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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Gov. Whitmer endorses Kamala Harris for president, says she's not leaving Michigan; Grilled by lawmakers on the Trump assassination attempt, Secret Service director says, 'We failed;' Teachers rally at national convention in Houston; Opioid settlement fund fuels anti-addiction battle in Indiana; Nonprofit agency says corporate donations keep programs going.

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Democrats consolidate support behind Vice President Harris, Republicans threaten legal action over changes to the presidential ticket, and a possible bipartisan consensus forms on the failure of the Secret Service to protect former President Trump.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Climate change reignites concerns over nuclear storage on MI shores

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Wednesday, June 12, 2024   

Summer temperatures are one more reason for concern by environmental groups about the nuclear waste stored along the Great Lakes.

There are three nuclear power plants in Michigan and 23 in the Great Lakes watershed. Many of the facilities store their hazardous waste outdoors, in dry-cask storage along the waters in Michigan and Canada. Environmental groups said about 80,000 tons of high-level radioactive waste now rest near the Great Lakes.

Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste specialist for the nonprofit Beyond Nuclear, said proximity to major freshwater sources is just one issue.

"The dangers are, you have to 'radiation field' this stuff constantly, because exposure to a person at close range can deliver a fatal dose of radiation within a matter of minutes," Kamps explained. "You also need to contain it and isolate it from the environment."

The Michigan group Citizens' Resistance at Fermi II is working with other local and national organizations to find solutions. They include promoting renewable energy and demanding authorities such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission enforce what's known as "hardened" on-site storage, which they believe can more safely secure nuclear waste.

DTE Energy, the operator of Fermi II, responded to the concerns in a statement, saying in part "Fermi's used fuel is stored in hardened canisters, protected per strict federal guidelines and constantly monitored."

Jesse Deer In Water, community organizer for Citizens Resistance at Fermi II, said many people are under the impression there are no radiation leaks from the dry-cask storage fuel ponds but his organization disagrees.

"Because it's still hot fuel inside of it," Deer In Water asserted. "It's still highly unstable and for it to be just completely contained without any venting causes it to, like, build up, like a radioactive gas inside of it that can, like, catch on fire and explode."

DTE Energy also noted the canisters "undergo rigorous testing and analysis to ensure they can safely hold up through natural disasters."

Disclosure: Citizens' Resistance at Fermi II contributes to our fund for reporting on the Environment, Environmental Justice, Native American Issues, and Nuclear Waste. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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