Schmidt supports Nuclear Waste Dump in Ohio

The Bush Administration wants to dump nuclear waste in our back yard.

The US Department of Energy intends to move ALL of the nation's commercial
spent fuel to the Appalachian community of Piketon in Pike County, Ohio.(That's just 82 miles from Cincinnati, and the site of a Native American Earthworks!) The spent fuel is the same material that had been headed to Yucca Mountain in Nevada
-- until DOE scientists on that project were caught falsifying safety data
and a staunch Yucca opponent became Senate Majority Leader. The Bush
Administration also intends to invite other countries to send their spent
fuel to Piketon, as a substitute for a nuclear non-proliferation policy.

DOE promises that any spent fuel "storage" will be temporary, while Yucca
Mountain is prepared for final disposal. Since Yucca has no prospect of ever
opening, we call the Piketon plan a DUMP.

Tonight the DOE will conduct its only public hearing in
Ohio on the GNEP siting process before it selects the final locations. The
hearing will be from 6 pm to 9:30 pm at the OSU Endeavor Center in Piketon.

Basic directions are: From the intersection of Route 23 and Route 32 in
Piketon go one mile east on Route 32.
At the traffic light, turn right on Shyville Road, as if entering the
A-Plant. You will see the Endeavor Center immediately on your left.

The hearing will consist of three parts: 1) a question-and-answer session
limited to procedural matters (that is, to clarify DOE's procedure, NOT
issues related to the site), 2) An "information" session at which attendees
can acquire information from various tables at the event -- SONG will have a
table, 3) public testimony limited to between 2 and 5 minutes per speaker.

DOE and the dumping advocates are actively trying to DISCOURAGE attendance
at this hearing. They are doing this through intentional confusion. For
example, Greg Simonton, the director of SODI, just announced a series of
three "information events," to begin on March 20, without reference to the
March 8 meeting. Since the papers carried news of his announcement, most
people assume that tonight's event has been canceled.

TONIGHT"S meeting is ON and is the IMPORTANT event.

Since Simonton says that his three "events" will be to distribute
information ONLY, tonight will be the only opportunity for the public to
register its protests, before site selection.

DOE's Snow-job

Here is how DOE has arranged this insane facsimile of public process:

1. In August 2006, DOE announced a "competition" for "study awards" for the
siting of facilities under its GNEP program. (GNEP stands for Global Nuclear
Energy Partnership.) The facilities are to include a centralized storage
site (i.e. dump) for commercial spent fuel, a future reprocessing plant, and
a future "burner reactor" to transmute the reprocessed waste. DOE refers to
the two latter facilities together as "an integrated recycling center" which
is intentionally confusing because reprocessing is technically different
from recycling.

2. Faced with media accusations from Ohio that the "competition" was a hoax
and that the process was rigged to select Piketon as the dumpsite, with
Savannah River, SC, as the site for a "recycling center," DOE postponed its
intended award of $5 million each to these two sites. Instead, at the end of
November 2006, DOE announced awards of nearly $11 million to eleven
different sites, some of which never expected serious consideration.

3. Each awardee has a 90-day "study" period that commenced around February
1 and will end May 1. Each awardee is to conduct three "public events" at
which stakeholders are to be informed and their opinions gathered. However,
no stakeholders at Piketon have been identified since there is no
Stakeholder Advisory Board at Piketon as at other sites. In violation of its
contract, SODI has announced that opinions will not be gathered at these
events, since, in its view, the public has already consented to host GNEP
facilities at Piketon.

4. After May 1, DOE will proceed to select sites, according to a formula
that weighs "stakeholder support and concerns" 20% in the decision. However,
since SODI has identified no stakeholders at Piketon and will report no
concerns to DOE, and since concerns from other sites will be reported, our
unreported concerns will count for nothing in the site selection.

5. In January, DOE announced that it will prepare a Programmatic
Environmental Impact Statement for GNEP before it selects the sites. By
doing this, it can effectively avoid addressing any site-specific concerns.
In other words, the process of preparing the environmental impact statement
will be effectively complete BEFORE any community knows that its site has
been selected. PEIS scoping hearings are being held at each of the eleven
"candidate" sites, thus watering down the concerns raised at any one site.
March 8 is the scoping hearing for Piketon.

At scoping hearings already conducted, boosters have outnumbered opponents
by five to one or ten to one. We can expect they will try to do the same

Note: The South Carolina governor and other public officials there have
clarified that they welcome a future reprocessing plant and burner reactor,
however they have barred a centralized storage site for the spent fuel in
that state. So guess where the storage site will go?

For further reading go to
or O2Blog.

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