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Some background on Hanford waste from Gordon Edwards at CCNR.org, March 7, 2014:
When nuclear proponents speak of "recycling" nuclear waste, they are talking about "reprocessing".
Reprocessing involves chopping nuclear fuel waste into chunks and dissolving the chunks in boiling nitric acid to create a highly radioactive "soup"from which plutonium and/or other fissile material can be extracted by chemical means. All of this has to be done in a robotic factory because the radiation is so intense it would kill any humans who tried it by hand.
The result is high-level radioactive liquid waste called "post-reprocessing" waste. It has to be constantly cooled and stirred to prevent heat build-up and minimize sludge formation that can jeopardize the integrity of the steel tanks used to store the corrosive liquid nuclear waste.
At Hanford, Washington, not far from the Columbia River, plutonium for nuclear weapons was produced for several decades. The post-reprocessing liquid nuclear waste was originally stored in single-walled tanks which eventually leaked millions of gallons into the soil. Twenty-eight new double-walled tanks were built to contain the liquid waste more securely, and now some of those are leaking too.
RICHLAND, Wash. -- Workers have found more waste leaking between the walls of a nuclear storage tank on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.
The waste was found in a new place between the walls of one of the 28 double shell tanks at the site. The US Dept. of Energy, which owns Hanford, says the waste is covering an area of 7 feet by 21 inches. The double shell tanks were built to be the most robust tanks at Hanford. They were constructed with the intent to be able to safely store the dangerous wastes until the technology to permanently dispose of the liquids is developed. A leak in a double shell tank is seen as one of the biggest setbacks to the cleanup program at Hanford in the last decade.
Workers tell KING they first saw signs of the new leak location on February 24 and confirmed it with a video inspection on March 3. This is the third identified leak location in the massive 1 million gallon underground storage tank known as AY-102.
This tank has been at the center of a KING 5 investigation launched last year. The investigators exposed the government contractor in charge of the tank, Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) -- ignored evidence of the leak for nearly a year before doing any serious investigating into it.
It’s been nearly two-and-a-half years since recently retired WRPS worker, Mike Geffre, found the first signs of the leak in October, 2011. To date, there is no solid plan on how to mitigate the leak or pump the contents of the tank to a safer holding vessel. Geffre says the company is stalling.
Read full article at: http://tinyurl.com/kml6tfb
1. Dr. Helen Caldicott
March 6, 2014 (Thursday), 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m.)
Sakai Shimin Kaikan, Sakai City (in Osaka)
2. Dr. Helen Caldicott, together with Koide Hiroaki of Kyoto University
March 8, 2014 (Saturday), 2 p.m. (Doors open at 1 p.m.)
KBS Culture Hall, Kyoto
3. Dr Helen Caldicott
March 13, 2014 (Thursday), 1:30 p.m. (Doors open at 1 p.m.)
Seijo Hall, Tokyo
4. Dr. Helen Caldicott
March 14, 2014 (Friday), 2 p.m. (Doors open at 1:30 p.m.)
Former Hiroshima branch of the Bank of Japan Hall
5. Dr Helen Caldicott
March 15, 2014 (Saturday), 5:30 p.m. (Doors open at 4:30 p.m.)
Aster Plaza Hall (Medium-size), Hiroshima
6. Dr Helen Caldicott
March 16, 2014 (Sunday), 3:00 p.m. (Doors open at 2:30 p.m.)
Ehime Bunkyō Kaikan, Matsuyama City
Steam events at Fukushima Unit 3 show need for more transparency, better questions, and avoiding panic
Ira Helfand, MD, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, PSR
Global Impacts of Limited Nuclear War
on Agriculture, Food Supplies, and Human Nutrition
Introduction to the Second Edition
In April of 2012 we released the report Nuclear Famine: A Billion People at Risk which examined the climatic and agri- cultural consequences of a limited, regional nuclear war. The report looked specifically at the declines in US maize and Chinese rice production that would result from the pre- dicted climate disruption and concluded that even a limited nuclear conflict would cause extensive famine, mainly in the developing world, and put more than one billion people at risk of starvation.
Since then new research by Lili Xia and Alan Robock has shown that the climate change caused by a limited nuclear war would affect Chinese maize production as severely as rice production and it would affect wheat production much more severely than rice output. Their new findings suggest that the original report may have seriously underestimated the consequences of a limited nuclear war. In addition to the one billion people in the developing world who would face possible starvation, 1.3 billion people in China would confront severe food insecurity. The prospect of a decade of wide- spread hunger and intense social and economic instability in the world’s largest country has immense implications for the entire global community, as does the possibility that the huge declines in Chinese wheat production will be matched by sim- ilar declines in other wheat producing countries.
This updated version of Nuclear Famine attempts to address these new concerns and better define the full extent of the worldwide catastrophe that will result from even a limited, regional nuclear war.
Frances Lamberts writes about the Finnish Repository for radioactive waste and Dr Caldicott's interview with Michael Madsen about whether the Onkalo repository is more than a gesture, hiding something that will remain forever deadly deep beneath the earth and "forgetting it." As the Waste Confidence Rule is discarded in the US as wishful thinking, and nuclear countries around the world struggle with what to do with the mountains of radioactive waste they are producing, as the Fukushima nuclear disaster is finally bringing home to the average person that "spent fuel" is not "spent" at all- Michael Madsen's beautiful philosophical film about how humankind is failing to come to terms with how to safely contain something that exists in geologic time is even more timely.
Frances Lamberts l Herald & Tribune 29 October, 2013
"...Dr. Helen Caldicott interviewed the Danish director of a documentary about the Onkalo repository in Finland, which is to “hide” the spent-fuel waste from that country’s nuclear power plants.
...“Into Eternity,” ... details the bunker-like underground structure, begun in 2004, whose completion and sealing is expected to take 120 years.
Under Finnish law for the project, Onkalo is to quarantine the highly dangerous, radioactive materials “in a foolproof manner for 100,000 years.”
That means some 3,000 generations... or as long into the future as the human prehistory of the past...
He wonders what would happen in future ice ages, whose sheets would “depress the crust of the earth” far deeper than the lay of the bunker tunnels.
Or if earthquakes or water seepage create cracks in the bedrock, future wars wreak destruction on the facility, or the man-made materials crumble through corrosion.
The film questions our morality in leaving a legacy of waste to future children which, in the human timescale, is lethally dangerous forever. It asks, too, how we can effectively even warn or inform these of the danger...."
Listen to Dr Caldicott's interview with Michael Madsen here: http://ifyoulovethisplanet.org/?p=4732
Into Eternity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2OKY00fmWY