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					Assessing Environmental Harms from
  the Nuclear Fuel Cycle, Coal, and
            Natural Gas

  Presentation to the Special Committee On Nuclear
                  Legislative Council
                  State of Wisconsin

                 Christopher Paine
          Senior Nuclear Program Analyst
         Natural Resources Defense Council

                 November 15, 2006
      Can Nuclear Deliver Serious
     Amounts of Carbon Reduction?
   Overall Goal: Keep global temp increase to within 2 deg. C
    above pre-industrialized levels to avert dangerous climate
   Apply at least 7 (of 15 possible) complementary carbon-
    reducing “wedges” such that each displaces 1 GtC/yr in
    2050, stabilizing atmospheric carbon concentration at
    current level.
   We posed question: “If nuclear is assigned one such wedge,
    (adding 700 GWe to present global nuclear capacity of
    ~400 GWe) what would be the effect on global average
   To achieve this level of carbon displacement, from 2010 to
    2050 the world would have to add ~15 nuclear plants/year,
    and maintain ~1100 GWe from 2050 through 2100.
   While there are numerous uncertainties, this massive
    nuclear build-out might possibly avert fossil power plant
    emissions that would otherwise result in a 0.2 deg. C rise in
    global avg. surface temperature                              2
                            Worldwide Nuclear Power Capacity


Net Gigawatts

                                                                    Hypothetical (GWe)

                600                                                 Existing Capacity (GWe)





















    Nuclear vs Carbon Reality Check
   ~ 0.2 degrees Celsius avoided requires almost a tripling
    of current global nuclear capacity within 40 years:
   1100 nuclear power plants (plant life = 40 years)
   15 enrichment plants (plant capacity = 8 million
    “separative work units”/year (SWU/y); plant life = 40 y); 9
    plants in a given year
   33 fuel fabrication plants (3 plants/100 GWe)
   14 Yucca Mountains for 973,000 t spent fuel (SF)
    containing approximately
   10,000,000 kilograms of plutonium; or
   50 reprocessing plants if all SF were to be reprocessed
    (plant capacity = 800 t SF/y and plant life = 40 y)
   Construction of these facilities requires $2.7 - $3.2 trillion
    (in today’s dollars)                                          4
Average World Growth Rate in Net Nuclear
   Generating Capacity, Historical and

            1956-1989   1990-2005
                                    (IEE Japan)

Reactors    + 13/yr     + 1.2/yr      3-4/yr

Gigawatts   + 10/yr     + 2.6/yr    + 4.6/yr

             0-17%       ~16 %       ~10 %
Without Carbon Cap, DOE/EIA Expects
Only 6 GW of New US Nuclear Capacity
           in Next 25 Years

                        Nuclear Revival

 EIA Forecasts Nuclear Share of US
Total Electric Generation Will Decline

   “In 2030, even with a national
    average capacity factor of more than
    90%, nuclear power accounts for
    about 15% of total U.S. generation.”
   “From 2004 to 2030, 26.4 GW of
    new renewable generating capacity
    is added…” (more than 4X nuclear)
      New EIA Projection May be
       Modestly More Optimistic
   EPACT subsidies and possibility of
    legislated CO2 Limits appear to have
    stimulated greater interest
   Current industry planning suggest 9-
    12 GW of new capacity might be on
    line by 2021
   This still represents very modest
    growth, and probably no change in
    nuclear’s share of electric generation
The Balance Sheet for New Nuclear Power
                    The Plus Side
   Low emissions of carbon and other air pollutants
    (but still some, from uranium mining, milling,
    enrichment, reactor construction, decom-
    missioning, waste management activities)
   Copious but highly concentrated source of round-
    the-clock base-load power
   Low fuel costs compared to fossil alternatives
   If carbon emissions are effectively “taxed” at
    $100-$200 per ton under a carbon cap-and-trade
    system, nuclear might compete effectively with
    coal/gas fired central station power plants.

  “…1100 Nuclear Reactors” to Avert
        1 Gigaton of Carbon
Twin Units With Cooling Towers cost ~$6-$8 billion

 New Areva-Siemens EPR (1600
MWe) under construction in Finland
        for >$3.8 billion

    The Balance Sheet for New Nuclear Power

                 The Downside (Costs)
    New Nuclear is costly low-carbon power ($0.9 -
     $0.10/kWh delivered)
    3-4 times more costly than end-use efficiency
     improvements ($0.025 - $0.035/kWh, no delivery
     cost) ;
    Nuclear more costly than wind and recovered
     heat co-generation now, and probably more than
     solar within 10 years
    Long gestation/construction period and huge
     capital costs increase risk of market obsolescence
     and “stranded costs” (i.e. costs that cannot reasonably be
     recovered by continuing to operate the plant for its planned life)
            More Nuclear Downside
               (Energy Security)
   Historical record shows U.S. nuclear generation
    subject to infrequent but prolonged unplanned
    • Recent UCS study documents 51 “year-plus” reactor
      outages since 1966, 12 since 1995, of which 11 were
    • To ensure reliability, huge “lumpy” increments of
      nuclear capacity require costly power grid excess
   Carries little prospect of increasing U.S.“energy
    independence” -- bulk of quality global uranium
    resources located outside the U.S.
           More Nuclear Downside
            (Accidents and Waste)
   Any nuclear power investment may become
    hostage to the worst performer—or even the
    average performer on a bad day—in the event of
    a reactor accident or near-accident anywhere on
    the globe
   No technically credible licensed path (yet) to
    opening first long-term geologic repository for
    safely isolating spent fuel
   Real nuclear “renaissance” will soon require
    either additional costly, hard-to-establish
    geologic repositories, or even more costly and
    hazardous spent-fuel reprocessing
Crystalline Second Repository Program

More Nuclear Downside: Security &
      Proliferation Concerns
   Nuclear security concerns and risks are
    heightened in era of transnational terrorism
    • Reactors, spent fuel pools, and cooling water
      impoundments can be sabotaged or attacked
   Acute proliferation concerns if closed fuel cycles
    are used that separate and recycle plutonium
   Proliferation-enabling uranium enrichment
    capability is spreading to additional countries
    that are not Nuclear Weapon States under NPT
    (e.g. Iran, Brazil, North Korea)
DPRK Plutonium Production Reactor

  Indian Heavy Water Reactor
Produces Plutonium for Weapons

This Iranian Heavy Water Plant
  Started Up in August 2006

     More Nuclear Downside : Non-
     Carbon Environmental Impacts
   All stages of nuclear fuel cycle involve harmful,
    (and risk of potentially disastrous) environmental
    impacts (e.g. Chernobyl)
          Uranium mining and milling leaves piles of toxic residues and
           contaminates ground and surface waters. Navajo Nation has
           barred further uranium mining on its lands.
          Enrichment leaves huge inventory of corrosive depleted
           uranium hexaflouride that must be disposed of safely
          Spent fuel reprocessing creates large volumes of difficult-to-
           manage liquid “mixed” (i.e. chemical-radioactive) waste
   Averting severe damage requires tight regulation
    (yet another cost), with significant financial
    penalties imposed for poor environmental/safety
Equipment Boneyard from
  Chernobyl Accident

About 2/3 of energy produced is waste
heat that must be dissipated in the local
    More Environmental Downside:
        Managing Reject Heat
   Huge heat dissipation loads require large
    evaporative cooling withdrawals and/or thermal
    discharges into already overburdened lakes and
    rivers (e.g. reactor shut-downs of Summer 2006)
   Alternative is massive and costly fan-driven air-
    cooling towers with ~ 10% parasitic load
   Climate-change in the direction of hotter-drier
    summers spells trouble for reactors that rely on
    cheaper water cooling from small interior lakes
    and rivers
“Front-end” of Nuclear Fuel Cycle Has
Multiple Harmful Environmental Impacts

    Uranium Mining and Ore
   “All nuclear fuel cycle waste (except HLW) has
    been safely and reliably disposed through DoE
    and NRC regulations; milling, enrichment,
    fabrication as LLW.”
     -- Prof. Mike Corradini, Prof. and Chair of Engineering
        Physics, University of Wisconsin, Sept. 29, 2006

   In reality, uranium mining and milling leaves huge
    piles of toxic residues and contaminates ground
    and surface waters. Navajo Nation has barred
    further uranium mining on its lands. Disposal
    anything but “safe and reliable.”
         In undisturbed uranium deposit, the activity of all decay
products remains constant for hundreds of millions of years.
         Radiation is virtually trapped underground; exposures are only
possible if contaminated groundwater, circulating through the deposit,
is used for drinking.
         Radon is of no concern for deep deposits (though it can travel
through underground fissures) since it decays before it can reach the 26
   Situation changes when the deposit is mined: Radon gas
    can escape into the air, ore dust can be blown by the wind,
    and contaminants can be leached and seep into surface
    water bodies and groundwater.
   The alpha radiation of the 8 alpha-emitting nuclides
    contained in the U-238 series (and to a lesser degree, of
    the 7 alpha emitters in the U-235 series) presents a
    radiation hazard on ingestion or inhalation of uranium ore
    (dust) and radon.
     Radiation Hazard from Tailings, cont…

   The gamma radiation mainly of Pb-214
    and Bi-214, together with the beta
    radiation of Th-234, Pa-234m, Pb-214, Bi-
    214, and Bi-210, presents an external
    radiation hazard.
   For ingestion and inhalation, also the
    chemical toxicity of uranium has to be
    taken into account (uranium and other
    heavy metals can damage liver function)

   “Because uranium decays by alpha particles, external exposure to
    uranium is not as dangerous as exposure to other radioactive
    elements because the skin will block the alpha particles.
   Ingestion of high concentrations of uranium, however, can cause
    severe health effects, such as cancer of the bone or liver.
   Inhaling large concentrations of uranium can cause lung cancer
    from the exposure to alpha particles.
   Uranium is also a toxic chemical, meaning that ingestion of
    uranium can cause kidney damage from its chemical properties
    much sooner than its radioactive properties would cause cancers
    of the bone or liver.”
    --Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, August 2004          29
Uranium Mine North Saskatchewan

What are Uranium Mill Tailings?
   Waste from uranium mining takes the form of
    both waste rock (“overburden”) and “tailings”
   Percentage of uranium in naturally occurring ore
    bodies is very low (1-3%) creating need for
    plants that concentrate the ore into something
    called uranium “yellowcake” (uranium oxide,
   Tailings formed when uranium ore is crushed and
    chemically treated (usually with sulfuric acid and
    other chemicals) to “leach out” the uranium
   Huge amounts of wastes (tailings) from this
    process normally transferred in a slurry pipeline
    and dumped in expediently engineered man-
    made impoundments                                   31
Rio Algom Mill Tailing Ponds, Elliot
       Lake, Saskatchewan

What’s in Uranium Mill Tailings?
   Leach residues contain most of the
    radioactive decay products of uranium:
    e.g. Thorium-230, Radium-226, Radon-
    222 (radon gas)
   Tailings also contains sulfuric acid,
    ammonia, other process chemicals,
    arsenic, and heavy metals
   Because Thorium-230 is long-lived,
    radium and radon are continually
    produced in the tailings and released over
    a long period
Quirke Mine Tailings Pile In Profile
       (60 million tonnes)

Uranium Mill Tailings Pose Multiple
  Air- and Water-Borne Hazards

IUC White Mesa Mill, South Utah

“Alternate Uranium Feeds” Shipped
       from all over the USA

Now Re-Opening/New Mines in Kanab
    – Red Rock Desert Region

Toxic leachate pond from
     uranium mining

White Mesa Mill Tailings Ponds

Atlas Mill Tailings Along Colorado
         River near Moab

 Atlas Uranium Mill Tailings Pile
(10 million tons, covered in sand)

Atlas Mill Tailings on Colorado
    River near Moab, Utah

     Flooding spurs new concern
       over Atlas Moab tailings
   From the Salt Lake Tribune July 27, 2006
   “Flash flooding in Moab two weeks ago has
    provided new incentive for state and local officials
    to keep the pressure on the U.S. Energy
    Department to stay on schedule with the cleanup
    of the Atlas mill uranium tailings.
   “The deluge - 2 to 4 inches (5 - 10 cm) of rain in
    a matter of hours - cut through the layer of sand
    that covers the massive pile of uranium waste on
    the banks of the Colorado River. It also washed
    out a containment berm and left a puddle on top
    of the 130-acre pile.”
    Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial
      Action (UMTRA) Program
   24 Surface and Ground-Water Sites in 10 States

   Twenty-four designated Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial
    Action (UMTRA) sites are located in 10 states, including:

   Arizona (two sites), Colorado (nine sites), Idaho (one site),
    New Mexico (two sites), North Dakota (two sites), Oregon
    (one site), Pennsylvania (one site), Texas (one site), Utah
    (three sites), and Wyoming (two sites).

   One part of the program focuses on surface contamination,
    the other part on groundwater.

   Unfortunately, there are hundreds of smaller old
    contaminated mining sites scattered throughout the West
       EPA settles with United Nuclear to
      investigate contamination at former
    Church Rock uranium mine and mill site
   On Sep. 28, 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection
    Agency reached an agreement with the United Nuclear
    Corporation requiring the company to further investigate
    contamination related to its historic uranium mining and
    processing operations at the Northeast Church Rock Mine
    site located on the Navajo Nation, approximately 16 miles
    northeast of Gallup, New Mex.

   In January 2006, the EPA detected elevated levels of alpha
    radiation at the site and radium-226 in the surface soils.
    Residences to the northeast of the mine permit area may
    have been affected by releases of hazardous substances
    and contaminants transported by wind, historic dewatering
    of mining operations, and runoff during snow, rain and
    flood events. (EPA Region 9, Sep. 28, 2006)

     Rio Algom applies for relaxed ground-
    water standards for Lisbon (MT) mill site

    Notice in Federal Register Vol. 67, No. 142, p. 48495 (Jul.
     24, 2002):
    "SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that the Nuclear
     Regulatory Commission (NRC) has received, … an
     application from Rio Algom Mining LLC (Rio Algom) to
     establish Alternate Concentration Limits and amend the
     Source Material License No. SUA-1119 for the Lisbon
     uranium mill facility. "
    From Rio Algom's May 22, 2002, application:
    "Results of this assessment indicate that aquifer restoration
     cannot be achieved in less than 28 years or for less than
     $23,000,000 given any active remedial scenario. In
     contrast, the cost to implement natural attenuation in
     conjunction with institutional controls is only about $

    Hazard cleanup at abandoned uranium mines
      in Harding County may cost $20 million
   (Aberdeen News [South Dakota] July 21, 2005)
   “The clean up at abandoned uranium mines in Harding County will
    cost an estimated $20 million, according to the U.S. Forest
    Service. The agency hopes to have the Riley Pass Uranium Mines
    site included in the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund
   “Hazardous materials contaminate 12 bluffs in the Sioux Ranger
    District of Custer National Forest, said Laurie Walters-Clark, on-
    scene coordinator of the project. In the 1950s, uranium mining
    claims were filed on the 65,000 acres of the North Cave Hills,
    South Cave Hills and Slim Buttes areas. By 1965, the mining
    companies had left.
   “In 1989, the Forest Service built five catch basins to trap
    sediment washing down from the former mine sites. By the next
    year, the Forest Service removed more than 6,700 cubic yards of
    sediment from the basins. With an estimated $2 million price tag,
    Forest Service officials decided against further reclamation efforts.
    Later soil testing showed the bluffs as sources of hazardous

  40-50 years after the fact, impacts of first
   uranium mining boom are still being felt

Informational Meeting October 11, 2006 6:00 p.m.
Written by DR. James Stone
Thursday, 01 September 2005

Informational Meeting
When: October 11, 2006 6:00 p.m.

  Where: Ludlow Hall
  Ludlow, South Dakota
    High radiation levels from abandoned uranium
        mines also found in Pryor Mountains
           (Montana) near Bighorn Canyon
   The Billings Gazette Aug. 17, 2003:
   “High levels of radioactivity found at abandoned
    uranium mines in the Pryor Mountains has
    prompted the Custer National Forest to close one
    area and the Bureau of Land Management to
    consider closures at other nearby sites.
   “The Forest Service took radiation readings at the
    … mines after an abandoned mines inventory
    suggested they may have high radiation levels.
   “At the Sandra Mine, the Forest Service found
    readings that ranged from 1.8 times the natural
    background level to 369 times.”
    Draft Environmental Assessment of Ground
    Water Compliance at the New Rifle, Colorado,
             UMTRA Site, 29 July 2003
   “Contaminants of concern in ground water …
    include ammonia, arsenic, fluoride, manganese,
    molybdenum, nitrate, selenium, uranium, and
   “DOE plans a ground-water remediation strategy
    of natural flushing coupled with institutional
    controls and continued monitoring to meet U.S.
    Environmental Protection Agency ground-water
   “Institutional controls protect public health and
    the environment by limiting access to a
    contaminated medium.”

    Former Uravan (CO) residents sue Umetco in
       suspected radiation-related illnesses

Denver Post Jan. 24, 2004:
 “A group of Coloradans has sued Union Carbide,
  saying the firm failed to protect them from
  deadly radiation when they lived near a company
  uranium mine.
 “The 28-page suit filed on Jan. 23, 2004, in U.S.
  District Court in Denver accuses the company of
  causing the death from radiation exposure of four
  people and illness among more than 70 others.
   “By 1986, contamination forced evacuation of the
    town south of Grand Junction along the Dolores
      Strong Exposure-Dependent Link Between
     Uranium Mining and Incidence of Cancer and
                Other Lung Diseases
   The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
    a part of the US Public Health Service (PHS), have jointly
    conducted a series of studies since 1950 on the health of 3,328
    uranium miners:
   “ … strong evidence for an increased risk for lung cancer in white
    uranium miners … about 6 times more lung cancer deaths than
   “…strong evidence for pneumoconiosis, a type of lung disease
    (other than cancer) which is caused by dust…24 times more of
    these deaths than expected… category includes silicosis, a disease
    caused by breathing in a particular mining dust, silica. Silicosis
    causes scarring of the lung and severe breathing problems.”
   4 times more deaths than expected from infectious tuberculosis;
   2 ½ times more deaths than expected from emphysema

       Meanwhile, Uranium Mining
    Technology has Moved On (but still
     produces severe contamination)
   “In-situ leaching” has replaced hard-rock mining and milling
    in many locations
   To be mined in situ, uranium deposit must occur in
    permeable sandstone aquifers
   Once geometry of the ore bodies is known, locations of
    injection and recovery wells are planned to effectively
    contact the uranium. Technique has now been used in
    several thousand wells.
   Following installation of the well field, leaching solution
    (“lixiviant”), consisting of native ground water containing
    dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide, is delivered to the
    uranium-bearing strata through the injection wells.
   Once in contact with the deposit, the lixiviant oxidizes the
    uranium minerals which allows the uranium to dissolve in
    the ground water.                                              54
In-situ Uranium Leach Mining

         Leach-Mining cont….
   “Production wells,” located between the
    injection wells, intercept the “pregnant”
    lixiviant and pump it to the surface.
   A centralized ion-exchange facility extracts
    the uranium from the the barren lixiviant,
    stripped of uranium, is regenerated with
    oxygen and carbon dioxide and
    recirculated for continued leaching.
   The ion exchange resin, which becomes
    "loaded" with uranium, is stripped or
    “eluted” of its uranium and returned to the
    well field facility.
     In situ Leach Mining, cont…
   The resulting rich eluate is precipitated to
    produce a “yellow cake” slurry. This slurry is
    dewatered and dried to a final drummed uranium
    concentrate .
   During the mining process, more water is
    withdrawn from the ore-bearing formation than is
   This net withdrawal, or "bleed", produces a cone
    of depression in the mining area, intended to
    control fluid flow and confine it to the mining
   The "bleed" also limits the buildup of species like
    sulfate and chloride which are mobilized by the
    leaching process
    Leaching by-products are huge volumes of
       wastewater, radioactive sludge, and
             contaminated aquifers
    “Bleed water” is treated for removal of uranium and radium
     and disposed of through waste water land application, or
    A small volume of radioactive sludge results; this sludge is
     disposed of at an NRC-licensed uranium tailings facility
    Mined aquifer is surrounded, both laterally and above and
     below, by monitor wells which are sampled to detect
     whether mining fluids are leaving the mining zone
    At the conclusion of the leaching process in a well-field
     area, the same injection and production wells and surface
     facilities are used for restoration of the affected ground

    Water quality is rarely restored to
           pre-mining levels
   Contaminated water in leach zone is pumped out
    and treated again to remove radionuclides and
    disposed of in irrigation.
   Native ground water that flows in is pumped to
    the surface, purified by reverse osmosis, and
   Soluble metal ions created by leaching of the ore
    zone are chemically immobilized by injecting a
    reducing chemical into the ore zone, immobilizing
    these constituents in situ.
   “Restoration” continues by pumping fresh water
    through the aquifer until the ground water meets
    its designated “pre-mining” use, which may or
    may not represent previous groundwater quality
      How well does In-Situ Leach
    Aquifer Restoration Really Work?
   Not very well. Few aquifers are actually restored to the
    water quality levels specified in their mining permits
   Hundreds of millions and in some cases billions of gallons of
    water are removed from the mined aquifer, often in
    parched areas that can ill afford such massive groundwater
   Many (probably most) leach-mined aquifers remain
    contaminated by excessive concentrations of one or more
    of the following: calcium, magnesium, potassium, ammonia
    bicarbonate, chloride, sulfate, nitrate, alkalinity, arsenic,
    iron, manganese, molybdenum, radium-226, selenium, and
   After mining operations are complete and some partial
    cleanup has been achieved, one operator after another has
    routinely been granted “amendments” to their mining
    licenses, reducing required cleanup levels to those that
    have already been achieved, after which the license is
    terminated and the mine operator walks away.             60
    State of Texas issues Emergency Order to
      Everest Exploration, Inc. for cleanup of
            uranium in-situ leach sites

   "Notice is hereby given that the Bureau of Radiation
    Control (bureau) ordered Everest Exploration, Inc.
    (licensee-L03626) of Corpus Christi to immediately
    complete decontamination and decommissioning of
    the uranium processing facilities located at its
    Hobson, Mt. Lucas, and Tex-1 sites.”
   “The bureau determined that failure to timely and
    adequately decommission these facilities. [...]"
    constitutes an emergency that requires immediate
    action to protect the public health and safety and the
    (Texas Register Feb. 8, 2002, notice )

 Front-end of Nuclear Fuel Cycle Has
Multiple Harmful Environmental Impacts

 “…..15 enrichment plants”
(this one is in Paducah, KY

Russian Centrifuge Enrichment
      Plant (Sverdlovsk)

Centrifuge Cascade Showing
       Individual Units

700,000 MT (57,000 cylinders) of
 Depleted Uranium Hexaflouride
      (DUF6) for Disposal

DOT Advisory Sheet on UF6

CDC: “Even splashes of Hydrogen
Fluoride on the Skin Can be Fatal”

         CDC: “You could be exposed to
        hydrogen fluoride if it is used as a
            chemical terrorism agent”
   “Hydrogen fluoride goes easily and quickly
    through the skin and into the tissues in the body.
    There it damages the cells and causes them to
    not work properly.
   “Breathing hydrogen fluoride can burn lung tissue
    and cause swelling and fluid accumulation in the
    lungs (pulmonary edema).
   “Skin contact with hydrogen fluoride may cause
    severe burns that develop after several hours and
    form skin ulcers.”
    Long-term health effects of acute
     exposure to hydrogen fluoride
   People who survive after being severely injured by
    breathing in hydrogen fluoride may suffer lingering chronic
    lung disease.
   Burns caused by concentrated hydrogen fluoride may take
    a long time to heal and may result in severe scarring.
   Fingertip injuries from hydrogen fluoride may result in
    persistent pain, bone loss, and injury to the nail bed.
   Eye exposure to hydrogen fluoride may cause prolonged or
    permanent visual defects, blindness, or total destruction of
    the eye.
   Swallowing hydrogen fluoride can damage the esophagus
    and stomach. The damage may progress for several weeks,
    resulting in gradual and lingering narrowing of the
  New DOE “Reconversion” Plants at
Portsmouth (OH) and Paducah (KY) will
    process ~31,000 MT/yr of DUF6

Conversion of depleted UF6 backlog to solid
  uranium oxide and aqueous Hydrogen
       Flouride will take ~22 years

 Front-end of Nuclear Fuel Cycle Has
Multiple Harmful Environmental Impacts

Nuclear Fuel Fabrication Plant

Back End of Fuel Cycle

 Two (Costly) Routes for Managing Nuclear
  Waste from Large-Scale Nuclear Carbon
 Spent fuel containing 10,000,000

  kilograms of (weapons-usable) plutonium
  would require either:
   50 reprocessing plants if all spent fuel
    were to be reprocessed (plant capacity =
    800 t SF/y and plant life = 40 y), OR
   14 Yucca Mountains for 973,000 t spent
    fuel (SF)
50 Spent Fuel Reprocessing Plants Like This One
           at Cap La Hague, France

Yongbyon Plutonium Separation
     Plant, North Korea

Spent Fuel Storage at UK
  Reprocessing Plant

Closer View of Spent Fuel
    Canisters in Pool

Underground Reprocessing Waste
Tanks at Hanford Reservation, WA

$20 Billion Reprocessing Plant
 Under Construction in Japan

Japanese Activist Poster Opposing
  Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant

Alternate Path: “Dry Cask” Spent Nuclear
    Fuel Storage at US Reactor Sites

Nuclear Cask Transporter

…OR “14 Deep Geologic Repositories” Like
       Nevada’s Yucca Mountain
 (World Has Yet to Qualify One of These)

Goal: Local geology must ensure
  Rad-Waste Containment for
        > 100,000 years

      COAL Mining and Burning
   Both the burning and the mining of coal
    impose unacceptable, irreparable damage
    • Natural environments
    • Human health and communities, and
    • The Global Climate
   Licensing a new coal plant today in the
    presence of numerous less harmful energy
    alternatives is a crime against nature and
    human society
Mountain-Top Removal at Kayford
      Mine, West Virginia

MTR at Hobet Mine, WV

Mountaintop Mining Areas

 Headwaters and Water Quality of Hundreds of
Streams that Flow into the Ohio-Mississippi River
      System are Affected by Coal Mining

Coal Slurry Impoundment,
        Hobet WV

Brushy Fork, WV Coal Slurry Lake

Brushy Fork Coal Slurry Lake
showing huge expansion area

What if a Coal Slurry Dam Breaks
            or Leaks?

Martin County, KY, October 11,

    The dam failure and its impacts
   On Oct 11, 2000, a coal tailings dam of Martin County Coal
    Corporation's preparation plant near Inez, Kentucky, USA, failed,
    releasing a slurry consisting of an estimated 250 million gallons
    (950,000 m3) of water and 155,000 cubic yards (118,500 m3) of
    coal waste into local streams.

   About 75 miles (120 km) of rivers and streams turned an
    irridescent black, causing a fish kill along the Tug Fork of the Big
    Sandy River and some of its tributaries. Towns along the Tug
    were forced to turn off their drinking water intakes.

   Spill oozed down the Tug Fork and Big Sandy Rivers into the Ohio,
    traveling 100 miles, closing down community water supplies and
    devastating aquatic life. The disaster placed the Big Sandy on
    American Rivers' Most Endangered Rivers list.
    The spill contained coal cleaning chemicals and measurable
    amounts of arsenic, mercury, lead, copper and chromium.
Creek Bed and Banks Coated With
          Toxic Sludge

   Massey Coal Valley Fill Collapse Buries
Community of Winding Shoals Hollow, Lyburn WV,
                19 July 2002

      A disaster waiting to happen
       elsewhere in coal country?
   Loosened by heavy rain, falling debris
    from the face of the valley fill completely
    filled the sediment catch pond at its base,
    causing it to overflow and send a tidal
    wave of sediment-laden water churning
    down Winding Shoals Hollow
   Two homes were destroyed, 10 others
    damaged, and 8-10 vehicles hurled
    downstream. No one was killed, though
    there were some narrow escapes
Near the top of 900 ft high Massey valley fill that
      partly collapsed into sediment pond,
              causing it to overflow

Cleanup of Winding Shoals Hollow

 Western Coal Mining:
Strip Mine, Colstrip, MT

Dragline Coal Scraper in Decker, MT
(Note huge scale of equipment: doors in machine
                  are 7 ft high)

Farm Surrounded by Strip Mine

Abandoned Coal Mine
 South of Victoria, IL

             The Toll from Coal
   Coal mining - and particularly MTR and strip
    mining - poses one of the most significant threats
    to terrestrial habitats in the United States
   During surface mining activities, trees are
    clearcut (destroying carbon sink) and habitat is
    fragmented, destroying natural areas that were
    home to hundreds of unique species
   Grasslands (or reseeded forests) that replace the
    original ecosystems in “reclaimed” surface-mined
    areas have less-developed soil structure and
    lower species diversity compared to previous
    natural forests
   Forty-six western national parks are located
    within ten miles of an identified coal basin, and
    these parks could be significantly affected by
    future surface mining in the region                 119
    Coal Mining Permanently Degrades the Land
   Estimated one million acres of West Virginia mountains
    subjected to strip mining and mountaintop removal
    between 1939 and 2005
   Many mines never reclaimed -- once forested mountains
    replaced by crippled mounds of sand and gravel.
   Surface mining causes severe environmental damage as
    huge machines strip, rip apart and scrape aside vegetation,
    soils, wildlife habitat. Drastically and permanently reshapes
    existing land forms and affected area’s ecology to reach the
    subsurface coal.
   Strip mining results in industrialization of once quiet open
    space along with displacement of wildlife, increased soil
    erosion, loss of recreational opportunities, degradation of
    wilderness values and destruction of scenic beauty
   Reclamation can be problematic both because of arid
    climate and soil quality. As in the East, reclamation of
    surface mined areas does not usually restore pre-mining
    wildlife habitat. May require scarce water resources to be
    used for irrigation to aid recovery of vegetation.
    Coal Production Pollutes Ground
          and Surface Waters
   Waterways harmed by valley fills total 80% of
    the Mississippi’s length
   Valley fills bury ecologically significant
    headwaters of streams
   Strip and longwall coal mining in West is
    damaging aquifers that supply drinking water and
    recharge surface water
   All types of coal mining increase sedimentation,
    altering water chemistry and stream flow
   Coal is sometimes transported in slurry pipelines,
    depleting local aquifers needed for drinking water
    and irrigation.
      Acid Mine Drainage (AMD)
   In both underground and surface coal mines, sulfur-bearing
    minerals are brought up to the surface in waste rock
   Ironically, this problem gets worse when advanced pollution
    controls allow increased use of high-sulfur coal.
   When sulfur bearing waste rock mixes with precipitation
    and groundwater, an acidic leachate is formed
   As in uranium mining and milling, this leachate picks up
    toxic heavy metals and carries them into streams and
    groundwater, drastically altering water chemistry
   Affected water is less habitable, non-potable, and unfit for
    recreational uses
   An estimated 10 – 20 thousand miles of U.S. streams are
    already degraded by AMD pollution
   Partial fix is to add alkaline substances to counteract the
    acid, but this increases mobilization of selenium and arsenic
    Air Pollution from Coal Production
   Coal mining and processing releases 3 million
    metric tons of methane, a powerful heat-trapping
    gas and second most important contributor to
    global warming after CO2
   Western strip mining involves creation and
    transport of large amounts of particulate matter
    (PM) emissions, from blasting, draglines, truck
    hauling, road grading, diesel engines, and wind
   Diesel-burning trucks, trains, and barges that
    transport coal release CO2, NOx, and other
    pollutants into the atmosphere. Coal transport
    accounts for at least 44% of all US rail freight
       Coal Combustion Harms the
   Produces huge quantities of air pollutants that
    severely harm public health and the environment
   Uses vast quantities of fresh water for cooling,
    degrading water quality
   Produces more than 120 million tons of solid
   Major air pollutants are fine and coarse
    particulate matter (PM); smog producing oxides
    of nitrogen (NOx); sulfur dioxide (SO2) which
    causes acid rain; mercury and other toxic
    compounds; and heat-trapping CO2.
              Coal Burning Kills
   PM inhalation increases: premature deaths of
    those with heart or lung disease; chronic
    bronchitis and heart attacks; 70 million people in
    the U.S. live with unhealthy levels of PM pollution
   NOx emissions assist formation of unhealthy
    levels of ground level ozone in smog, leading to
    higher incidence asthma attacks and other
    respiratory ailments. More than 110 million
    Americans live with unhealthy levels of ozone at
    least part of the year.
   Coal-fired power plants are the largest U.S.
    source of manmade mercury pollution (48 tons),
    and annually emit similar amounts of toxic
    arsenic, lead and chromium compounds,
    hydrogen flouride, and hydrochloric acid.
     Coal burning harms, cont…
   Mercury is particularly toxic to developing
    fetuses and young infants
   In July 2005 the CDC concluded one in 17
    US women of childbearing age have blood
    levels of mercury that could pose a risk to
    a developing fetus.
   Highly toxic methylmercury accumulates
    in the tissue of fish and increased
    exposure is linked to increased risk of
    cardiovascular disease.

Coal and Climate:
 Hitting the Wall

                                         Budgets for Stabilization
Billion tonnes Carbon 2004-2100






                                           450    550     650   750
                                                    ppm               128
    New Coal Build by Decade
    GW Coal   600

                0   2003-2010               2011-2020   2021-2030
Other Developing       43                      90         128
India                  16                      48          79
China                  150                     168        226
Transition              1                      11          19
OECD                   12                      184        218

 Incremental new coal capacity by decade
                             Source: IEA, WEO 2004
New Coal Plant Emissions
Equal All Historic Coal CO2
                                              27% of
    143                              145      budget for
                                               450 ppm




   1751-2000                  New Coal Plants
   Total Coal                Lifetime Emissions
          Billion tonnes Carbon

      Source: ORNL, CDIAC; IEA, WEO 2004
          Natural Gas Impacts
   Onshore and offshore development of
    natural gas results in heavy-duty
    industrialization of affected areas.
   Well fields can cover thousands of acres
    and encompass hundreds, even
    thousands, of wells and well pads.
   Each field is accompanied by a dense web
    of power lines, miles of pipelines and
    roads, waste pits, compressors,
    processing plants and other production
     Natural Gas Impacts, cont…
   In addition to causing increased erosion
    and dust, these activities pollute once-
    quiet open space with noisy machinery --
    typically powered by diesel engines -- that
    runs continuously.
   Conventional drilling for oil and gas has
    depleted underground aquifers and
    contaminated surface waters with toxic
    drilling materials and produced water
   Coalbed methane development causes
    unique and severe water-related
Gas Development on Colorado
      Western Slope

Jonah Gas Field, Pinedale, WY

 Gas Well on “Split Estate”
 (Landowner does not own
subsurface rights to the land)

Hoback Peak Area of Wyoming –
 Targeted for Gas Development

 Bondurant Valley, WY
Targeted for Gas Leasing

    Natural Gas Exploitation is Degrading and
         Fragmenting Western Habitats
   Exploration activities degrade wildlife
    habitats and road-less areas, harm fragile
    soils and archeological resources, and
    encourage damaging off-road vehicle use.
   Extraction activities have displaced wildlife
    and fragmented and degraded their
   Wilderness values on millions of acres
    have been lost and local communities
    transformed through "boom and bust"
Drill rig in foothills of Wind River
             Range, WY

Gas well infrastructure

Typical well installation

Dallas Fed Says Current Drilling Expansion
Has Significantly Outlasted Previous Two:
 When and How will Current Frenzy End?

Coalbed Methane Potential in

Aerial view of Coal Bed Methane Field with
        Wastewater Impoundments

What is Coal Bed Methane (CBM)?
   Form of natural gas extraction that
    liberates methane from underground coal
    seams by reducing the hydrostatic
    pressure that is keeping the methane in
    the seam
   Typical CBM well requires pumping an
    average of 15,000 gallons per day
   Water pumped out of the coal seam is
    stored in thousands of large unlined
    infiltration reservoirs, designed to allow
    this water to slowly bleed back into the
    water table, streams and rivers
              Ecological Disaster
                in the Making?
   Massive pumping out – “Dewatering” -- of the
    coal seam is depleting important underground
    aquifers in arid regions and causing subsidence
    impacts on the surface, while excavation of the
    reservoirs is creating unprecedented soil erosion
   Excess salinity and contamination of byproduct
    water is a big concern
   Noise and air quality issues – large amounts of
    energy needed to run submersible pumps around
    the clock is provided by thousands of polluting
    diesel generators
   In short – a massive ecological disaster in the
    making that rivals the environmental insults of
    coal mining.                                        147
Unlined Waste Water Impoundment
from Coal Bed Methane Extraction

Leaking Coal Bed Methane

Another aerial view of CBM

Renewable Energy Technologies Also Have
    Significant Environmental Impacts
   Not on same damaging scale as coal, natural gas,
    and nuclear, but these impacts need to be
    carefully examined
   Wind power installations have view-shed, noise,
    and wildlife siting issues
   Big ramp up in solar PV would require increased
    mining and refining of specialty materials, e.g.
    thin film CIGS solar cells – copper, indium,
    gallium, and selenium.
   “Certified” sources of these materials need to be
    developed that meet environmental and social

   Most economically efficient way to address
    nuclear-coal-gas risks and harms is to
    internalize all costs of avoiding-mitigating-
    preventing these harms in the retail price
    of electricity and fuels
   Create level, environmentally sustainable
    energy playing field via carbon cap-and-
    trade, and major regulatory and mining
   Let competitive markets deliver the
    lowest-cost technologies for energy
    services that meet minimum common
    criteria for environmental sustainability,
    public health, and energy security.        152
     Policy Conclusions (cont…)
   IF nuclear proves capable of meeting
    these criteria, while also becoming
    economically competitive without
    subsidies, THEN it could play a modest
    future role in countering global climate
   HOWEVER, because of nuclear’s persistent
    environmental, security and cost
    deficiencies, this role is likely to be limited
   If forced to choose between coal and
    nuclear, nuclear is preferable, but it is an
    ugly and unnecessary choice.
          Conclusions (cont…)
   Nuclear very unlikely to reach one
    gigaton/yr carbon displacement capacity
    by 2050. A radical shift is needed within
    the next ten years to less polluting and
    efficient energy technologies
   Based on present and forseeable nuclear
    technologies, big role for nuclear is not to
    be desired in any case.
   Technical improvements could occur to
    alter the preceding judgment, but
    probably not on the short timescale
    needed to stabilize carbon emissions        154
           Conclusions cont…
   Climate-change strategy should focus on
    rapid deployment of cleaner, more
    flexible, and clearly sustainable energy
   End use efficiency, waste heat co-
    generation, fuel-cells running on biogas,
    windpower, solar PV and solar thermal are
    now available as realistic alternatives to
    new polluting baseload power plants.

            Conclusions, cont…
   Create 5-10 year gigawatt-scale investment
    “virtual power plant” packages of energy
    efficiency and distributed renewable energy
   Ensure cost recovery in the regulated rate base
    just as you would a conventional baseload plant,
    and then let Wall Street bond finance them just
    as you would any other regulated utility
   Minimize future coal and natural gas use and
    focus on ending our frenzied exploitation of fossil
California has Achieved 30% Reduction in Per Capita Carbon Dioxide
Emissions While the Rest of the U.S. has Remained Essentially Static

                                                      Per Capita Carbon Dioxide Emissions

       Per Capita Emissions (metric tons)   25.0

                                                                            Rest of U.S.
                                                                            California with imports


                                               1975       1980     1985     1990       1995           2000

Comparison of Per Capita Electricity Consumed in U.S. and CA
Since 1975 US per capita energy use has increased by 50%, but CA has
held roughly constant, saving 12 GW of peak demand growth that would
otherwise have been met with grid-connected capacity equivalent to some
15 large nuclear reactors, costing on the order of $45 billion*.





                                                               Source: California Energy Commission, 2005.[i]


                     1960     1965      1970      1975       1980      1985      1990      1995       2000      2004

              [i] John Wilson, California Energy Commission, November 2005.
Economic; Security; Safety; Environment and Public Health Impacts of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle

Uranium                            Uranium                        Uranium                      Uranium Fuel               Reactor                  →
Mining & Milling                   Conversion                     Enrichment                   Fabrication                Operations
Radioactive waste;                 Proliferation risks (Int’l) Proliferation risks (Int’l); Proliferation risks (Int’l)   Spent fuel/plutonium production;
Chemical toxicity;                                             Occupational health risks;                                 Proliferation risks (Int’l);
Land; water; air pollution;                                    Depleted uranium wastes;                                   Catastrophic accident risks;
Environmental justice;                                         Groundwater; air & land                                    High costs; massive federal subsidies;
Public & occupational health                                   pollution                                                  Low-level radioactive waste;
risks;                                                                                                                    Spent fuel storage risks (terrorists);
Federal subsidies                                                                                                         Air; land & water pollution (minor);
                                                                                                                          Decommissioning (high volume of low-
                                                                                                                          level waste; insufficient funds for)

Spent Fuel Reprocessing*                                Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication* MOX Fuel Transportation →
Plutonium separation; proliferation (Int’l);            Proliferation (Int’l)                                             Security concerns
Plutonium diversion; inadequate safeguards;             Plutonium diversion; inadequate safeguards                        Public acceptance
Safety risks;                                           Security/Safety concerns
High costs; massive federal subsidies;                  Transportation security (to and from)
High- & low-level radioactive waste;                    High costs; massive federal subsidies
Air; land and groundwater pollution (major);

Spent Fuel                                     Spent Fuel Away From                             Spent Fuel/High-Level Radioactive Waste
Transportation                                 Reactor Interim Storage                          Geologic Disposal
Safety and security concerns                   Difficult to site; lack of public acceptance;    Hazardous for millions of years;
                                               Defacto permanent solution;                      Intractable political issues related to siting;
                                               High federal liability                           High costs; federal subsidies
* Closed Fuel Cycle Only

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