Media statement re: today's Obama administration delivery to Capitol Hill of its “Strategy for the Management and Disposal of Used Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste”
Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps released the following media statement regarding today's Obama administration delivery to Capitol Hill of its “Strategy for the Management and Disposal of Used Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste”:
“Today’s Obama administration policy statement merely parrots the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future final report from a year ago, in putting top priority on establishing so-called ‘centralized interim storage’ away from reactors for highly radioactive wastes.
If enacted, this would launch unprecedented numbers of risky high-level radioactive waste shipments, by truck, train, and barge, onto our country’s roads, rails, and waterways. These risks could well turn out to be in vain, if the ultimate final disposal site ends up being located far away. This amounts to launching a risky radioactive waste shell game, all for naught.
Take the nuclear power industry’s recently cancelled Private Fuel Storage, LLC (PFS) parking lot dump targeted at the tiny Skull Valley Goshutes Indian Reservation in Utah. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission rubberstamped a construction and operations license for the facility in 2006, over the objections of tribal traditionals, the State of Utah, and nearly 500 environmental and environmental justice organizations across the country.
The plan at PFS was to store the irradiated nuclear fuel for 20 to 40 years, then transfer it to a permanent dumpsite at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. However, the Obama administration has wisely cancelled the Yucca dump proposal. 'Plan B' at PFS would then have been ‘return to sender.’ Wastes from the Maine Yankee atomic reactor, as but one example, would have traveled 2,000 miles out to Utah, and then returned 2,000 miles right back to where they came from in the first place. Maine Yankee’s 540 tons of highly radioactive irradiated nuclear fuel, in dozens of transport containers, would have traveled 4,000 miles round trip, accomplishing absolutely nothing.
The risks of accidents, attacks, and externally radioactively contaminated shipments means high-level radioactive waste transportation cannot be entered into for no good reason, such as nuclear industry lobbyists' pressure to transfer title and liability for the wastes from the utilities that profited from its generation onto the American taxpayer.
Delivering wastes to de facto permanent parking lot dumps would take decades. This means on-site pool and dry cask storage risks at the reactor sites would persist that whole time. For this reason, hundreds of environmental groups have long called for hardened on-site storage at reactor sites, to defend against attacks, safeguard against accidents, and prevent leaks into the environment during that inevitable waiting period.”
The Statement of Principles for Safeguarding Nuclear Waste at Reactors, endorsed by over 150 organizations representing all 50 states, is posted at:
Beyond Nuclear board chairman, Lou Friedman, has penned a letter to President Obama, expressing opposition to a rush to centralized interim storage and the unprecedented radioactive waste shipments that would launch, as well as expressing concern about President Obama's pro-nuclear power statements.
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chair of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, has praised the Obama administration's call for centralized interim storage. Revealingly, she expressed her support in the context of a pro-nuclear expansion agenda: "Delaying the creation of a long-term policy on nuclear waste would simply make the problems more complex and dangerous -- particularly with the development of a generation of new small modular reactors."
Last year, Sen. Feinstein introduced legislation that would have funded an expedicted "pilot" centralized interim storage site, but the bill died in committee. Sen. Feinstein's proposals were also included in the U.S. Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee "Mark" for its Fiscal Year 2013 funding bill (see Section 312, beginning on page 58). Ironically, Feinstein's "Mark" was dated April 26, 2012 -- the 26th anniversary of the beginning of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe. However, this very provision is included in the Obama/Chu policy statement just delivered to Capitol Hill last Friday.
Please contact your two U.S. Senators, and your U.S. Representative. You can be patched through to your Members of Congress by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Urge them to oppose a risky radioactive waste shell game on the roads, rails, and waterways!
Also contact President Obama at the White House, and urge him not to rush into Mobile Chernobyls by truck and train, or Floating Fukushimas by barge! Urge them to support hardened on-site storage, and to stop allowing high-level radioactive waste to be generated in the first place -- the only true solution to the problem.