Wolf River WI to be targeted by nuclear waste dump?
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SAMPLE RESOLUTION ON NUCLEAR WASTE IN WISCONSIN
In the mid 1980's, before designation of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as an underground nuclear waste repository site, Wisconsin's Wolf River Batholith received close scrutiny by the Department of Energy (DOE), and was ranked second for a national high-level radioactive waste site. The Wolf river Batholith underlies much of Waupaca, Portage, Shawano, Marathon, Menominee, Langlade and Oconto counties. Truck and/or rail shipment of radioactive waste to a site, and away from existing nuclear power plants at Point Beach and Kewaunee, would impact the entire state.
Federal law requires designation of a second national site, east of the Mississippi, by 2007, and Wisconsin's granite bedrock is likely to be reconsidered. Nuclear waste contains the byproducts of the splitting of atoms in a nuclear reactor: radioisotopes which remain cancer-causing for over 250,000 years. Despite designation of Yucca Mountain in Nevada as a high-level waste dumpsite, no proven method of isolating these wastes from water and the environment for the necessary time span exists.
Whereas: Wisconsin is home to vital and vulnerable fresh water resources, and the Great Lakes area contains 20% of the world's freshwater resources, and
Whereas: Nuclear reactors enervate an average of 60,000 pounds of high-level radioactive waste each year, and,
Whereas: Studies of nuclear bomb-test fallout patterns show a correlation between low levels of dietary radiation and the incidence of leukemia and other cancers,
Now therefore be it resolved that_____________________________states its opposition to the production and storage of radioactive waste in Wisconsin, now and in the future, and hereby calls upon the Legislature and Wisconsin utilities to aggressively pursue a clean energy strategy to assure a clean and renewable energy future for Wisconsin, without future dependence on environmentally harmful and coal and nuclear plants.
And be it further resolved that no new nuclear plants be constructed in the state, that the current state statutes regarding nuclear plant siting, which specifically prohibit construction of new nuclear reactors without proof of financial competitiveness with alternatives, and without an operating and licensed federal repository, be upheld by the legislature
News ReleaseFor Immediate Release February 24, 2004
Citizens Rally to Oppose AB 555, Call for Clean, Safe Energy Solutions
Madison--Citizens rallied today to oppose Assembly Bill 555, the bill that would remove common sense consumer and safety protections from the state's nuclear law.
"Nuclear power is not safe, not clean, and not cheap. We don't want new nuclear power in Wisconsin!" said Alfred Meyer, executive director of the Madison chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility.
According to State Representative Frank Boyle (Superior), "Assembly Bill 555 is a serious threat to Wisconsin."
Repeal of Wisconsin's nuclear law is being strongly opposed by state environmental and consumer organizations. AB 555 would take away two common sense requirements that must be met before a new nuclear reactor is built in Wisconsin. These requirements are:
"Nuclear power hasn't been taken off the table by decision makers. It continues to be discussed to this day. The only conditions that the nuclear industry has to meet are common sense requirements that protect our families and our future," said Caryl Terrell of the Sierra Club.
State Representative Spencer Black (Madison) told the crowd, "Wisconsin needs clean, safe, environmentally responsible energy."
Nuclear power plants generate a waste that is so toxic it must be isolated from the environment for thousands of years. More than a half-century after the nuclear power industry began, a solution for high level nuclear waste disposal has still not been found.
"The Bush Energy plan calls for 50 new nuclear reactors by 2020 but we still don't have a good place to safely store nuclear waste. Weakening our public protection laws puts our state in jeopardy," said Claire Schmidt of Clean Wisconsin.
By 2010, the volume of nuclear waste in the U.S. is expected to exceed storage capacity at the still unlicensed nuclear waste dump in Yucca Mountain, Nevada. If new reactors are constructed or if existing reactors are re-licensed, it is certain that the federal government will again investigate the granite underlying the Wolf River area in northern Wisconsin as a permanent storage site for the nation's nuclear waste, as it did in the 1980s.
"Building new reactors would add to the mountain of waste already in the country, and would make Wisconsin's Wolf River area the primary target for the U.S. Department of Energy's second national dump. The Yucca Mountain dump proposal would risk shipping high-level radioactive wastes on Lake Michigan and through downtown Milwaukee, only to bury the waste in a leaky earthquake zone above a drinking water supply on Native American land in Nevada," said Kevin Kamps, Nuclear Waste Specialist for the Nuclear Information and Resource Service in Washington, D.C.
Speakers congratulated Wisconsin for its long history of protecting the public from nuclear accidents. Long-time anti-nuclear activist Cassandra Dixon told the crowd, "Twenty years ago, citizen activists-farmers, retired teachers, homemakers and the like-defeated the proposed construction of nuclear plants, and the Department of Energy's plan to store thousands of tons of radioactive waste in Wisconsin. Our job is clear. As caring citizens we must let our elected leaders know that Wisconsin still demands safe, clean, affordable energy for our children's sake."
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has estimated that a severe nuclear accident at the Kewaunee nuclear plant near Green Bay could cause $47 billion in property damage. According to the NRC, a severe nuclear accident at Point Beach Unit 1 could cause $41 Billion in property damage, and $44 Billion in property damage could result from a severe accident at Point Beach Unit 2. The NRC has issued the operator of the Point Beach nuclear plant 2 RED findings, its most serious safety ranking, for violations involving reactor emergency cooling systems. Point Beach has received half of the RED findings the NRC has issued to the 104 licensed nuclear plants in the U.S.
"Only four "red" findings for the most serious safety failures have been issued in the U.S. Two of them went to Point Beach owners, Wisconsin Electric Power Co," warned John LaForge of Nukewatch.
Transporting nuclear waste in Wisconsin puts human health and the environment at risk. If the Yucca Mountain, Nevada federal dump opens, radioactive waste will be shipped through Wisconsin communities, including Milwaukee, Beloit, Sheboygan, Green Bay and LaCrosse. The federal Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that there will be more than 100,000 shipments of nuclear waste nation-wide over 38 years. During this time span the DOE estimates that there will be 66 truck accidents and 10 rail accidents. Independent transportation experts estimate even higher numbers. Increasing the amount of nuclear waste means increasing the potential for serious nuclear waste transportation accidents in Wisconsin communities and rural areas.
Speakers at the rally warned about the connections between nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. "Expansion of nuclear power and waste is directly connected to the Bush administration's nuclear weapons strategy," said Don Kliese of Veterans for Peace Chapter 25.
Judy Miner of the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice told the crowd, "We are part of a coalition of groups here today to lobby and rally against the construction of new nuclear reactors in our beautiful state. We promote renewable, sustainable energy sources: wind, solar and energy conservation."
The legislature can act on this bill starting today until the end of the legislative session's last floor period, on March 11, 2004. For more information, go to www.wnwd.org, Wisconsin's Nuclear Watchdog.
Wednesday, August 6, 2002
The U.S. Senate approved the high-level nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, on July 9, 2002, by a 60-39 vote. (Sen. Kohl voted yes; Sen. Feingold voted no). The U.S. Department of Energy studied the Wolf River Batholith in northeastern Wisconsin for a similar underground high-level radioactive dump in the early 1980s (Dames & Moore report 1980). A batholith is a huge body of igneous (volcanic) rock that solidified under that Earth but now is exposed. The Wisconsin Radioactive Waste Review Board studied the issue for many years, and dump opponents focused on concerns about potential cracks in the granite bedrock, which would allow the area's plentiful water to leak onto the hot wastes.
If Yucca Mountain runs out of storage capacity in 2034, the Wolf River Batholith could be reconsidered as a secondary site. Many of the same Wolf River-area residents who opposed the dump in the 1980s are now fighting the proposed Crandon metallic mine in the river's headwaters. They have joined together sportfishing groups, Native American tribes, tourism interests and environmentalists. They would certainly reactivate their strong alliance to stop a new nuclear waste dump.
On July 2, President Bush appointed U.W.- Madison engineering physics professor Michael L. Corradini chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, the body which oversees disposal of nuclear waste.
Group lobbies against nuclear waste site
July 2, 2002
La Crosse Tribune Newspaper
La Crosse, Wisconsin
By Steve Cahalan
At stops in La Crosse and Wausau, Wis., critics of the plan on Monday called for U.S. Sens. Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin to vote against a proposed federal nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, about 90 miles north of Las Vegas, Nev.
The House of Representatives recently voted to proceed with the Nevada site, and the Senate is expected to vote next week. The state of Nevada opposes the proposal.
Yucca Mountain is an inappropriate place to store nuclear waste because it is in an active earthquake zone and is above an aquifer that supplies drinking water to surrounding communities, members of Wisconsin's Environmental Decade and the Wisconsin chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility told reporters outside the La Crosse post office.
The group -- which also included Bob Halstead, an energy consultant who lives near Madison, and has been assisting the state of Nevada -- visited Feingold's office in Wausau on Monday morning and planned to visit Kohl's office in the La Crosse post office building after talking to reporters in the afternoon.
The Yucca Mountain site won't be large enough to handle all of the nation's nuclear waste, Halstead said in an interview. If the Nevada site is approved, he said, ``The industry is going to read this as a green light'' to develop more nuclear power plants.
Halstead said the Wolf River Batholith granite bedrock in north central Wisconsin might find itself being considered once again for a nuclear waste site, as it was in the 1980s. ``If Yucca Mountain is the first repository and it's in the West, then they may very likely look for a site that isn't in the West, both for regional equity and to cut down the transportation mileage,'' Halstead said.
Halstead said the nation should at least take another 10 years to re-examine what its nuclear power and nuclear waste policy will be. If the waste was kept at current sites for 50 years, it would lose much of its radioactivity and be safer to move, he said.
Existing waste storage sites should be made more secure, and the waste should stay there ``until we really come up with an adequate plan,'' said Alfred Meyer, executive director of the Madison based Wisconsin chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility.
``We are very concerned about transportation issues,'' Meyer said. If the nuclear waste is moved through cities on its way to Nevada, it would be ``a terrorist's dream,'' he said. ``They just need to know the trucking schedule and be on the right overpass,'' he said.
The Bush administration and the nuclear industry have tried to tout the Yucca Mountain project as the end of the nation's nuclear waste problem, ``but this is deceiving given their plans to build more plants and create more waste for generations to come,'' said Jennifer Jankowski of Wisconsin's Environ mental Decade.
Moving spent nuclear fuel to the Yucca Mountain repository is very important to Dairyland Power Cooperative of La Crosse, spokeswoman Deb Mirasola said later Monday. Until the spent fuel is removed, Dairyland cannot fully decommission the nuclear power station near Genoa, Wis., that it shut down in 1987.
If Congress increases the 70,000metric-ton storage limit for Yucca Mountain and future technologies make it possible to reduce the mass of the material, the repository could be the only one the nation would ever need, Mirasola said, citing information from the Nuclear Energy Institute.
It costs Dairyland members $4.5 million a year for security, maintenance and monitoring of the Genoa site, Mirasola said.
It is among 16 shutdown nuclear plants in 10 states, Mirasola said. ``Centralization of spent fuel management and security for these sites' spent fuel is clearly in the national interest and the best interest of our member cooperatives,'' she said.
About 45,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel is stored at 131 sites in 39 states, often in containers not designed for long-term storage, Mirasola said. ``It makes sense from an environmental, security and economic perspective to have one safe, secure, scientifically designed site in a remote area, rather than a patchwork of shortterm storage locations scattered throughout the nation,'' she said.
STATEMENT OF US SENATOR RUSS FEINGOLD
Ojibway * Oneida * Potawatomi * Stockbridge-Munsee
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