Friday, April 13, 2007

Stop GNEP, Stop The Nuclear Renaissance...Submit Your Comments Now

There are two main components of the nuclear industry's plans for a renaissance, 1) the NRC doing a fine job of rubber stamping the license renewal applications of all 103 of America's aging reactors, and 2) creation and implementation of GNEP (Global Nuclear Energy Program) which with the stroke of a pen reclassifies reactor waste as potential future use resources under the false promise of eventual recycling of the wastes at failing reactors such as Entergy's Indian Point.
Well, thanks to an extension of the comment period, we still have time to submit our comments on the GNEP plan, and I have placed the information cannot be stressed how important our comments are in this process, so let's have our voice heard this time around.
Urge the Administration to Abandon Dangerous New Nuclear Plan
The Bush administration’s controversial Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) would resume U.S. commercial reprocessing—the extraction of weapons-usable plutonium from spent fuel from nuclear power reactors—for the first time in more than 30 years. U.S. reprocessing would make it easier for terrorists to obtain nuclear weapons materials, encourage other countries to begin reprocessing programs, and seriously undermine U.S. efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. The Department of Energy (DOE) is conducting an environmental assessment of the GNEP proposal. Write the DOE today and ask them to abandon the program due to its serious security risks and enormous taxpayer costs.

Please make your letter personal by adding in your own thoughts and concerns. Every letter makes a difference, but customized letters have the greatest effect!

The deadline for comments has been extended to June 4, 2007.

What's At Stake?
Urge the Administration to Abandon Dangerous New Nuclear Plan

The Bush administration is requesting a Fiscal Year 2008 budget of $405 million for its major new nuclear energy initiative, the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), which involves “reprocessing” the used (or “spent”) fuel from nuclear power reactors. Reprocessing separates plutonium and uranium from other nuclear waste contained in spent nuclear fuel. The separated plutonium can be used to fuel reactors, but also to make nuclear weapons. See the UCS Fact Sheet on reprocessing.

Currently, the Department of Energy (DOE) is conducting a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) of GNEP. The PEIS looks at potential consequences of the facilities that would be built under GNEP, including the reprocessing plant and an experimental new type of nuclear reactor.

As part of this stage of the assessment, the public is invited to submit comments on the scope of the PEIS, as well as concerns or questions about the program, by April 4, 2007.

The DOE will consider these comments, as well as others received at a series of public hearings held across the country, as it prepares a Draft PEIS. That draft is scheduled to be released this summer, at which point there will be an opportunity to comment on it.

The Union of Concerned Scientists is calling for the impact statement to include an assessment of the effects of GNEP on the spread of nuclear weapons, materials, and technologies. Since the administration announced GNEP, several countries have proposed similar or related initiatives, undermining one of the stated goals of the program: stopping the spread of nuclear technology.

The DOE has also refused to provide a comprehensive budget for the proposed program. A 1996 study by the National Academy of Sciences estimated that a full-scale U.S. reprocessing program could cost $100 billion. A budget assessment should be included in the PEIS.

Meanwhile, UCS and other groups will be urging Congress—as they consider its annual spending bills (e.g. Appropriations)—to eliminate and cut the $405 million in GNEP funding proposed this fiscal year.

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