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Centralized Storage

With the scientifically unsound proposed Yucca Mountain radioactive waste dump now canceled, the danger of "interim" storage threatens. This means that radioactive waste could be "temporarily" parked in open air lots, vulnerable to accident and attack, while a new repository site is sought.

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Thursday
Sep142017

Beyond Nuclear letter to the editor in the L.A. Times

The following letter to the editor was published in the Los Angeles Times, written in response to a Sept. 11, 2017 L.A. Times editorial:

To the editor: For 15 years, hundreds of environmental groups have advocated for hardened on-site storage of irradiated nuclear fuel, as close and safely as possible, to the point of generation as a necessary interim measure.
Why ship highly radioactive waste a thousand miles to the east when it could be moved just a few miles? San Onofre’s wastes can be transferred out of the tsunami zone, away from the earthquake faults, across the 5 Freeway, further inland and to higher ground. By moving the dangerous nuclear fuel rods into the heart of Camp Pendleton, there would be the added bonus of many thousands of U.S. Marines to help guard it.
The push to turn the New Mexico-Texas borderlands into a nuclear wasteland is an environmental injustice. The large Hispanic population already suffers significant pollution from oil drilling, natural gas fracking, uranium enrichment and “low-level” radioactive waste disposal.
Kevin Kamps, Takoma Park, Md. 

The writer monitors radioactive waste for the group Beyond Nuclear.

Wednesday
Aug022017

H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017

See the bill, as amended (see the four amendments), passed by the U.S. House of Represenatives Energy & Commerce Committee by a vote of 49 to 4 on June 28, 2017, here.

Here is more info. on the status of H.R. 3053, such as the list of co-sponsors.

This bill would authorize private, de facto permanent, surface "parking lot dump" storage of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel, a.k.a. centralized interim storage. It would also authorize U.S. Department of Energy operated consolidated interim storage.

Please take action to oppose this dangerously bad bill.

Wednesday
Jul262017

The Ethics and Politics of Nuclear Waste are Being Tested in Southern California

Jim Heddle of EON (the Ecological Options Network) in California has written an excellent article, published at Counterpunch, summarizing the current state of "play" of the irradiated nuclear fuel dilemma in the U.S., with the most hotly debated microcosm currently being at San Onofre in s. CA.

Please note, re: this passage in the article

Political maneuvering led to a ‘Screw Nevada’ strategy because it had the fewest Congressional votes,  and the million dollar development of the state’s Yucca Mountain site.  Originally thought to be dry and impermeable to the migration of radioactive elements, the discovery that trace elements from explosions at the nearby Nevada Nuclear Test Site had penetrated deep into the Yucca Mountain facility in a relatively few years debunked that contention. (emphases added)

that $11 billion, a combination of nuclear power ratepayer funds from the Nuclear Waste Fund, as well as federal taxpayer funds tied to nuclear weapons complex high-level radioactive waste management, has been spent thus far on the Yucca Mountain Project. The U.S. Department of Energy's most recent cost estimate for the first 200 years of construction and operation, if the Yucca dump opens, is close to $100 billion.

And the trace element found deep in the heart of Yucca Mountain (artificial, radioactive Chlorine-26) actually originated from nuclear weapons testing in the South Pacific Ocean. It fell with rain onto Yucca, then percolated down into the mountain very deeply in just decades. The Cl-36 thus unintentionally served as a sort of radioactive tracer, showing how fast corrosive water travels through the site's geology. This would cause early failures of waste burial containers at Yucca, leading to massive, hazardous radioactivity releases into the environment over time.

Sunday
Jul022017

1,800 tons of radioactive waste has an ocean view and nowhere to go

As reported by the Los Angeles Times.

The centralized interim storage facilities (de facto permanent parking lot dumps) targeted at Waste Control Specialists, LLC in Andrews County, TX, and Eddy-Lea [Counties] Energy Alliance in southeastern New Mexico, are mentioned in the article. The article also mentions Private Fuel Storage, LLC (PFS).

The PFS parking lot dump targeted at the tiny, low-income Skull Valley Goshute Indian Reservation in west Utah was blocked from opening a decade ago. 437 environmental justice groups, led by Native Americans, protested the environmental justice to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but NRC rubberstamped a construction and operation license nonetheless. Thankfully, a coalition between the U.S. congressional delegations of Nevada and Utah, the State of Utah, environmental groups, and traditional Skull Valley Goshute opponents to the dump, led to the establishment of the first federal wilderness area in Utah in a generation. The wilderness area around the Skull Valley Goshute community effectively blocked the laying of train tracks, preventing delivery of high-level radioactive waste to the reservation.

Late last month, Energy Secretary Rick Perry even floated the idea out loud at a U.S. House hearing that centralized interim storage could even be done at the Nevada nuclear weapons test site, while a permanent dump at Yucca Mountain next door is prepared. The State of Nevada and its U.S. congressional delegation's strong howls of protest and resistance were immediate, and Perry quickly backpedaled.

Thursday
Jun292017

Nuke waste bill to House floor soon?

From politico.com:

FULL SPEED AHEAD! House Energy and Commerce Environment Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus tells ME he's optimistic comprehensive nuclear waste legislation that would revive the Yucca Mountain site will get a full chamber vote before Congress steps away for August recess. Though longtime Yucca opponent Sen. Dean Heller called the legislation "dead on arrival in the Senate," Shimkus shot back that Energy and Commerce's 49-4 vote in support of the measure was "as good as anyone could have expected" and "probably troubling for those who want to keep the status quo."