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.



NRC Requests Public Comment, Schedules Meeting on Issues Paper for Packaging and Transporting Radioactive Material

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has announced:

No: 16-068

November 23, 2016
Contact: Maureen Conley, 301-415-8200

NRC Requests Public Comment, Schedules Meeting on Issues Paper for Packaging and Transporting Radioactive Material


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission this week asked for public input on issues to be considered in revising its regulations for packaging and transporting radioactive material. NRC staff will use comments received in developing a regulatory basis for a proposed rule.

The NRC’s current transportation regulations are based, in part, on standards developed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an international standard-setting organization. The IAEA periodically revises its transportation standards to reflect acquired knowledge and expertise. The NRC is beginning the process to update its own regulations to be compatible with the IAEA’s.

The NRC and the U.S. Department of Transportation share regulatory authority over radioactive material transport. DOT is the lead federal agency for regulating hazardous materials transport in the United States and for interacting with the IAEA. The NRC will coordinate changes to its regulations with DOT.

To help guide public input, the NRC has published an issues paper that outlines areas identified for possible revision. These topics include the requirements for small amounts of fissile material, solar heat and external package pressure, and shipping low activity waste and large solid contaminated objects. The staff will also consider whether to create a new category of more robust packages. These issues are described in greater detail in a Nov. 21 Federal Register notice.

The NRC will hold a two-day meeting at agency headquarters in Rockville, Md., to give an overview and answer clarifying questions on the issues paper. The meeting will be held Dec. 5-6, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Two White Flint North, room T2B3, 11545 Rockville Pike. NRC staff will not take public comments at the meeting. All individuals planning to attend should pre-register by Dec. 2 to obtain meeting material by contacting Emma Wong at or 301-415-7091, or Thomas Young, or 301-415-5795.


The public will also be able to participate remotely by teleconference and webinar. Callers should dial 888-801-8932 and input passcode 4882584#. Those participating by webinar should pre-register. More information is available in the meeting notice.

The public may also submit written comments through Jan. 20, 2017. The issues paper is available on the federal rulemaking website,, under Docket ID NRC-2016-0179. Comments may be submitted on that website; by email to; by fax to Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 301-415-1101; or by mail to Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, ATTN: Rulemakings and Adjudication Staff.


Feds sue proposed Vermont Yankee disposal company

As reported by VTDigger.

The U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit to block the merger of Waste Control Specialists, LLC of Andrews County, TX and EnergySolutions of Salt Lake City, UT is certainly relevant to Vermont Yankee decommissioning, as the article reports. WCS is proposed to become a partner in the decommissioning of Vermont Yankee, by acquiring ownership and an NRC-approved license transfer from current owner Entergy Nuclear.

But the merger would also impact the entire realm of radioactive waste management and disposal in the U.S. EnergySolutions' dumpsite in Clive, Tooele County, UT is a national dump for Class A radioactive waste -- the lowest category of so-called "low" level radioactive waste.

WCS's dump in Andrews, TX accepts Class A, Class B, and Class C radioactive wastes from any state in the union.

WCS has also applied to become a centralized interim storage site (a de facto permanent parking lot dump) for up to 40,000 metric tons of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel.


Bloomberg News: "Trump Advisers Eye Reviving Nevada Yucca Nuclear Waste Dump"

Political cartoon by Tom EngelhardtThe President-Elect Donald J. Trump parade of bad nuclear ideas has already begun. Bloomberg News reports that "Trump advisors eye reviving Nevada nuclear waste dump."

Over the past 30 years, since the "Screw Nevada bill" of 1987 was initially rammed through Congress, more than a thousand environmental, environmental justice, and public interest groups, representing every state in the union, have successfully staved off the proposal to open a national high-level radioactive waste dump at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, located on Western Shoshone Indian land.

In 2009-2010, President Obama declared the Yucca dump "unworkable" -- although scientifically unsuitable and environmentally unjust would have been better -- and wisely cancelled the project. U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), long-serving U.S. Senate Democratic Leader, devoted his career to de-funding and blocking the Yucca dump.

But both Obama and Reid are leaving office in January. The likes of U.S. Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI) and John Shimkus (R-IL), on the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee, have long sought to revive the Yucca dump, on behalf of the lobbyists from the nuclear power industry. Now the President-Elect Trump administration seems amenable to "screwing Nevada," all over again, despite the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future's clear recommendation that radioactive waste dump siting must be "consent-based."

More, including what you can do.


Radioactive Russian roulette on the highways: Unprecedented truck shipments of highly radioactive liquid wastes

Investigative reporter Frank Fraboni of ABC 13 News/WLOS in Western North Carolina has filed the following reports, regarding unprecedented shipments of highly radioactive liquid waste from Chalk River Nuclear Lab, Ontario, Canada to Savannah River Site, South Carolina, U.S.A. -- potentially through Asheville, North Carolina, the setting for these reports:

Special Report (Part 1): Opponents say 'mobile Chernobyl' threatens North Carolina mountains (featuring Mary Olson of Nuclear Information and Resource Service -- Southeast, based in Asheville, NC);

Special Report (Part 2): Trucking uranium through the mountains (featuing Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear).


Beyond Nuclear on Radio EcoShock re: Mobile Chernobyls & parking lot dumps

Host Alex Smith of Radio EcoShock interviewed Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Specialist, Kevin Kamps, re: the proposal for so-called "centralized interim storage" of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel at Waste Control Specialists, LLC (WCS) in Andrews County, Texas. Listen to the interview from the 32:00 minute to 52:15 minute mark in the recording.

(Please note this correction: The plutonium-contaminated waste barrel burst at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico occurred on Valentine's Day, 2014, not 2012.)

(Smith interviews U.K. professor Kevin Anderson before that, regarding the danger of counting on yet-to-be-developed technologies for reducing global warming gases in the atmosphere, in current plans to avert climate catastrophe. Smith and Anderson compare and contrast the technological hubris of such optimistic assumptions in the climate realm, with that of the nuclear power industry and its unsolved radioactive waste problem.

Then, in the last segment of the program, Smith discusses Robert Mercer, a billionaire climate denier who donated more campaign contributions towards Donald J. Trump's successful bid for the White House than any other single individual.)