Monday, March 9, 2009

GNEP: Another high crime by the Bush Administration

March 9th, 2009

Dear Readers,

If colluding with a corrupt foreign-government-owned "business" to suck an estimated ONE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS from the taxpayers to begin a nuclear proliferation project in the guise of nuclear NON-proliferation isn't a high crime, what, pray tell, is?

GNEP, which stands for Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, is an invention of the Bush Administration. The most significant partner all along has been the French Government, in the corporate form of AREVA, which was cobbled together from several failing French nuclear companies (and a few other things they could grab so they could look green).

GNEP aims to build a taxpayer-funded reprocessing plant for spent nuclear fuel, even though reprocessing would violate U.S. law and pollute wherever it happened. GNEP would allow the failing commercial nuclear industry to go on polluting and generating yet more waste.

GNEP was first announced in 2006, when the U.S. Department of Energy, under Vice President Dick Cheney's control and as part of his secret energy group's secret plan, released their concept -- already well-formed and just needing money -- tens of billions of dollars to start. Areva's executive roster included, at least for a time, a former member of Dick Cheney's own energy team, so they knew exactly what to expect from the Bush Administration.

But things have changed, and Areva is running out of money -- in fact, they may even be bankrupt by the time you read this. If so, they'll walk away from environmental damage in hundreds of locations around the world. (And their proposed fuel fabrication plant in Piketon, Ohio is also obviously unnecessary, and needs to be stopped, too.) AREVA can and should go bankrupt. What then? Do we just keep making more waste anyway, even when "plan B" (and C, and D, and E, etc.) fails, along with "Plan A" (Yucca Mountain)?

We have a chance to stop GNEP by submitting comments regarding GNEP's Preliminary Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). Comments are due March 16th, 2009 (see below for more information). Stopping GNEP will go a long way towards crippling the nuclear industry, especially their plans for new reactors, because it would highlight the lack of a waste disposal solution.

Steven Chu, Obama's Energy Secretary, recently stopped nearly all progress on Yucca Mountain, which is good, but he doesn't have a better idea, which is bad. Canceling Yucca Mountain means that unless some form of "reprocessing" happens, all spent nuclear reactor fuel will surely continue to be stored unsafely on site where it is created, and that's why the nuclear industry and their friends in government favor GNEP.

GNEP supposedly offers an alternative to long-term storage of nuclear waste. The spin is to call it a "closed cycle" system of reprocessing and reusing nuclear waste. In reality, GNEP just compounds the problem.

GNEP would produce nuclear fuel called MOX, which is made from reprocessed nuclear waste. MOX is more hazardous than regular "fresh" reactor fuel from virgin uranium, because of all the impurities created during its previous use, which are never completely removed.

MOX itself cannot be recycled a second time, so it's not really much of a recycling program. But they like the term -- it sounds green.

Creating MOX is both expensive and very polluting. The byproduct from creating MOX is a horrendous trail of deadly vapors, liquids, partially-solidified radioactive sludge with frighteningly-more radioactive hotspots, crystallized crap with cracks and quap leaking out, and -- perhaps worst of all -- recycled metals which end up (somehow; it's always a mystery to the nuclear industry how this happens) as children's dental braces and titanium craniums.

Some of the waste from MOX production is poured into the oceans, on the pretend assumption that diluting nuclear waste renders it harmless (which is wrong), that it doesn't accumulate in various places on the sea bed (which is wrong), that it isn't taken up by living organisms and then concentrated up the food chain (which is wrong), and that infinitesimal amounts cannot cause the full spectrum of health effects (they can, albeit at lower rates, the lower the dose, in what is now almost universally believed to be a linear progression).

The rest of the MOX waste is stored improperly. You know it's improper because there is no such thing as safe storage of nuclear waste.

The attempts to clean up the waste from the Cold War at Hanford, Washington are a good indication of what will happen to the waste from GNEP. (Hanford is the most polluted site in the Western Hemisphere.) Originally, GNEP was going to be built at the Savannah River Site in Georgia. It is currently being promoted for construction at Hanford.

This author never supported Yucca Mountain because it was not a proper nuclear waste storage method -- unsafe and impractical. And every little bit that spills, kills.

But the problem with stopping Yucca Mountain is that there is no alternative.

One should remember that of the estimated $10 billion dollars already put into studying Yucca Mountain specifically (really, a lot more, I suspect, but they're calling it that), some of it went into possible alternatives to Yucca Mountain. The scientific team was NOT told they could not consider alternatives. Their job was to find the BEST SOLUTION POSSIBLE within time, budget, and other constraints, one of which was LOCATION. Same thing, different place wasn't allowed. But anything else, even in a different place, was, and yet the Yucca Mountain scientists STILL couldn't come up with a better plan.

So what is Steven Chu actually offering? He's NOT offering to shut the nuclear reactors down, despite the fact that they are old, dirty, leaking, and most will cost billions just to replace the parts that are known to be failing -- let alone the potential cost of NOT replacing any critical components. He's not offering any way to get out of our current dilemma. Dry cask storage is extremely dangerous and was NEVER intended to be a long-term solution. Not one community was convinced to allow it to start without being told it was temporary -- "only until Yucca Mountain opens" we were each told. And we tried to say, "but Yucca Mountain will probably never open, and shouldn't -- it's a boondoggle!" but we were always assured that Yucca Mountain would solve the nuclear industry's waste problem. What's a few dry casks for a few years? But a few dry casks turned into dozens, then hundreds, and a few years turned into dozens, and will turn into hundreds, too.

There IS NO OTHER SOLUTION besides Yucca Mountain. GNEP is terrible and doesn't even help. If Chu can kill Yucca Mountain, shouldn't he feel obligated to shut down the nuclear industry, since it is unsustainable? It doesn't generate anything of value for America if all its costs and liabilities are properly included. Shut 'em down NOW!

Instead, Chu and the DOE are pushing GNEP, apparently just so the public won't realize what a dead end nuclear power really is, and how corrupt it makes our government officials.

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

From: Hanford Watch #1709:

There are 3 messages in this issue.

Topics in this digest:

From: Leo Leonardo

2. ARID LANDS - 03-30-2009
From: Leo Leonardo

3. Fw: Nuclear waste coming soon to an interstate near you
From: Lynn Porter

Posted by: "Leo Leonardo"
Date: Fri Mar 6, 2009 9:08 am ((PST))


There are only 10 days left for you to comment on
the proposal to double nuclear power and to dispose of more
nuclear waste at Hanford. This is the Energy
Department's Global Nuclear Energy Partnership Programmatic Environmental
Impact Statement (GNEP PEIS).

You remember, that plan to double nuclear power in
the U.S. while adding
dangerous waste to Hanford,
putting nuclear trucks on the road, and risking nuclear weapons proliferation.
This is your final opportunity to let USDOE know that it has completely failed
to address the risks to the environment and human health from its plan.

­ The EIS does not identify
the quantities of wastes that will be produced by GNEP and added to Hanford and other sites.

- The EIS does not evaluate
the risks of a foreseeable accident or terrorist attack involving one of the
many trucks that would carry spent nuclear fuel through the Northwest and

- The EIS does not adequately
evaluate the proliferation risks presented by "reprocessing" spent nuclear fuel
to extract plutonium and uranium that could be used in bomb-making.

- Finally, the EIS plays an inappropriate
game of "hide the ball," analyzing risks only at hypothetical sites. The EIS
fails to evaluate the environmental impacts of proceeding with GNEP based on a Hanford site-specific
proposal. USDOE solicited and paid Hanford contractor TRIDEC
for this proposal.

Please, please make it clear to the Obama
administration that GNEP should have left with the Bush Administration. Submit
your FINAL comments by March 16th to USDOE. You
can submit comments: Electronically:


Mr. Francis Schwartz, GNEP PEIS document manager

Office of Nuclear Energy (NE-5), U.S. Department
of Energy

Independence Ave, SW

Washington, D.C. 20585-0119

your commenting:

Thank you for making your voice heard to oppose
doubling nuclear power and oppose more than doubling nuclear waste in the U.S.!
Windows Live™ Contacts: Organize your contact list.!503D1D86EBB2B53C!2285.entry?ocid=TXT_TAGLM_WL_UGC_Contacts_032009

Messages in this topic (1)
2. ARID LANDS - 03-30-2009
Posted by: "Leo Leonardo"
Date: Fri Mar 6, 2009 9:27 am ((PST))

ARID LANDS upcoming screening of movie on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Please join us on Monday, March 30 at 7 PM at the First UU
Church at SW 12th and Main, Portland,
Oregon, for a screening of Arid Lands, a locally made award winning video on Hanford Nuclear
Reservation. Gerry Polett, ED of Heart of America
will talk about the future of Hanford and
upcoming opportunities for comment on Hanford as
USDOE issues additional Environmental Impact Statements regarding nuclear waste
at Hanford.
Arid Lands screening is being sponsored by Alliance for
Democracy, Community for Earth of the First Unitarian
Church, and Heart of
America Northwest. Hope to see you on March 30.

Windows Live™ Groups: Create an online spot for your favorite groups to meet.

Messages in this topic (1)
3. Fw: Nuclear waste coming soon to an interstate near you
Posted by: "Lynn Porter" lynnporter97401
Date: Fri Mar 6, 2009 5:37 pm ((PST))

Also see -- L.P.

----- Original Message -----
From: Flights of Thought
Sent: Friday, March 06, 2009 7:47 AM
Subject: Nuclear waste coming soon to an interstate near you

Action needed, please send your opinion to the DOE before March 16, 2009.
This is a nationwide concern, not just those of us in Oregon and
Washington. Highly radioactive shipments will traverse the country via rail
and interstates if this plan goes through.
This article and related links archived here: and copied
below for your convenience.

Nuclear waste coming soon to an interstate near you.

By Jack Dresser

Pasco, Wash., is an exceptionally clean, well-kept little city. But as many
unhappy homeowners and investors now realize, when something looks too
good, you'd better look more closely. Pasco is the gateway to the most
contaminated nuclear site in the Western Hemisphere. We attended a U.S.
Department of Energy hearing there last Nov. 17, and another the following
night in Hood River.

Sixteen years ago Portland General Electric shut down Trojan, Oregons only
nuclear power plant. In 2005, the Trojan reactor vessel and other
radioactive equipment were removed, encased, barged upstream, and buried in
a 45-foot deep pit at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation along the Columbia
River and its salmon spawning grounds. Our radioactive leftovers joined
Hanfords 44-year repository as the nations nuclear dumpster.

When decommissioned in 1987, Hanford held two-thirds of the nation's
high-level radioactive waste stored in 177 underground tanks. These have
been leaking into the groundwater and the river despite a massively funded,
19-year cleanup effort.

The Nov. 17 hearing presented a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement
on the Energy Department's earlier proposal to develop a Global Nuclear
Energy Partnership presented in May, 2007 at the same locations.
The DOE snuck in its mandated hearings far from our population centers,
with short and little notice. For good reason.

Under the GNEP plan, nuclear fuel would be produced in the U.S. and other
advanced nuclear nations through a reprocessing technology that is yet to
be developed. The cost is undisclosed but substantial. Nuclear fuel would
be provided to developing countries for their nuclear energy development.
In return, we would receive their waste for further reprocessing, an
international recycling system that would keep the big boys in control of
weapons-grade nuclear material production. The DOE claims the reprocessing
site isn't yet selected, but the inside word is that its Hanford.

Most of the waste would be shipped by truck or train through Oregon,
primarily along the Interstate 5 and Interstate 84 corridors.

We also attended the earlier hearing, at which local teenagers told us they
couldn't swim in the Columbia River or eat the fish they caught. We read
the local paper. Despite years of cleanup research and billions of dollars
spent, the sources of groundwater contamination still haven't been identified.

We know we're at least close to one major source, a DOE groundwater
geologist stated in a Tri-Cities Herald story. If we can find the source,
we can clean it up.

Another Herald story the following day reported that Hanford workers have
moved enough radioactive waste through two- and three-inch underground
pipes in recent months at the tank farms to fill six Olympic-size swimming
pools. These fields of underground tanks, the story continued, hold 53
million gallons of some of Hanford's worst waste contaminated with
high-level radiation and hazardous chemicals.

In contrast to the local news, the deceptively soothing DOE handouts had
brief and carefully worded descriptions, touting nuclear as an energy
source that doesn't pollute the air (never mind the Earth and water). And
its proposed system will allegedly be proliferation-resistant (not
proliferation-secure), making nuclear materials nearly impossible (not
impossible) to divert without detection. They were clearly hedging their
pledges, and it wasn't reassuring.

The newly released PEIS addresses areas of controversy, acknowledging
irreducible uncertainties.

Can we afford these uncertainties on trucks loaded with nuclear materials
rolling through Eugene and Portland on I-5 during rain, snow, fog and
rush-hour congestion? The PEIS estimates as many as 35,000 truck shipments
per year under one plan, with an average shipping distance of 2,100 miles.

The impact statement also estimates the latent cancer fatalities based
upon population densities along the selected routes for incident-free
transport, meaning the radiation cannot be fully contained and insulated
from the public.

Unsurprisingly, the PEIS sidesteps the probabilities of accident and
intentional destructive acts (e.g., terrorist opportunism), and the
possible consequences upon those of us who happen to be in the vicinity.
Since this hearing, we read of the truck accident in Eastern Oregon that spilled radiological waste from medical laboratories headed for Hanford.

The GNEP proposal can be viewed at Our governor has
announced his opposition to the plan, and it is important that the DOE hear
from as many potentially affected Oregonians as possible. To
comment, call Francis Schwartz toll-free at (866) 645-7803 or send a fax to
(866) 489-1891. To e-mail comments, go to, search for
Francis Schwartz, see Draft Global Nuclear Energy Partnership
Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement and click on Send a comment
or submission. Comments must be received by March 16, 2009.

Our testimony at the Hood River hearing, and those of numerous highly
informed, articulate Oregonians, can be viewed at our Web site, here:

Jack Dresser, a former Army psychologist and a behavioral research
scientist, is a member of Veterans for Peace. He lives in the McKenzie
Valley near Springfield.

published 3/4/09:

(WEBMASTERS NOTE: the full link to submit your comments online is here:


Ace Hoffman
Author, The Code Killers: An Expose
Carlsbad, CA