Energy Solutions wants to gamble with Utah lives again

Apparently Energy Solutions still thinks Utah is a “low use” segment of the population, not to mention pretty stupid.

So what else is new?

The current proposal by Energy Solutions is to bring hotter nuclear waste to Utah even though it is only licensed to bring low-yield waste here by “blending” the hotter stuff with cooler stuff. You can read the full story in the New York Times here (click!)

Here, to me, is the most offensive paragraph:

EnergySolutions stressed that it mattered only what standard the waste met when it was packaged for burial, and not how it got that way. “If it’s A, it’s A,” said Dale Didion, a company spokesman. “How it gets to that really, really low level, as long as it’s at low level, really doesn’t matter.”

That’s the kind of dismissive attitude by an executive out to make more money that leads to Utahns dying from cancer, oil wells blowing out, and God knows what else.

As the story makes clear, Energy Solutions wants to find a way to jigger the rules so it can store hotter waste in Utah so it can make more money. It’s all about money, and if they can find a way to slip around the rules, never mind the consequences.

Would there be consequences? “Blending” nuclear waste raises an image of putting the stuff in a giant milk shake machine and mixing it all up so it’s a smooth homogeneus mix. Sort of like if you blend an iPod.

But that isn’t what happens. The hot bits stay hot, they’re just scattered around more, and they stay hotter longer than the low-yield stuff, which is the real issue and reason behind setting standards for levels of waste.

The idea of blending, as stated by the Energy Solutions spokesman up there, sounds a lot like BP saying the oil well gushing in the gulf of Mexico is no big deal because the Gulf is so huge.

Codswollop.

The story says Utah is opposing the proposal. It should. Utahns are tired of sucking up to industries trying to make a buck off of us under the assumption that we will (a) roll over or (b) aren’t worth worrying about.

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11 Responses to Energy Solutions wants to gamble with Utah lives again

  1. John Farmer says:

    It has now been 59 years 174 days since the first commercial western nuclear reactor (EBR-I) went online at Idaho National Laboratory on December 20, 1951. During these 59 plus years there has never been a death attributed to an acute radiation dose. This includes the depository of all nuclear by products. The blending of class B and C waste into safer class A waste will not change this important statistic.

    Viva the Nuclear Renaissance,

    Jfarmer9

  2. John Farmer says:

    “The idea of blending, as stated by the Energy Solutions spokesman up there, sounds a lot like BP saying the oil well gushing in the gulf of Mexico is no big deal because the Gulf is so huge.”- Charles Trentelman
    You know the anti-nuclear planet killers are getting very desperate when they compare the ultra safe nuclear industry to the dangerous and extremely risky off shore oil industry.
    Charles did you know according to the US Labor Department statistics it is as safe to work in the nuclear industry as it is to work in the cubicle that you create this fear mongering cr@p in?
    Jfarmer9

  3. Kris Thompson says:

    And how about the folks at Savannah River, John? Would they agree with you? How about Oyster Creek? Or Los Alamos, for goodness’ sake? You think they’re on your side of this issue?

    Touting a “Nuclear Renaissance” is like celebrating a resurgence of plague.

    KT

  4. Charles Trentelman says:

    Interesting claim. No deaths? All those people in Southern Utah who have died, and are dying, from cancer — including former Gov. Scott Matheson — must be figments of our imagination.

    your statistic, narrowly aimed at that laboratory I am guessing, is also false, or at least incomplete, in that it does not say nobody has died SO FAR. As we have seen too many times of late, things that have a small chance of happening still happen.

    59 years without a death? Very cute. Plutonium PU 239 has a half life of 24,000 years. Meaning, after 24,000 years, half of it is still there.

    Nuclear waste has a half life of hundreds and thousands of years, depending on the waste. To lock that stuff up and keep it safe for that long we’re going to have to build a religion around it. Mere fences and signs don’t last.

    If you will read the article one of the concerns is that, years down the line, someone could build a house on top of that Energy Solutions graveyard. Yes, that could happen, probably because, acouple hundred years from now, someone will say “Hey, nobody’s died yet.”

  5. John Farmer says:

    “And how about the folks at Savannah River, John? Would they agree with you? How about Oyster Creek? Or Los Alamos, for goodness’ sake? You think they’re on your side of this issue? Touting a “Nuclear Renaissance” is like celebrating a resurgence of plague.”-Kris Thompson
    NAME JUST ONE PERSON WHO HAS DIED AT OYSTER CREEK DUE TO ACUTE OR CHRONIC RADIATION? JUST GIVE ME ONE NAME. 25,000 thousand people a year die due to particulate pollution caused by our nations 600 plus coal plants.-US EPA On a global scale the number could be as high as a half a million. And you have the uneducated bravado to say that replacing coal with clean safe nuclear power is like advocating the plague. Do you have no pity for those who die from coal? Do have no pity for our planet that may die as we know it due to carbon pollution? Do you have any sense of decency?
    Long Live Knowledge and may it crush our misguided fears, Long Live the Nuclear Renaissance,
    Jfarmer9

  6. John Farmer says:

    “ Interesting claim. No deaths? All those people in Southern Utah who have died, and are dying, from cancer — including former Gov. Scott Matheson — must be figments of our imagination….your statistic, narrowly aimed at that laboratory I am guessing”- Charles Trentelman
    First a nuclear bomb is not a commercial nuclear reactor. I feel nothing but sorrow for the family of the victims of nuclear fallout whether they are from the Western US, Russia, Pacific Islands, or even Japan.
    Second you say my statistics are aimed at a laboratory and you are just guessing if you are making a liable statement. That the problem isn’t it Charles you write for sensationalism and hell with facts you can just guess at them. Maybe you won’t win a Pulitzer for it but by gosh if you were working for William Herzts the King of Yellow journalism he would love you for it.
    It’s all about truth Charles and then you get justice and the American way,
    Jfarmer9

  7. John Farmer says:

    “59 years without a death? Very cute. Plutonium PU 239 has a half life of 24,000 years. Meaning, after 24,000 years, half of it is still there.”- Charles Trentelman

    You teaching me about PU239, Please.

    “There were about 25 workers from Los Alamos National Laboratory who inhaled a considerable amount of plutonium dust during the 1940′s; according to the hot-particle theory, each of them has a 99.5% chance of being dead from lung cancer by now, but there has not been a single lung cancer among them”-

    Cohen, Bernard \The Nuclear Energy Option, Chapter 13, Plutonium and Bombs\. http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter13.html.

    Voelz, G. L. (1975). \What We Have Learned About Plutonium from Human Data\. The Radiation Safety Journal Health Physics: 29. http://journals.lww.com/health-physics/Abstract/1975/10000/What_We_Have_Learned_about_Plutonium_from_Human.11.aspx.

    The fact is many people have detectable levels of PU in them but none have died from PU.-

    WNA contributors (2008). \Plutonium\. London (UK): World Nuclear Association. http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf15.html. Retrieved 2008-05-22.

    Charles this is not to say we should be eating the stuff but your uneducated fear mongering does nothing to help in a discussion that should be based on peer reviewed science over that of witty literal whims like saying “Blending nuclear waste raises an image of putting the stuff in a giant milk shake machine” You see what I am saying?

    Let me know if you have any more questions,

    Jfarmer9

  8. Charles Trentelman says:

    mr. farmer, i was talking about the dangers of nuclear waste storage in general. I was talking about how A Utah company is trying to jigger the rules of nuclear waste so it can make more money, a device that they are blowing off in a simplistic manner but that has serious technological challenges that even the industry-loving state of Utah is having a hard time swallowing.

    You have not only tried to make this a debate a particular type of nuclear waste, but not even waste, just radiation safety at a particular type of nuclear facility, carefully selected by you to meet the needs of your argument.

    Sorry, doesn’t change my statements of fact: Radiation kills, nuclear waste cannot be stored safely over the long term, and I’m sick and tired of Utah being the nation’s nuclear dumping ground.

    If the stuff is so safe, keep it at your place.

  9. John Farmer says:

    “I was talking about how A Utah company is trying to jigger the rules of nuclear waste so it can make more money, a device that they are blowing off in a simplistic manner”- Charles Trentelman

    Are you still just guessing at the facts? How is Energy Solution trying to “jigger” (I think a politer term would be change) the rules. You mix Low A with B or low C and you have high A. That’s the rules. The company is not creating more waste just managing it. Energy Solutions is not “blowing this off” they unlike you are using peer reviewed science to make their point to the NRC. What problem do you have with a Utah company making money anywys? Are you jealous? You should know this is a company that adds money to the coffers of the state of Utah. Are you suggesting we cut more social programs in this state? Heck you are probably right it is mostly the poor we are talking about and they don’t vote they just die homeless in the street.

    This is a plan that helps the nuclear industry manage its B and C waste. You are a person who must fear everything for how else can you complain about company with a great safety record and industry that has never killed one person due to an acute radiation dose? You have no arguments Charles all you have is fear. If you can sleep and night knowing that well more power to you. Maybe some day you will get up the never to cross the street.

    Once again Charles it’s all about the truth and then you get justice and the American way,

    Jfarmer9

  10. utah_1 says:

    Tim Bridgewater

    I have watched Tim for over a year, and I believe he is the best US Senate candidate in the primary. Tim’s attitude and methods and his actions have impressed me. Words alone are not enough.

    I was surprised and appalled at two “comparison” flyers printed since the convention by the Lee camp. (Has their name on it any everything) Not only were the ads of questionable accuracy, they totally contradict what Lee has been saying he would do and say during his campaign.

    Lee also seems to be very quiet lately on the recent attack radio ads by Common Sense Issues, who went after Mitt Romney in favor of Huckabee with push polling, Where is his outrage over the deceptive ads Freedomworks and Jim DeMint are running, or are they getting their message from Lee’s camp?

    That those that are endorsing Lee are trying to smear Bridgewater with and use for fundraising for Lee, the “temple” flyer is pretty low.

    The group that went after Lee prior to convention also went after Bridgewater with “polling” as well.

    The fact that Cherilyn Eagar endorsed Tim Bridgewater, and Bob Bennett endorsed Bridgewater, in my mind, has more to do with how the Bridgewater campaign treated those two campaigns with greater respect than Eagar and Bennett agreeing with Bridgewater on issues.

    Bridgewater has my vote.

  11. Charles, I want to thank you for raising awareness about EnergySolutions’ plan to mix waste of different levels, call it Class A, and send it to Utah. I looked at charts of commercial nuclear waste sent to Utah over the last several years, and if this plan is approved, the amount of radioactivity we receive in commercial waste could easily triple. This means more shipments, more chances for accidents, and higher severity of accidents or leaks if they happen in the future. Furthermore, soon after these wastes are mixed, they settle out, meaning that if the hotter resin beads are similar in size or density, they can form “hot spots” where they aggregate.

    Imagine it this way: you’re traveling to a country that doesn’t allow you to bring in any currency where an individual bill is more that $1,000. But you decide you want to anyway, so you drop a hand-full of ten $10,000 bills in your bag, along with a much larger stack of 100 $100 bills and mix it around. Then you tell Customs that your bag has only $1,000 bills in it, because ON AVERAGE, if you divide the total dollars ($110,000) over the number of bills (110), you have $1,000 per bill. Now also imagine that the $10,000 bills are lighter and smoother and aggregate at one end of the bag. If you put your hand in at this end, you’re much more likely to find only $10,000 bills. This would be the “hot spot” in the analogy.

    Also, there have been many deaths associated with nuclear power. You have to look at all the mining, milling, hauling deaths associated with uranium and look at the whole life cycle. Just this month a uranium miner died in Southern Utah. Then there is the bizarre case of the experimental reactor SL-1 in Idaho where a nuclear accident killed 3 men. They were buried in lead caskets, and some of their body parts had to be disposed of as high level waste. You can read about it here: http://www.inl.gov/proving-the-principle/chapter_15.pdf That happened in 1963.

    Then there is the Chernobyl accident. It didn’t happen that long ago–1986. This accident killed people on-site, delivered lethal doses to firefighters on-scene, and spread radiation around the globe. Here’s just one sobering statistic: Before the Chernobyl accident, 90% of children in that area were considered healthy. By 2000, fewer than 20% were considered healthy, and in the most contaminated region, only 10%. Is the general decline in health caused solely by the nuclear accident? It’s almost impossible to know but it’s something to think about. Most of the data on Chernobyl has not been made available to the West until recently–read a collection of documents in English here, recently published by the New York Academy of Sciences: http://www.nyas.org/publications/annals/Detail.aspx?cid=f3f3bd16-51ba-4d7b-a086-753f44b3bfc1

    Just because we put in place better protective systems and containment domes, etc., that doesn’t mean we are 100% protected. As long as there is a chance of a catastrophic accident (however slim), we need to be aware of what that accident would look like, and what it could mean to our health and economy. Oh, and by the way, the nuclear industry in this country still benefits from a limitation on liability in the event of a catastrophic accident. If such accidents were impossible, there would not be a need to cap the liability.

    The gulf oil spill reminds us that we must consider low-probability, high-consequence accidents.

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