The U.S. Department of Energy is facing attacks on two fronts in federal courts over the disposal of spent nuclear fuel. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Erika Johnson reports:
The U.S. Department of Energy is facing attacks on two fronts in federal courts over the disposal
of spent nuclear fuel. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Erika Johnson reports:
Dozens of nuclear power companies are suing the federal government for nearly 50-billion
dollars. The power companies allege the Department Of Energy violated a contract with them.
The companies have been paying the government to develop a nuclear waste storage site at Yucca
Mountain in Nevada. Under the contract, starting in 1998, the Department of Energy was
supposed to dispose of this spent nuclear fuel from the plants. But that hasn’t happened, so the
utilities want millions of dollars each for damages to cover the costs of storing the waste on-site.
Craig Nesbit is Director of Communications for Exelon Nuclear.
“What’s at stake is simply the costs of building the facilities to store it. The Department of
Energy’s problem is that it doesn’t have anywhere to put it right now. That’s what Yucca
Mountain is for, and Yucca Mountain has not been fully developed.”
But the federal government’s plan to store the nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain has been blocked
by the state of Nevada in courts. The cases are expected to last up to several years.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Erika Johnson.
Activists want the National Academy of Sciences to investigate secret shipments of spent nuclear fuel that roll across the Great Lakes states. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports:
Activists want the National Academy of Sciences to investigate secret shipments of
fuel that roll across the Great Lakes states. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s
The Department of Energy secretly shipped by rail several cars of high-level nuclear
western New York to an Idaho lab this summer. Reportedly, it was one of the largest
shipments ever. The group Public Citizen says if these shipments are going to be
Department of Energy officials should at least notify members of Congress and
officials along the rail route.
Brendan Hoffman is with Public Citizen.
“You know, we feel like if they’re going to keep all this stuff secret, it really
interferes with the
whole concept of having an open government and accountability and transparency.
But, at the
same time we don’t feel this is safe.”
Public Citizen has asked the National Academy of Sciences to confirm the shipment
the shipping casks carrying the radioactive material to be better tested in accident
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, this is Lester Graham.
Many famous entertainers love preaching to America about environmental issues and war. But Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Mike VanBuren says they first ought to look at their own lavish lifestyles:
Many famous entertainers love preaching to America about environmental issues and war. But
Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Mike VanBuren says they first ought to look at their
own lavish lifestyles:
On the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, musician Sheryl Crow issued a challenge on her web site.
She urged those supporting the military action to trade in their “gas guzzlers” and buy smaller cars.
She said this will break our dependency on foreign oil and, presumably, help avoid future wars.
Sheryl’s challenge goes nicely with recent claims by other Hollywood celebrities. Namely, that
SUVs are as threatening to America as angry members of al-Qaida. Sheryl’s no terrorist, so she
promised to sell her own SUV – a BMW.
I’m sure these critics are well intentioned. And I agree that we need to find ways to conserve
energy and break our addiction to Middle East crude. But they seldom mention anything about the
sprawling mansions they live in, the stretch limousines they use, or the fuel-guzzling jets they fly to
holidays in Paris and Acapulco.
All these things – and more – make us dependent on foreign oil. SUVs are only part of the
equation. The U.S. Department of Energy says that transportation of goods and people accounts
for less than a third of our energy use. Another third is consumed by homes and commerce, and
slightly more than that by industry.
So why are celebrities taking aim only at SUV owners – while ignoring their own energy wasting
It reminds me of students at a conservation school I attended many years ago. Each of us wanted
to save the environment. Or so we said.
One day, I challenged classmates about driving into town each evening to drink beer and dance at
local taverns. How could we teach others to save resources if we couldn’t keep our own cars
parked for even a few days?
They rolled their eyes and snickered at my stinginess. Our instructor – a Ph.D. in biology – called
me a “sour grape.”
He may have been right. I could be a “sour grape.” But I can’t help it – especially when I meet
self-righteous do-gooders. They tend to see others with 20/20 vision, but are blind to the
wastefulness in their own lives.
The last time I was in Tinseltown, I was struck by the number of fancy SUVs that were tooling
around Beverly Hills and Bel Air. Some of them were parked outside homes as big as Saudi
I drove past the Shrine Auditorium on Oscar night. I saw a huge parking lot full of long, white
limos. Their engines were running, so air conditioners could keep the stars cool when they emerged
for trips to parties across town.
If Hollywood elites want us to drive smaller cars, shouldn’t they start by changing their own
consumptive lifestyles? And couldn’t the privileged class save energy by flying less, driving Hondas
to the Academy Awards show, and draining the water from their heated swimming pools?
Mike VanBuren is an award-winning environmental writer living near Richland, Michigan.
Recent reports that sales of SUVs, mini-vans, and light trucks have outstripped car sales has Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Don Ogden wondering if SUV is short for Super Unpatriotic Vehicle:
Earlier this month, the Department of Energy announced that
spent nuclear fuel from American research reactors will be melted down
and stored, rather than reprocessed and reused. The announcement comes
at the same time that Canadian researchers are planning to recycle
waste into reactor fuel. Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator
Suzanne Elston says that this is one time when recycling shouldn’t be an
The U-S Department of Energy will dispose of spent nuclear fuel instead of reprocessing it. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports… some environmentalists and anti-nuke groups are applauding the decision:
Later this month (October, 1998), the U.S. Department of Energy
will begin shipping weapons grade plutonium to Canada for testing as a
possible fuel for nuclear reactors. As Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s
commentator Suzanne Elston cautions, this could open up a whole new global
economy for the most deadly substance on earth: