ENERGY QUEST HISTORY
A BALANCED APPROACH SUPPLING THE U. S. ITS THRIST FOR ENERGY
RENEWABLE ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES AND WORLD WIDE SUPPORT/DEVELOPMENTS
BIOMASS EXPLOITATION - Ethanol/Methanol Liquid Fuels
3. MUNICIPAL AND RADIO ACTIVE WASTE/SLUDGE'S
4. CRUDE OIL EXPLOITATION
5. COAL EXPLOITATION
6. NATURAL GAS EXPLOITATION
ENERGY QUEST COPRIGHT INFORMATION
Energy Quest: A Balanced Approach Supplying the U. S. It's Thirst for Energy
Original Conception: 1982/1986
Second Revision: March 2001
Third Revision: June 15, 2002
Date Submitted for Copyright: July 20, 2002
Copyright Sought After: "Compilation and Additional Text."
Published By: Energy Quest National Energy Efficient Development Founder Bruce Wayne Henion
Energy Quest publications were created in order to allow an individual to quickly research issues and positions of those involved in determining the best possible management of our environment and natural resources. Energy Quest Search represents Energy Quest Publications. Energy Quest Publications copyrights sought after and granted by the U. S. Copyright Office are for "Compilation and Additional Text." Energy Quest Search does not own or contend in anyway that ownership of others works of authorship is the property of Energy Quest Search. All articles and publications presented within Energy Quest Search are for the sole purpose of research, criticism, comment, news, reporting and teaching. The author(s) of an article or publication are clearly listed and their web site where information was obtained is accessible by clicking on the highlighted text with your PC mouse. In the event that an article/publication no longer has a direct web link the author(s) or where the article came from is clearly visible at the end of said same article. Some articles listed on web sites encourage you to email an author's article to anyone. Articles, publications and information provided within Energy Quest Search adhere to the Legal Information Institute's understanding of "Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use:
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A BALANCED APPROACH SUPPLING THE U. S. ITS THRIST FOR ENERGY
RENEWABLE ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES AND WORLD WIDE
We the people, by the people, shall peacefully cause change and report to our elected officials those concerns we have in relationship to our country. The very principals of our forefathers carried on from generation to generation. Unfortunately, our elected officials are unable to respond to everyone’s concern personally and if you’re lucky enough to receive a response it’s usually a form letter. On occasion you might receive a phone call from your elected official’s employee if you’ve overwhelmed them with information. We’re left with hoping that those Ideas and concerns we Americans submit to our elected officials will be reviewed. The only sure way to communicate those ideas and concerns we have is through the Internet and our ideas and concerns must be presented in an informative, balanced, practical and realistic forum. We are rapidly entering a new millennium and the Internet as a research tool or method to express our concerns and ideas is extremely effective if we stay focused.
The U. S. of America ranks among the top countries depleting worldwide fossil fuels rapidly. U. S. Petroleum imports was projected to increase to 100% within 10 to 15 years in 1991 (DOE 1991a), with the U. S. demand greater each year; increasing the necessity of domestic oil exploration and exploitation. Foreign crude oil imports in the amount of 57% of the total U. S. crude oil demand, illustrates the U. S. dependency on foreign oil imports and our governments reluctance to close coal power plants providing a major source of U. S. energy demand (51.4 percent of all electricity generated in the United States) or nuclear power plants. Further exploration of natural gas will be necessary.
How can our nation, leading the world in many technologies, illustrate to other countries, super-power leadership, when our citizens are not interested in making the investment necessary in order to become self reliant/self sufficient through present innovative renewable energy technologies or investing in technologies presently available, disposing of municipal waste, certain radio active sludge’s, rubber, plastics, etc; in the capacity necessary to make a real difference? Our government and corporate America exclaim renewable energy technologies only represent 4% of the total U. S. energy production and conservation efforts are not significant enough to make a real difference, providing energy reduction or savings for Americans. Since 1982 the U. S. has reportedly invested or through tax investment incentives, American businesses, homeowners, corporations, etc., have invested in excess of 165 billion dollars. If this is true, what went wrong?
No tax incentives (deductions or credits) are provided for renewable energy technology investment for the purchase of energy-efficient new homes or in energy-efficient building equipment. Former President Clinton's FY 2000 Budget for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency was offered as an alternative in order to encourage consumers and corporate America to invest in renewable energy technologies and energy efficient homes, devices/products, etc. Why did it take 8-years to bring before the American people a plan capable of creating incentives? Not providing adequate investment incentives for renewable energy technologies, energy efficient devices/products and energy efficiency, sends a clear message to citizens of America and the world; the U. S. Government lacks the insight to “fight the energy crisis as if it were a national war.” Energy efficient devices and products are not providing enough Americans real energy reduction as only a minority of Americans purchase energy efficient devices and products or invest in energy efficient automobiles and energy efficient homes/buildings.
Americans must become united and join together in a common cause to “fight the energy crisis as if it were equivalent to a national war” and President Bush although seen by some as friendly to nuclear, coal, natural gas and oil industry technologies; is merely stating the facts and his leadership may not guarantee generations to come a stable energy foundation for the U. S. of America if renewable energy incentives are shelved.
As Americans we have endowed rights bequeathed to us from our forefathers and those that spoke out were given the opportunity to forward comments to Ms. Bonny Overton, U. S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, EE 3.1, 1000 Independence Avenue, S. W., Washington, D. C. 20585 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve mailed, emailed and faxed shorter letters and lengthily letters and those reports within Energy Quest Search. Energy Quest Form allows you to submit concerns and ideas to others.
Americans only unite in a common effort when there’s a national crisis such as a natural disaster or world War. The truth is simply - the American people in general don't care where and how they get power - just get it at an affordable price. This same rule applies to every other commodity. There seems to be two competing camps. One side believes that others should do for the less fortunate and the other side who believe that each person is responsible for their own lives. It seems all too often that we forget that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The only real pollutants are laws that stifle creativity.
Energy efficient devices/products benefit the environment, consumers and entrepreneurs. As demand for energy efficient devices/products increase, cost will decrease. Renewable energy technologies, energy efficient devices/products and innovations will find a way of incorporating themselves into general acceptable use. We must take a balanced stand on the difficult issues confronting America, staying open-minded and not succumb to self-imposed deception. The EPA often sets regulatory standards so high; the little guy or gal finds it impossible to enter the playing field. This is an invitation to disaster at some point in the future. The huge lumbering multi-national oil companies are not prone to being innovative - it has always been the little guy or gal who makes the major discoveries - usually w/o grants and living in a mode of starvation while conducting experiments in the garage or basement. To a large extent the government’s investment in renewable energy technologies has not produced intended benefits. Supply & demand markets dictate the success of any particular device or product. If we really want to encourage innovation the entire field of hope/change needs to level and open. To award grants (money extracted in some manner from taxpayers) they ought to be distributed fairly - not to just those who have the present politically correct winds at their back.
In the 1981 President Regan was able to pass his administrations budget cuts in the amount of $30 billion dollars of Federal spending. “Net “merger and acquisition” in the third quarter of 1981 totaled 623, up 25 percent from the 498 of the same 1980 quarter,” according to W. T. Grimm & Co., Business Opportunity Journal, Volume 15, Number 1, January 1982.
“There were 66 deals in which companies sold off operations with price tags of $50 million dollars or more in 1981, compared with just 39 in 1979 and 547 corporations with price tags of under $50 million dollars,” according to an article in Newsweek, 29 March 1982, “A Corporate Sell-Off Spree.” In 1981 over $3.3 billion dollars was spent on “merger and acquisition” activity and if the Corporate Sell-Off Spree report is correct, $73 billion dollars in 1981 was spent on corporate divestiture exchange activity and or merger and acquisition. In 1981 interest rates were much higher then they are today (30-year loan – 14 to 15%) and business failures as of “April 8, 1981 totaled 6,205, an increase of 55% in comparison to the same period of 1980 and almost as many as in all 1978; noted as the worse period for business failures since 1932,” according to an article in Time Magazine, Volume 119, Number 17, April 26, 1982, titled “A Rising Tide of Bankruptcies.”
Divestiture exchange activity and or merger and acquisition frenzy by corporate America, was the direct result of President Regan’s commitment to reduce federal spending in order to free up the cash flow in America and reduce interest rates. Of course corporate America took advantage of President Regan’s budget cuts in order to strengthen there own portfolios. This type of corporate investment is seen by many as a major problem and the beginning of “socialism and control of our government policies, and thus indirectly controls the people, a form of Fascism.” Consequently, this multi-national effort to control key markets often stifles exploitation of alternative energy resources, further illustrating monopolized corporations have the financial capital to limit any kind of competition.”
Federal Income tax relief for Americans and a federal budget reducing government spending, allowing Americans to benefit by paying less taxes and actually receiving a rebate of $300.00 to $600.00 will become a reality. President Bush’s Federal Income Tax Cut and tax relief for consumers was allocated to the American people and not corporate America.
President Bush is addressing the energy needs of the U. S. of America. His plan is practical and if I understand his goals for our nation adequately, renewable energy technologies will be explored and energy efficient devices and products supported. Not knowing the end result, I don’t know if former President Clinton’ s FY 2000 tax credit/incentives for renewable energy technologies and energy efficient devices/products will be supported, or those that others have submitted. I’m sure however an appropriate plan will become reality. The National Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy illustrates those incentives presently http://www.dcs.ncsu.edu/solar/dsire/dsire.cfm available in the U. S. for renewable energy technologies and energy efficient devices and products.
President Bush’s action and his commitment toward providing incentives for power plant developments in the U. S. is mandatory, because renewable energy technologies presently are not providing the necessary energy needed for the U. S. of America. Power Plant developments alone will not provide everyone a job. President Bush, others and myself who support power plant developments have respect for our environment.
As an environmentalist, I support a clean and healthy environment, research grants or industry investment incentives ensuring fewer pollutants emitted into our environment, elimination of radioactive waste, renewable energy technologies, etc. Environmentalist, myself included, must introduce technologies that will clean up our environment and renewable energy technologies that will not only replace, but provide the energy our nation demands for growth, if were to shelf further investment in nuclear or coal technologies, which presently provide a major portion of U. S. energy needs.
Practical decisions must be made. In order to reduce oil drilling in the mountains on Federal/public lands, wind generation power stations along our coastlines and in the mountains must be addressed. Solar salt ponds, Photovoltaics, Solar Thermal Electric Power Plants, Alternative Fuels, Energy Efficient Engines/Carburetors, Hybrid Technologies, Electric Cars, Solar Panels, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Solar Hot Water Heaters, Geothermal Energy, Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) and many other renewable energy technologies and energy efficient devices/products provide the foundation for a self reliant self sufficient sustainable future. Without national Investment by corporate America and consumers, renewable energy technologies and energy efficient devices/products will not substitute present reliance on nuclear, coal and oil powered power plants presently providing electricity for the U. S. Alternative fuels, electric cars and energy efficient innovative engine and carburetor technologies, presently available would reduce petroleum fuel production of gasoline and diesel but a majority rather then a minority must invest.
Ethanol, methanol and hydrogen liquid fuels will eventually substitute a percentage of fossil fuels (oil). Electric automobiles powered by batteries or Photovoltaic, hybrid technologies that combine both the use of batteries charged by electricity and fuel, energy efficient engines and carburetors, will one day provide energy reduction and consumer savings. Electric cars powered by batteries are only providing a limited amount of consumer’s energy savings, as most Americans are not provided the necessary information about these cars at retail auto sales. Automobile retailers are anxious to sell their stockpile of automobiles and are not offering conversion solutions as part of the financing package. If you don’t offer an alternative, consumers buy automobiles that are easily financed with deals advertised by the automobile industry. Automobiles powered by Hybrid technologies presently available have proven energy savings but only a few are purchasing automobiles equipped with hybrid technologies. Automobile manufacturers are presently designing automobiles with hybrid technologies, making available by 2004 a new breed of automobile. Those whom invest in hybrid and electric automobile technologies in the private sector will enhance a promising industry and make available hybrid technologies to anyone at lower cost. Without private investment, automobile manufactures will dominant this industry and the competitive edge a few entrepreneurs presently have will be lost.
Renewable energy technologies are presently providing consumer’s energy reduction and savings by becoming energy efficient, yet not everyone is receiving benefit because they’re not investing. Renewable energy technologies capable of providing electricity in the megawatt range require land and Power Plants supported by renewable energy technologies must be proposed.
Throughout the U. S. facilities powered by renewable energy technologies need investment and are providing energy. Florida Solar Energy Center A Research Institute of the University of Central Florida http://fsec.ucf.edu “Energy Labs of Jacksonville, Florida will be assisting in efforts to keep Solar Power Plants operating in California. Renewable Energy related sites. http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/related.htm Energy Labs known, as "ELI" to its employees is a Research and Development Company, which specializes, in thermal solar energy technologies. ELI is setting up manufacturing operations to replace high cost parts for solar electric plants in the Mojave Dessert near Barstow, California. While less known than the popular photovoltaic solar technologies, which convert sunlight directly to electric power, the generating plants, called "SEGS" for; Solar Electric Generating Systems supply huge amounts of power. There are currently 354 megawatts of power being pumped into the California grid each day by the SEGS plants. They have been operating for fifteen years. Because of their age, the Heat Collecting Elements "HCE's" which receive the solar energy from large parabolic mirrors are beginning to fail. Energy Labs in conjunction with Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque, NM, are helping the plant owners develop techniques to refurbish the aging units. The first step will be to run perhaps as many as 1000 HCE's this year through a process, which ELI has developed. The first prototypes have been completed and sent to the SEGS. This is an interim process, which will eventually lead to the production of complete units in Jacksonville. Current replacement units come from Israel and are extremely expensive. ELI expects to cut the replacement costs in half. ELI is also holder of patents and trade secrets for equipment, which work, in hazy sunshine, the type that is most prevalent in Florida due to weather. ELI is working with a local utility, JEA to develop solar thermal electric technologies appropriate for the Florida area. In a multi-year effort, JEA and ELI will develop technologies, which will help reduce fuel costs for the utility. The crystal clear type of solar radiation in the desert called Direct Normal Radiation makes the parabolic SEGS plants possible out there. "We want Jacksonville to become a center for solar energy in America" says Greg Peebles, Vice President and Chief Engineer for the company. With JEA, ELI and other local solar companies working to better these technologies this could be possible due to the developing world energy picture. Mike Newman, General Manager adds, "While we do not have natural fossil fuels here in Florida, "The Sunshine State", we do have solar energy and a history of technological advancement. I think it's great if we can do something in our home state that may benefit people elsewhere." The Florida legislature, lead by an effort introduced by Representative Lacasa of Miami last year, approved matching funds for a project in Jacksonville that will use solar energy. ELI and JEA assisted in lobby work to see this through. The purpose was to promote the development of a Solar Thermal Electric Industry in Florida,” according to Solarenergy http://www.solarenergy.com. Verification of aforementioned information is provided by various sources within Energy Quest Search web sites located in Chapter VII.
When Encyclopedia’s Energy Efficient Devices/Products is published, all Americans will benefit. We are not twenty or thirty years away from providing the U. S. more then 4% of the current contribution renewable energy technologies provide for U. S. energy demand. Within one-year, renewable energy technologies and energy efficient devices and products could very easily provide the U. S. 20% of its energy needs. But we must educate and communicate consumers and corporate America. We must evaluate entire communities, businesses, manufacturer's buildings and industrial complexes, making recommendations and introducing those devices/products that will provide energy reduction and realistic savings in a period of ten years or less.
Energy Quest Encyclopedia’s Energy Efficient Devices/Products with it’s A to Z index will allow consumers, businesses and even corporate America the ability to search very rapidly any particular energy efficient device or product anyone may be interested in. Who has the time to explore, evaluate, research and investigate 20,000 plus web sites? Likewise millions of Americans who elect not to use the computer or serf the web will benefit. Renewable energy technologies are real and can provide a substantial energy base for the U. S. of America.
Uniting in a common effort, introducing Energy Quest as a tool, illustrating energy efficient devices/products within Energy Quest and Energy Quest Search, designed as a search engine introducing those involved in renewable energy technologies is a beginning and had Energy Quest Political and Economic Rights been supported in 1982, renewable energy technologies would be providing a larger percentage of the U. S. of America’s energy demands.
Exploitation of renewable energy resources could increase a minimum of 5% annually throughout the world if the investment by those with great insight occurs. Fossil fuel energy supplies will continue to dwindle and in the U. S. a goal of 15% total U. S. energy production supplied by renewable energy technologies is realistic and attainable. Providing information is a necessary first step but what good is information if know one is exploring, researching, investigating and utilizing sustainable technologies guaranteeing a self reliant and self sufficient future? Energy Quest Search introduces experts involved in renewable energy technologies, passive solar home designs and those that presently provide installation services and manufacture/sale energy efficient devices/products for homes/buildings and environmental issues, world wide efforts by many with one goal in mind, an energy efficient self reliant tomorrow for anyone whom desires a self sufficient and self reliant sustainable future.
Wind generation turbine manufacturers are producing cost effective windmills and the announcement of several wind generation power stations for the northwest is good beginning. President Bush has my support and I believe he will encourage Americans to invest in renewable energy technologies and energy efficient devices/products.
Economic/Environmental Issues of renewable energy published in BioScience, Vol. 44, No. 8, September 1994 is a bases for a greater understanding yet itself is 7 years old. This article is accessible at and accomplishes an easy read in-depth overview of Biomass, Ethanol, Methanol, Hydrogen, Hydroelectric Systems, Wind Power, Photovoltaics, Solar Thermal Conversion Systems, Solar Receiver Systems, Passive Heating, Comparing Solar Power to Nuclear Power, Transition to Solar Energy and other alternatives. http://dieoff.org/page84.htm
"Biomass energy production is environmentally more polluting than gas but less than coal, and accounts for more then 100 different chemical pollutants into the atmosphere (Alfheim and Ramdahl 1986). Electric generating plants that have efficient air-pollution control devices are able to reduce 70% of the following pollutants as a direct result from burning wood/grasses:
Wood Smoke causes: Bronchitis, Emphysema, and other illnesses. Pollutants include up to 14 carcinogens, 4 cocarcinogens, 6 toxins that damage cilia, and additional mucus-coagulating agents (Alfheim and Ramdahl 1986, DOE 1980). Relatively high concentrations of potentially carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) PAHs, organic compounds such as benzo(a)pyrene) and particulars found in biomass smoke. Sulfur and nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and aldehydes also are released in small though significant quantities and contribute to reduce air quality (DOE 1980).
Several communities in the U. S., including Aspen, Colorado, have banned the burning of wood for heating homes. When biomass is burned continuously in the home for heating, its pollutants can be a threat to human health (Lipfert et al. 1998, Smith 1978b)." Economic and Environmental Issues: Renewable Energy: By David Pimentel, G. Rodrigues, T. Wane, R. Abrams, K. Goldberg, H. Staecker, E. Ma, L. Brueckner, L. Trovato, C. Chow, U. Govindarajulu, and S. Boerke (Originally published in BioScience -- Vol. 44, No. 8, September 1994) (Ref. 1) http://www.dieoff.org/page84.htm
Like many Americans, I've burned wood in my home for heat. I like so many others, are at cross-purposes with the environment. Camping without the enjoyment of the campfire seems extreme but we are introducing chemical pollutants into the atmosphere when we burn wood. To increase biomass as a source of fuel in order to increase energy production in order to replace nuclear, coal or oil powered power plants is not cost effective or reasonable as the impact on the environment would be great, yet biomass can and does provide a source of energy.
Heavy machinery and equipment powered by fossil fuels is required in order to harvest biomass energy and fertilizers and pesticides diminish the net energy available. Increased burning of trees for energy is most likely to be seen as harmful to our environment. Maximal biomass production would require opening federal forest and wilderness lands for exploitation.
"The cost of producing a kilowatt of electricity from woody biomass ranges from 7 to 10 cents” (USBC 1992a). “Agroforestry technologies are designed to protect the soil quality and conserve biodiversity.” An estimated 3.6 quads (1.1 x 10 18 Joules) or 4.2% of U. S. (USBC 1992) energy supply comes from biomass. Thirty-three (33) liters of diesel fuel oil per hectare is expended by equipment designed for cutting, collecting and transporting wood, provided trucks traveled no more then 80-kilometer roundtrip from forest to plant. During harvest, one hectare would yield an average of three (3) tons of (dry) woody biomass annually with small amounts of nutrient fertilizer inputs (Birdsey 1972). Thirty-three tons of woody biomass has a gross energy yield of 13.5 million kcal (thermal). Taking into consideration fossil fuel consumption of 33 liters in order to harvest thirty-three (33) tons of woody biomass, the actual energy yield would be less than 13.5 million kcal (thermal). “A city of 100,000 people require 1 billion kWh (860 x 109) kcal = kWh) of electrical power per year. In order to supply the electrical demand for food production, housing, industry, and roadways, 3 tons/ha or a combined total of 220,000 ha of forest area must be set aside for annual harvest for 100,000 people." Economic and Environmental Issues: Renewable Energy: By David Pimentel, G. Rodrigues, T. Wane, R. Abrams, K. Goldberg, H. Staecker, E. Ma, L. Brueckner, L. Trovato, C. Chow, U. Govindarajulu, and S. Boerke (Originally published in BioScience -- Vol. 44, No. 8, September 1994) (Ref. 1)
California tops the nation in the use and development of biomass technologies. Imagine -- each year, more than 1.4 trillion pounds -- a lot -- of biomass is burned to produce electricity. This cuts back on the need for other energy sources. Biomass produces about 2.77 percent of all of California's electricity. That's enough electricity to light a city the size of San Diego.
Ethanol/Methanol Liquid Fuels
“Ethanol production requires raw materials from a wide range and variety of starch, sugar crops, food processing wastes, and woody materials (Lynd et al 1991). In the United States, corn has proven to be the most widely utilized biomass feedstock in terms of feasibility, availability and technology (Pimentel 1991).
The major energy input in ethanol production, approximately 40% overall, is fuel needed to run the distillation process (Pimentel 1991). Ethanol and methanol fuels release less carbon monoxide and sulfur oxides than gasoline and diesel fuels. Other pollutants released into the atmosphere are associated with the burning of ethanol and increase carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming, worsening the tropospheric ozone problem because of the emissions of nitrogen oxides from the richer mixtures used in the combustion engines. The major pollutants are: nitrogen, oxides, formaldehydes, aldehydes and alcohol. (Sillman and Samson 1990).
Various Raw materials such as natural gas, coal, wood, municipal solid waste and crops can be used to produce methanol. Natural gas presently is the primary source of fuel for the production of methanol. A suitably large methanol plant would require at least 1250 tons of dry biomass per day for processing. More then 150,000 ha of forest would be needed to supply one plant. Biomass generally is not available in such enormous quantities from extensive forests and at acceptable prices (ACTI 1983).
If methanol from biomass (33 quads) were used as a substitute for oil in the United States, from 250 to 430 million ha of land would be needed to supply the raw material. This land area is greater than the 162 million ha of U. S. cropland now in production) USDA 1992).” “Although methanol production from biomass may be impractical because of the enormous size of the conversion plants, it is significantly more efficient than ethanol production system based on energy output and economics (Kohl 1990).” (Ref. 1)
Renewable power plants utilizing municipal solid waste, producing methanol fuel with anti-pollution devices, scrubbers, filters and controls seems the most likely course to explore. Emissions can be processed, limiting pollutants and Vitrification International Technologies, Inc. (EnerWaste) http://www.enerwaste.com have introduced technologies in municipal waste disposal, which decrease atmospheric pollutants, and I believe could provide technologies that will decrease methanol power plant emissions substantially. Research grants and funding should be allocated to the leaders in municipal waste disposal technologies.
We must recognize the enormous amount of raw materials required as fuel in order produce ethanol and methanol, harmful pollutants and enormous areas of land and raw materials required for large scale Ethanol and Methanol Power Plants. Environmental damage to our forest and to much corn grown in order to supply the necessary fuel required to replace fossil fuels (Petroleum), would deplete crop lands of the nutrients and require more water then resources presently available to irrigate an additional 250 to 430 million ha of farm land.
MUNICIPAL AND RADIO ACTIVE WASTE/SLUDGE’S
Expansion of nuclear energy technologies has been addressed and is being explored by Politicians, Department of Energy and President Bush’s Administration. DOE is addressing radioactive waste processing technologies, containment and storage safeguards ensuring the safety of our environment. I am not against nuclear energy technologies and when the Department of Energy can address satisfactorily radioactive waste processes, eliminating radioactive waste as a threat to the environment, I will support nuclear power generation. Radioactive waste and sludge’s are a real threat to our environment. There are technologies that can presently eliminate certain types of radioactive sludge’s, yet were not building plant’s to clean up our environment. Vitrification International Technologies, Inc. (EnerWaste) technologies in municipal waste (4 lbs of municipal waste per person a day is generated) and wastewater disposal treatment and certain types of radioactive waste can be disposed in a biodegradable form.
Teledyne Wah Chang, Millersburg/Albany, Oregon radioactive sludge should be disposed of through Vitrification technologies in municipal waste disposal and I believe EnerWaste can do the job; provided Allegheny Technologies Company has reported accurately, that radio active sludge’s created as a result of manufacturing of specialty metals and chemicals, used in energy production, chemical and mineral processing, aerospace, medical, research and consumer products, at their Teledyne Wah Chang Plant in Albany/Millersburg, Oregon, are among those radio active sludge’s that pose no apparent environmental damage or health risk to residents of the surrounding areas, Willamette river, etc. Why must this sludge be hauled to the Columbia Gorge? Is there a secret EnerWaste plant at the Columbia Gorge? Albany/Corvallis, Oregon landfill and Teledyne Wa Chang, Millersburg/Albany, Oregon would both benefit from an EnerWaste Plant. Albany/Corvallis, Oregon landfill separation process is inadequate and the waste treatment facility in Albany, Oregon, although has several digesters, on occasion still emits methane into the atmosphere. How much funding for research purposes would be required, in order to advance disposal technologies of thermally hot and highly radioactive pollutants involved in nuclear energy from spent uranium fuel or technologies that reprocess this fuel and or sludge’s originated as a result of the manufacturing of specialty metals and chemicals, used in energy production, chemical and mineral processing, aerospace, medical, research and consumer products if EnerWaste technologies can’t do the job? Teledyne Wah Chang, a member of Allegheny Technologies Company, producers of Reactive and Refactory Metals and Chemicals materials include hafnium, niobium, titanium, vanadium, zirconium, silicon tetrachloride, and zirconium and hafnium chemicals.
Small methanol plants designed for the dairy, poultry and pig industries is essential and must be designed by those leading the way, introducing technologies for a more friendly and sound environment. Methanol fuel production in small mom and pop operations on farms has successfully risen as a viable option yet anti-pollutant devices and applications must be introduced. Technologies must guarantee devices eliminating emissions of toxin pollutants into the atmosphere, with immediate reduction of the harmful chemicals. The following Web sites contain information relating Wastewater treatment facilities worldwide and Oregon environment:
Erik's Wastewater http://hometown.aol.com/ErikSchiff
U.S. Geological Survey - Programs in Oregon http://water.usgs.gov/wid/html/or.html
NEW YORK LANDFILL GASES HARNESSED FOR ENERGY
“A $3.6 million green energy project that will harness greenhouse gases from the Town of Colonie landfill to produce economical electricity, New York Governor George Pataki announced Tuesday. Waste gases from the landfill - the energy equivalent of about 55,000 barrels of oil a year - will fuel electric generators to provide power for Mohawk Paper Mills, Inc. "By converting waste gas from the town landfill into electricity that will help a local business and protect local jobs, this project offers both environmental and economic benefits," Pataki said. The New York Power Authority Board of Trustees approved the $3.6 million expenditure for the proposed 2,500 kilowatt (kw) project. Mohawk Paper will use the electricity from the landfill power plant at its mill in the city of Cohoes. The company manufactures fine printing and writing paper for national and overseas markets. "This is great news particularly in view of this opportunity to provide energy at a time when energy utilization is a major concern," said state Assemblyman Bob Prentiss. Town of Colonie supervisor Mary Brizzell said, "We're looking forward to soon completing an agreement for the Power Authority to construct the landfill power plant. Over the years, the town has worked aggressively to manage the gases from the landfill through the operation of gas collection and flaring systems. This generating facility would be the next logical step in the economic and environmental management of the landfill." Two microturbines will also be installed at a wastewater treatment plant in the Town of Lewiston to use waste gas from the plant to produce electricity, while reducing pollution,” according to COLONIE, New York, November 2, 2000 (ENS).
Information provided on radioactive waste has been compiled from various sources and web sites of these sources have been provided.
Radioactive waste can be solid, liquid, or gaseous waste that contains radionuclides. Listed below are different definitions of radioactive wastes: http://www.sierraclub.org/nuclearwaste/nucw.asp
“Depleted Uranium (DU) is, according to the Military Toxins Project, the radioactive by product of the uranium enrichment process, is "roughly 60% as radioactive as naturally occurring uranium and has a half-life of 4.5 billion years." The United States has in excess of 1.1 billion pounds of DU waste material. Using uranium as a fuel in the types of nuclear reactors common in the United States requires that the uranium be enriched so that the percentage of U235 is increased, typically to 3 to 5%. To enrich uranium, a process called gaseous diffusion was developed by the United States in the 1940s. The gaseous diffusion process creates two products: enriched uranium hexafluoride, and depleted uranium hexafluoride (depleted UF6). The DU decay chain includes hazardous radioactive thorium, radium, radon, the radon "daughters" and lead. The Department of Energy plans to recycle massive quantities of 1,250,000,000 pounds of DU into the commercial marketplace for reuse in consumer goods. An International Appeal to Ban the Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons is underway.”
“High-level waste (HLW) is highly radioactive material from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. HLW includes spent nuclear fuel, liquid waste, and solid waste derived from the liquid. HLW contains elements that decay slowly and remain radioactive for hundreds or thousands of years. HLW must be handled by remote-control from behind protective shielding to protect workers.”
Legacy Waste at Los Alamos.
LOW LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE (LLW)
“Low Level Radioactive Waste (LLW) is any radioactive waste not classified as high-level waste, transuranic waste, or uranium mill tailings. LLW often contains small amounts of radioactivity dispersed in large amounts of material. It is generated by uranium enrichment processes, reactor operations, isotope production, medical procedures, and research and development activities. LLW is usually made up of rags, papers, filters, tools, equipment, discarded protective clothing, dirt, and construction rubble contaminated with radionuclides.
” MIXED WASTE
“Mixed Waste is defined as radioactive waste contaminated with hazardous waste regulated by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). A large portion of DOE's mixed waste is mixed low-level waste found in soils. No mixed waste can be disposed of without complying with RCRA's requirements for hazardous waste and meeting RCRA's Land Disposal Restrictions, which require waste to be treated before disposal in appropriate landfills. Meeting regulatory requirements and resolving mixed waste questions related to different regulations is one of DOE's most significant waste management challenges.”
SLUDGE (RAD WASTE)
“Sewage sludge is what is left over after raw sewage has been treated at the wastewater treatment plants. Water and many of the contaminants are removed from the raw sewage; Bacteria are then left to do the job of reducing human waste, leaving a concentrated semi-solid sludge cake. In the past, wastewater treatment plants paid to for disposal of sludge in landfills or through incineration. Over one third of the 5.3 million metric tons of sewage sludge produced each year in the US is now dumped on farmland and forestland. Sludge isn't just "fertilizer." Heavy metals, parasites (and other pathogens), chemicals such as chlorine can all be contained in sewage sludge. But the 503 regs don't include testing or treatment for radioactivity in sludge, which can originate from industry, the medical profession and labs.”
Mission Waste: http://wmgt.lanl.gov/legacy&miss.html
“Mission Wastes are wastes generated by present and future activites at Los Alamos for which a generation-to-disposal management path exists and is being used.”
Legacy Waste: http://wmgt.lanl.gov/legacy&miss.html
“Legacy waste is waste produced at the Laboratory at a time when a generation-to-disposal management path did not exist or was not operational.
Stop The Sludge
On August 18, 1997 the NH Greens adopted the following position
“Because sewage sludge is frequently laced with heavy metals including arsenic, chromium, lead and mercury; industrial toxins such as PCBs, pesticides, xylene, toulene, benzene, asbestos and dioxin; and pathogenic microorganisms like tapeworm, hookworm, aspergillus, salmonella, and e-coli; and because plants and animals, including humans, absorb these toxins and carcinogens when they are placed in the environment, the New Hampshire Greens oppose the use of sludge based fertilizer and the land application of sludge or sludge products.
The New Hampshire Greens support a ban on the use of sludge based fertilizer and on the land application of sludge and sludge based products.”
Let Them Eat Cake
“When you flush your toilet, or wash something down your drain, you are fairly secure that the substance is out of your life and can no longer effect your well being. It flows into your septic system where it either leaches into the ground, or is pumped out and carried away or it flows into the town or city sewage system where it ends up at the sewage treatment plant.
But the US Environmental Protection Agency has developed guidelines to return your sewage to you, as food.
The regulations, known as part 503 of the Clean Water Act, have declared that sewage sludge cake which was previously classified as too contaminated to landfill is now safe to use on land as a fertilizer for food crops. The toxins in sewage sludge dont always stay in the soil, they may end up on your table, or in your child's lunchbox.”
“Many cultures have long used human waste as crop fertilizer, so what is the big deal. The problem is not with human excrement itself (though it can contain pathogenic microorganisms), but with the structure of the sewage collection system.
The sewage system collects a lot more than just human waste. At the household level all manner of chemicals are dumped down the drain. Cleaners, chlorine bleach, paint, paint thinner, oil, hair dyes, cosmetics, detergents, and when youve clogged your drain, drain openers, all regularly find their way into the sewage system. Would you use these chemicals to fertilize your vegetable garden?
In addition to household toxins, solvents, chemicals and heavy metals from businesses and industries also are dumped into the sewage system. Some businesses and industries have pretreatment facilities to reduce the toxins they release into the sewage system, but most do not. The sewage system was not designed to prevent toxins from entering the waste stream, only to transport waste.
For example, I once worked in a camera store with a one hour photo lab. All of the waste chemicals from the photo lab were dumped directly down the drain and ended up in the town sewage system. There were at least a dozen other photo labs in town all of whom likely did the same thing.”
“Sewage sludge is what is left over after raw sewage has been treated at the wastewater plant. Most of the water and some of the contaminants are removed from raw sewage and bacteria reduce the human waste, leaving a concentrated semi-solid sludge cake. Sewage treatment plants previously had to pay to properly dispose of this sewage sludge. It was usually buried in controlled landfills or incinerated. And, until it was deemed too harmful for the environment, sludge was often dumped at sea.
When ocean dumping of sludge was banned, the wastewater treatment plants began relying more heavily on land dumping of sewage sludge. Over one third of the 5.3 million metric tons of sewage sludge produced each year in the US is now dumped on farmland and forestland.”
EPA To The Rescue (of polluters)
“The US Environmental Protection Agency has the task of protecting the environment and human health, so it was no surprise when it became involved in the land application of sewage sludge. What may surprise some of you is the EPA's acceptance of land dumping of sewage sludge as a viable disposal option and its endorsement of the use of minimally treated sludge on farmland.
Despite research indicating the presence of over 60,000 different chemicals, two dozen human pathogens, and radioactive materials in sewage sludge, the EPA determined that testing for 10 heavy metals would be enough to determine whether sewage sludge could be approved as "Grade A, exceptional quality" crop fertilizer.
In reclassifying sewage sludge as fertilizer, the EPA reduced its regulatory responsibilities for sewage sludge and allowed sewage treatment plants to sell as crop fertilizer the same substance they formerly had to pay to properly dispose of.”
Whats In That Stuff?
“The amount and types of contaminants found in sewage sludge varies widely. Some treatment facilities are burdened with enormous amounts of industrial toxins, heavy metals and pathogenic microorganisms, while others have relatively few. The contamination of sludge from a single facility can also vary widely depending on what has been dumped into the sewage system on any given day.
Rachel's Environment and Health Weekly (#561) recently revealed that two thirds of sewage sludge contains asbestos. Sludge can contain toxic metals like arsenic, chromium, lead and mercury; industrial toxins including pesticides, PCB's, xylene, toulene, benzene and dioxin; as well as pathogenic organisms like tapeworm, hookworm, aspergillus, salmonella and e-coli. The vast majority of these toxins are completely unregulated under EPA sludge dumping rules.”
Eat Shit and Die
“When approved sludge "fertilizer" is used on crops the toxins it contains do not always stay put in the soil. "Lettuce, spinach, cabbage, swiss chard, and carrots have all been shown to accumulate toxic metals and/or toxic chlorinated hydrocarbons when grown on soils treated with sewage sludge...Sheep eating cabbage grown on sludge developed lesions of the liver an thyroid gland. Pigs grown on corn treated with sludge had elevated levels of cadmium in their tissues." (Rachel's..., #561).
"It has been shown that sewage sludge applied to soils can increase the dioxin intake of humans eating beef (or cow's milk) produced from those soils." (Rachel's..., #561).”
“The land spreading of sludge is increasing in New Hampshire. Towns including Londonderry, Tilton, Epping and Greenland have faced the spreading of sludge from places like Lowell and Gloucester, MA, and Concord, NH. Tons of the sewage and paper mill sludge dumped in New Hampshire is imported from other states which have higher safety standards for sludge dumping. Sludge haulers are taking the path of least resistance and dumping their waste in our backyards, recreation areas and on our public lands. These toxic substances (arsenic, lead, asbestos, dioxin, PCBs) are being spread throughout our air, soil and water.
Fortunately NH citizens are becoming aware of these practices. Some towns, with the encouragement of outspoken individuals or coalitions have banned the land disposal of sludge.
Groups fighting sludge:The NH Greens, Clean Water Action (430-9565), and Citizens for a Future NH (580 Brockway Rd, Hopkinton, NH 03229), and NOFA-NH (150 Clinton St, Concord, NH 03301) are a few of the groups in NH who are opposing the land dumping of sludge.
Cornell University's Waste Management Institute has some good information on the land application of sewage sludge” http://www.cfe.cornell.edu/wmi
“Read a little Toxic Sludge is Good for You.
Spent Nuclear Fuel Nuclear reactors burn uranium fuel creating a chain reaction that produces energy. Over time, as the uranium fuel is burned, it reaches the point where it no longer contributes efficiently to the chain reaction. Once the fuel reaches that point it is considered spent. Spent nuclear fuel is thermally hot and highly radioactive.
Transuranic (TRU) Waste contains human-made elements heavier than uranium that emit alpha radiation. TRU waste is produced during reactor fuel assembly, weapons fabrication, and chemical processing operations. It decays slowly and requires long-term isolation. TRU waste can include protective clothing, equipment, and tools.”
"Low-Level" Radioactive Waste (LLRW) Management
Dr. Judith Johnsrud: Sierra Club National Nuclear Waste Task Force http://www.sierraclub.org/nuclearwaste/low.asp
“The Sierra Club's National Nuclear Waste Task Force has received queries concerning the current situation of LLRW management, storage, and "disposal," the status of the LLRW Compacts and siting in various states, expectations for future LLRW policies, and ways for Sierrans to address these issues.”
“Congress passed the Federal LLRW Policy Act in 1980, following the 1979 Three Mile Island accident, which created large amounts of unanticipated "low-level" radioactive waste (LLRW), and after objections were raised by the governors of the three states (South Carolina, Washington, Nevada) in which the nation had been dumping all of its commercial LLRW into commercial shallow land burial trenches. Several contamination events, plus increasing quantities of LLRW as more reactors came into operation, led them to assert that other states should share the burden. Three sites (in New York, Illinois, and Kentucky) had already been closed due in part to leakage. The Act was modified in 1985.
The law mandated that each state must "provide for" the disposal of all "low-level" wastes generated within its boundaries. It could construct disposal facilities to accommodate the LLRW produced within its jurisdiction, or arrange for shipment to a site in another state. To encourage development of disposal sites but also limit the total number, the Act also bypassed the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution, allowing those states that formed compacts to exclude from a regional compact facility the "low-level" radioactive wastes (but not necessarily radioactive materials) generated outside the compact region. The law also required states to take title to LLRW; this provision was challenged by New York and overturned.
Members of Congress had been led to believe that most "low-level" wastes were generated by medical and research facilities and did not originate from commercial nuclear power plants. In fact, the opposite is true: in most states, more than 75% of the volume and more than 95% of the radioactivity of so-called "low-level" wastes are produced by nuclear reactors. The term "low-level" has caused decision-makers, media, and the public to assume that LLRW consists of relatively harmless wastes: trash.
However the term "low-level" does not mean "low hazard" to human health. All exposures to ionizing radiation, including naturally-occurring background radiation, carry risks to the recipient of somatic injury -- e.g., leukemia, latent cancers, heart disease, and, it is now thought, immune system dysfunctions -- as well as genetic damage, both physical and mental abnormalities. Moreover, there has been little consideration of the synergistic relationships of radiation and other environmental contaminants upon an individual recipient.
Although "Class A" wastes are composed mainly of low activity trash, some components may be biologically dangerous in minute quantities and some remain hazardous for many thousands of years. The wastes deemed "Classes B and C" are higher in radioactive concentrations and tend to contain isotopes that have very long hazardous lives. Some LLRW may be declared "Greater Than Class C" in radioactive concentration and toxicity: these wastes are to be disposed of by the Department of Energy (DOE) as if they were high-level waste. The law categorizes essentially all nuclear wastes as "low-level," except for "spent" reactor fuel, some reprocessing waste, and whatever else the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) chooses to designate as "high-level" waste, plus certain byproduct materials, weapons-related wastes, and uranium mill tailings.
For states that choose not to join a compact, there is little legal precedent as to whether or not a non-compact state can exclude wastes generated beyond its borders. The Federal Act did not address the importation of radioactive materials that might subsequently be determined by a licensee to have no further economic value and hence be declared to be "waste." Nor was the LLRW Policy Act clear about the disposition of wastes in the hands of brokers, handlers, incinerator and treatment facilities: Were radioactive wastes from decontaminated materials and radioactive ash to be returned to the licensee and state of origin; or could they be considered commercially-generated wastes eligible for disposal within the state or compact in which the incineration or decontamination took place? Also unclear is eligibility for disposal of wastes imported from abroad: NRC promulgated import/export regulations only last year.”
Current Status of LLRW Management, Storage, and "Disposal"
“In these sixteen years since passage of the LLRW Policy Act and its 1985 Amendments, no new LLRW disposal facility has been opened in the United States. Public opposition has repeatedly blocked LLRW siting in New York, Illinois, Nebraska, North Carolina, Vermont, Connecticut, Michigan, Colorado, Texas, Pennsylvania and other Host States. Even before temporary closure of Chem Nuclear's Barnwell, South Carolina, site in 1994 (as well as the U.S. Ecology site at Beatty, Nevada), the nuclear industry had responded to steeply rising disposal costs by minimizing volume of waste generated (but not activity), by storing to decay onsite, compaction, incineration, and decontamination treatment.
The NRC has tried since 1980 to resolve part of the LLRW problem by deregulating as much as one-third of Class A waste, variously called de minimis ("trivial," as in "de minimis non curat lex": "The law is not concerned with trivialities") or "Below Regulatory Concern" (BRC), and most recently termed "Incidental Radioactive Material." The agency intended to permit LLRW dumping in municipal solid waste landfills (as it already allows for some medical waste, sewage sludge, smoke detectors and other low activity wastes), more radioactive liquids into sewers, and especially the recycling of unmonitored, unlabeled "low-level" wastes into a wide array of consumer products and nuclear industry practices. The NRC's deregulation plan was thwarted by the 1992 Energy Policy Act, but is now being revived. The Energy Department has adopted "low-level" waste recycling.
Now that disposal costs at the reopened Barnwell burial site have risen to $350-$400 per cubic foot and are expected to go even higher, industry demands are increasing again for NRC deregulation. Even more important are the drive to discredit the linear non-threshold relationship of dose to response, which is the basis for radiation protection standards, and the effort to reduce governmental agencies' budgets by eliminating part or all of federal and state regulatory programs. The NRC's 1995 proposal to close down its LLRW division altogether is particularly significant, because NRC has preemptive power that overrides states' regulatory controls, and it conducts waste isolation research that the states can't afford. It regulates DOE, requires compatibility between federal and state programs, and licenses LLRW imports and exports.
One regulator now suggests a methodology for prioritizing agency expenditures for regulatory control of radiation exposures. It is based on dollars spent per life saved. An industry proponent offers a solution adapted from air pollution credits trading: an "Open Market Trading Rule" for radiation doses; let the affected community decide for its population if it wants to pay for reducing risks of fatal cancers and other adverse health and genetic effects from the various sources of ionizing radiation and other contaminants encountered by individuals in their environment, life styles, or medical treatment.
As waste volumes (but not radioactivity) decreased, the "crisis" need for centralized disposal sites in the ten compacts and eight unaffiliated states also has diminished. Better housekeeping by generators, NRC's waffling about the duration of onsite storage, possible LLRW export, and emergence of the privately-owned Envirocare site in Utah for surface disposal of low activity wastes have also reduced the urgency. The NRC and industry now estimate that three or four sites will probably be sufficient. If a few disposal sites are finally opened, Congress may be asked to declare those the national sites.
However, it is not known how much more, or less, "low-level" waste will be added from future decommissioning of aged nuclear power, research and naval reactors; possibly from weapons-related DOE or other military sources; and from the remediation of the more than 45,000 sites radioactively contaminated or potentially contaminated sites that have been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency. Increasingly, as budgets tighten and costs of waste isolation rise, regulators are considering decommissioning criteria based on "How dirty is clean enough?" They would permit licensees to leave behind a still-contaminated site for "restricted" "brownfield" use. In 1994, NRC staff proposed for "a few tens" of heavily contaminated sites, onsite stabilization and disposal "despite the failure to meet the 100 millirem per year [dose] cap" [to the average member of the critical group of those expected to be exposed]. The final decommissioning criteria are to be promulgated in the near future.
The technology of radioactive waste "disposal" for even just the 300-500 years required for Classes B and C, remains, obviously, experimental. Chem Nuclear has continued to use shallow trench burial at Barnwell, despite commitments to build above grade, mounded, retrievable, monitored storage vaults. French vaults, containing long-lived wastes, have been in service fewer than ten years. Industry consultants are already arguing that occupational doses will be lower with shallow land burial than above grade vaults due to less handling. But stability of waste forms, for example, remains in controversy. A June 1996 report on microbial degradation of cement issued by NRC states:
Testing conducted with the developed biodegradation test has convincingly demonstrated that cement-solidified LLW waste forms can be attacked and degraded by the action of ubiquitous microorganisms that are present at LLW disposal sites. It was shown that during the degradation process, large percentages of those elements composing the cement matrix of waste forms were removed. In addition, it was conclusively shown that the ability of cement-based waste forms to retain or retard the loss of encapsulated radionuclides was compromised due to the action of microorganisms. (NUREG/CR-6341; INEL-95/02i5)
Moreover, some researchers are joining environmentalists in recognizing a simple fact of basic physics: we don't "dispose of" anything; we can only change the locations or forms of matter. This realization is sparking the demand for an independent reconsideration of all of the nation's radioactive waste programs -- and even legitimizes the call by Sierra Club and others for curtailment of waste production.”
How Compacts and States Are Doing
“At mid-year 1996, both Chem Nuclear and U.S. Ecology admit to financial problems, and LLRW siting is still in disarray. U.S. Ecology's Ward Valley, California, desert site near Needles remains uncertain; industry and regulators believe it is key to their program's success, but Interior Department's land transfer and issues of a plutonium cap, radiation pathways to the nearby Colorado River, and concerns for the desert tortoise, an endangered species, prevent its completion and operation. Congress is being pressed to override these concerns, as it did with the 1987 politically-based designation of the Yucca Mountain high-level waste geologic repository site in Nevada, which appears also to be failing to meet health and safety standards.
At the closed U.S. Ecology Beatty, Nevada, site, tritium contamination has been found. An upcoming report on the six older LLRW dump sites omits all data after 1994; hence, no mention of Beatty leakage. U.S. Ecology's proposed Boyd County, Nebraska, site has also been delayed by admission that wetlands had been ignored in site characterization. Its older Richland, Washington, site now accepts LLRW from only the Northwest and Rocky Mountain Compacts; earlier, U.S. Ecology had also been hit with some heavy expenses by the state. This spring the company was reportedly near a declaration of Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Similarly, Chem Nuclear (CNSI) has a disappointing record at the reopened Barnwell; its North Carolina site is stalled by lack of funds. With more than $90 million reportedly spent, some $26 million more are needed for the site approval process. On July 10, North Carolina terminated its contract with Chem Nuclear to construct a LLRW facility for the Southeast Compact at the Wake County site, according to a July 18th report and the June/July 1996 LLW Forum Notes (from DOE funded Afton Associates). Almost all CNSI workers were dismissed, except for a skeletal crew that was assigned to remove equipment and structures from the site.
Illinois, after failure of Chem Nuclear's Martinsville volunteer site, is still revising its siting criteria and must start over. In Pennsylvania, a new Republican Administration has abandoned the strict technical siting process to identify three "of the best" locations, as is required by law, in favor of Chem Nuclear's volunteer "Community Partnering Plan." Environmentalists are blamed for encouraging counties and municipalities to adopt protective ordinances and to place land in Agricultural Security Areas. State regulators threaten to "abbreviate" the remaining mandatory technical review, or to change the law. Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey volunteer processes have failed thus far to produce a LLRW site.
The contested Texas site at Sierra Blanca awaits a licensing decision; the Texas Compact with Maine and Vermont is before Congress but not of this date approved. Michigan has adopted onsite storage for the foreseeable future. Massachusetts has repeatedly delayed siting action. No one wants to be first.”
A Responsible Response for Environmentalists: Beyond Backyards
1. “We all surely agree that the radioactive wastes we (all) have allowed to be produced for half a century pose a significant biological hazard to humans, to many other life forms and ecosystems; and that they must be isolated from the biosphere for the full duration of their hazardous lives. Yet, given the situation of ongoing, open-ended waste production and the many political and economic uncertainties of waste generation and regulation, quite rightly no one wants to offer his or her own backyard as the site for an endless. perhaps increasing, burden of long-lived nuclear wastes. A major ethical responsibility for us all is, after all, to the future as well as present survival and well-being of our species, our descendants, and the other inhabitants of the planet, whether we depend on them or not. This is also our national policy, enunciated in the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.”
2. “Those of us who have warned of problem for years -- decades -- are now told that it is we who are responsible for providing "solutions" that will allow the nuclear industry to continue to produce ever more radioactive waste. And because we want to seem reasonable, positive, or constructive, there is a great temptation to recommend relocating the problem: Send it to a desert wasteland; keep it onsite where people must have wanted reactors and where they supposedly benefit from the electricity; or airlift it to Dagestan or West Africa or Mexico where folks need the money: derive some economic benefit from it by recycling into consumer products (just a few more millirems from each one); trade off one risk for another. These are surely temptations to be resisted for all the reasons a good environmentalist understands.”
3. But then what can we recommend?
“First, by working backward from the impossibility of assuring safe permanent isolation for the full period of nuclear waste toxicity to the cause of the problem (i.e., continued production of the waste), we'd have the opportunity to make the best reasonable commonsensical case for a national policy of curtailing, with the intent of ending, the generation of most radioactive wastes. In the opinion of some, this should happen immediately, so that we will be able to assess the quantities, composition, and toxicities of what we must prepare to deal with.”
“Second, we can help decision-makers to comprehend the disconnect between our present ability to assure full hazardous life sequestration and the realities of the future world about which we can only make our best guess about economies, political structures, scientific and cultural capabilities, the press of expanding populations on diminishing natural resources, climatic, tectonic, or other physical changes in the biosphere, possible improvement or decline of waste management -- a total system (or geographic) analysis. This, in turn, leads us to require the greatest prudence and conservatism, given the limits of prediction and the experimental nature of the endeavor.”
“Third, we can recommend that the focus of waste management be shifted away from the notion and technologies of permanent "disposal" to the real reason for the need to prevent radioactive materials and wastes from entering the environment: namely, the hazard posed to health, safety, genetic integrity, and the environment by exposures to ionizing radiation. Although at present no one can be sure of "the best" means or technologies or locations to assure minimization of the biologic damage from this unstable form of matter, we can urge that the prevention of exposures and reduction -- minimization --- of the biologically damaging consequences are the real societal goal.”
“Fourth, we need to explain to decision-makers that some sites currently in use for storage of LLRW are particularly ill-suited for that purpose (i.e., due to potential seismicity, flooding, etc..), and thus do not meet the crucial test of "best means to assure minimization of biologic damage." If, by contrast, we become advocates for any one of the bad "solutions" (which can be expected to fail to contain the waste), we've become advocates of imposing on others the risk of LLRW isolation failure that we find unacceptable in our own backyards. Such advocacy also gives waste generators and regulators an excuse of claiming that they are only responding to what "the public" wants.”
‘Fifth, we can suggest ways to achieve that goal. For instance, the regulators can, and should, set environmental pollutant standards that take into account the multiple and cumulative exposures to the many contaminants that affect an individual. Governmental agencies should expand our understanding of the synergistic relationships among the variety of pollutants to which individuals are subjected and take these interrelated factors into account in the setting of "routine permissible" dose limits. And the burden of proof of safety must be assigned to the waste generators, not to those who are damaged”
“We can empower communities to monitor contaminants and exercise greater control over their generation and release into air, water. and soil. Even though some waste would be produced in the process, it might be feasible to encourage waste generators to seek less damaging ways of earning a profit, by beginning to set annually permissible release limits for environmental contaminants that are increasingly restrictive, moving always toward the zero release goal, requiring improved pollution control year by year, and offering companies opportunity to adjust their investments and production activities to more benign ends. We can even suggest that there are more beneficial ways of perceiving reality than our culture's near-religious faith in technology's ability to solve all environmental problems permits us to use.”
“Idealistic dreaming? No. Impossible to achieve? Only in the short term. For, as dedicated environmentalists, we surely understand that the ultimate survivability of life on earth does depend on our willingness to move our political, economic, and social structures into conditions of greater compatibility with the earth. In the face of fifty years of failure to dispose of radioactive wastes, perhaps there are even some decision-makers who are now willing and able to listen to what we have to tell them.”
An International Appeal to Ban the Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons - Drafted by Ramsey Clark
Section I: Introduction and Call to Action Against DU
Section I: Introduction and Call to Action Against DU
Section II: How DU Weapons Harmed Gulf War Veterans
Section III: The Politics of War and the Pentagon's Coverup
Section IV: Indigenous Peoples Victimized by Military
Section V: What Risks from Low-Level Radiation?
Section VI: Environmental Cost of Gulf War to Iraquis and Others
Section VII: Can a Legal Battle be Waged to Ban DU?
“Depleted-uranium weapons are an unacceptable threat to life, a violation of international law and an assault on human dignity. To safeguard the future of humanity, we call for an unconditional international ban forbidding research, manufacture, testing, transportation, possession and use of DU for military purposes. In addition, we call for the immediate isolation and containment of all DU weapons and waste, the reclassification of DU as a radioactive and hazardous substance, the cleanup of existing DU-contaminated areas, comprehensive efforts to prevent human exposure and medical care for those who have been exposed.
During the Gulf War, munitions and armor made with depleted uranium were used for the first time in a military action. Iraq and northern Kuwait were a virtual testing range for depleted-uranium weapons. Over 940,000 30-millimeter uranium tipped bullets and "more than 14,000 large caliber DU rounds were consumed during Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield." (U.S. Army Environmental Policy Institute)
These weapons were used throughout Iraq with no concern for the health and environmental consequences of their use. Between 300 and 800 tons of DU particles and dust have been scattered over the ground and the water in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people, both civilians and soldiers, have suffered the effects of exposure to these radioactive weapons.
Of the 697,000 U.S. troops who served in the Gulf, over 90,000 have reported medical problems. Symptoms include respiratory, liver and kidney dysfunction, memory loss, headaches, fever, low blood pressure. There are birth defects among their newborn children. DU is a leading suspect for a portion of these ailments. The effects on the population living in Iraq are far greater. Under pressure, the Pentagon has been forced to acknowledge Gulf War Syndrome, but they are still stonewalling any connection to DU.
Communities near DU weapons plants, testing facilities, bases and arsenals have also been exposed to this radioactive material which has a half-life of 4.4 billion years. DU-weapons are deployed with U.S. troops in Bosnia. The spreading toxicity of depleted uranium threatens life everywhere.
DU weapons are not conventional weapons. They are highly toxic, radioactive weapons. All international law on warfare has attempted to limit violence to combatants and to prevent the use of cruel and unfocused weapons. International agreements and conventions have tried to protect civilians and non-combatants from the scourge of war and to outlaw the destruction of the environment and the food supply in order to safeguard life on earth.
Consequently, DU weapons violate international law because of their inherent cruelty and unconfined death-dealing effect. They threaten civilian populations now and for generations to come. These are precisely the weapons and uses prohibited by international law for more than a century including the Geneva Conventions and their Protocols Additional of 1977.”
International Action Center 39 West 14th Street, Room 206
Uranium Mill Tailings
http://www.em.doe.gov/idb97/chap5.html are by-products of uranium mining and milling operations.
5. Uranium Mill Tailings
“Uranium mill tailings are the residual wastes of milled ore that remain after the uranium has been recovered. The tailings are generated during the extraction of the uranium from the ore as it is fed to the mill. Depending on the chemical characteristics of the ore, uranium mill operators use either an acid leach or an alkaline leach process to recover uranium. Currently, all operable U.S. mills are designed to use the acid leach process. Mill tailings from both processes consist of slurries of sands and clay like particles called slimes; the tailings slurries are pumped to tailings impoundment ponds for disposal.”
5.2 By-Product Material
“Uranium mill tailings are part of a broad category of radioactive wastes called by product materials. As defined in DOE Order 5820.2A, by-product material includes two major waste groups:”
(1) "Any radioactive material [except special nuclear material (SNM) such as plutonium or fissile uranium] yielded in, or made radioactive either by exposure to incident radiation or by the process of producing or utilizing SNM; and
(2) the tailings or waste produced by the extraction or concentration of uranium or thorium from any ore processed primarily for its source material (i.e., uranium, thorium, or both) content. This excludes underground ores depleted by uranium solution extraction operations (in situ leaching) that continue to remain underground."
“The basics for the definition of the second group of by-product materials is Sect. 11e(2) of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA) of 1954 (P.L. 83-703, as amended). For this reason, these wastes, which, of course, include uranium mill tailings, are referred to as 11e(2) by-product materials.”
“Uranium mill tailings are the only by-product materials considered in this chapter. Additional information and data on 11e(2) by-product materials from DOE Environmental Restoration Program activities are provided in Chapter 6, which also reports the volumes of mixed DOE Environmental Restoration 11e(2) by-product materials, which have both hazardous and radioactive components. The 11e(2) by-product materials at the Wayne and Maywood FUSRAP sites (see Chapter 6) are thorium mill tailings. For this chapter, information on thorium mill tailings or other by-product materials is not considered.”
5.3 Commercial Uranium Mill Tailings
“This section describes the inventories and characteristics of uranium mill tailings generated from uranium ore production at commercially licensed facilities.
5.3.1 Uranium Ore Production
U.S. uranium production from conventional milling has declined since 1980; as a consequence, the quantity of mill tailings generated each year has declined (Table 5.1) - http://www.em.doe.gov/idb97/tab51.html ). During a part of 1996, one conventional mill in the United States was commercially producing uranium concentrates from stockpiled ore mined before 1993.
This mill accounted for sole generation of 48,519 t of mill tailings (Table 5.2) – http://www.em.doe.gov/idb97/tab52.html ). At the end of 1996, however, none of the U.S. mills were operational. Six of the 27 mills were on standby status, and the rest were decommissioned or undergoing various stages of decommissioning. The location and status, respectively, of each of these mills are indicated on the map shown in (Figure 5.1, ref. 1)). – http://www.em.doe.gov/idb97/fig51.html ). The nonutilization of U.S. uranium mill capacity can be attributed, in large part, to nuclear power plant cancellations and deferments. Since the late 1970s, these have led to lower uranium demand, which, in turn, has contributed to lower uranium prices and a steady decline in domestic uranium mining. In addition, cost increases for domestic uranium mining and milling have led to increased reliance on importing less expensive uranium.
In the history of U.S. uranium production, 1993 and 1994 were the only years with no production from conventional milling of ore. Nonconventional concentrate production in 1996 increased to about 2,477 t U3O8, or 23% above 1995 production.2,3 Nonconventional concentrate production includes by-product processing resulting from the mining of phosphate ore as well as the processing of in situ leach-mining solutions, heap-leach solutions, mine water, and other solutions from reclamation activities. In situ leaching (ISL) technology has been increasingly applied in recent years to mining operations. Of the total 1996 $80/kg-U uranium reserves estimated by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the amount for which ISL is the proposed mining method was about 41%. Because ISL mining usually is successful at lower costs as compared with conventional mining methods, it could gain even wider use in the near future. ISL and by-product (from phosphate ore) production methods do not generate uranium mill tailings. Residual wastes from nonconventional methods are not considered in this chapter.”
“The status of the licensed mills, including their estimated commercial and government-related tailings inventories at the end of 1996, is shown in Table 5.2 (data based on refs. 1-11). For each mill, the amount of tailings generated depends on the amount of ore processed, the ore-feed grade (U3O8 assay), and the percentage of U3O8 recovered. Table 5.1 lists the annual milling rate, ore grade, and U3O8 recovery. Through 1996, 189.7 x 106 t (118.7 x 106 m3) associated mill tailings were generated.”
5.3.3 Waste Characterization
“Because the amount of uranium (by weight) extracted from the ore during milling is relatively small, the dry weight of the tailings produced is nearly equal to the dry weight of the ore processed. Dry tailings typically are composed of 70 to 80 wt % sand-sized particles and 20 to 30 wt % finer-sized particles. Acid leaching is preferred for ores with low lime content (12 wt % or less). Those with high lime content require excessive quantities of acid for neutralization and, for economic reasons, are best treated by alkaline leaching. In either leach process, most of the uranium is dissolved, together with the other materials present in the ore (e.g., iron, aluminum, and other impurities). After the ore is leached, the uranium-laden leach liquor is removed from the tailings solids by decantation. After thorough washing, the tailings are pumped as a slurry to a tailings pond. The waste liquid accompanying the tailings solids to the disposal pond is approximately 1 to 1.5 times the weight of the processed ore. Typical characteristics of the tailings solids and liquid are outlined in (Table 5.3 (ref 8) - http://www.em.doe.gov/idb97/tab53.html ). The tailings pile must have a cover designed to control radiological hazards for a minimum of 200 years and for 1,000 years to the greatest extent reasonably achievable. It must also limit radon (222Rn) releases to 20 pCi/m2/s averaged over the disposal area. Radon release limitation requirements apply to any portion of the tailings disposal site unless radium concentrates do not exceed 5 pCi/g in the first 15 cm below the surface and 15 pCi/g in layers more than 15 cm below the surface.11”
5.4 DOE Uranium Mill Tailings
“DOE uranium mill tailings include those resulting from uranium ore milled for defense purposes as well as those at inactive sites no longer licensed that are administered under the DOE Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Project, which is discussed in Chapter 6.”
U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, "Comparison of Uranium Mill Tailings Reclamation in the United States and Canada," Uranium Industry Annual 1994, DOE/EIA-0478(94), Washington, D.C. (July 1995).
U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, "Uranium Industry Annual Survey," Form EIA-858, Washington, D.C. (1996).
U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Uranium Industry Annual 1996, DOE/ EIA-0478(96), Washington, D.C. (April 1997).
U.S. Department of Energy, Integrated Data Base Report - 1995: U.S. Spent Nuclear Fuel and Radioactive Waste Inventories, Projections, and Characteristics, DOE/RW-0006, Rev. 10, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee (December 1996).
U.S. Department of Energy, Grand Junction Office, and Bendix Field Engineering Corporation, Commingled Uranium Tailings Study, DOE/DP-0011, Vol. 2, Grand Junction, Colorado (June 1982).
W. S. White, Directory and Profile of Licensed Uranium Recovery Facilities, NUREG/CR-2869 (ANL/ES-128), Rev. 1, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C. (March 1984).
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "National Emission Standard for Radon-222 Emissions from Licensed Uranium Mill Tailings," Code of Federal Regulations, 40 CFR Part 61, Subpart W (September 1986).
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement on Uranium Milling, Project M-25, NUREG-0706, Washington, D.C. (September 1980).
U.S. Department of Energy, Grand Junction Office, Statistical Data of the Uranium Industry, GJ0-100(73), Grand Junction, Colorado (Jan. 1, 1973).
U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Committees on Energy and Commerce; Interior and Insular Affairs; Science, Space, and Technology; and Ways and Means, Uranium Revitalization, Tailings Reclamation and Enrichment Act of 1988: Hearing on H.R. 4489, 100th Congress, 2nd sess., pp. 19-21 (Apr. 28, 1988). U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Decommissioning of U.S. Uranium Production Facilities, DOE-EIA-0592, Washington, D.C. (February 1995).
EM U. S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY OFFICE OF ENVIROMENTAL MANAGEMENT
Table 5.1. Uranium ore processed, U3O8 recovery rate, and
Part VI of VII