US Supreme Court upholds Virginia's uranium mining ban

On June 17, 2019, the US Supreme Court decided 6-3 to uphold the state of Virginia’s right to enforce its ban on uranium mining. The Court found against Virginia Uranium’s request to go forward with the Coles Hill uranium mine in Virginia where a Commonwealth law, established in 1982, placed a moratorium on uranium mining. The corporation alleged that “under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, the Atomic Energy Act (AEA) preempts state uranium mining laws like Virginia’s and ensconces the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) as the lone regulator in the field,” arguments rejected by two lower courts and now by the Supreme Court as well.

Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the lead opinion, stating: “Virginia Uranium insists that the federal Atomic Energy Act preempts a state law banning uranium mining, but we do not see it.” He was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, gave a separate concurring opinion.

The win was celebrated by state officials, including Virginia attorney general, Mark Herring, who said: “This is a big win for the health and safety of Virginians and our environment. Our ban on uranium mining has protected our citizens, communities, local economies and waterways for more than 30 years.”

Walter Coles, on whose land the uranium deposit sits, remained defiant, claiming he and the company would continue to “pursue other challenges.” It remains open to speculation just how many countless millions of dollars the company has already spent attempting to get permission for the mine which, as Virginia governor, Ralph Northam pointed out “poses unacceptable threats to our natural resources.”


New Mexico governor opposes "temporary" radioactive waste storage in her state

The Associated Press is reporting that "New Mexico's governor said Friday she's opposed to plans by a New Jersey-based company to build a multibillion-dollar facility in her state to temporarily store spent nuclear fuel from commercial reactors around the U.S.

"In a letter to U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the interim storage of high-level radioactive waste poses significant and unacceptable risks to residents, the environment and the region's economy."

Beyond Nuclear is actively engaged in opposing this "centralized interim storage" dump, known as CIS. More details about our on-going legal fight to stop Holtec and its CIS plans are in this earlier story, here.

Read the rest of the article. 


An in-depth look at nuclear waste

A special double-edition of the Nuclear Monitor, published April 24, 2019, took a look at nuclear waste in depth. It features six articles written by Prof.Andrew Blowers OBE, Emeritus Professor of Social Sciences at The Open University and presently Co-Chair of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy / NGO Nuclear Forum. Blowers looks at:

The legacy landscapes of nuclear power, where they are and how they developed: The Hanford Nuclear Reservation, a semi-desert region with homesteads of settlers and homelands of Native Americans ‒ that was transformed into the heart of the US nuclear weapons program, and thus into a nuclear wasteland; Sellafield, Britain’s nuclear heartland. Sellafield’s abundant and varied nuclear waste stockpiles (including a plutonium stockpile) comprise wastes arising from the plant’s initial military function and subsequently wastes mainly derived from reprocessing spent fuel; France, La Hague and Bure -- two places with a crucial role in the storage and disposal of France’s more highly radioactive wastes. As the nuclear industry in France declines and reprocessing is questioned, so La Hague will adapt to survive as the centre for management of radioactive waste. Bure is the outcome of a long and contentious process of site selection for a deep geological nuclear waste repository; Gorleben, where conflict over the nuclear waste facilities proved pivotal to the end of nuclear power in Germany; and a look into the future -- nuclear’s wastelands are scattered around the world in places where nuclear activities, accidents or deliberate devastation have occurred. These areas are usually remote, or areas from which the population has been removed, as at Fukushima and Chernobyl. More typically they constitute nuclear oases where nuclear facilities and communities co-exist in a state of mutual dependency extending down the generations. Read the Nuclear Monitor here.


Updates on Radioactive Leaks and Waste from Beyond Nuclear

Margaret Harrington, host of "Nuclear Free Future," with a Nuclear Disarmanent Day banner, August 6, Hiroshima Atomic Bombing Commemoration DayAs aired on "Nuclear Free Future" with Margaret Harrington (photo, left), on Channel 17, TownMeetig Television, in Burlington, VT (interview recorded on May 30, 2019):


Beyond Nuclear appeals to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission against Holtec's CISF in NM

Beyond Nuclear's legal counsel, Diane Curran and Harmon Curran in Washington DC, and Mindy Goldstein of Turner Environmental Law Clinic at Emory U. in Atlanta GA, have appealed to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) against the May 7, 2019 Atomic Safety and Licesning Board (ASLB) rulings in favor of Holtec International's license application. Holtec is targeting southeastern New Mexico for consolidated interim storage of 173,600 metric tons of commercial highly radioactive waste.



And see Beyond Nuclear's media release, accompanying the appeal.