|published Monday, April 22, 2013 ||542 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 Wednesday, February 20, 2013 ||981 Views :: 0 Comments|
By Renee Parsons
The Huffington Post
As automatic sequestration budget cuts loom, the Department of Energy has managed to keep a $5 billion plutonium plant alive - just barely. According to an Office of Budget and Management proposed budget, funding for the controversial Mixed Oxide (MOX) fuel program would be cut 75 percent with no justification for not pursuing an outright cancellation.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union ending the Cold War in 1990, the United States was faced with the dilemma of discarding a stockpile of dismantled nuclear warheads containing tons of lethal plutonium, leftovers from a frenzied arms-race with Russia that fabricated thousands of unnecessary budget-busting nuclear weapons, warheads and bombs since the end of WW II.
|published Tuesday, November 27, 2012 ||2990 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 Monday, November 26, 2012 ||1848 Views :: 0 Comments|
By the Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board
Nov 25, 2012
It’s past time to take a hard look at what to do with the U.S. agency that manages the nation’s nuclear weapons complex.
In a rare bit of bipartisan common sense, New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat, and Sen. Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican who is retiring at the end of the year, have introduced an amendment to the pending Defense Authorization Bill seeking to establish an advisory panel to take just such a look at the National Nuclear Security Administration.
Udall wants the panel to come up with ways to reform the NNSA, which is responsible for the security of the nation’s nuclear weapons, nuclear nonproliferation and naval reactor programs. It oversees the U.S. nuclear laboratories, including Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. Together they employ about 20,000 people here.
The New Mexico labs and other NNSA installations have been plagued with untenable cost overruns, spiraling budgets and bureaucracies mired in red tape.
|published Friday, October 26, 2012 ||2570 Views :: 0 Comments|
Oct 26, 2012
By John Fleck
From the Albuquerque Journal North
After more than seven years’ work and $213 million, the new security system at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s most important nuclear weapons manufacturing site doesn’t work.
A lab spokesman acknowledged the project suffered from construction problems, and an internal government memo suggests longstanding concerns by the federal government about the way Los Alamos has managed the project.
The project, intended to provide tighter security at the lab’s Technical Area 55, where plutonium research is done and nuclear bomb parts are made, was scheduled to be finished early next year. Instead, it will be delayed indefinitely.
|published Friday, October 12, 2012 ||3423 Views :: 0 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 ||2861 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 ||2836 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.
|published Tuesday, August 28, 2012 ||3230 Views :: 4 Comments|
For Immediate Release: August 28, 2012
Memo Urges DOE to Remove Bechtel as the Design Authority, Warning Bechtel “is not competent to complete their role”
Seattle, WA: Hanford Challenge today released a high-ranking Director’s memorandum that urges termination of the key duties of government contractor, Bechtel National, Inc. (“Bechtel”; “BNI”). A litany of charges question whether Bechtel should continue its role at the Hanford nuclear site, including a long history of incompetence, misleading the government, overcharging, and unsafe designs.
The memo states, “[t]he number and significance of these issues indicate that Bechtel National Inc. is not competent to complete their role as the Design Authority for the WTP [Waste Treatment Plant], and it is questionable that BNI can provide a contract-compliant design as Design Agent.”
The memo continues, noting that “[t]he behavior and performance of Bechtel Engineering places unnecessarily high risk that the WTP design will not be effectively completed...”
|published Thursday, August 23, 2012 ||3331 Views :: 1 Comments|
For immediate Release: August 23, 2012
Alliance for Nuclear Accountability
Tom Clements, ANA, Columbia,SC, tel. 803-834-3084
Katherine Fuchs, ANA,Washington, DC, tel. 202-544-0217, ext. 2503
Columbia, SC - A presentation to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on experimental Mixed Oxide plutonium fuel (MOX) made from surplus weapons reveals a major hurdle for the MOX program at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site. On August 8, NRC staff inthe preliminary stages of licensing MOX plutonium fuel was informed by Global Nuclear Fuels (GNF) that MOX intended for use in boiling water reactors (BWRs) would need to undergo extensive testing, delaying full-scale MOX production and use.
|Brown's ferry reactor in AL, where the DOE plans to use MOX|
GNF, which makes BWR fuel at its facility in Wilmington, North Carolina, revealed that its licensing plan involves testing sixteen “lead use assemblies” (LUAs) between 2016 and 2025. MOX made from weapons-grade plutonium has never been tested or used in a BWR and the NRC agreed that such MOX was a “new fuel form” requiring multi-year testing in a reactor. During this test period, no commercial BWR MOX use could take place.
This news comes just as the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) conducts a series of hearings on its MOX plans, which fail to address GNF’s extended testing schedule for the new fuel. At the first hearing on the DOE’s Draft Surplus Plutonium Disposition Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Draft SEIS), in Los Alamos, NM Alliance for Nuclear Accountability Director Susan Gordon stated “No MOX plant operational schedule is presented, no plan or schedule for MOX testing in [Tennessee ValleyAuthority] or "generic" reactors is presented and no schedule for full-scale use of MOX is presented. Therefore, no Record of Decision can be issued.”