A US Department of Energy Consent-Based Siting Public Meeting
Place: Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center, 800 Spring Street N.W., Atlanta, GA 30308
Time: April 11, 2016, 12:00 Noon to 6:00 PM
Why: The federal government is looking for places to dump tens of thousands of tons of radioactive waste from the nation’s commercial nuclear power plants. They are looking for volunteer communities who would consent to taking this waste.
Questions: Why would any community volunteer to take this dangerous waste? What does the Department of Energy mean by consent? Whose consent is the agency seeking? Is the waste being managed safely at power plant sites where it’s stored now?
These and many more questions should be raised at the meeting. The US Department of energy is holding a series of meetings at different locations across the country. The meeting in Atlanta is our opportunity to ask questions and give our opinions.
Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
www.BREDL.org PO Box 88 Glendale Springs, North Carolina 28629 BREDL@skybest.com (336) 982-2691
If we leave the field open to the vision of those who are imposing their way upon us without challenge, we will lose everything.
It is important to include EJ specifically and consistently in all our principles, comments, correspondence, position papers and talking points during these consent-based meetings. Why? Because all the communities which have ever been selected for radioactive waste have been EJ communities: African American, Hispanic, Appalachian, Native American etc.
In the South, studies of the locations of nuclear generating plants also reveal disproportionate impacts prohibited under the Civil Rights Act. It is of particular interest to us in the Southeast because of the perennial magnet for nuclear waste known as the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. We have the right to say “NO!”
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs receiving federal assistance. This overview provides a foundation for our approach to DOE’s so-called consent-based process:
If a recipient of federal assistance is found to have discriminated and voluntary compliance cannot be achieved, the federal agency providing the assistance should either initiate fund termination proceedings or refer the matter to the Department of Justice for appropriate legal action. Aggrieved individuals may file administrative complaints with the federal agency that provides funds to a recipient, or the individuals may file suit for appropriate relief in federal court. Title VI itself prohibits intentional discrimination.
President John F. Kennedy said in 1963: “Simple justice requires that public funds, to which all taxpayers of all races [colors, and national origins] contribute, not be spent in any fashion which encourages, entrenches, subsidizes or results in racial [color or national origin] discrimination.”
The DOE should choose the best available technology for radioactive waste storage. This should be based on long term safety, not short-term cost savings as is now the case. The DOE must exceed Nuclear Regulatory Commission standards to avoid radiation leaks and potential explosions. Most of the rest of the world uses thick metal storage/transport casks (10” to 20” thick) and stores them in reinforced buildings. They are designed to be maintained. The DOE plans to use inferior thin-walled canisters.
Rather than consent-based siting, DOE efforts and public meetings should be focused on the storage, transport, funding, and states legal authority issues. It would be folly for any community to consent to the transportation and storage of high level spent nuclear fuel until all these issues are resolved.