U.S. House votes 340 to 72 to "Screw Nevada," again -- and perhaps New Mexico and Texas, too, while they're at it!

Return of the Yucca Dump Zombie?! Las Vegas Review Journal political cartoonist Jim Day declared the dump scheme dead in 2010, with the Obama administration's move to withdraw the DOE license application, and de-funding of the project. But today's U.S. House vote shows some twitching in one of the Yucca Dump Zombie Mutant's six toes (on each foot!). Opponents will have to redouble their efforts to block Yucca, as well as "parking lot dumps" targeted at NM and TX.One of the six toes, on one of the feet, of the Yucca Dump Mutant Zombie (see image, left), twitched yesterday. By a lopsided vote of 340 to 72, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of "Screw Nevada 2.0," a reprise of the 1987 "Screw Nevada" bill, that singled out Yucca Mountain for the country's highly radioactive waste dump-site in the first place. This was the biggest vote on nuclear waste in the U.S. House in 16 years, and seeks to overturn the Obama administration's wise 2010 cancellation of the unsuitable Yucca Mountain Project. In addition to approving H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2018, the House, "in its wisdom" (or lack thereof!), similarly voted down an amendment offered by Dina Titus (Democrat-NV), that would have required consent-based siting for a dump like Yucca, per the 2012 recommendations by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future. Thank you to everyone who contacted their U.S. Rep. urging opposition to H.R. 3053. Please check this link for more info., including to see how your U.S. Rep. voted on the Titus amendment, and the overall bill. Then please thank or "spank" (express your disappointment to) your U.S. Rep., accordingly, and point out the high-risk "Mobile Chernobyl" impacts of shipping 110,000 metric tons (an increase from the current legal limit of 70,000) of highly radioactive waste, by truck, train, and/or barge, through 44 states, dozens of major cities, and 330 of 435 U.S. congressional districts, if H.R. 3053 becomes law. In addition to expediting the opening of the Yucca dump, by gutting due process and environmental and safety regulations, H.R. 3053 would authorize centralized interim storage facilities (CISFs, or de facto permanent, surface storage, "parking lot dumps"), as targeted at Holtec/ELEA, NM and WCS, TX. Re: Holtec/ELEA, please continue submitting environmental scoping public comments to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission by the May 29th deadline -- see how, and for more info., at this link. And please also contact both your U.S. Senators, urging them to oppose bad, dangerous nuke waste dumps targeted at NM, NV, and/or TX, and the inevitable Mobile Chernobyls they would launch: call your U.S. Senators via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, and fill out and submit Food & Water Watch's webform! To learn more about the Yucca dump scheme, CISF proposals, and nuclear waste transport risks, please see the corresponding Beyond Nuclear website sub-sections.


Can the Iran nuclear deal survive without the US?

The Trump White House, predictably, and against advice from Germany, France and the UK, has withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal. This effectively reimposes economic sanctions on Iran and pressures other partners in the deal not to do business there. So far, Iran's government has indicated it may not withdraw from the deal. However, if sanctions force it to do so, Iran could start enriching uranium to at least “weapons usable” if not “weapons grade” level. But is Trump’s accusation that the nuclear deal was “the worst ever” and the Mattis claim that Iran “is the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world” really what’s behind the US withdrawal? Iran’s sworn enemy in the region is Saudi Arabia. Weakening Iran by reimposing sanctions when the country is already struggling economically, is in Saudi Arabia’s political interests. The US views the Saudi Kingdom as a strong ally -- despite the fact that most of the 9/11 terrorists were Saudis -- and supports the Saudis’ relentless bombing campaign of starved civilians in Yemen. The Saudis are our friends, and they are our friends to the tune of tens of billions of dollars flowing from Saudi Arabia to the US in arms deals.This could all be another case of “follow the money.” More


Keeping on Keeping Uranium in the Ground

Just over 30 years ago — on April 10, 1988 — seven indigenous activists from different parts of the world set out on a three-week public awareness tour through Germany. They called their tour “Leave Uranium in the Ground.” Its purpose was to bring the detrimental impacts of uranium mining and nuclear weapons tests on health, environment and indigenous peoples, to the awareness of German people and decision-makers in provincial and federal parliaments.

The tour triggered inquiries in the German Federal Parliament in regard to the responsibility of German (indirectly government-owned and supported) uranium mining companies in other parts of the world. It also inspired other NGO activities for many years to come.

At the forefront of the struggle to halt the use of nuclear power we still find indigenous peoples as well as disadvantaged local communities in what is called the “Third World.” And it is often they who point out the many human rights violations on different levels, from taking away peoples’ land and livelihood, down to individual death threats, all in the name of so-called “development”.

Read Gunter Wippel's story on the Beyond Nuclear International blog.

(Photo of Pauline Esteves today by Kim Stringfellow.)


Two women helped boot Russian nukes out of South Africa

Liz McDaid of SAFCEI (above left) and Makoma Lekalakala of Earthlife Africa (above right) helped lead a legal fight that sent Rosatom packing. Thier victory was a win last year in the South African High Court which ruled that a secret nuclear power deal between Russia and the then Zuma government was unconstitutional. It effectively chased Rosatom, the Russian government-owned nuclear corporation, out of the country. It was the culmination of several years of broad campaigning across many strategies and demographics.

Since the court victory, Zuma has stepped down and Cyril Ramaphosa, who is trying desperately to restore confidence in their shared political affiliation, the ANC, has taken the helm. So far, Ramaphosa has suggested that nuclear energy is not affordable for South Africa. For now, Lekalakala and McDaid remain on the winning side.

But these women and their allies know that nuclear could still raise its ugly head in South Africa again and they are ready. Any nuclear power plan in South Africa could have devastating effects beyond its borders.

“The 8-10 nuclear power plants on the table would have had huge impacts for uranium mining in the rest of Africa,” says McDaid. “Now that the deal is no more we want to keep up the pressure throughout the region and even into East Africa as well because Rosatom is actively trying to sign deals with Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe.”

Read our story about their work on Beyond Nuclear International.


First atom bombs, now climate change. Marshall Islands in peril

The US government exploded 67 atomic bombs on what is now the Republic of the Marshall Islands. These so-called "tests" -- which were also radiation experiments on human beings --have left a terrible legacy of health effects and contamination. They destroyed islands, displaced people, finished off traditional ways of life, and crowded refugees into one of the world's worst slums.

On Beyond Nuclear International this week, we offer two pieces about RMI. One, written by renowned Australian journalist, John Pilger, describes a horrifying visit there and the secrets and lies perpetrated by the US which has never paid meaningful compensation. The other is a beautiful poem on video, bringing alive the history, myths, nature and traditional teachings that have been permanently destroyed.