M.V. Ramana (pictured) is with the Nuclear Futures Laboratory and the Program on Science and Global Security at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University. He is an Advisory Board member of Beyond Nuclear. His recent column, Nuclear Power Is No Fix for Climate, debunks the myth that nuclear energy can, or will, contribute to climate change mitigation. Ramana points out that the expansion needed for nuclear energy to make a meaningful impact in greenhouse gas reduction is unrealistic. He writes: "Several technical and economic challenges confront such a large and relatively rapid expansion of nuclear reactor construction; these challenges suggest that although nuclear power will remain part of electricity generation in several countries, its prospects for significant growth are limited. In addition, there are social problems; in particular, sustained public opposition in most countries around the world, a sentiment that was clearly apparent in 2011 after the multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant." Read the full article.
Beyond Nuclear’s Kevin Kamps spent two days monitoring the Division of Spent Fuel Management Regulator Conference hosted by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, November 18-19. There, Beyond Nuclear learned that two radioactive waste behemoths -- Waste Control Specialists of Texas and EnergySolutions of Utah -- have merged.
“With two powerhouse radioactive waste companies pooling their resources, this puts Texas right in the cross-hairs as the top target for a de facto permanent parking lot dump for the country’s commercial high-level radioactive waste,” Kamps said.
Waste Control Specialists already operates a so-called "low-level" radioactive waste burial dump at its West Texas site, putting the Ogallala Aquifer at risk of radioactive contamination. The proposed “Consolidated Interim Storage” (CIS) program, supported by the White House and U.S. Department of Energy, would move high-level radioactive waste from all the country’s nuclear power plants to allegedly temporary parking lot dump sites.
“Texas could find itself playing host to these deadly radioactive wastes permanently,” Kamps said. “This merger makes the West Texas site that already houses Class A, B and C so-called “low-level” radioactive waste far more attractive to an industry that would like to bury its inconvenient radioactive waste problem, both literally and figuratively.”
State of Nevada refuses to be "screwed" by half-baked attempt to revive cancelled Yucca Mountain radioactive waste dump
Robert J. Halstead, the Executive Director of the State of Nevada's Agency for Nuclear Projects, serving under the Office of the Governor, Brian Sandoval, has submitted comments to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on the agency's Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) on Yucca Mountain. The comments comprise powerful pushback against the half-baked attempt to revive the cancelled Yucca Mountain radioactive waste dump. The chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has called the entire NRC SDEIS proceeding "a useless act," a multi-million dollar waste of time, energy, and taxpayer resources, not to mention public involvement. More.
November 20th marked the end of a rushed, "going-through-the motions" Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), a thinly veiled attempt to revive the cancelled Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste dump in Nevada.
NRC didn't even bother to provide advance notice to the affected Indian tribes downstream from the targeted site, let alone consult with them in a government-to-government manner, as is the agency's legal obligation. But at least NRC is consistent: it didn't provide any funding to the tribes, either, placing an extraordinary burden on the tribal nations to meet the arbitrarily-short deadline. In this regard, NRC's SDEIS public comment proceeding itself was a violation of environmental justice (EJ), not to mention the agency's biased push to bury 70,000 metric tons, or more, of high-level radioactive waste on indigenous land, guaranteed to leak into the precious, even sacred, drinking water supply.
Despite NRC's own EJ violations, the Timbisha Shoshone Tirbe and the Native Community Action Council met the deadline, with powerful comments. They thereby continued a tradition of protecting Yucca Mountain, and its groundwater, that dates back not just years or decades, but centuries and millenia, to time immemorial. More.