|published Monday, April 22, 2013 ||475 Views :: 0 Comments|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2013
CONTACT: Snake River Alliance
Liz Woodruff, Executive Director
208-344-9161 (w); 208-871-4597 (c)
BOISE – If Thursday’s complaint by two Idaho National Laboratory workers exposed to plutonium shows anything, it is that the Department of Energy and its INL contractor must be more vigilant about the hazards of the materials handled at the Idaho site but also more transparent when dangerous accidents occur and more responsible in helping injured workers, the Snake River Alliance said Friday.
INL workers Ralph Stanton and Brian Simmons say INL contractor Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) not only created a dangerous work environment but also retaliated against the two when they raised concerns about their exposure to plutonium in a November 2011 accident that affected more than a dozen workers.
On Thursday, Seattle attorney Jack Sheridan filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor alleging the retaliation but also that BEA downplayed the significance of the workers’ plutonium exposure, transferred them to lower level jobs and took various forms of disciplinary actions against them.
|published Monday, March 11, 2013 ||814 Views :: 2 Comments|
Fee Award Assessments Show Nuclear Weapons Complex in Disarray; Untested Changes to Reliable Stockpile Planned and Encouraged; NNSA Head Increased Profits For Contractors Despite Poor Performance; Greater Federal Oversight of Taxpayers’ Money Needed
By Jay Coghlan
Nuclear Watch New Mexico
The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has recently released Fiscal Year 2012 Performance Evaluation Reports on its contractors at its eight nuclear weapons sites, following Nuclear Watch New Mexico’s successful lawsuit for FY 2011 Reports. These assessments are the scorecards for Performance Evaluation Plans negotiated between the government and its nuclear weapons contractors, which awards the contractors hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars. Public access to these reports is of increasing importance as federal oversight is being continuously diminished. The trend of soaring contractor profits paired with decreasing accountability should be reversed, especially given sequester budget cuts that will further handicap federal oversight.
Nuclear Watch New Mexico has released an analysis and selected excerpts of the FY 2012 NNSA Performance Evaluation Reports. In summary:
|published Tuesday, January 15, 2013 ||2229 Views :: 4 Comments|
For Immediate Release
Jan. 14, 2013
Violation of NRC’s “QualityAssurance” Regulations Necessitate Re-inspection and
Possible Abandonment of Reactor Vessel
--- Exclusive ANA Photos Linked Below- Credit to ANA Must be Given if Used ---
Columbia, SC – The broken railroad car assumed to be carrying the massive AP1000 reactor pressure vessel destined for the construction site at Southern Company’s Plant Vogtle in Georgia has been spotted unguarded near the dock in the port of Savannah.
The purpose-built, articulated“Schnabel” rail car, apparently under control of reactor vendor Westinghouse,sits parked outside on a rail line in a port area which is viewable from a public sidewalk. The reactor pressure vessel (RPV) is covered by a large blue tarp and is not directly visible. Beyond an occasional drive-by of vehicles, no security of any kind nor were any repair or inspection activities observed. No cranes capable of lifting the 300-ton vessel were visible.
“Though perhaps too heavy to steal or roll out of the port unnoticed, the reactor vessel and rail car appear highly vulnerable to malicious acts of damage, subtle acts of sabotage and humid,salt air-induced corrosion, “according to Tom Clements of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA), who observed the rail car parked in the port on January 13.
|published Friday, January 04, 2013 ||2540 Views :: 0 Comments|
Jan 04, 2013
By Thomas Clements
From the Aiken Leader Blog
|Photo by: High FlyerThis is what a $7-billion+ government-funded project being protected by big-spending politicians looks like at the end of December 2012. The plutonium fuel (MOX) MOX factory - in lower right in photo - now under construction at the Savannah River Site by Shaw AREVA MOX Services, was presented by DOE as costing $1.6 billion in 2004, with a completion date in 2007. Now, costs have skyrocketed and start-up remains speculative, underscoring concerns by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that DOE does not have in place proper management controls over costly, complex construction projects. The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) estimates the overall remaining cost of the MOX project, including construction and the yearly operating cost of a stunning $500 million, is around $18 billion. A virtual blank check for MOX means that urgent clean-up projects at SRS and other important parts of the DOE budget are under growing stress. The DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has hidden both the cost of construction of the MOX plant and the life-cycle cost of the project from the public and Congress. The big question remains: how long can this deceptive tactic hold? |
The Department of Energy (DOE) has formally announced the next meeting of the Savannah River Site Citizens Advisory Board (SRS CAB) – on Monday, January 28, 2013; 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. and Tuesday, January 29, 2013; 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Double Tree, 2651 Perimeter Parkway, Augusta, Georgia.
The public is encouraged to attend the meeting and make comments on SRS issues of concern. See below for text of Federal Register notice of Friday, January 4, 2013.
While a detailed agenda will be released soon, it is expected that the lengthy delay in a key high-level waste facility, the Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF), will be discussed. Delays in the facility were outlined in an article in in Columbia, South Carolina newspaper on January, 2, 2013:
“SRS factory years behind schedule, millions over budget” (The State, January 2, 2012)
Cost impacts due to the 5-year delay in SWPF start-up will likely have severe impacts on the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) budget. A full explanation of how the project will be financed, a detailed presentation on the reliability of the design, who is accountable for the costly delay and design problems and when the facility will start up must be presented at the meeting, according to the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA).
Also to be raised at the meeting will be the controversial idea being promoted by special interests to bring the nation’s highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel from nuclear reactors sites to SRS for "consolidated storage." This scheme will likely be widely opposed by residents in the Aiken-Augusta area and throughout South Carolina.
Those concerned about SRS becoming a spent fuel dumping site are encouraged to attend the meeting and voice their concerns. To facilitate Aiken residents in expressing their concerns and learning about spent fuel dumping schemes, a “Don’t Waste Aiken” Facebook page has been established: https://www.facebook.com/DontWasteAiken
|published Tuesday, November 27, 2012 ||2931 Views :: 0 Comments|
Nov 21, 2012
By Thomas Clements
From the Aiken Leader
Photo by: Tom Clements, Alliance for Nuclear Accountability
CEO-designate Bill Johnson address the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) board meeting on November 15. The issue of TVA's testing and use of plutonium fuel (MOX) was notably absent from the board's agenda. Based on cost, technical and public relations problems, Mr. Johnson will have an easy decision before him to terminate TVA's consideration of weapons-grade MOX, a new fuel form never before commercially used. According to the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, the MOX turkey must not be pardoned and Congress must put it on the chopping block.
Columbia, SC – The Tennessee Valley Authority, the main nuclear utility that the Department of Energy is pursuing for use of plutonium fuel (MOX) made from surplus weapons plutonium, continues to stand up to DOE pressure to test and use the experimental MOX fuel.
The TVA board met at the Northeast Alabama Community College in Rainsville, Alabama on November 15 and the controversial MOX issue was avoided during board deliberations. In attendance was Bill Johnson, the new TVA CEO set to begin in January 2013. Even though DOE is now preparing a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) on MOX use, the MOX issue has not yet appeared on the agenda of the TVA board and TVA continues to maintain its stated position against MOX use.
In the public “listening session” at the start of the board meeting, the Alliance of Nuclear Accountability and several other organizations and individuals spoke about the foolishness of MOX testing and use by TVA and urged the agency to withdraw its consideration of MOX. ANA delivered a letter to board members pointing out problems with pursuit of MOX.
|published Thursday, November 08, 2012 ||2448 Views :: 0 Comments|
|From left to right: Kathy Crandall-Robinson (Women's Action for New Directions), Jonathan Epstein (Senate Armed Services Committee), and Katherine Fuchs (Alliance for Nuclear Accountability) |
Nov. 8, 2012
Recently, a delegation of Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) staff and members met with Senate Armed Services Committee Majority Council to discuss our opposition to the proposed Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) facility. Our delegation represented 67 organizations opposed to building the new Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Site in Tennessee. These organizations include national groups such as Physicians for Social Responsibility and Women’s Action for New Directions, as well as local groups like the Archdiocese of Detroit.
The 67 organizations all signed onto a letter circulated by ANA requesting that Senator Levin and his colleagues on the Senate Armed Services Committee not accelerate funding for the Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) project. The UPF exemplifies many of the problems endemic to National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) projects, and has recently received media attention for contractors’ failure to design the building large enough to fit all necessary equipment inside.
|published Thursday, October 18, 2012 ||2064 Views :: 0 Comments|
October 17, 2012
by Katie Heald
From Groundswell Blog
50 years ago today, the people of the world had no idea that the first steps of the Cuban Missile Crisis had begun, and the planet was about to be the closest that we have ever been to a global nuclear conflict.
For 13 days in October 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union were in a standoff over bases the Soviets had built in Cuba for nuclear missiles. For most people in the US, this was the first time they had to face the stark reality of the danger that nuclear weapons posed to the entire planet.
In 2012, the dangerous nature of nuclear weapons is no longer a secret. And though we have made progress in the last 50 years in reducing stockpiles, limiting testing, and halting much of the development of new weapons, there is still much work to be done. There are still over 20,000 nuclear weapons on our planet, and President Obama has an opportunity right now to make changes to US nuclear policy that could make the world a much safer place.
|published Friday, October 12, 2012 ||3359 Views :: 10 Comments|
Oct. 11, 2012
By Rob Pavey
From the Augusta Chronicle
Environmental groups asserted this week that design changes and other factors will add at least $2 billion to the cost of the government’s mixed oxide project at Savannah River Site.
The one-of-a-kind MOX plant, which has been under construction six years, is designed to dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium by blending small amounts with uranium to make fuel rods for commercial power reactors – a process that forever renders the plutonium unusable for weapons.
In joint comments responding to a revised supplemental environmental impact statement addressing changes in the MOX program, 40 environmental groups said updated budget figures are needed – both for construction and operating costs.
|published Thursday, October 11, 2012 ||2812 Views :: 1 Comments|
October 11, 2012
Yesterday, the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA), in conjunction with over 40 other public interest organizations, submitted comments
opposing the MOX plutonium fuel program to the Department of Energy (DOE). The Mixed Oxide Plutonium fuel, or MOX, program would dispose of surplus weapons plutonium by turning it into experimental plutonium fuel (MOX). The groups oppose MOX for both fiscal and technical reasons and instead endorse preparation of a new analysis to review cheaper and safer options to manage plutonium as nuclear waste.
The groups’ comments were submitted as part of the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Draft SEIS) on plutonium disposition
. The Draft SEIS is required by the National Environmental Policy Act before the MOX program can move ahead. The comments focus on DOE’s poorly formulated plan for testing experimental MOX fuel and for its use in commercial nuclear power reactors. The cost of DOE’s plutonium fuel program, which has been poorly received by utilities, has soared, with about $17.5 billion yet to be spent. This figure is more than three times the cost of disposing of plutonium as nuclear waste.
|published Monday, October 01, 2012 ||2799 Views :: 1 Comments|
September 28, 2012
By John Severance
The folks in charge of building the Chemistry Metallurgy Research Replacement facility are acting like the project will be deferred for five years.
That may be the case or maybe not.
The House and Senate Armed Service Committees put funding in for the project for the FY13 budget, but a continuing resolution passed by Congress last week earmarked no funding for the CMRR-NF.
In fact, Steve Fong of the Los Alamos Site Office who helped run the project said $120 million of the $200 million in funding earmarked for the project has returned to Washington.