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Thursday
Jul252013

Mobile Chernobyl bill revs its engines on Capitol Hill

The purpose of this hearing is to receive testimony on S. 1240, the Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2013. Among those who will testify are David Lochbaum, Director, Nuclear Safety Project, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Geoff Fettus, Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council. 
The hearing will be webcast live on the committee's website, and an archived video will be available shortly after the hearing is complete. Witness testimony will be available on the website at the start of the hearing.
As previously reported by Beyond Nuclear in late June when S. 1240 was introducted, if enacted, this bill would unleash unprecedented numbers of risky "Mobile Chernobyls," "dirty bombs on wheels," and "Floating Fukushimas" onto our country's roads, rails, and waterways. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sites (the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in NM, the Savannah River Site in SC, and Idaho National Lab) are being targeted for "consolidated interim storage," de facto permanent parking lot dumps for high-level radioactive waste (HLRW). So too are Native American reservations, as well as nuclear power plants, such as Dresden in Illinois. 
The recent rail disaster in Quebec, which killed scores, serves as a cautionary tale against playing a radioactive waste shell game with some of the deadliest materials ever generated, HLRW. A train tunnel fire in Baltimore in July, 2001 could have caused tens of thousands of latent cancer fatalities, had HLRW been aboard. 
A national coalition of environmental groups has been raising such warnings for years, for example throughout the 2010-2012 Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future proceedings. See, as but one example, a group sign on letter spearheaded by Physicians for Social Responsibility in Feb. 2011, signed by scores of organizations nationwide. However, the BRC ignored these good faith efforts. So too has the Senate ENR's S. 1240 development process, thus far.
Please contact your U.S. Senators, as via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard (202-224-3121), and urge that they block this dangerous bill, S. 1240. Urge that they instead enact legislation requiring Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS). You can also work with friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and groups in your area to request a meeting with your U.S. Senators during their upcoming August recess, as they travel back home, to discuss your concerns with S. 1240 face to face. To do so, contact your U.S. Senators' schedulers. Don't hesitate to contact Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps for any guidance needed (kevin@beyondnuclear.org or 301-270-2209 ext. 1).