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ARTICLE ARCHIVE

Radioactive Waste

No safe, permanent solution has yet been found anywhere in the world - and may never be found - for the nuclear waste problem. In the U.S., the only identified and flawed high-level radioactive waste deep repository site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada has been canceled. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an end to the production of nuclear waste and for securing the existing reactor waste in hardened on-site storage.

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Monday
Jul162018

Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants: What Congress, Federal Agencies and Communities Need to Know (Congressional Briefing and Lobby Day)

Watch the video recording of the standing room only congressional briefing held in the U.S. Capitol, including Beyond Nuclear's radioactive waste specialist Kevin Kamps, presenting from the 18 minute mark to the 33 minute 30 second mark of the recording.

Kevin's power point presentation, with more detailed follow-on note slides, can be viewed here.

Kevin also speaks a number of times during the question and answer period, which begins at the one hour three minute mark in the video recording. The Q & A period lasts for 30 minutes, till the end of the recording.

Beyond Nuclear board member Bob Musil, executive diretor of the Rachel Carson Council, moderated the panel, and Beyond Nuclear's reactor oversight project director Paul Gunter served on the event planning committee.

The other speakers at the congressional briefing included:

Robert Alvarez, Senior Scholar, Institute for Policy Studies; former Department of Energy Senior Policy        Advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Security and the Environment

Mayor Al Hill, of Zion, Illinois, home of the decommissioned Zion Nuclear Power Station

Ian Zabarte, Secretary, Native Community Action Council

Jackson Hinkle, Youth Activist, San Clemente High School

Geoffrey H. Fettus, Senior Attorney for Energy & Transportation, Natural Resources Defense Council

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) has posted a summary of the event at its website, as well as associated materials -- including Beyond Nuclear's "Decommissioning nuclear power stations need an 'autopsy' to verify and validate safety margins projected for operating reactor license extensions," prepared by Paul Gunter.

This briefing was made possible by generous support from the Jack & Belle Alpern Fund, Beyond Nuclear, Ecological Options Network, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Pat Marida, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), Riverkeeper, Safe Energy Rights Group, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, and other supporters. Many public interest groups and concerned citizens contributed time and expertise to help organize it.

See the EESI briefing notice for additional information.

Tuesday
Jul032018

July 14 Uranium Legacy Commemoration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 3, 2018
 
Contact: Edith Hood, Red Water Pond Road Community Association
505.905.8051 home, 505.713-4085 cell

Susan Gordon, Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment, coordinator
505.577.8438  sgordon@swuraniumimpacts.org  contact for photos or graphics
 
Red Water Pond Road Community: 39 Years Since North East Church Rock 
Uranium Tailings Spill That Was Never Investigated Nor Cleaned Up
 
  •  Uranium Legacy Commemoration, Saturday, July 14, 7 am to 3 pm
  •  12 miles North of Red Rock State Park on State Highway 566 near Church Rock, NM
The Red Water Pond Road Community on Navajo Nation will be hosting their 39th annual commemoration of the 1979 Uranium Tailings Spill that is the largest uranium tailings spill in the United States. 
   
On July 16, 1979, an earthen dam that held liquid uranium waste broke, releasing 1,000 tons of solid radioactive mill waste and more than 90 million gallons of acidic and radioactive liquids into the Rio Puerco. The contaminants flowed downstream through Gallup, NM and across nine Navajo chapters. Several days after the spill, United Nuclear Corporation sent a handful of people out with shovels and buckets in an attempt to remediate the mess. To this day there has been no reclamation, no study to see how far the contamination went and its impacts on local water systems and people’s health. United Nuclear Corporation has not been held accountable for the spill.
    
“Let us come together again and share these issues and concerns, collaborate and strategize, to push clean up of these contaminated environments among our Diné people, to restore, preserve and protect our Mother Earth,” said Edith Hood, Red Water Pond Road Community resident. “It is time for our state and tribal governments to stand up and help these impacted communities on Dinetah. There has been enough talk. It is time to take action on behalf of the people."  
    
The North East Church Rock community are concerned about the uranium contamination legacy that has poisoned Mother Earth, including our sacred waters, land, and livestock. This gathering will provide a venue to discuss and educate everyone about the impacts of uranium mining and milling and about the ongoing work to remove uranium contaminated soil from the surrounding areas to protect our families and environment. 
    
There will be a 7 am walk to the spill site to offer healing prayers. Following the walk people will gather under shade for food, community education, speeches, and a silent auction.
     
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Thursday
Jun212018

Environmental coalition urges Congress to defund environmentally unjust nuke waste dumps

As fast and furious congressional votes on annual appropriations regarding energy-related matters take place on Capitol Hill, Beyond Nuclear has joined with scores of allied environmental and environmental justice organizations in urging the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to stop funding for both the Yucca Mountain, Nevada permanent burial dump scheme, as well as the de facto permanent, surface storage, "parking lot dumps" targeted at the New Mexico/Texas borderlands. These commercial irradiated nuclear fuel dump schemes have long targeted low income, and/or people of color communities: Western Shoshone Indian land at Yucca Mountain, NV; and already heavily polluted (from fossil fuel and nuclear industries) Hispanic communities near the Holtec/Eddy-Lea [Counties] Energy Alliance, NM, and Waste Control Specialists, LLC, TX so-called "centralized interim storage facilities" (CISFs). In fact, Holtec International's previous attempt at "temporary storage" for highly radioactive waste ("Private Fuel Storage, LLC," or PFS) was targeted at the tiny, low income Skull Valley Goshutes Indian Reservation in Utah, blocked by a tireless nationwide EJ coalition campaign, led by Skull Valley traditionals Margene Bullcreek and Sammy Blackbear. In fact, southeast NM has previously been targeted for a CISF, at the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation, but traditionals Rufina Marie Laws and Joe Geronimo led the successful opposition that blocked it. The nuclear establishment -- the nuclear power industry itself, Congress, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), etc. -- has long been guilty of "radioactive racism," targeting scores of Native American reservations and lands for such dumps, but thus far have been blocked by traditionals like Grace Thorpe of the Sauk and Fox Reservation in Oklahoma.

What can you do to help stop such environmentally unjust radioactive waste dumps? Contact your U.S. Rep., as well as both your U.S. Senators, and urge them to block the Yucca dump, as well as CISFs. (You can also be patched through to your members of congress by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.) The opening of either the Yucca of CISF dumps would launch unprecedented large numbers of highly radioactive waste shipments, by road, rail, and/or waterway, through most states (including high-risk impacts on a large number of Native American reservations). And please continue to submit comments to NRC in opposition to the Holtec/ELEA CISF targeted at southeastern NM, by the July 30th deadline

Thursday
Jun072018

Environmental coalition letter to U.S. House of Representatives urges opposition to funding for Yucca and CIS dumps

A coalition of environmental groups, on behalf of their millions of members across America, has written to the U.S. House of Representatives. The letter expresses opposition to renewed funding for the highly controversial Yucca Mountain, Nevada nuclear waste dump proposal. It also expresses opposition to funding for proposed irradiated nuclear fuel centralized interim storage facilities, such as those currently targeted at NM and TX. Here is the relevant section of the letter:

The bill also includes $267.7 million in a continued attempt to push the unworkable, long ago rejected proposal to dispose of nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain, Nevada. It also includes a rider in Sec. 508 that prevents funds being used to close the facility. Decades from now others will face the precise predicament we find ourselves in today if Congress tries to ram through unworkable nuclear waste solutions contentiously opposed by States, lacking a sound legal structure [or] science-based foundation, and devoid of public understanding and consent. The current efforts to quickly restart the contentious Yucca Mountain licensing process and a similarly contentious licensing process for an interim storage facility simply will not work.

Thursday
May312018

Help stop environmentally unjust highly radioactive waste dump in NM! Continue submitting public comments to NRC!

Noel Marquez, co-founder of Alliance for Environmental Strategies, at the NRC public comment meeting in Albuquerque, with the tee shirt and banner he designed.Opponents to Holtec International/Eddy-Lea [Counties] Energy Alliance's proposed centralized interim storage facility (CISF) for 173,600 metric tons of highly radioactive irradiated nuclear fuel, targeted at southeast New Mexico, have dominated the half-dozen U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) public comment meetings over the past five weeks. (See the photo, left, by Maddy Hayden of the Albuquerque Journal, of Noel Marquez of Artesia, NM, co-founder of the Alliance for Environmental Strategies (AFES), wearing a t-shirt and in front of a banner, both of which he designed, at the May 22nd public meeting in Albuquerque.)

Please continue to submit comments -- by email, and/or snail mail -- and urge others to do so as well (NRC's webform, at www.regulations.gov, has not worked since May 18th, begging the question, if they can't even get this right, how can we trust them to keep highly radioactive waste safe and secure forevermore?!). See how to submit comments and use sample comments, to help you prepare your own, by the current July 30 deadline.

Please also contact both your U.S. Senators, and urge them to block H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2018, or any other legislation, that would authorize similar CISFs . Please also urge your U.S. Sens., as well as your U.S. Rep., to support requests by a coalition of 52 environmental groups, including Beyond Nuclear, by themselves contacting NRC and requesting public comment meetings in your state and congressional district. Thus far, not a single public in-person meeting has been held outside of NM, other than one at the NRC HQ in Rockville, MD (which the agency did very little to even notify the public about). This is unacceptable, in that most states would experience very large numbers of road and/or rail shipments of highly radioactive waste, by truck and/or train, if Holtec/ELEA's CISF opens; some states would even experience barge shipments on surface waterways. You can look up your two U.S. Sens.' contact info. here, and your U.S. Rep.'s contact info. here (please also take this opportunity to thank your U.S. Rep. for voting right -- against, a NO vote -- on H.R. 3053, or express your disappointment about them voting wrong -- for the bill, an AYE vote; see how your U.S. Rep. voted, here). Or you can phone your congress members' offices via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Please spread the word to your networks re: the importance of submitting public comments to NRC opposing this environmental injustice (southeast NM has a large percentage of Hispanic residents; the area is already heavily polluted by fossil fuel and nuclear industries). For more info., see Beyond Nuclear's Centralized Storage website section.