13 Nov 2015

The USA Department of Energy-Office of Environmental Management (DoE/EM) is proud to announce its new process of “Vitrification” for high level Liquid nuclear waste. This news release is difficult to understand fully for most of our readers because of its complexity and omitted information. We have attempted to make it understandable by most people, so please bear with us. Given the magnitude of the world-wide problem of long term disposal of high level nuclear waste, this is an important article.

WEST VALLEY, N.Y. located about 35 miles south of Buffalo. For the first time in U.S. history, High-Level (nuclear) Waste (HLW) was placed in long-term, outdoor storage.   The unprecedented accomplishment occurred in the cleanup at the West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP).   The liquid waste, which has been immobilized in glass in the vitrification process, is being relocated from the site’s main plant process building to an interim storage pad so that pre-demolition activities can take place within the building.    WVDP was once the site of the first and only commercial nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the U.S; now it is an environmental cleanup and waste management project.


Bryan Bower EM WVDP Director said: “I could not be more proud of this team…This effort is a culmination of four years’ work to begin the safe removal of the high-level waste canisters from the former reprocessing facility, allowing for the eventual demolition of the building.”

Paul Bembia, Director for NYSERDA’s West Valley Site Management Program said: “The relocation of the high-level radioactive waste to the new interim storage facility is a significant step forward in the cleanup effort at the West Valley Site…This is yet another major accomplishment from the dedicated and talented workforce at the West Valley Demonstration (Prototype)Project.”

David Brown, CHBWV project manager for the High-Level Waste Project said. “The workers have dedicated the past four years working tirelessly to plan, construct, train, and operate the specialized equipment to perform this important work…This project is called the West Valley Demonstration (Prototype)Project, and once again this workforce demonstrated a first-of-its-kind operation.” 

This cleanup is conducted by The office of Environmental Managemt (EM) in cooperation with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley, LLC (CHBWV) is EM’s contractor for WVDP. In 1972, commercial nuclear fuel reprocessing ceased in the Main Plant Process Building. Workers experimented with vitrified HLW from 1996 to 2002. They placed the waste into 275, 10-foot-tall canisters and stored them inside the building.

DESCRIPTION OF VITRIFIED LIQUID HLW NUCLEAR STORAGE CASKS. Each cask has a 4-inch-thick steel liner and 20 inches of steel-reinforced concrete. The five (5) -pack storage system design is based on “spent nuclear fuel dry cask storage systems”(that is what comes out of nuclear utility reactors worldwide) used in the USA. and around the world, with modifications for long-term storage of vitrified HLW.  The storage configuration of the HLW canisters is fully compliant with all state and federal regulations, and supports future off-site shipment of the HLW canisters. There will be 55 casks in total relocated to the interim storage pad at this facility.

West Valley, LLC (CHBWV) was awarded its contract in 2011, and since then it has completed extensive planning, design, construction, and building modification. They also purchased special transport equipment, which was required to transfer each 87.5-ton cask from the plant to the on-site storage pad.    In preparation for the demolition of the existing site, the first five (5) canisters were transferred to five (5)-compartment, stainless-steel over-packs inside vertical storage casks.   The vertical storage casks were fabricated on site, and 16 have been constructed. With a minimum design-life of 50 years.   Relocation of all HLW at the site is scheduled to be complete in 2018.

Nothing is said about particulars of the “Vitrification” process which may yet be proprietary or secret information. It has been in experimental development for many years, and we hope it will extend the HLW Cask life well beyond its current 50 year life span before “Re-casking” is necessary. Another mentioned, but not highlighted feature of this initiative is that it is intended for above ground storage. Recall that that we have often suggested that it is folly to store HLW in caverns because it will make inspection and maintenance virtually impossible if the underground permanent storage NLW should become contaminated. Remember Fukushima? Yeah! They can’t even get near the crap! Things are going from bad to worse there as HLW liquid, and solid waste continues to accumulate without an end in sight.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

References: Dry Cask of spent nuclear fuel  (high-level waste)

November 13, 2015 at 10:14 PM Comments (0)


 22 Dec 2014

On 7 Dec 2014, Regulators in New Mexico State fined the US government (US-DoE) Environmental Agency for over $54 million charging violations at a nuclear waste facility which resulted in a fire and two radiation leaks. Yea! Some “leaks” Hell! Two fires: one deep underground at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) an abandoned salt mine near Carlsbad. The other at the Los Alamos Laboratories, home of many low-level nuclear waste fires, recently and in the past (some of very significant magnitude).

NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR SUSANA MARTINEZ SAID: “The health and safety of New Mexicans will always be our priority and we have to hold federal agencies accountable for safe operations in the state” (My translation: Don’t mess with New Mexico, at least not anymore). Problem is: New Mexico is making it cheap for the US-DoE, Environmental Agency to continue their wrongdoings. You see, money they have! Our money!

THE NEW-MEXICO STATE ENVIRONMENT DEPT claims there were 37 violations of its hazardous waste permits on the part of the U.S. Department of Energy (US-DoE) Environmental Agency at its (WIPP) near Carlsbad, NM and another at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, NM; (just east of the WIPP) in separate nuclear incidents-both with significant long, and near term consequences.

CLEARLY BOTH INCIDENTS WERE THE RESULT OF SHODDY, INCOMPETENT, ACTIONS by “Nuclear Waste Partnership Inc” under contract to remediate both sites. We said it before, these people do not fully understand, or know what they have been contracted to do, or the dangers involved, and appear to be “milking the government”. The incident at the WIPP was so severe that the facility was declared off-limits for at least five (5) years or longer, and well into 2020. We believe such accidents have demonstrated the folly of underground nuclear waste storage; specially transuranic nuclear waste (what comes out of NPP reactors as “spent fuel”). Even when such high-level waste is “dry-casked” (Placed in very expensive stainless steel 20 foot tall thermos bottles) such high-level waste seldom stays put for more than 60 years, before it corrodes through the “casking” thus, necessitating “re-dry-casking” High –level (transuranic” radiation is pure hell!- A real Godzilla! (The Fukushima Dai No.1 NPP nuclear remediation crews know full well; just don’t ask TEPCO et-al, they lie a lot) The same dangers apply to the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository (In Nevada) which was never used, and legally declared dead. However, with a Republican controlled Congress, it might be resurrected, and subterranean storage reconsidered. Ah! The folly of it all! The cold indifference/ignorance of our politicians is inexplicable. They talk a good game yet even when they do something good, it is for the wrong reasons.

THE NEW MEXICO BILL OF PARTICULARS ALLEGES that US-DoE) Environmental Agency is to blame for “major procedural problems” that caused a badly maintained salt truck to ignite on 7 Feb 2014 at the WIPP, causing its probably permanent closure. Separately  a Los Alamos National Laboratory barrel of low-level waste ruptured and ignited a week later. The leak at the WIPP resulted in 22 workers being exposed to low levels of radiation, “Nuclear Waste Partnership”, the contractor that operates the facility, said: “Their exposure is not expected to pose any threat to their health”. New Mexico said that the response by the US-DoE Environmental Agency and the contractor was “less than adequate”. Hell! We think it was cavalier.

THE TOTAL BILL FOR “LESS THAN ADEQUATE CONTRACTOR PERFORMANCE”: U S-DoE Environmental Management Agency faces $17.7 million in fines for violations at the WIPP, and another $36.6 million for Los Alamos Lab violations. According to the U.S. DoE, the cost for initial recovery of the WIPP is estimated to be around $240 million (nearly five times what New Mexico seeks in fines-they are such wimps!). What are a few hundred million in the scope of the Contractors wrongdoing? -Just a spit in the ocean; after all our government just passed a one-plus trillion Dollar budget for 2015. Just to think what those millions could do to help our education system, and to help our promising students with the dilemma of College: is it worth the huge debt? Folks, our government is misplacing its fiscal priorities, there ain’t no doubt about it! Not in my mind anyhow.

A HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015! AND A HEARTFELT “THANK YOU” to our readers in all corners of the world. We sense growing public awareness (thanks in part to the Internet which binds us in many parts of the world), and that is translating to political /social activism. We hope 2015 will usher a greater sense of social responsibility on the part of our Citizenry, elected officials, businessmen and Industrialists as, well as a reduction in graft/corruption; but above all, let there be peace among us, and an renewed sense of: “live and let live” without regard to religion or political affiliations. To the very wealthy we say: You can take it to Switzerland or the Antilles, but you can’t take it with you when your maker calls. Be generous to the needy, for it is in giving that we receive.

Your Friend in Texas,

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)


December 22, 2014 at 5:54 AM Comments (31)


21 Nov 2114

On 18 Nov 2014, Allison Macfarlane the outgoing chair of the USA Nuclear Regulatory Commission(NRC) said that the Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) industry must finish making the safety changes required after a nuclear disaster in Japan, and that the Industry still faces many unresolved questions regarding where, and how, to store “spent nuclear fuel” even when existing NPPs close. Ms. Allison Macfarlane became Chair of the USA Nuclear Regulatory Commission in July 2012 after the tenure of former Chair Gregory Jaczko, whose management style was disliked by fellow commissioners and staffers. Macfarlane added that the NRC must follow-through on changes required after the 12 Mar 2011 Fukushima Dai-No.1 triple meltdown and subsequent explosions that flung debris and radiation into the world’s environment still considered by many as the world’s largest industrial tragedy in History. Japan may never recover from that tragedy. Its population continues to decline, and its monetary situation is in dire straits. To increase taxes now, or not-That is the question. There is no question in my mind the huge fortune already spent on a fruitless remediation at Fukushima; with no end in sight, is proving unbearable. MARK MY WORDS: In the future, humanity may use 12 Mar 2011 AF (After Fukushima) as “Year One, AF”, for that was the day Japan pissed in the bath water. Even so, the world still refuses to acknowledge the “spent-fuel cooling pond” problem for its magnitude, and horrific danger.

IN ATLANTA GEORGIA, MS. MACFARLANE SAID:”We as regulators need to do what we think is right…And if we think something is required, and this is something we’ve learned as a result of the Fukushima accident, we need to tell the industry to do it…I think this is new for the industry in general because they haven’t had nuclear construction in this country for so long…It’s crazy to decommission plants under operating reactor rules. We do it, it’s safe … But I think it would be better for everyone; it would be better for the industry, better for us, and better for the public if we had rules that were specific to decommissioning facilities.” Ms Macfarlane added that the NRC will need new rules for power companies (NPP Operators) that are taking existing NPPs offline because the facilities are no longer viewed as economic.

THREE (3) GOOD DISPOSITIONS WERE APPROVED BY THE USA NRC: 1.The nuclear industry has set up centers in Memphis, TN and Phoenix, AZ that can quickly send emergency gear to a stricken plant. 2. Some plants will install vents meant to prevent (hydrogen) explosions during extreme accidents. 3. Regulators are reviewing updated earthquake and flooding hazard assessments for plants across the country. How much good, if any will result, remains to be seen. Many of the USA’s NPPs are known to be located in dangerous locations for many reasons. Their elimination should be a priority for the NRC.

THE REAL PROBLEM CONTINUES TO BE “SPENT-NUCLEAR (TRANSURANIC) FUEL, and its disposition. Since Fukushima, the world has become aware, and concerned that accidental water loss in a cooling pool (about 100 such in the USA, and 1,000 worldwide) could cause the transuranic spent fuel to overheat, potentially combust/create a self-sustaining nuclear reaction, and release huge amounts of transuranic radiation. Even so, NRC staffers have concluded that the cost of placing spent fuel in special casks (Dry-casking) outweighs the safety gains from removing it from the cooling pools. A majority of the NRC’s commissioners agreed. Naturally! Their main concern is to save the NPP Industry money, and to hell with all other concerns! Macfarlane said “the issue deserved more study” (She is not buying that rationale). Earlier this year (2014), Macfarlane lost a vote on whether spent nuclear fuel should be removed more quickly from water-filled storage pools (we suppose Dry-casked). After used nuclear fuel is removed from a reactor, it must be cooled in water for several years, but we are speaking of 40 to 60 years accumulation in some places. The USA government promised to dispose of  spent nuclear fuel, but it never has; As a result, spent fuel continues to accumulate in pools. It appears it is so all over the world: If safety costs the nuclear Industry money, fo-get it!

EVEN THE NRC COMMISSIONERS ARE MIFFED BY CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS. They now face a radically changed market. Just a few years ago, the utility NPP Industry anticipated building a wave of new NPPs; However, in the USA Oil field shale fracking has produced an over abundance of Nat Gas as a Power plant fuel in the USA. Perhaps that is why at this time, only three NPPs (trapped midstream of history- permit wise) are being built: One-each in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. They are now struggling with the added cost of stricter quality control rules. They probably wish they had never started such projects, but let us remember: 10 years to construct a NPP was the norm, and that is a huge cost of capital! A natural gas utility can be built in less than 3 years (depending upon generating capacity) at a fraction of the cost, plus Nat gas is only half as polluting as coal, and is now very available at least in the USA.  To these economic reasons not to build NPPs, we must add the reduced use of electricity achieved by conservation, and the very significant in-roads of green energy such as solar-cell farms, and the ubiquitous wind-driven turbines. Oh yes! there is a significant change in energy generation, utilization, and conservation visible all around us. We are happy to see it!

MACFARLANE, A GEOLOGIST BY PROFESSION, will start teaching on 1 Jan 2015 at George Washington University. We wish her well. For over two years, she patiently Chaired a nuclear industry controlled Commission that talked and investigated a great deal, and has clearly dragged its feet to this day, in order to do what they were lobbied to do-nothing. One can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink! Not in Texas anyway.

ENTER – YUCCA MOUNTAIN NEVADA NUCLEAR WASTE REPOSITORY (AGAIN) Background: During the recently held “mid-term” USA Congress and Senate elections, power shifted in the USA Senate, and there are rumors that since Sen Reid, D-NV, will no longer be the Senate majority leader in 2015, the incoming Republican controlled Senate may re-open consideration of Yucca Mountain as the Central USA Nuclear waste repository (WIPP if you will). The issue is a thorny one because; if not in Nevada, and not in New Mexico, where? I am angered by rumors that north Texas may be the location of an above ground repository – (NIMBY). Problem is, Present Texas Gov Rick Perry will agree to almost anything his party (Republican) wants, and incoming TX Republican Gov. Abbot seems inclined the same way. Truth be told, there is no good site to store transuranic waste.  It has been wisely said: “All it takes for evil to prevail, is for good people to do nothing”. You reckon?

WITH A REPUBLICAN HOUSE AND SENATE THE “KEYSTONE XL OLEODUCT” is being pushed hard again upon the USA.  Again we say the obvious: Tar sand oil is not useful. Not in the USA, or anywhere. It is highly toxic to handle, let alone to transport/refine in Texas or anywhere for that matter. No-way, no how! That entire Canadian experiment should be cancelled for the sake of humanity.

Thanks to the AP for their quotations and related story.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

Your friend in South Texas



November 21, 2014 at 11:36 PM Comments (3)


11 Oct 2014

On 30 Sep 2014 the USA Department of Energy (DoE) Office of Environmental Management (EM) Released their lengthy plan to remediate and long-term store nuclear waste. The strategic plan addresses the disposal and environmental remediation of “Legacy” and “active sites”, to protect human health and the environment, The EM program was established in 1989, and began waste disposal operations in 1999 , The plan is called : Waste Isolation Pilot Plan (WIPP), and will be responsible for the cleanup of millions of gallons of liquid radioactive waste, millions of cubic yards of solid radioactive wastes, thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel (produced by our NPPs),and “special nuclear material” (whatever that is), huge quantities of contaminated soil and water, disposition of large volumes of transuranic and mixed/low-level waste, and deactivation and decommissioning of hundreds of excess facilities. A huge undertaking that probably will not happen as planned. Let us see why.

“LEGACY”-LARGEST NUCLEAR WASTE REPOSITORY IN THE WORLD was necessitated by 50 years of cold war nuclear weapons development and production, as well as Government sponsored nuclear energy research. Transuranic (high-level waste) waste inventory is located at four remaining large quantity sites: 1. Hanford Site (Washington State), 2. Idaho National Laboratory (Idaho), 3. Los Alamos National Laboratory (New Mexico), and 4. Savannah River Site (South Carolina), as well as more than 20 small quantity sites throughout the USA.- note: some of the nuclear waste at Hanford is such, that even those responsible for it do not want to find out what it is; So, who will dispose of it? The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) was planned by the USA DoE – EM Carlsbad Field Office, located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, New Mexico, EM is/will be responsible for management and operations. WIPP occupies about 16 square miles, and consists principally of a large underground salt-mine complex still being constructed and equipped for its intended role; even though there is a well formulated development plan. It is apparently such nuclear waste that will be shipped by special nuclear waste trains and disposed of at WIPP, in rooms mined out of an ancient salt formation 2,150 feet below the surface.

TRAINS NEEDED FOR THE NEW YUCCA MOUNTAIN NUCLEAR WASTE REPOSITORY. Recall that in our two previous articles we pondered where the specially designed trains would take such nuclear waste, and where it would come from. It now seems certain to us that the current plan is to create a New Mexico Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, given that the original Yucca Mountain was banned by Nevada after the expenditure of about $5 Billion dollars – Now there was a monumental waste of non-radioactive dollars!, but at least Nevadans recognized the folly of underground high-level, and specially low level waste which is normally stored in open containers. Hell! Los Alamos Labs (just north of the WIPP) had several such fires in low-level waste open containers; several of which were of severe magnitude. We see many uncertainties about WIPPs ability to handle both, high level, and low level nuclear waste. The difference is that low-level waste is normally stored in open containers, continues to give off heat, and remains radioactive for many years. It also contains traces of plutonium. High level waste must be stored in sealed (dry-casked) containers with a life expectancy of seldom more than 80 years. Nobody likes to think of what will happen when the dry-casks begin to leak and need replacement.

INTENDED PURPOSE OF THE WIPP, According to EM office is to safely isolate Transuranic (TU) waste generated by atomic energy defense activities from the public and the environment. TU waste is also now stored at sites in the spent-fuel cooling ponds at more than 100 nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) in the USA alone. Evidently the nuclear generation merchant nuclear fleet wants our government to create room for more such waste. Worldwide NPP’s are the main creators of Transuranic waste. There exist about 1,000 NPPs. Even so, TU waste was/is also generated by atomic energy defense activities in nuclear weapons research /development, facility dismantlement, and waste site cleanup. Such waste consists primarily of tools, gloves, clothing and other such items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, including plutonium. Predictably,…

TWO ACCIDENTS OCCURRED AT THE WIPP IN FEB 2014. that caused the authorities to suspend operations on February 5, 2014; this, following a fire involving an underground vehicle. Nine days later, on February 14, 2014, a “radiological event” (sorry-no details provided) occurred underground, contaminating a portion of the mine primarily along the ventilation path from the location of the incident releasing a small amount of contamination into the environment. HMMM! Not a very auspicious beginning, despite all the safeguards and different levels of overview. Accident investigation pointed out the need for much greater smoke extraction capabilities. Nothing was said about purging the smoke. Point is, fire does not destroy radioactivity, it only changes its form to smoke and creates an even greater heat accumulation. WIPP is a potential “Underground Fukushima”.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)



Ref data: (this is a 44 page pdf planning document – Oh, yea!, planners they have, and they all do as they are told by superiors – even when they do not know who they are, and when they do not know the science behind their planning. Forgive them Lord, for they do not know what they do! The previous two articles deal with this subject, and make these developments begin to paint an ominous picture. (Now its not just special trains, but trucks also – maybe)

P.S. I find it dismaying that while this makes three (3) articles about nuclear waste in the USA, in the last 11 days we have been read nearly 1,200 times in Ukraine, and in the high hundreds in nearly 65 countries already, meantime, the number of readers in the USA is less than 1,000, and well under the usual expectations. We do not know what to make of it!. Is our USA readership doing the same thing as our DoE, and sweeping such monumental problems out of sight?, or are we being interdicted?

October 11, 2014 at 2:38 AM Comments (19)


 04 Sep 2014

On 3 Sep 2014 the Wall Street Journal reported that the USA government is soliciting ideas for trains suitable for hauling radioactive waste from nuclear power plants to disposal sites. Even though, at present, they have nowhere to go. Companies in that industrial sector were asked for ideas on how rail cars should be configured /obtained for hauling 150-ton casks filled with transuranic “spent nuclear fuel”. The government latest plan is to have an interim test storage site in the year 2021(it has not been disclosed where), and a long term geologic repository by 2048, even though currently no one acknowledges where the sites will/would be. Officials of U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) didn’t respond to messages that sought detailed comments. The responsibility of regulating shipments is jointly shared by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Department of Transportation (DoT).

The USA government issued a Request For Proposal(s) for developing/testing/certifying the necessary rolling stock . Proposals were also solicited regarding whether the rail cars should be brought or leased, given that the cars are expected to last for 30 years, and used on regular tracks, at standard speeds, with a payload of 150 ton casks. Additionally, casks must be accommodated, and positioned in the train, so that a safe distance is maintained between the radioactive cargo and a crew (yes they are still radioactive). It was not specified if one or more casks will be transported per train.

Spent nuclear fuel is very long term radioactive (transuranic), and must be placed in specially designed long term thermally/ radiologicaly hot casks when removed from reactors. Where to long term store such waste is another matter. Problem is nobody, but nobody, wants it in their back yards”(NIMBY). Spent nuclear fuel is already being sent by USA military by rail from reactors on navy ships for storage at Federal labs. More than 2,300 tons was hauled by the civilian power industry from the year 1979 to the year 2007 (equivalent to 15 casks). James Conca, senior scientist at Geoscience and Environmental Consulting firm UFA Ventures, Inc, says a Nuclear Waste Disposal Site has been monitored by him, and that it is necessary to do so.

Trains for transporting nuclear waste are not new to France where more than 10 shipments were made, to the chagrin of Germany into their territory. The matter of how and where to dispose of spent nuclear fuel that is dangerously transuranic remains a terrible legacy to leave future generations, but we must do so in the most environmentally sound, and responsible way. There are sound reasons to believe that the Spent Fuel Cooling Ponds of most Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) today, are already to the brim with many “transuranic loads” and that, is a terribly unsafe place to store them for many reasons we have outlined before. The NPP Industry has gotten us into a fine mess with no real long time solutions, but now wish for the government to help them get rid of their mess. OH!-they always resent/reject government intervention in their industry, but this is another matter. Self-serving hypocrites!

Another source of chagrin to those interested in energy matters, is the surreptitious way in which the USA government is proceeding, apparently without oversight, or regard for public opinion, on a matter of such transcendental importance. Have you read about these matters before the WSJ article? In a blog perhaps. We contacted the government source referenced in our previous article and were told that “the contractor” (whoever that is, could not be disclosed) had drafted the article. Yes!- the people that received the award, drafted an incoherent news release blessed/disseminated by DoE. How do you like them apples? Gone is the dogma of a transparent government, responsible and responsive to the people. Alas!-one more casualty of governmental gridlock. That reminds me of “The Grid”, but that is another matter.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)


P.S. Do you wish to know more about Dry-cask storage of High-level nuclear waste ? Interesting illustrations too, but very sketchy info.

References: Dry Cask of spent nuclear fuel  (high-level waste)

September 4, 2014 at 9:01 PM Comments (4)


22 Aug 2014

On 19 Aug 2014, in Cincinnati – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Environmental Management Consolidated Business Center (EMCBC) today awarded a sole-source cooperative agreement to the Southern States Energy Board (SSEB). The Board’s mission is to enhance economic development and the quality of life in the South through innovations in energy and environmental policies, programs and technologies. Sixteen(16) southern states and two(2) territories comprise the membership of SSEB: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia and West Virginia. The authority for the sole-source award to the Southern States Energy Board is provided under Section 16 of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Land Withdrawal Act. The value of the agreement is $10,438,070.00, and has a project period of 5 years.

Under the agreement, the board will convene a committee of appropriate state personnel (one representative from each state) to be known as the Transuranic Waste Transportation Working Group. The working group will include representatives from the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. The group will meet twice each year to discuss transuranic waste transportation issues and activities undertaken by the U.S. Department of Energy and other appropriate agencies and organizations. The Southern States Energy Board will provide the working group with the appropriate information to address regional issues relative to transuranic waste shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Group members will work with the Southern States Energy Board to develop their state work plans and budgets for transuranic waste campaigns that traverse the southern region.

DOE media contact: Lynette Chafin 513-246-0461,



On 19 Aug 2014, Cincinnati, USA – The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) Environmental Management Consolidated Business Center (EMCBC) awarded a sole-source cooperative agreement ($10.49 million grant) to the Southern States Energy Board (SSEB). The Board’s mission is “to enhance economic development and the quality of life in the South through innovations in energy and environmental policies, programs and technologies” HMM! That sounds so beneficial, but is it? Or is it just another boondoggle for DoE to create credible Board(s) to support their stance regarding the thorny issues of nuclear (transuranic) waste transportation overland, and its final disposal. We believe such is the case.

SSEB MEMBERSHIP will be comprised by 16 southern states and two (2) territories (Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands): Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia and West Virginia. DoE’s authority for the grant to the SSEB is provided under Section 16 of the “Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Land Withdrawal Act”. DoE’s grant is $10,438,070 million, and has a project period of 5 years. That works out to about $ 1 million per meeting.

The Transuranic Waste Transportation Working Group (TWTWG) shall include one(1) representative from each of the 14 following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia, and The Group will meet twice each year to discuss Transuranic (nuclear) waste transportation issues and activities undertaken by the U.S. Department of Energy (USA DoE) and other appropriate agencies and organizations. It is clear SSEB will provide TWTWG with the appropriate information to address regional issues relative to transuranic waste shipments to the “Waste Isolation Pilot Plant” (whatever, and wherever that turns out to be ). TWTWG Group members will work jointly with the SSEB to develop their state work plans and budgets for transuranic (nuclear) waste campaigns (overland/overseas shipments?) that traverse the southern region of the USA. We noticed this Group leaves out two (2) states, and two (2) territories of the SSEB membership.


1. Why is this initiative aimed at the southern states and two territories?

2. Don’t northern states have an even greater transuranic waste disposal problem?

3. Why does nuclear shit always flow south?

4. Who will appoint representatives to the SSEB, and the TWTWG?

5. Where will the SSAB, and its little sister TWTWG Boards meet?

6. Who will each board be answerable to?

7. Given that nobody wants such nuclear waste (Not In My Back Yard-NIMBY!); what is the USA national policy regarding “Cooling Ponds” at Nuclear Power Plants (many of which are already filled to the the brim with transnuclear “spent fuel rods”), even though cooling ponds are the worst possible “Transuranic waste repositories”, are highly vulnerable to the vagaries of nature such as earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, rising sea-levels (witness Fukushima Dai no.1 Mar 2011) and even terrorist activity.

THE TIME HAS COME FOR THE NUCLEAR ENERGY INDUSTRY TO PAY THE PIPER, and to take action regarding their transuranic nuclear waste accumulation, before another Fukushima event happens. By the way, already full “spent fuel cooling ponds” are an acute problem in many countries such as the USA, France, and Sweden, both heavily nuclear dependent for a long time, and that have many Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) approaching, or exceeding their planned 40 year lifetime usage, and many already beyond 60 years. Unfortunately many countries have began sweeping transuranic waste under the carpet. However, Let us remember it has a radioactive half-life of about 250,000 years. We shall pass, but it will go on.

We have a strong sense of “we have been here before” (deja-vu).  Remember the much touted 2010 BLUE RIBBON COMMISSION ON AMERICA’S NUCLEAR FUTURE  mandated by Pres. Obama of former DOE Secretary Dr. Steven Chu?, well, it turned out to be a sham. Dr. Chu promptly divided the committee into two(2) groups answerable ONLY to him. The committee met once to hear Dr. Chu’s instructions; then quietly faded away. It is all games people play when they seek only to deceive. The Blue ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future was recorded by this Journal. Oh, it was a best laid of plans, but it was dead on arrival on Dr. Chu’s desk. – Just read on.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez




                                                                                  Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future

                                                                                                         U.S. Department of Energy

20 Jan 2010

Advisory Commission Charter

1. Commission’s Official Designation. Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (the Commission).

2. Authority. The Commission is being established in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), as amended, 5 U.S.C. App. 2, and as directed by the President’s Memorandum for the Secretary of Energy dated January 20, 2010: Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future. This charter establishes the Commission under the authority of the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE).

3. Objectives and Scope of Activities. The Secretary of Energy, acting at the direction of the President, is establishing the Commission to conduct a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle, including all alternatives for the storage, processing, and disposal of civilian and defense used nuclear fuel, high-level waste, and materials derived from nuclear activities. Specifically, the Commission will provide advice, evaluate alternatives, and make recommendations for a new plan to address these issues, including:

a) Evaluation of existing fuel cycle technologies and R&D programs. Criteria for evaluation should include cost, safety, resource utilization and sustainability, and the promotion of nuclear nonproliferation and counter-terrorism goals.

b) Options for safe storage of used nuclear fuel while final disposition pathways are selected and deployed;

c) Options for permanent disposal of used fuel and/or high-level nuclear waste, including deep geological disposal;

d) Options to make legal and commercial arrangements for the management of used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste in a manner that takes the current and

e) Options for decision-making processes for management and disposal that are flexible, adaptive, and responsive;

f) Options to ensure that decisions on management of used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste are open and transparent, with broad participation;

g) The possible need for additional legislation or amendments to existing laws, including the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended; and

h) Any such additional matters as the Secretary determines to be appropriate for consideration.

The Commission will produce a draft report to the Secretary and a final report within the time frames contained in paragraph 4.

4. Description of Duties. The duties of the Commission are solely advisory and are as stated in Paragraph 3 above.

5. Official to Whom the Committee Reports. The Commission reports to the Secretary of Energy.

6. Agency Responsible for Providing the Necessary Support. DoE will be responsible for financial and administrative support. Within DoE, this support will be provided by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy or other Departmental element as required. The Commission will draw on the expertise of other federal agencies as appropriate

7. Estimated Annual Operating Cost and Staff Years. The estimated annual operating cost of direct support to, including travel of, the Commission and its subcommittees is $5,000,000 and requires approximately 8.0 DoE full-time employees.

8. Designated Federal Officer. A full-time DoE employee, appointed in accordance with agency procedures, will serve as the Designated Federal Officer (DFO). The DFO will approve or call all of the Commission and subcommittee meetings, approve all meeting agendas, attend all Commission and subcommittee meetings, adjourn any meeting when the DFO determines adjournment to be in the public interest. Subcommittee directors who are full-time Department of Energy employees, as appointed by the DFO, may serve as DFOs for subcommittee meetings.

9. Estimated Number and Frequency of Meetings. The Commission is expected to meet as frequently as needed and approved by the DFO, but not less than twice a year.

The Commission will hold open meetings unless the Secretary of Energy, or his designee, determines that a meeting or a portion of a meeting may be closed to the public as permitted by law. Interested persons may attend meetings of, and file comments with, the Commission, and, within time constraints and Commission procedures, may appear before the Commission. Members of the Commission serve without compensation. However, each appointed non-Federal member may be reimbursed for per diem and travel expenses incurred while attending Commission meetings in accordance with the Federal Travel Regulations.

10. Duration and Termination. The Commission is subject to biennial review and will terminate 24 months from the date of the Presidential memorandum discussed above, unless, prior to that time, the charter is renewed in accordance with Section 14 of the FACA.

11. Membership and Designation. Commission members shall be experts in their respective fields and appointed as special Government employees based on their knowledge and expertise of the topics expected to be addressed by the Commission, or representatives of entities including, among others, research facilities, academic and policy-centered institutions, industry, labor organizations, environmental organizations, and others, should the Commission’s task require such representation. Members shall be appointed by the Secretary of Energy. The approximate number of Commission members will be 15 persons. The Chair or Co-Chairs shall be appointed by the Secretary of Energy.

12. Subcommittees.

a) To facilitate functioning of the Commission, both standing and ad hoc subcommittees may be formed.

b) The objectives of the subcommittees are to undertake fact-finding and analysis on specific issues.

c) The Secretary or his designee, in consultation with the Chair or Co-Chairs, will appoint members of subcommittees. Members from outside the Commission may be appointed to any subcommittee to assure the expertise necessary to conduct subcommittee business.

d) The Secretary or his designee, in consultation with the Chair or co-Chairs will appoint Subcommittees.

e) The DoE Committee Management Officer (CMO) will be notified upon establishment of each subcommittee.

13. Recordkeeping. The records of the Commission and any subcommittee shall be handled in accordance with General Records Schedule 26, Item 2 and approved agency records disposition schedule. These records shall be available for public inspection and copying, subject to the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552.

14. Filing Date.

Date filed with Congress: _____March 1, 2010__________



Carol A. Matthews

Committee Management Officer



                                                          DOE’s BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE BEGINS TO ACTNOT REALLY

25 Mar 2010.

As a necessary first step, DOE WITHDREW FROM YUCCA MOUNTAIN NUCLEAR REPOSITORY 3 Mar 2010: Department of Energy (DOE)Filed a Motion to Withdraw Yucca Mountain License Application with the Nuclear Regulatory for a high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain with prejudice( without legal recourse). Translation – Yucca Mountain is dead.

Last 29 Jan 2009, The U.S. DOE at the direction of President Obama established a Blue Ribbon Commission to conduct a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle, and to provide recommendations for developing a safe long-term solution to managing the Nation’s used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste. The Commission will hold its first meeting in Washington, D.C. on 25 and 26 Mar 2010, produce an interim report within 18 months, and a final report within 24 months.


1. Co-Chair:  Lee Hamilton- Represented Indiana’s 9th congressional district from January of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

2. Co-Chair: Brent Scowcroft – Former Lt. General (29 year service); Pres. The Scowcroft Group, Has served as the Natl. Security Advisor Pres. Ford and George H.W. Bush. From 1982-9

3. Mark Ayers, President, Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO.  4. Vicky Bailey – Former Commissioner Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; Former PUC Commissioner; Former DOE Asst Secretary for Policy and International Affairs.  5. Albert Carnesale, Chancellor Emeritus and Professor – UCLA.  6. Pete V. Domenici, former U.S. Senator (R-NM) Senior Fellow- Bipartisan Policy Center. 7. Susan Eisenhower, President, Eisenhower Group, Inc.  8. Chuck Hagel, Former U.S. Senator (R-NE).  9. Jonathan Lash – President World Resources Institute.  10. Allison Macfarlane, Assoc. Professor, Environmental Science, George Mason U. 11. Richard A. Meserve, President Carnegie Institution for Science, and former Chairman, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 12. Ernie Moniz, Professor of Physics and Cecil & Ida Green Distinguished Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  13. Per Peterson, Professor / Chair, Dept of Nuclear Engineering, UC-Berkeley. 14. John Rowe – Chairman and CEO Exelon Corporation. 15. Phil Sharp– President- Resources for the Future.

This elite panel should look into using THORIUM for Power Generation as part of the solution.  In 2008, Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced the Thorium Energy Independence and Security Act of 2008, which would have mandated the US Department of Energy (DOE) to examine the commercial use of Thorium in US reactors. The bill, however, did not reach a full Senate vote. The Thorium fuel cycle, with its potential for breeding fuel without fast neutron reactors, holds considerable potential long-term benefits, and since it is inherently safer, and 3 to 5 times more abundant as an ore than uranium; it is a potential key factor in sustainable nuclear energy for the world (Please see p.37).

The Blue Ribbon Commission, led by Lee Hamilton and Brent  Scowcroft, will provide / make recommendations on issues including alternatives for the storage, processing, and disposal of civilian and defense spent nuclear fuel and nuclear waste;  Also to consider U.S. expansion of  nuclear energy.

Lee Hamilton said: “This will be a thorough, comprehensive review based on the best available science. I’m looking forward to working with the many distinguished experts on this panel to achieve a consensus on the best path forward.”

Gen Scowcroft said: “The United States responds to climate change and moves forward with A LONG OVERDUE EXPANSION OF NUCLEAR ENERGY(emphasis provided) we also need to work together to find a responsible, long-term strategy to deal with the leftover fuel and nuclear waste… I’m pleased to be part of that effort along with Congressman Hamilton and such an impressive group of scientific and industry experts.” So! It is not just nuclear waste disposal, but also expansion of nuclear energy. Good! Do you suppose they will consider the Reid -Hatch (2008) proposal to mandate use of THORIUM as the “Fuel of the future”. It is not surprising that our heavily lobbied Senate failed to even consider it in 2008; but this is 2010, and many things have changed in Washington.

If properly developed, Thorium 232 technology can solve a lot of the world’s problems: It “eats-up” nuclear waste, it is much more available than uranium, and is potentially safer, does not proliferate uranium production which can be made into nuclear weapons, etc.


August 22, 2014 at 7:36 PM Comments (2)