Vigilance needed to block federal funding for Yucca dump

Yucca Mountain, NevadaCongressional Republicans, such as U.S. Rep. Fred Upton from southwestern Michigan, have been trying hard to attach a rider to year-end budget legislation to keep the federal government operational, that would fund Yucca Mountain, Nevada (see photo, left) high-level radioactive waste dump licensing proceedings, to the tune of $60 million. Yucca is Western Shoshone Indian land, so the dump would not only illegally violate the Treaty of Ruby Valley of 1863, it would also be an environmental injustice. However, the U.S. Senate's Continuing Resolution (CR), passed yesterday, contains no such Yucca dump funding. If the U.S. House passes the Senate's CR, and President Trump signs it into law, then no Yucca dump funding would be added, at this time at least. But that's a big if -- the latest news at press time reports that Trump appears to oppose signing the legislation, and U.S. House right wingers are either AWOL (having lost their re-elections, they just left D.C.), or excoriating Trump for even considering signing it. 
Meanwhile, Trump's Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, appears to be doing some creative accounting, trying to identify unspent funding across the vast Department of Energy, to put towards Yucca dump licensing -- to the tune of $120 million worth. When it comes to radioactive waste transportation, we all live in Nevada. 44 states, many major cities, and the vast majority of U.S. congressional districts, would be traversed by high-level radioactive waste truck and train shipments (see 2017 entries), as well as surface water barge shipments. Please take action. Contact both your U.S. Senators, and your U.S. Rep., and urge that they block funding for the wasteful and dangerous Yucca dump. You can call their D.C. offices via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Learn more at our Yucca Mountain website section.

Public has till Jan. 9 to comment on DOE proposal to abandon high-level radioactive wastes in situ

In response to a request by 76 environmental groups, including Beyond Nuclear, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has granted until January 9, 2019 for the public to comment on the agency's proposal to deregulate high-level radioactive wastes, and allow for their abandonment in situ, at such places as Hanford Nuclear (Weapons) Reservation on the Columbia River in Washington State, the West Valley reprocessing facility upstream of the Great Lakes in New York, etc.

For more info., including instructions on how to submit comments, see DOE's Federal Register Notice. Sample comments you can use to prepare your own will be posted at the top of Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste website section ASAP. So too are news articles about this story.


UN Special Rapporteur says women and children should not move back to Fukushima

Un Special Rapporteur, Baskut Tuncak, who has already criticized Japan's treatment of Fukushima "cleanup" workers, has urged Japan not to force Fukushima evacuees back to the accident zone, especially women and chidren. In delivering his report to the UN, Tuncak said the Japanese government should “halt the ongoing relocation of evacuees who are children and women of reproductive age to areas of Fukushima where radiation levels remain higher than what was considered safe or healthy before the nuclear disaster seven years ago.”

He noted that returning vulnerable people to an area where allowable exposure rates have been raised from 1 to 20 mSv/yr (a dose far too high for civlians and a change made only because it is impossible to clean up the aftermath of Fukushima back down to 1 mSv/yr), was filled with "with potentially grave impacts on the rights of young children returning to or born in contaminated areas.” Read the full story on Beyond Nuclear International.


As COP 24 climate talks begin, a reminder of why nuclear doesn't belong

"How many times have you heard people say ‘I would much rather not have nuclear power but we need it to combat climate change’?" asks British activist, Linda Walker.

She writes: "This claim has been made so many times by the nuclear industry and its supporters that many people now just accept it as the lesser of two evils.

"But the development of new nuclear power plants is actually no part of the solution to tackling climate change, and is in fact a big part of the problem.

"Nuclear power is not carbon-free; is prohibitively expensive; all projects overrun wildly on both time and budget; is a source of harmful waste which no one yet knows what to do with; provides a terrorist target; produces routine emissions which are harmful to health; power plants are vulnerable to the flooding which will come as sea levels rise, and have to close down in times of drought; Chernobyl and Fukushima have shown the widespread and long-term health and environmental impact of accidents; and even nuclear advocates have recently admitted the close links to nuclear weapons."

Read her point by point list of reasons nuclear power must be rejected as a climate solution, new this week on Beyond Nuclear International. More


Beyond Nuclear opposing Second License Renewal for Peach Bottom reactors in Pennsylvania

Beyond Nuclear is requesting that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) convene a public hearing and legal intervention into Exelon Generation’s application to extend the operations of its two-unit Peach Bottom nuclear power station in Delta, PA by another 20 years.  Peach Bottom Units 2 & 3 are already operating in their first 20-year license extension to the original 40-year license that expired in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Exelon is now seeking to extend Peach Bottom’s operating license from 2033 to 2053 for Unit 2 and 2034 to 2054 for Unit 3.

Beyond Nuclear contends that Exelon’s extension application fails to comply with NRC regulations requiring Exelon to sufficiently demonstrate how it will manage increasing wear and tear caused by the combination of extreme heat, pressure, radiation and vibration on Peach Bottom safety systems throughout the requested 60- to 80-year extended period of operation. With the nuclear industry trending towards increasing reactor closures due to economical, technological and political challenges, Exelon does not detail how its age management program will collect sufficient operating experience either from the Peach Bottom units and the shrinking fleet nor provide alternative means (i.e., laboratory studies of materials samples harvested from decommissioning units) to gather the data needed to manage  age-related degradation such as embrittlement, corrosion, cracking and fatigue projected into the license renewal period beginning in 2034 and 2035.

Beyond Nuclear has retained the Washington, DC law firm of Harmon, Curran, Spielberg and Eisenberg, LLP and David Lochbaum, a widely recognized independent nuclear engineer, reactor safety consultant and expert witness.