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Thursday
Jan032019

Radioactive waste and the partial government shutdown

Logo from 2012 grassroots anti-nuclear summit in Chicago, hosted by NEIS, and co-sponsored by Beyond Nuclear and FOEThe U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) bragged, in its 2013 draft Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS), that safety and security of high-level radioactive waste storage would be guaranteed forevermore, through institutional control lasting indefinitely into the future. But NRC's false confidence was exposed in real time, as public comment meetings on the GEIS, scheduled around the country, had to be postponed, till after a partial shutdown of the federal government (related to congressional Republican attempts to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare) was ended. How does the current, ongoing-with-no-end-in sight, partial federal government shutdown relate to radioactive waste issues? For one thing, Just Moms STL has expressed alarm that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's oversight at the radioactively contaminated West Lake Landfill in St. Louis, MO has been undercut. And, most cynically, as documented at Beyond Nuclear's Yucca Mountain website section, Yucca dump advocates, like U.S. Representatives John Shimkus (Republican-Illinois) and Fred Upton (Republican-Michigan), have attempted to exploit White House-Congress government funding negotiations as an opportunity to attach $60 million as a rider to restart NRC licensing proceedings for the highly controversial, unsuitable, and environmentally unjust high-level radioactive waste dump targeted at Western Shoshone Indian land in Nevada; meanwhile, President Trump's Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, is reportedly scouring the U.S. Department of Energy for unspent funding to use to advance the Yucca dump scheme, a desperate approach of very dubious legality. If anything should be shut down, it is operating atomic reactors, so that they generate no more forever deadly high-level radioactive waste, for which no good, safe, sound solution has yet been found! (For more information on this dilemma, see the Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High summit proceedings, co-sponsored by Beyond Nuclear, posted at the Nuclear Energy Information Service website; see the summit logo, above left.)