________________________________________________________



    Colloids, or microscopic bits of clay can carry plutonium, even in sluggish aquifers. DOE's Dr Kersting found plutonium colloids moved over 1 mile at the slow aquifer at Nevada Test Site in 1997. (In the below document webpage 37/50 "a well-known study at the Nevada Test Site (Kersting et al. 1999) has been frequently cited as evidence for processes that can result in rapid migration of plutonium,".

    Here is the INL colloid paper used to superficially address, then dismiss DOE's Dr Kersting and the unknowns of colloids, to avoid a full clean up. Colloids are dismissed, even though the DOE guesses over 80 lbs of scattered plutonium particles will move as colloids! (2.2 lbs per kilogram) http://ar.inel.gov/images/pdf/200405/2004051900569GSJ.pdf (Pu is short for plutonium)

    From Abstract summary Page iii or webpage 3/50

    "As a colloid, particulate Pu02 could be transported more rapidly than soluble species of plutonium and therefore must be considered in evaluating the potential for groundwater contamination by plutonium."



    Page 1 or webpage 9/50

    "Because records of waste shipments to the SDA did not include detailed information about
    physical and chemical forms of individual waste components, and because direct field data are not
    available, estimates were derived for these quantities using ancillary information and scientifically
    defensible methods. Of particular concern is the fraction of plutonium in the form of Pu02 (plutonium
    oxide) particles and the potential for this fraction to be mobilized by infiltrating water."



    Page 7 or webpage 15/50

    2.1 Assumptions
    A series of engineering estimates were developed because of the absence of direct measurements of
    colloidal-size plutonium in waste streams sent to the SDA. Each estimate involves assumptions that affect
    the final estimate.



    Page 21 or webpage 29/50

    "For the best estimate, a total of 41.87 kg of plutonium is in the transportable particulate range, with
    11.29 kg from the 1954-1963 era and 30.58 kg from the 1964-1970 era. For the 95% upper confidence
    limit, a total of 55.53 kg of plutonium is in the transportable particulate range, with13.99 kg from the
    1954-1 963 era and 41.54 kg from the 1964-1 970 era."



    Page 26 or webpage 34/50

    "While development of models for predicting colloid transport has progressed, gaps in knowledge
    make it difficult in this case to apply existing models to the question of Pu02 transport."



    Feasability study http://ar.inel.gov/images/pdf/200706/2007061400254TUA.pdf

    Here is one key reason DOE does not want to remove all the acres of plutonium waste at INL, because it would overfill the New Mexico WIPP facility! From page 4-67 or webpage 278/285

    "Currently, WIPP is the only facility that can receive transuranic waste for disposal. Total capacity
    of WIPP as currently designed is 175,600 m3 (229,676 yd3); WIPP may not have sufficient capacity to
    receive 242,000 drums or 50,000 m3 (66,000 yd3) of potentially acceptable waste from the SDA,
    necessitating that Congress modify the WIPP Land Withdrawal Act. In addition, WIPP is expected to
    be filled to capacity by the year 2034. The retrieval component of this alternative would last until the
    year 2037, which could pose a problem if WIPP is filled to capacity by the year 2034."

    _________________________________________________________________________



    Here are the references as I wrote them to Gov Otter & DEQ, who have not replied...Peter

    Date: Thu, May 24, 2012 at 10:30 AM
    Subject: Request to Governor and DEQ to stop misinforming Idahoans by claiming INL keeps their promises- Please come clean to protect our water from plutonium
    To: Butch Otter , rbartlett@gov.idaho.gov, susan.burke@deq.idaho.gov
    Cc: fpriestley@idahofb.org, brad.little@lgo.idaho.gov






    Dear Governor Otter and INL Oversite Director Burke,



    We wrote to you last September asking you correct the DEQ website claim the new 2008 nuclear deal removed "most" the buried plutonium. Because we documented 90% of the dumped plutonium will remain buried, while you open a new plutonium dump for future projects, DEQ did delete the misleading incorrect wording. Director Burke claimed it was an innocent oversight and even thanked us for pointing out the misinformation.

    (Post-Register: 9/30/11) "The original wording was incorrect because the roughly 7,500 cubic meters of waste that must be removed represents only a small percentage of the disposal area's buried waste." & "...simply were poor choices of words and not a deliberate attempt to mislead the public, said Susan Burke, the state's INL oversight coordinator. "It was a complete error on our part, and I'm happy (Rickards) pointed it out," Burke said. "There's no intent to put any misinformation out." http://www.postregister.com/story.php?accnum=1064-09302011&today=2011-09-30


    However, detailed below, Director Burke is again misinforming the public, claiming "INL has constantly followed through on its promises." This needs public correction please, since both INL and Idaho politicians have clearly broken their promises, which we document below quoting the Court ruling. Since the Governor must approve of any Departments media comments, it is clear this lie is what you are directing her to say.



    In fact, Governor Otter, to justify your LINE Commission, now considering importing more spent fuel, your Executive Order falsely claims "binding agreements between the State of Idaho and INL, have guided successful cleanup efforts of legacy waste at the site,"Found athttp://gov.idaho.gov/mediacenter/execorders/eo12/eo_12_01.pdf



    Please explain why you are claiming you and INL keeps your promises when it is clear from years in Court you are all breaking your promises.



    The 4/27/12 Times-News, (full article below) declared the public now trusts INL, since they keep their promises, stating:
    “We delivered on our commitments,” Bugger said. “We’ve done what we’ve said we would do and that’s helped change the attitude.”



    INL has constantly followed through on its promises, said Susan Burke, INL coordinator for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality."



    The 1995 ad sent to every Idaho household from Lockheed, Batt, Andrus, Otter, and all, claimed the deal would "Say NO to leaving waste over the aquifer" and "Get The Waste Out." In fact, you just repeated your false "get the waste out" claim yesterday in the Couer d'Alene Pres bragging "It was a landmark beginning to a process that culminated in 1995 with Governor Phil Batt’s crafting of a historic agreement with the Navy and the U.S. Department of Energy to get the waste out of Idaho." You falsely called this broken promise "a testament to state’s rights."

    How does "get the waste out" & "ALL means ALL" translate to leaving 90% buried, opening new dumps, and getting praise for keeping promises and being "successful"?

    http://www.cdapress.com/news/local_news/article_f139f9b4-a52a-11e1-aed3-001a4bcf887a.html




    This is clearly intentional lying, trying to convince Idahoans that the promise to remove all the cancer causing plutonium, made in 1970, and repeated since 1995, has been kept. This is now clearly so you can welcome new nuclear experiments, like the plutonium-238 production cluster, and full scale nuclear reactors, that will also bury plutonium on site, in this flood zone. The first new dump is called ICDF, and more are planned.




    In our September letter, we also asked you to post for the public DOE's Dr. Soderholm's devastating work on how easily plutonium nanoclusters move with water, but that has not been done. Her great work reveals the danger of leaving so much plutonium, yet you continue to ignore this DOE document. To be clear, we share this again below.


    http://www.anl.gov/Media_Center/News/2008/news080422.html


    Scientists discover how the structure of plutonium nanocluster contaminants increases risk of spreading

    ARGONNE, Ill. (April 22, 2008) — For almost half a century, scientists have struggled with plutonium contamination spreading further in groundwater than expected, increasing the risk of sickness in humans and animals. " & "Models have been based on the free-plutonium model, creating discrepancies between what is expected and reality."

    ______________________________________________________________________



    Why do you continue to ignore DOE's Dr. Soderholms discoveries, which could be used under the CERCLA law to demand the full removal of ALL plutonium, as promised, and provide over $13 Billion in Idaho jobs? That is more job money than the dangerous experiments you prefer, so why not come clean please?




    The incorrect news article claimed the Judge ordered "ALL" buried plutonium waste be removed. That is simply NOT true, yet it is misreported repeatedly in Idaho media for over a decade.



    Here is the direct quote from the Judge's ruling. He clearly understood Idaho agreed to leave half the buried plutonium by changing the definition of transuranic waste, despite their repeated claims "all means all." The Judge shows you politicians KNEW "all" NEVER meant ALL. Now YOU are removing only 10% of the buried plutonium, and claiming INL keeps their promises!!! You are clearly lying, aren't you? Isn't it treason to endanger our children's health, our water, and intentionally misinform Idaho families?





    From page 9 of the Court ruling after the Judge read the State negotiation notes:

    "In arriving at the definition of transuranic waste, the State sought repeatedly to include alpha low-level waste in the definition.
    (Trever, pp. 22, 53-82). Idaho was particularly concerned about alpha low-level waste being removed because of future projects proposed by DOE at INEL which had the potential for alpha low-level waste to be stored at INEL permanently." &

    "Late in the negotiations, the State ceded the point and alpha low-level waste was taken out of the final definition thereby removing any obligation upon the United States to remove alpha lowlevel waste from INEL."


    So the judge only ordered HALF the buried plutonium waste be removed. You politicians and DEQ have been faking this fight for over a decade. You didn't even enforce removing the HALF you agreed too! 90% of the plutonium will remain buried, while T-N's reports DEQ and INL have kept their promises and everyone now trusts INL. Idahoans are depending on you to tell the truth.




    Please respond and please admit you have been intentionally lying to Idaho families about protecting our water. Please use DOE's Dr. Soderholm's work to force the full removal of the legacy plutonium waste that Idaho has been promised for so long.



    Sincerely , Dr. Peter Rickards D.P.M.
    Idaho Families For The Safest Energy
    208-969-0682



    Chuck Broscious - Executive Director
    Environmental Defense Institute
    http://www.environmental-defense-institute.org/
    Troy, Idaho 83871-0220 Phone: 208-835-5407
    Email: edinst@tds.net



    Here are the Court's words in full context. See page 9/34 on state ceding and allowing plutonium to remain, and allowing new projects to dump plutonium onsite

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCOURTS-idd-1_91-cv-00054/pdf/USCOURTS-idd-1_91-cv-00054-0.pdf

    "a) Drafting History - Alpha Low-Level Waste and Transuranic Waste Definition:

    This definition was a contested point in the negotiations. In arriving at the definition of

    transuranic waste, the State sought repeatedly to include alpha low-level waste in the definition. (Trever, pp. 22, 53-82). Idaho was particularly concerned about alpha low-level waste being removed because of future projects proposed by DOE at INEL which had the potential for alpha low-level waste to be stored at INEL permanently. (Trever, pp. 22, 55-82, 166-68). This is consistent with Idaho’s efforts throughout these negotiations to expand the waste subject to removal from INEL. (Frei, p. 155; Urie, pp. 182-83; Trever, pp. 9-12, 53-82). On the other hand, the United States was insistent that transuranic waste be defined as in the EIS which excluded alpha low-level waste. Late in the negotiations, the State ceded the point and alpha low-level waste was taken out

    of the final definition thereby removing any obligation upon the United States to remove alpha lowlevel waste from INEL.

    13 (Grumbly, pp. 47-49; Trever, pp. 81).

    __________________________________________________________________


    Quoting DEQ stats and the 2008 "new deal" specifics...

    From http://www.deq.idaho.gov/inl-oversight/oversight-agreements/1995-settlement-agreement.aspx

    How much nuclear waste was at the INL before the Settlement Agreement was signed?


    According to Idaho's INL Oversight Program, there were 261 metric tons of heavy metal from spent fuel, 65,000 cubic meters of stored transuranic wastes, another 62,000 cubic meters of buried transuranic waste, SNIPPED

    ____________________________________________________________--



    On page 6/43 at http://www.deq.idaho.gov/media/550373-implementation_agreement_2008.pdf

    V. TRANSURANIC RETRIEVAL VOLUME
    A. DOE shall retrieve not less than 6,238 cubic meters of Targeted Waste from
    within that portion of the Subsurface Disposal Area identified in Appendix D attached
    hereto or areas immediately adjacent to those areas within retrieval enclosures
    constructed pursuant to this Agreement. SNIP

    ____________________________________________________________



    http://magicvalley.com/news/local/state-and-regional/the-public-opinion-tide-is-turning-for-idaho-national-laboratory/article_d6e0a035-1710-58ba-815c-a33ef2919be1.html


    Nuclear Waste Cleanup Continues

    The Public Opinion Tide Is Turning for Idaho National Laboratory
    Story


    The Public Opinion Tide Is Turning for Idaho National Laboratory
    By Kimberlee Kruesi - kkruesi@magicvalley.com Magicvalley.com | Posted: Friday, April 27, 2012 2:00 am


    At a Glance: INL Cleanup

    The Idaho National Laboratory, managed by the U.S. Department of Energy, is now in its 17th year of nuclear waste cleanup following a court settlement with the state of Idaho. A look back:


    1995 • Settlement agreement reached between the state of Idaho, U.S. Navy, and DOE that requires DOE to meet certain waste cleanup obligations. Among them:transuranic waste stored at INLmust leave the state of Idaho by 2018.


    2006 • Amid a dispute over the terms of the agreement, a federal judge rules that the DOE must remove all buried waste from the INL site.

    2008 • Due to definition disputes of “all,” the state agrees to a new deal that allows DOE to seal and leave in place some waste in specific areas.


    2012 • By the end of this year, 900,000 gallons of radioactive liquid waste stored at INL should be treated and removed.


    Mishaps Pause Some INL Progress

    The Idaho National Laboratory has attracted headlines this month for another matter — safety issues at its research and development facilities.


    About 800 workers at the Materials and Fuels Complex are spending two weeks evaluating mistakes made during two accidents last week. Among them, a 3,000-pound piece of a metal shutter shield fell from a crane near an employee.


    The mishaps weren’t on the cleanup side, but it has faced its own occasional setbacks. Also last week, retrieval of transuranic waste resumed after a nearly two-year hiatus. The work suspension came in 2010 after about 20 workers were exposed to radioactive waste when a plywood box broke open, though site managers said the doses were below acceptable levels. A new contractor, a consortium led by Babcock and Wilcox and URS Corp., has since taken over the contract for the transuranic waste from former contractor Bechtel BWXT Idaho.


    — Wire reports


    IDAHO FALLS • As the Idaho National Laboratory prepares to take on another nuclear waste project, officials also hope they’re making just as much headway on gaining the public’s trust.


    Starting next month, contractors at the Idaho National Laboratory will begin treating 900,000 gallons of radioactive liquid waste, then shipping it out of the state. The project is the latest step in a multi-decade effort to remove nuclear waste from INL and the state, laid out in a 1995 court settlement involving the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Navy and Idaho officials.


    The liquid waste is currently being stored in underground tanks that were built during the Cold War for spent nuclear fuel reprocessing. The DOE received approval to open a new $570 million facility to treat the spent fuel, said Rick Craun, the project’s federal director.


    It matters to residents of the Magic Valley because the tanks are positioned a few hundred feet above the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer, a major source of southern Idaho drinking water, said Brad Bugger, spokesman for DOE.


    “We’ve never had a leak in those tanks but now that we’re no longer reprocessing the spent fuel, we want to get it all out,” Bugger said.

    The DOE has completed more than 950 milestones tracking the course of the cleanup, including unearthing almost three acres of buried waste and dismantling more than 2 million square feet of buildings contaminated with radioactivity.


    There’s still quite a bit of waste left to remove, but Bugger said spreading word of INL’s current accomplishments helps establish a certain amount of trust among regulators and the public.

    “We delivered on our commitments,” Bugger said. “We’ve done what we’ve said we would do and that’s helped change the attitude.”


    INL has constantly followed through on its promises, said Susan Burke, INL coordinator for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. DEQ oversees INL’s activities for the state and monitors water and air quality near the facility.


    “It just seems logical that you’re going to build up confidence with the public if you do what you say you’re going to do,” she said.

    DEQ will always be a regulator first when it comes to INL, Burke said. But she noted the two organizations have moved closer to a partnership.


    “I think it’s mostly been done in keeping us aware on how it’s going over there and what they’re thinking on how they’re approaching something,” Burke said. “There’s room for discussion on some things.”

    Beatrice Brailfford from the Snake River Alliance, a nuclear watchdog organization, praised DOE’s efforts.


    “In the early days of the cleanup, people had some wacky ideas on how to get rid of waste,” she said. “But they’ve remained vigilant in making progress and I’m pretty pleased with that.”

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