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Nuclear Power

Nuclear power cannot address climate change effectively or in time. Reactors have long, unpredictable construction times are expensive - at least $12 billion or higher per reactor. Furthermore, reactors are sitting-duck targets vulnerable to attack and routinely release - as well as leak - radioactivity. There is so solution to the problem of radioactive waste.

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Thursday
Feb022017

Beyond Nuclear on Solartopia Radio re: Collapse of Atomic Energy Industry

THE COLLAPSE OF THE ATOMIC ENERGY INDUSTRY once again comes to Solartopia Green Power and Wellness Hour Radio. [The show is at 5pm Eastern on Thursday, Feb. 2nd -- listen live! -- and will be posted at the Solartopia Radio Show's archives afterward.]

LINDA SEELEY of the San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace fills us in on the catastrophic Diablo Canyon nukes, surrounded by earthquake faults and in a tsunami zone.  We examine the deal being made to shut it down, and the effort to make that happen faster.

KEVIN KAMPS of Beyond Nuclear and TIM JUDSON of the Nuclear Information & Resource Service chime in on the collapse of Westinghouse, the overages in nuclear construction around the world, the appointment of an non-regulatory new chair for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the procession of state bailouts, and much more.

As we approach a green-powered Earth, we pray no more of these obsolete, obscene nukes will explode, and that the transition to renewables will proceed as fast as possible.

Thanks to host Harvey Wasserman for having us on once again. It's an honor and a privilege to appear alongside colleagues from NIRS and Mothers for Peace!

Tuesday
Jan312017

Seven Democrats/Independent on U.S. Senate ENR Committee vote against Rick Perry's confirmation as Energy Secretary

As reported in a press release issued by the Honorable Maria Cantwell (Democrat-Washington State), Ranking Member on the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee, she was joined by five fellow Democrats (Ron Wyden from Oregon, Al Franken from Minnesota, Mazie Hirono from Hawaii, Tammy Duckworth from Illinois, and Martin Heinrich from New Mexico), and one Independent who caususes with the Democrats (Bernie Sanders from Vermont), in opposing former Texas governor Rick Perry's confirmation as Energy Secretary.

However, all Republicans on the committee voted in favor of Perry's confirmation; they were joined by three Democrats (Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada), and one Independent who caucuses with the Democrats (Angus King of Maine).

Perry's nomination now goes to the floor of the full Senate for a vote on confirmation.

Beyond Nuclear has highlighted Rick Perry's blatant conflict of interest involving Waste Control Specialists, LLC (WCS), a radioactive waste dump in West Texas. WCS was owned by Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, who died in late 2013; it is still owned by his family. Simmons was a top campaign contributor to Perry's political career. Under Perry's governorship, WCS was approved for every permit it ever sought, growing into one of the biggest so-called "low-level" radioactive waste dumps in the U.S. Now WCS wants to store more than half the commercial high-level radioactive waste in the country. The U.S. Department of Energy would be the sole customer, and would bear full liability if anything goes wrong. Of course, that means taxpayers would pay billions to build and operate the storage site, and would bear ultimate, unlimited liability. If confirmed as Energy Secretary, Rick Perry would sign that contract, obligating U.S. taxpayers to pay billions, and bear unlimited liability.

Wednesday
Jan252017

Will Rick Perry Privatize America's Nuclear Waste Storage?

As reported at Mother Jones. See Beyond Nuclear's exposé on Energy Secretary-nominee Rick Perry's blatant conflict of interest with Waste Control Specialists, LLC, published at Counterpunch. Take action ASAP -- sign multiple petitions, and contact your two U.S. Senators, urging them to block Perry's confirmation!

Also, submit comments on Thurs., Feb. 23rd to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, opposing private permanent parking lot dumps for high-level radioactive waste!

Thursday
Jan192017

Urge your two U.S. Senators to block former Texas governor Rick Perry's confirmation as Energy Secretary, given his blatant conflict of interest regarding Waste Control Specialists (WCS) radioactive waste dump

Former Texas governor Rick Perry's full Senate floor confirmation vote is VERY soon to happen, perhaps even today! So please take action ASAP, and spread the word! Please sign multiple petitions, and contact both your Senators directly, urging them to vote against Perry's confirmation! (See further below for additional action you can take in opposition to Perry's pet project -- a blatant conflict of interest -- an environmentally unjust high-level radioactive waste dump targeted at a low income, Latin American region of West Texas.)

SIGN MULTIPLE PETITIONS:

Sign Food & Water Watch's petition!

And sign the FOE petition!

And sign MoveOn.org's petition!

And sign DailyKos's petition! 

FURTHER ACTION YOU CAN TAKE:

ASAP, please
urge your two U.S. Senators to do everything in their power to block Rick Perry's confirmation as Energy Secretary.

Call both of your U.S. Senators during normal business hours, via the U.S. Capitol switchboard, at (202) 224-3121.

And phone them via their in-district phone numbers (thanks to the Center for Biological Diversity for the link to the phone numbers chart!)

Here is a sample script you can use, or adapt:

Hi, my name is ____ , and I'm from [City, State]. I am calling to ask you to oppose Rick Perry as Energy Secretary.  He has a blatant conflict of interest regarding the Waste Control Specialists (WCS) radioactive waste dump in Texas. WCS's owner, Harold Simmons, a Dallas billionaire, was also a top campaign contributor to Rick Perry. Now WCS is seeking billions of taxpayer dollars from the Department of Energy to open a centralized interim storage site for high-level radioactive waste, all at public liability.”


You can also email or fax your U.S. Senators at any time. Look up their direct contact info. at their websites, listed here. (Additional information on Perry's Jan. 19th hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and its 16-7 vote on Jan. 31st in favor of advancing his nomination to the full Senate floor for a vote -- now soon to happen -- is below.)

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

In addition to Rick Perry wanting to eliminate the Department of Energy (if only he could recall its name!), being out of his depth on nuclear weapons issues, and until just very recently, his blatant conflict re: the highly controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), there is also his conflict re: the environmental injustice of the Waste Control Specialists (WCS) radioactive waste dump in West Texas. WCS is located in Andrews County, Texas, which -- along with its immediately adjacent neighbors across the border in New Mexico -- raises serious environmental justice concerns, given the large Latin American population, as well as the large population of low income residents; in addition, the region is already beset with dirty and dangerous industries (so-called "low" level radioactive waste dumping at WCS itself, uranium enrichment just a few miles away across the NM border at Uranium Enrichment Corporation (URENCO, a.k.a. Lousiana Energy Services), and widespread fossil fuel extraction and waste disposal activities (both oil drilling, and natural gas fracking). 

NOW WCS WANTS TO OPEN A DE FACTO PERMANENT PARKING LOT DUMP FOR HIGH-LEVEL  RADIOACTIVE WASTE IN WEST TEXAS ON THE NEW MEXICO LINE:


As Texas governor, Rick Perry did all he could to advance the interests of the "low-level" radioactive waste dump called Waste Control Specialists (WCS), LLC in Andrews County, Texas. WCS was owned by Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, infamous as the "King of Superfund Sites" and a "most evil genius." Simmons was also a top campaign contributor to Rick Perry (as well as other Republicans and Conservatives nationwide).

At Counterpunch, Beyond Nuclear has published an exposé entitled "Radioactive Waste is Good for You, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Rick Perry as Energy Secretary."

See also this exposé by Mother Jones: "Will Rick Perry Privatize America's Nuclear Waste Storage?"

Although Harold Simmons died in late 2013, his family still owns WCS. In 2014, Perry went so far as to travel to West Texas, promoting high-level radioactive waste storage in the area, as reported by the Texas Observer. This is in fact WCS's next major expansion plan, to contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to store commercial irradiated nuclear fuel from across the U.S. as a consolidated or centralized interim storage (CIS) site. In April 2016, WCS applied to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for its license, a proceeding that is now intensifying, despite an environmental coalition's assertion that the application violates the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, as Amended (see coalition letter to NRC, and press release).

WCS stands to make billions of dollars, paid for by U.S. taxpayers, just during the construction and operations phases alone. If something goes wrong (and WCS is located either adjacent to or immediately above the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest in North America, providing vital drinking and irrigation water for numerous Great Plains states from Texas to South Dakota), U.S. taxpayers would hold full, unlimited liability.

If opened, the WCS CIS facility would launch unprecedented numbers of high-level radioactive waste shipments, through most states. These high-risk "Mobile Chernobyls" would be mostly rail shipments, although even then this could involve a large number of barge shipments on waterways, including seacoasts, rivers, and the Great Lakes. Heavy haul truck shipments on roads could also be involved (as could Legal Weight Truck shipments on nationwide interstate highways, if WCS simply gets a rubber-stamped license amendment from NRC at some future date).

Centralized interim surface storage makes no sense -- the wastes would have to be moved to a deep geologic repository elsewhere someday anyway, thus multiplying transport risks. But it also faces the real risk of becoming a de facto permanent parking lot dump.

A lesson (that should have been!) learned from the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, is that collusion between nuclear safety regulators, the nuclear industry, and government officials is very dangerous. The Japanese Parliament, in its first ever independent investigation published in 2012, concluded that the root cause of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe was just such collusion.

Here, Rick Perry is the embodiment of just such collusion, in the form of radioactive crony capitalism, plutocratic pay-to-play campaign contributions, and revolving door power politics and get-rich-quick-at-taxpayer-expense schemes. Figuratively speaking, as governor of Texas, when the WCS owner, and a major campaign contributor to Rick Perry, said Jump!, Gov. Perry effectively said How High?! Now, as Energy Secretary, Rick Perry could well sign a contract with WCS -- still owned by Harold Simmons' family -- costing U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars in terms of construction and operation costs, or an unlimited amount, if something goes wrong (taxpayers would bear full liability).

Urge both your U.S. Senators to block Rick Perry's confirmation as Energy Secretary, due to such a blatant conflict of interest! Please forward this action alert far and wide!

[Related update, and more on WHAT YOU CAN DO: NRC PUBLIC COMMENT OPPORTUNITY ON WCS ENVIRONMENTAL SCOPING:

In late January, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced a public comment period on the WCS Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) scoping. Public comments are due by March 13, 2017.

TAKE ACTION! SUBMIT COMMENTS BY MARCH 13TH! SEE PUBLIC CITIZEN WEB FORM, NIRS WEB FORM, AND BEYOND NUCLEAR (AND SEED COALITION OF TX) SAMPLE COMMENTS YOU CAN USE TO WRITE YOUR OWN!

Two public meetings were held by NRC, in Hobbs, NM on Feb. 13, and in Andrews, TX on Feb. 15, for collection of oral public comment. See the media covarge: http://www.beyondnuclear.org/centralized-storage/2017/2/15/nrc-wcs-public-comment-meetings-in-se-nm-w-tx.html ]

PERRY'S SENATE COMMITTEE CONFIRMATION VOTE, JAN. 31:

The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee held its nomination hearing to consider confirmation of former Texas governor Rick Perry for Energy Secretary on Thursday, January 19th. (See Beyond Nuclear's press release re: Perry's ENR confirmation hearing.)  

The ENR Committee, unfortunately, voted on Jan. 31st in favor of Rick Perry's confirmation. The confirmation was approved, by a vote of 16 to 7. As reported by Ranking ENR Committee Democrat Maria Cantell (D-WA), who also voted against Perry's confirmation:

Gov. Perry received 16 votes of support, with Sens. Wyden, Sanders, Franken, Hirono, Duckworth and Heinrich opposing his nomination.

This means that all of the Republicans on the ENR Committee voted in favor of Perry's confirmation, as did Democrats Cortez Masto (NV), Manchin (WV), and Stabenow (MI), as well as King (Independent from Maine, who caucuses with Democrats). All of these U.S. Senators who voted in favor of Perry's confirmation need to hear from their constituents, expressing alarm and deep concern, and urging them to change their votes on the Senate floor, and to oppose Perry's confirmation. (See an example of such a statement of concern, sent by Beyond Nuclear and Don't Waste Michigan to Senator Stabenow of Michigan, which you can use to prepare your own communication to your Senator who voted the wrong way in the ENR Committee.)

Conversely, those six Democrats (Cantwell from WA, Wyden from OR, Franken from MN, Hirono from HI, Duckworth from IL, and Heinrich from NM), and one Independent who caucuses with Democrats (Sanders from VT), deserve letters/emails/phone calls of thanks and support from their constituents, and encouragement to keep leading efforts to block Perry's confirmation on the Senate floor! (See an example of such a thank you letter, sent by Beyond Nuclear to Senator Sanders of Vermont, which you can use to prepare your own thank you letter to your own Senator who voted the right way in the ENR Committee.)

Wednesday
Jan182017

‘Learning Curve’ as Rick Perry Pursues a Job He Initially Misunderstood