Resolution on Nuclear Recycling

A resolution passed by the Board of Trustees of Temple Beth El (a predecessor congregation of Temple Beth Tzedek)

The Temple Board, meeting on December 21, 1999, passed the following resolution:

Whereas the Department of Energy has a problem of what to do with radioactive metal and,
Whereas the DOE has a plan to dispose of the radioactive metals such as nickel, copper steel, and aluminum and,
Whereas the DOE wants to recycle these metals to save money and,
Whereas these metals could be manufactured into everyday household products and,
Whereas these products could be computers, pots, pans, forks, eyeglasses, children’s braces, jewelry, zippers on clothing, furniture such as bed frames and desks and,
Whereas some of the most dangerous radioactive materials may be the metals people unintentionally ingest and,
Whereas Karl Morgan, the father of Health physics, is particularly concerned about dental fillings and,
Whereas many scientists fear the release of hot metals into the product stream can cause a health hazard and,
Whereas Richard Clapp, associate professor of environmental health, Boston University, has said this is the legacy of an industry gone mad, and
Whereas this is already happening in Taiwan and,
Whereas people in Taiwan are living in apartments built with contaminated recycled waste and,
Whereas the waste has come from the United States

Therefore be it resolved that Temple Beth El of Greater Buffalo, heir to a tradition of stewardship of Creation, emanating from the Book of Genesis, and who recognizes the gravity of our ecological problems and our moral responsibility to take action

  1. Call on the United States President, Vice President Gore, Congress and all federal, state and international regulators to recapture, stop, and prevent the release and recycling of radioactive waste and materials into consumer products and the environment;
  2. Call on the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to reverse its efforts and expenditures to release radioactive wastes and to initiate a policy requiring regulatory control and isolation of all radioactive wastes;
  3. Call for the recapture and recall of radioactive materials and wastes that have been released into the marketplace;
  4. Call on the US Department of Energy to halt all releases of radioactive wastes and materials into the marketplace, to recapture that which has been released and to revoke the radioactive Recycle 2000 policy immediately.

Background message:
Message-ID: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  Date: Thu, 25 Nov 1999 03:59:45 -0500 
  From: diane d'arrigo 
  Reply-To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
  Organization: NIRS 

  ALERT: Radioactive Household Items? !! 
  Comment to NRC by DEC 22, 1999!! 

  Tell the NRC what you think about Radioactive Household Items made from 
  "recycled" nuclear power and weapons waste! 

  THE PROBLEM: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is scheming with 
  the nuclear industry and its allies at other federal agencies, like the 
  EPA and Dept. of Energy (DOE) to "RECYCLE" RADIOACTIVE WASTE INTO 
  HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS! This saves the nuclear power industry and DOE 
  weapons contractors money by allowing them to "sell" radioactive waste 
  to be used in our homes, schools, cars, workplaces, and more. Although 
  the government already allows atomic waste into commerce on a 
  case-by-case basis, the NRC is now legalizing routine release of massive 
  amounts of radioactive metal, concrete, plastic, soil, and other 
  material from commercial nuclear power and weapons sites, directly and 
  via commercial processors, into daily-use items. 

  THE PROCESS: COMMENT to NRC by DECEMBER 22, 1999. 
  To make a new rule legalizing radioactive waste "recycling" or 
  "clearance" into the marketplace, the NRC is required by the National 
  Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to consider all potential impacts and 
  options. The NRC Commissioners have clearly directed the staff (6/30/98 
  Staff Requirements Memo) to "promulgate a regulation  that allows 
  quantities of materials to be released." The "scoping" process required 
  by NEPA expires on December 22, 1999. This is the public's chance to 
  tell the NRC what should be considered in the rulemaking. NIRS and 
  Public Citizen have requested a minimum 8-month extension for public 
  comment. 

  It is extremely important that the NRC hear from the public during this 
  time. Let NRC know how you feel about any level of radioactive 
  "release," "clearance" and "recycling." Demand that the NRC prohibit 
  radioactive releases and recapture the nuclear waste already let out. 
  This is your chance to inform the NRC about the amount of radiation you 
  and your family and progeny are willing to take so that the nuclear 
  waste generators can save money. The proposed rulemaking is in the 
  Federal Register [FR] at 64 FR 35090, 6/30/99-It is the issues paper 
  which NRC staff developed to "discuss" the various ways to dump nuclear 
  waste into commerce.) 

  WHAT YOU CAN DO: 
  -->COMMENT TODAY-or ASAP before Dec 22 for yourself and your 
  organizations. 
  (You can go to the NRC website to view their proposed discussion paper 
  64 FR 35090, 6/30/99 and/or use the Sample Statement below, which was 
  presented on behalf of over a dozen national & international 
  organizations to NRC on 11/1/99.) CC: US Reps and Senators. 
  -->Get resolutions or letters from groups, stores, or local government 
  entities to submit to NRC. Again, cc your Congressperson and Senators 
  and state and local officials. 

  --> Request an extension on the comment period for "scoping" this 
  rulemaking so organizations and governments have time to learn and 
  respond and have legal standing. 


  WHERE/HOW TO COMMENT: 
  Refer to NRC's Radioactive "Release" rulemaking 64 FR 35090, 6-30-99 
  ATTN: NRC Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff 

  1) Mail your comments by December 22, 1999 to 
  NRC Chairman Richard Meserve/Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications 
  Staff 
  U.S. NRC/Washington, DC 20555 

  or 

  2) E-mail the comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
  (NRC would like, but does not absolutely require, email comments to be 
  followed up with hard copies via mail or fax) 

  or 

  3) FAX to NRC Rulemakings and Adjudications at 301-415-1101 

  or 

  4) Submit electronically through the NRC's website: 
  http://ruleforum.llnl.gov/cgi-bin/uploader/SM_RSC_public

  In order to submit comments through the website, you must save your 
  comments in your files and remember the file name. Go to the NRC 
  website. Fill out all of the fields they request. Hit the BROWSE button 
  on the NRC website and find your file. Attach it. 



  SAMPLE STATEMENT: 

  Dear Chairman Meserve: 

  I am/We are writing to call on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to 
  isolate radioactive wastes and materials and anything they contaminate, 
  no matter what level. The radioactive legacy of atomic energy and 
  weapons production should be isolated from the public and the 
  environment. 

  The NRC should also extend the comment period on releasing radioactive 
  waste into commerce to at least September 2000. This issue is too 
  important to act hastily upon and it should be fully debated by the 
  public. The public has spoken repeatedly before on this issue and needs 
  time to be informed that subject is open again or still. 

  NO MORE RADIOACTIVE RELEASES 
  We still do not want nuclear power and weapons wastes "released," 
  "cleared," deregulated, exempted, generally licensed, designated "de 
  minimis," "unimportant,"  "trivial" or BRC-below regulatory concern, or 
  by any other creative, direct or deceptive means, allowed out of nuclear 
  facilities and into the marketplace or the environment, at any level. 

  TRACK AND RECAPTURE ALREADY-RELEASED RADIOACTIVE WASTES 
  The current methods of releasing radioactive wastes from commercial 
  licensees and weapons facilities must immediately cease. No future 
  radioactive releases should be permitted and a full accounting and 
  recapture of that which has already been released should commence. 

  PREVENT AVOIDABLE RADIATION EXPOSURES and RISKS 
  Using radioactive wastes in consumer products poses unnecessary, 
  avoidable, involuntary, uninformed risks. The consumers, the producers, 
  the raw materials industries don't want these radioactive wastes or 
  risks. 

  COMPUTER MODELS NOT ACCURATE, RELIABLE, VERIFIABLE 
  It is not credible to believe computer models can calculate and 
  accurately predict any or ALL of the doses to the public and the 
  environment from all of the potential radioactivity that could be 
  released over time. Projections of "acceptable" or "reasonable" risks 
  from some amount of contamination being released are meaningless and 
  provide no assurance. Monitoring for the specific types and forms of 
  radioactivity that could get out can be very expensive and tricky to 
  perform. Hot spots can sneak through. We can't trust the nuclear 
  generators to monitor their own releases. 

  EXPENSIVE TO MONITOR; IMPOSSIBLE TO VERIFY OR ENFORCE RELEASES 
  No matter what level the NRC sets for allowable radiation risk, dose or 
  concentration, it will be difficult to impossible to measure, verify and 
  enforce. Who is liable if the "legal" standards NRC intends to set are 
  violated? For decades the public has clearly opposed releasing 
  radioactive materials into commerce. We continue to do so. 

  EXISTING RADIATION DOESN'T JUSTIFY DELIBERATE ADDITIONS 
  Naturally occurring background radiation cannot be avoided (except in 
  some instances for example, reducing radon in homes) but its presence in 
  no way justifies additional, unnecessary, involuntary radiation 
  exposures, even if those exposures might be equal to or less than 
  background. Nor does it justify shifting the economic liability from the 
  generators of radioactive wastes and materials to the economic and 
  health liability of the recycling industries, the public and the 
  environment. 

  SUPPORT METAL INDUSTRIES' "ZERO TOLERANCE" OF CONTAMINATION 
  We fully support the complete opposition and "zero tolerance" policies 
  of the metal and recycling industries, the management and the unions. We 
  appreciate their efforts, not only in opposition to legalization of 
  radioactive releases, but in their investment in detection equipment and 
  literally holding the line against the radioactive threat to the public. 
  They should not have to be our de-facto protectors. The NRC, DOE and EPA 
  must act to prevent the dissemination of radioactive wastes into 
  recycled materials and general commerce. The problems that have been 
  experienced by the steel recycling industry with "generally-licensed 
  sealed sources" getting into their facilities and costing tens of 
  millions of dollars to clean up should serve as a warning not to let any 
  other radioactive wastes and materials out of regulatory control. 

  US AGENCIES MUST PREVENT FUTURE AND RECAPTURE PAST RELEASES, 
  PUSH INTERNATIONAL PROHIBITION 
  The fact that radioactive waste is already getting out should not be 
  used to justify legal levels allowing more out. The NRC, EPA and DOE 
  should prevent future and correct past releases. The fact that other 
  countries are releasing radioactive materials into the marketplace is no 
  excuse for us to legalize it. The United States should take the lead in 
  preventing contamination of the international marketplace. We protect 
  ourselves best by not facilitating international radioactive commerce. 

  The fact that it is difficult and expensive to monitor and detect 
  radiation does not justify its release. It is all the more reason to 
  prevent any wastes getting out, so we don't have to check routinely for 
  contamination. The nuclear industry and regulators should be aware of 
  what materials at reactor and weapons sites are wastes and which have 
  been contaminated. Those materials must be isolated, not released, at 
  any level. 

  NRC HAS CLEARLY DECIDED TO RELEASE-THIS MUST BE REVERSED 
  The mindset of the NRC appears convinced that it should legalize 
  radioactive wastes being "recycled" into the marketplace.  The NRC has 
  stated in its Staff Requirements Memo that the standard must allow 
  "releases" to take place and that all radioactive materials will be 
  eligible for "clearance."  This means that the NRC is not seriously 
  examining all of the options available, such as non-release, even though 
  the National Environmental Policy Act  (NEPA) requires all options to be 
  considered. 

  NRC CONTRACTOR (SAIC) HAS CLEAR CONFLICT OF INTEREST  
  Furthermore, the NRC is relying on a private contractor called Science 
  Applications International Corporation (SAIC) to prepare the technical 
  basis for the proposed regulation. This is a blatant conflict of 
  interest. The NRC has not publicly disclosed the relevant economic 
  interests of SAIC. The NRC has not notified the public that SAIC has 
  simultaneously been working with or for other corporations with 
  substantial economic interests in the Commission's determinations in 
  this rulemaking. In particular, since mid-1996, SAIC has been the 
  teaming partner of British Nuclear Fuels, Ltd. (BNFL) under a quarter 
  billion DOE contract for recycling unprecedented amounts of contaminated 
  radioactive metallic waste from the Oak Ridge TN uranium enrichment 
  buildings. This situation calls into question the legality of the entire 
  NRC process. 

  EXTEND COMMENT PERIOD 
  Since NRC is attempting to cover its requirements under NEPA to 
  establish this radioactive "release" rule, the public comment period 
  should be extended to allow the public the opportunity to hear about and 
  comment on the proposal. 

  In conclusion, we call on the NRC to serve the interests of the public 
  instead of the nuclear industry and 
  #1 prohibit the release of radioactive materials into commerce, 
  landfills and incinerators 
  #2 identify, track and recapture the radioactive waste that has already 
  been released from nuclear power and weapons facilities by federal and 
  state regulators 
  #3 give the public at least 8 more months to comment. 

  Sincerely, 

  WHERE/HOW TO COMMENT: 

  Get your comments to NRC by December 22, 1999 by 

  Mail to: 
  NRC Chairman Richard Meserve/Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications 
  Staff 
  U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission 
  Washington, DC 20555 

  or 

  E-mail your comments to     This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

  Or 

  FAX to 301 415-1101 

  or 

  Attach your comments file through website at 
  http://ruleforum.llnl.gov/cgi-bin/uploader/SM_RSC_public


  For more info look at the NIRS and Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy 
  Project websites: http://www.nirs.org
   and http://www.citizen.org/cmep/
  NRC has a website for this rulemaking: 
  http://ruleforum.llnl.gov/cgi-bin/library?source=*&library=SM_RFC_lib&file=*

  Contacts: NIRS 202-328-0002 ext. 2 or Public Citizen 202-546-4996. 

More info: Nuclear Regulatory Commission CONTROL OF RELEASE OF SOLID MATERIALS site with links to other sites concerned with control of solid waste