04/26/2016 Sacramento DOE nuclear waste meeting: DOE ignores cracking risk in storage plan

30 years after Chernobyl, Department of Energy meets in Sacramento to discuss storage of hundreds of U.S. “Chernobyls” in a can


Over 2000 U.S. thin-walled canisters cannot be inspected, repaired, maintained, monitored, and some may already be cracking.

Chart SONGS Chernobyl Other Alvarez Figure 4

Curies of Cesium-137

April 25, 2016 (Sacramento, CA) The Department of Energy’s (DOE) nuclear waste “consent-based siting” Sacramento meeting on Tuesday, April 26th at 5 PM is also the 30-year anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that released 10 tons of highly radioactive materials into the atmosphere that spread around the world. Similar deadly radiation is stored in each U.S. canisters. DOE meeting will also be webcast.


The DOE’s Toxic Waste Agenda for California and the rest of the U.S.

NUHOMS Canister 24 fuel assembly

Thin-wall canister

The DOE plans to discuss criteria for obtaining consent from communities to transport and store hundreds of existing highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel canisters. Each thin-walled (1/2” to 5/8”) canister contains more deadly radioactive Cesium-137 than released from Chernobyl.  What should be addressed first are the current problems with these thin-walled steel canisters. These canisters cannot be inspected, repaired, maintained and are subject to short-term stress corrosion cracking that can result in major radiation releases with no warning prior to the releases.

Manufacturing consent for solutions that don’t exist

The DOE and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) have no current solutions to resolve these thin-walled canister issues and there will be no warning before these “Chernobyl” cans leak millions of curies of deadly radiation and potentially explode.  These issues should be resolved before discussing “consent” to a consolidated waste storage facility.

The DOE history of choosing inferior toxic waste storage solutions


Areva thick cask

Other countries use thick-walled metal casks (10” to almost 20” thick) that do not have the thin-wall canister problems, yet the DOE and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) are ignoring the thick cask solution.  The NRC and DOE need to raise their minimum requirements for storage of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel waste. The DOE has a history of mismanagement and unresolved leaking of nuclear waste at DOE nuclear waste storage facilities such as Hanford in Washington and the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP) in New Mexico. Their trail is full of broken promises to communities.

Over 2000 “Chernobyl” cans

There are over 2000 “Chernobyl” thin canisters stored in the U.S., including 111 in California (5 at Humboldt Bay, 21 at Rancho Seco in Sacramento County, 34 at Diablo Canyon in San Luis Obispo County, and 51 at San Onofre in San Diego County near the Orange county border).

Holtec’s Hellish history of failure

Diablo Collecting Dust SamplesA 2-year old Holtec Diablo Canyon canister has all the conditions for corrosion and cracking from moisture and salts. No one knows if it is cracking, because there is no technology to inspect the surface or depth of cracks in thin welded canisters filled with spent nuclear fuel.

Once a crack starts, it continues to grow through the wall of the canister undetected until it leaks radiation.  An NRC material engineer, Darrell Dunn, reported a Koeberg Nuclear Plant waste water tank leaked in only 17 years. It did not contain spent nuclear fuel. However, the tank had cracks deeper (0.61”) than the thickness (0.50”) of most U.S. canisters. The NRC considers the Koeberg tank comparable to the thin stainless steel thin-walled canisters used in California and most of the rest of the country.  Holtec is one of the manufacturers of these canisters.

More canisters planned near San Onofre State Beach

In spite of all this, the NRC continues to approve use of these canisters when better options are available.  The NRC plans to allow Southern California Edison (SCE) to install about 100 more thin-walled canisters near the San Onofre State Beach.

California Energy Commission ignores canister problems

Donna Gilmore presented the problems with the canisters at the 2015 California Energy Commission Nuclear Workshop.  Robert Weisenmiller, Chairman of California Energy Commission, will be making the opening remarks at the DOE Sacramento meeting.

Coastal Commission issues license to pollute

The California Coastal Commission approved a permit for the San Onofre Holtec UMAX canister system with “special conditions” requiring SCE solve all the problems with the canisters after 20 years, which isn’t even possible. Watch video of NRC Mark Lombard admitting to the Coastal Commission that inspecting canisters “is not a now thing”. http://youtu.be/QtFs9u5Z2CA

Updated 4/26/2016: Public Utility Commission approves of $4.411 billion as a reasonable decommissioning cost estimate.  Ignores cost impacts of inferior storage canisters.

The California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) decided April 21, 2016 the $4.411 billion decommissioning cost estimage is reasonable, and ignores cost impact of procuring the inferior Holtec UMAX canister system. The Commission knows these canisters may fail prematurely based on testimony and filed briefs by Donna Gilmore, yet SCE has allocated no funds to address this.

CPUC Administrative Law Judge Maribeth Bushey in her proposed final decision stated “Donna Gilmore presented testimony and filed briefs on meritorious issues related to nuclear power”, but Bushey claims the issues “were outside the scope of this proceeding” and did not make “a substantial contribution to this decision as required by Pub. Util. Code § 1803.”   However, cost issues are within the jurisdiction of the CPUC. The NRC only has jurisdiction over safety. SCE’s waste management assumptions and contingency plans were proven flawed.

Commissioner Florio stated at a past CPUC public meeting we should not have to buy these canisters more than once.  He now has the evidence from this CPUC decommissioning proceeding to know we will likely need to replace canisters. There are no additional ratepayer decommission trust funds to replace canisters, so will this cost be born by the ratepayers?  The Holtec warranty only covers the first 10 years of use.

Holtec President admits his storage solutions are fatally flawed

Holtec President and CEO Kris Singh stated at an SCE San Onofre Community Engagement Panel meeting that it is not feasible to repair canisters.  He said that even if you could find cracks and in the face of millions of curies of radiation being released from even a microscopic crack, find a way robotically to repair them; this would just introduce another area for corrosion and cracking. http://youtu.be/euaFZt0YPi4

Canister vendors (Holtec and Areva) and SCE (Tom Palmisano) have proposed putting failed canisters into thick casks, but NRC Director Mark Lombard said no casks have been approved for this purpose and no vendor has even discussed submitting an application for this. Right now the only approved method of dealing with a failed canister or failing fuel is to put them back into a spent fuel pool, but the DOE is not including pools in their storage design and the NRC allows decommissioned plants to destroy spent fuel pools once they are empty, even though the spent nuclear fuel might remain at the current sites indefinitely. Rancho Seco and Humboldt Bay no longer have spent fuel pools.  SCE plans to destroy San Onofre pools once empty, even though vulnerable “Chernobyl” canisters will remain at the Southern California beach.

Russian Doll nuclear waste containers are a flawed solution

The feasibility of using the Russian Doll approach of putting one leaking canister into another container does not solve the problem. The ability to load a leaking canister into another container has not been proven feasible or safe. The canister vendors need to prove to the NRC they can safely load leaking canisters into casks in the face of millions of curies of radiation and with thermally hot fuel that normally must have convection cooling in a vented concrete cask.  Also, NRC regulations prevent transport of even partial cracked canisters.

“Chernobyl” cans will likely stay in California indefinitely

“The discussion at DOE “consent-based” meetings should be focused on these canister problems,” says Mary Beth Brangan, Co-Director of EON, the Ecological Options Network.  “Until those issues are resolved,” says Brangan, “no one should or will consent to storing this nuclear waste.”

Unfortunately, California and other states are now being forced to store hundreds of these “Chernobyl” cans indefinitely, with no plans in place to address radiation leaking and potential explosions.

April 26th DOE Consent-Based Siting Sacramento Meeting

5 PM, Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza, 300 J Street, Sacramento. Meeting details and DOE contacts at http://www.energy.gov/ne/downloads/meeting-materials-consent-based-siting-public-meeting-sacramento-april-26-2016

For more information about these issues contact Donna Gilmore or visit SanOnofreSafety.org

Print or download Press Release


Posted in Action Alert, California Coastal Commission, California Energy Commission, Chernobyl, CPUC, Diablo Canyon, DOE, Events, NRC, Nuclear Waste, Press Release, Southern California Edison | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

*UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai — Mitsuhei Murata’s speech, March 16, 2015

Japan Safety : Nuclear Energy Updates

The former Japanese ambassador to Switzerland, Mitsuhei Murata, made the following speech at the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai on March 16, 2015.

” Nuclear disaster and global ethics


It goes without saying that genuine denuclearization, both military and civilian, makes the greatest contribution to disaster risk reduction.

The increased menace of nuclear terrorism has awakened the world to the urgent task of abolishing all nuclear reactors in the world. It is no longer an ideal, but an imperative necessity to realize the vision of President Obama for a “World without Nuclear Weapons” just as soon as possible.

Global ethics and human rights

Nowadays the drawbacks of nuclear power are evident, and many even consider this method to generate power a high risk. Nuclear technology was born in a period of paternal civilisation and in the belief, that this technology would solve all problems. Today a maternal…

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Tell Energy Commission: Don’t allow cracking nuclear waste canisters

Tell the California Energy Commission (CEC) to change state policy to require nuclear waste storage containers that won’t crack.

Some of California’s thin steel storage canisters may already be cracking and could have a through-wall crack within 8 years, releasing millions of curies of radiation into the environment. Thick cask technology is available internationally that does not have cracking problems and is designed to be maintained.

Submit comments by May 11, 2015 to CEC Docket 15-IEPR-12.  Please share and encourage others to submit comments. See suggested comments below.


Experimental Holtec HI-STORM UMAX vented underground storage

Southern California Edison plans to spent almost $1.3 billion of limited ratepayer San Onofre decommissioning funds to purchase and manage more of these inferior thin canisters even though they know the problems.

Edison plans to purchase an experimental underground version of this system (Holtec HI-STORM UMAX) that has never been used anywhere in the world. The underground concrete portion of the system cannot easily be inspected and can have corrosion from underground chemicals and moisture.  Your help is needed to stop this purchase.

Suggested comments to CEC Docket 15-IEPR-12:

To: California Energy Commission

Re: Docket 15-IEPR-12 Nuclear Power Plants

California thin spent fuel nuclear waste storage canisters may fail as early as 20 years after first loading.  For San Onofre this would be 8 years from now.  The CEC should include the following state policy recommendations and requirements.  (California Holtec and Areva NUHOMS thin dry storage canisters do not meet these requirements.)

The CEC state nuclear policy should include minimum California dry storage requirements to ensure adequate funding and storage for new 100+ year storage requirements. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has cost jurisdiction, but the CEC can establish state policy on this issue, even though the CPUC may be the one to enforce some of this policy as it relates to cost.

1. Do not allow purchase of dry storage technology for California that does not meet these minimum requirements.

2. Maintainable – We do not want to buy these canisters more than once. Seals are maintainable, cracked canisters are not.

3. Early warning prior to failure and prior to radiation leaks.

4. Inspectable, repairable and not subject to cracking, particularly through-wall cracks.

5. Cost-effective for the expected life of the system and transportable.

6. Ability to reload fuel, if required, without destroying storage container.

7. Do not allow purchase of vendor promises – it’s not state policy to purchase non-existent features (e.g., vaporware). That is what we’re being asked to approve with the San Onofre Holtec contract.

8. Require bids from all leading international vendors to ensure the best storage technology available is evaluated and selected. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) must still license the system, but we should be able to select the one that is the most cost-effective and best suited to our environment.

9. Require replacement of existing thin canisters before the time period in which they may fail.

10. Store in hardened concrete buildings for additional environmental protection, similar to what is done in other countries, such as Germany.

11. Require a fully developed mitigation plan be provided by the utilities now.

12. Do not allow destruction of empty spent fuel pools until nuclear waste is removed from site. No other option is available to replace failed canisters.

13. Install continuous radiation monitors with on-line public access. Allow decommissioning funds to be used for this purpose.

14. Continue emergency planning and required funding until waste is removed from California.

See California’s Nuclear Waste Problems and Solutions, Donna Gilmore, IEPR Nuclear Power Workshop presentation, April 27, 2015 https://sanonofresafety.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/dry-cask-storagedgilmore2015apr27.pdf

Thank you.

Print and share suggested letter to CEC.


Watch Dr. Singh, manufacturer of the Holtec canisters admit it not feasible to repair these thin steel canisters. He also states even a microscopic crack will release millions of curies of radiation into the environment.


At the Koeberg nuclear plant in South Africa, a similar welded steel component had a through-wall crack in 17 years.  The crack was over 0.60 of an inch (15.5 mm), deeper than the thickness of most of California’s spent fuel canisters. Thin canisters are only 0.5 to 0.625 of an inch thick. Thick casks, used internationally, are up to 20 inches thick.

NRC 08-05-2014 Slide 9 Power Plant with SCC

Southern California Edison quotes a 2014 EPRI report that claims a crack will not occur for over 80 years at San Onofre.  However, the EPRI report excluded the Koeberg plant.  It also excluded environmental conditions that were similar to both Koeberg and San Onofre and other West Coast plants: on-shore winds, crashing surf and frequent fog. These are conditions known to induce chloride-induced stress corrosion cracking.

A Diablo Canyon Holtec two-year old thin canister already has all the conditions for crack initiation. No technology exists to inspect for cracks in canisters filled with spent nuclear fuel, so no one knows if any canisters are cracking. We will only know after they leak radiation into the environment.  It’s up to California to take action on this issue.  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission continues to approve these thin canisters, in spite of these unresolved issues.  They approve them for 20 years and ignore any problems that may occur after 20 years, even though they may need to stay at current sites indefinitely.

Would you buy a car that couldn’t be inspected, repaired, maintained and provided no early warning of a pending failure?  That is similar to what Edison wants us to do. They want us to pay for promises of future solutions.  In state government, they call that “vaporware”. State agencies are not allowed to buy “vaporware”. Even the vendor admits it’s not feasible to repair the thin canisters.

The NRC is allowing the thin canister vendors 5 years to develop inspection technology, even though the best way to inspect for cracks cannot be done with canisters filled with spent nuclear fuel.

The NRC does not consider cost. That’s a state issue. So it’s up to California to make this decision. We cannot afford to buy dry storage systems more than once.

Reasons To Buy Thick Casks

Share this handout with your local, state and federal elected officials and othersReasons to buy thick nuclear waste dry storage casks and myths about nuclear waste storage, April 16, 2015

Learn more at SanOnofreSafety.org

Posted in Action Alert, California Energy Commission, CPUC, Diablo Canyon, Emergency Planning, How to Help, NRC, Nuclear Waste, PG&E, SDG&E, Senator Barbara Boxer, Southern California Edison, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The evidence that radiation from nuclear reactors causes childhood leukemia


Radiation spike caused by refueling at one of Bavaria's Gundremmingen reactors. Radiation spike caused by refueling at one of Bavaria’s Gundremmingen reactors.

Last July, we published a piece on recent groundbreaking work from the U.K.’s Dr. Ian Fairlie and the connection between radiation releases from nuclear reactors and childhood leukemia.

We quoted Dr. Fairlie:

“The core issue is that, world-wide, over 60 epidemiological studies have examined cancer incidences in children near nuclear power plants (NPPs): most (>70%) indicate leukemia increases. I can think of no other area of toxicology (eg asbestos, lead, smoking) with so many studies, and with such clear associations as those between NPPs and child leukemias. Yet many nuclear governments and the nuclear industry refute these findings and continue to resist their implications. It’s similar to the situations with cigarette smoking in the 1960s and with man-made global warming nowadays.”

Today, Ian (full disclosure: an old friend and valued colleague) stopped by NIRS’ office to go over a…

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US NRC: Impact of Environmental Conditions on Nuclear Waste Dry Storage, Comment Deadline May 4, 2015, 11.59 pm ET

Mining Awareness +

[Updated 29 Apr; Intro updated 30 Apr; further update later on 30 Apr or 1 May.]
This NUREG looks like a hoax. It does not live up to its title, nor to its scope. One interesting point made, but not evaluated, is that peak cladding temperature (PCT) increases 14.4F for every 10F ambient temperature. The only thing which the NUREG evaluates is low level wind, and it doesn’t do a proper job of that.
Holtec Dry Casks Grand Gulf Miss
Holtec Dry Casks of spent nuclear fuel sweltering on pavement in the Mississippi sun, on the river, with ultra-high humidity. The US NRC allows Holtec and others to pretend that the temperature is only 100F (38C).

Impact of Variation in Environmental Conditions on the Thermal Performance of Dry Storage Casks”, NUREG, US NRC comment deadline MAY 4th-Nuclear Waste Dry Cask Storage Temperature, etc. http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NRC-2014-0273-0001 ID: NRC-2014-0273-0001
Holtec casks Diablo Dec. 26 2005 or 2006
Dry Casks at Diablo Canyon in California. NRC visit…

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Judge permits Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon: No Tribal Consult, No Environmental Update; Appeal Expected

The Colorado River is a source of drinking water for Southern Californians.

Mining Awareness +

D_3516 Prehistoric granaries about Nankoweap in Marble Canyon, Grand Canyon National Park. Mark Lellouch, NPS

The nuclear fuel chain destroys the environment and kills from the start, with uranium mining, to the finish, with long-lived, deadly, nuclear waste. Why does the US government refuse to protect America’s National Forests and water supply? Why does it fail to uphold its obligations to the American Indians?Especially at the behest of foreign mining companies? Why must Americans fight foreign companies in court, and even fight Congressmen, to protect the land and water?
Boating down the Colorado River Below Havasu Creek in Grand Canyon National Park, by Mark Lellouch NPS
Boating down the Colorado River Below Havasu Creek in Grand Canyon National Part, by Mark Lellouch, NPS
Grand Canyon NPS
Grand Canyon, National Park Service (NPS)

Press Release from the Center for Biological Diversity:
April 8, 2015

Federal Judge OKs Uranium Mining Next to Grand Canyon National Park

Decision Allows Mining Without Tribal Consultation or Update Decades-old Environmental Review

PHOENIX, Ariz.— U.S. District…

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Childhood Cancer Near Nuclear Power Stations

Mining Awareness +

Another US NRC deadline is upon us for 24 March 2015: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/11/20/2014-27519/radiation-protection The following article by Dr. Ian Fairlie should prove helpful for the question about embryo-fetal exposure to radiation, dose assessment, and more. Dr. Fairlie has a degree in radiation biology and his doctoral studies concerned the radiological hazards of nuclear fuel reprocessing. [1] His research was instrumental in shutting down Quebec’s nuclear power station. His 2014 article, related to the one below, is discussed here: http://www.ianfairlie.org/news/childhood-leukemias-near-nuclear-power-stations-new-article/ Commentary: childhood cancer near nuclear power stations Ian Fairlie © 2009 Fairlie; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.  p. 1Commentary: childhood cancer near nuclear power stations Ian Fairlie © 2009 Fairlie; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. , p. 2Commentary: childhood cancer near nuclear power stations Ian Fairlie © 2009 Fairlie; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. , p. 3Commentary: childhood cancer near nuclear power stations Ian Fairlie © 2009 Fairlie; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. , p. 4Commentary: childhood cancer near nuclear power stations Ian Fairlie © 2009 Fairlie; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. , p. 5Commentary: childhood cancer near nuclear power stations Ian Fairlie © 2009 Fairlie; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. , p. 6Commentary: childhood cancer near nuclear power stations Ian Fairlie © 2009 Fairlie; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.. p. 7Commentary: childhood cancer near nuclear power stations Ian Fairlie © 2009 Fairlie; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. , p. 8 Commentary: childhood cancer near nuclear power stations Ian Fairlie © 2009 Fairlie; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. , p. 9Commentary: childhood cancer near nuclear power stations Ian Fairlie © 2009 Fairlie; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. , p. 10Commentary: childhood cancer near nuclear power stations Ian Fairlie © 2009 Fairlie; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. , p. 11Commentary: childhood cancer near nuclear power stations Ian Fairlie © 2009 Fairlie; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. , p. 12 Highlight-Underline added. Original document here: http://www.ehjournal.net/content/8/1/43

Note that many nuclear reactors do “Batch releases” of radionuclides into the air, and/or water, multiple times per year and not only when the fuel is changed. That is, some reactors leak constantly and some hold back the leaks until some of the short-lived radionuclides have become less radioactive or non-radioactive. Then they release the remaining longer and long-lived radionuclides all at once as “effluent”. Dilution…

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