On Jan. 9, 2007, the Nuclear
Information and Resource Service (NIRS) in Washington,
DC, sent a letter signed by 106 national and grassroots
organizations to US congressional leaders expressing
opposition to any “temporary” centralization of spent
nuclear fuel, particularly focusing concern on Ohio’s
Piketon nuclear site. The letter noted that under the
Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), preparations
for storage of high-level nuclear waste at Piketon are
running ahead of the official timeline.
A whistleblower has told NIRS that
preparations already are underway for an
nuclear dump at Piketon, when the government timeline
requires studying several sites before choosing one.
The NIRS letter also stated the
signers’ opposition to
the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership in entirety–a
program that would attempt to revive the failed
technology of reprocessing.
NIRS says that many organizations
signing the letter have been active in opposing
centralized interim storage of commercial high-level
waste in both Nevada and Utah. A key issue is the
potential impact of the transportation of the waste.
Irradiated fuel is not
secure today at the reactor sites, but it is more secure
there than it will ever be on a truck or a train.
Becoming the nation’s
high-level nuclear waste dump will create only a handful
of jobs. The US Department of Interior stated that a
Private Fuel Storage initiative—was not appropriate
economic development for the small Skull Valley Goshute
reservation in Utah, and denied a lease to that plan.
On Jan. 31, over 3 weeks after the
date of the NIRS letter, the US Department of Energy
awarded more than $10 million to 11 sites selected to
conduct detailed siting studies for integrated used fuel
recycling facilities. Piketon (surprise!) was one of
these “winners”. Piketon Initiative for Nuclear
Independence, a hastily-put-together consortium that
applied for the Piketon site study grant, has until May
30 to submit its report.
With the Democrats in control of
Congress, the White House will have a more difficult
time selling the nuclear waste recycling and fuel
reprocessing program, for which it sought $250 million
in fiscal 2007. The GNEP may not get funded for 2007.
There is, however, a possibility that money from
renewable energy research and development or
conservation programs could be put it into the
A whistleblower has told NIRS that preparations
already are underway for an “interim” nuclear dump at
Piketon, when the government timeline requires
studying several sites before choosing one.