Disastrous defense authorization bill pending in House 

Writes John Tierney, executive director of the Council for a Livable World, the  the defense authorization bill soon under consideration in the U.S. House is a disaster for safety, security and the economy. Worse yet, "The Chairman of the House of Armed Services Committee is proposing a $705 billion Pentagon budget, at least $75 billion more than President Reagan’s peak defense spending in adjusted dollars. This represents a massive increase of wasteful spending that can only be described as shameful." The Council noted of the bill:

  • It carelessly restricts funding or undermines the goals for vital arms control treaties that make us safer, like New START, the Open Skies Treaty, and the INF Treaty.
  • It disgracefully limits the dismantlement of nuclear weapons that have already been retired.
  • It blindly adds new systems for a $40 billion unproven missile defense program.

50-group environmental coalition urges rejection of H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017

Beyond Nuclear joined with a 50-group environmental coalition, spearheaded by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), to urge members of the U.S. House of Represenatives Energy & Commerce Committee to vote against the latest incarnation of the Screw Nevada and Mobile Chernobyl bill, H.R. 3053 sponsored by U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL).

The bill would also legalize private centralized interim storage facilities (CISFs) for commercial irradiated nuclear fuel. Waste Control Specialists, LLC in Andrews County, west Texas, and the Eddy-Lea [Counties] Energy Alliance in southeastern New Mexico, near the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (for military plutonium contamination disposal) are the top targets for such de facto permanent surface parking lot dumps. The two CISFs are less than 40 miles apart, across the TX-NM border.

The legislation, which cleared Shimkus's Environment and the Economy Subcommittee a couple weeks ago, will undergo mark up before the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee, and a likely up or down vote, on Wed., June 28th at 10am Eastern. If it passes, it would then move on to the full U.S. House floor, for consideration.

Beyond Nuclear encourages everyone to contact their U.S. Representative, to urge strong opposition to this dangerously bad bill. (Look up your U.S. Rep.'s contact info. at this site, by typing in your ZIP code at the upper right, clicking GO, and following the internet links.) Feel free to cite, and share, the group letter above, when you communicate with your U.S. Rep.'s office!


DOJ Wins Stop To $367M Merger Of Radioactive Waste Firms; NRC suspends licensing proceeding on WCS CISF

A Delaware federal judge on Wednesday blocked the $367 million merger of EnergySolutions Inc. and Waste Control Specialists LLC, siding with the U.S. Department of Justice in the government's bid to enjoin the deal on antitrust grounds. [This story was broken by Law360 Environmental. The remainder of the article is behind a pay wall.]

WCS had hoped EnergySolutions -- its competitor in "low-level" radioactive waste dumping -- could take it over, which would allow for the resumption of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensing proceedings on WCS's proposal to construct and operate a centralized interim storage facility (CISF) for 40,000 metric tons of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel in Andrews County, TX. This court ruling appears to have dealt a severe blow to those plans.

By coincidence, the NRC Commissioners just affirmed their vote, at around 2pm Eastern on Thursday, June 22nd, to approve the combined request by WCS, NRC staff, and even opposing environmental groups (including Beyond Nuclear), to suspend the CISF licensing proceeding. See the NRC Commissioners' ruling, SEED Coalition's response to the court ruling, and news coverage: More.


Permanently closed U.S. nuclear reactor should be "autopsied" 

Beyond Nuclear is asking the U.S. Nuclear Regulator Commission (NRC) to verify that a pressure vessel head installed in the now closed Crystal River nuclear reactor in Florida came from the controversial Creusot Forge in France, currently under investigation. Beyond Nuclear is also recommending that the NRC seize this opportunity to "autopsy" the permanently closed Florida reactor. This would help to establish whether manufacturing flaws that have been found in components made by Le Creusot, could also be present in the 17 operating reactors identified by Areva that have installed Creusot-forged parts. Read the press release.


Most if not all new UK nuclear plants will never happen

A former investor in nuclear power plants predicts that every planned new UK nuclear power plant will get canceled except Hinkley C and even that one is hanging by a thread. In a Reuters article that appeared in the New York Times on June 19, Alistair Phillips-Davies, chief executive officer of energy supplier SSE, said he thought other companies, including Hitachi which plans to build two reactors in Wales, would likley back away now that Toshiba's nuclear division, Westinghouse, has gone bankrupt. And Hinkley, which is a French-designed EPR, rests its fate on the troubled EPR under construction at Flamanville in France, which is not only years behind and billions over budget but likely has a fatally flawed reactor pressure vessel. The reactor containment was forged at the now scandal-ridden Le Creusot forge owned by Areva and which is at the center of controversy around quality control fabrications and flawed safety-related components. More