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.



"Nuclear accident in New Mexico ranks among the costliest in U.S. history"

DOE photo of recovery operations after the radioactive barrel burst in WIPP's underground. Workers entering contaminated areas have had to wear triple layer haz mat suits, as well as respirators.As reported by Ralph Vartabedian in the Los Angeles Times, regarding the Valentine's Day, 2014 radioactivity release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP):

The early federal statements gave no hint that the blast had caused massive long-term damage to the dump, a facility crucial to the nuclear weapons cleanup program that spans the nation, or that it would jeopardize the Energy Department’s credibility in dealing with the tricky problem of radioactive waste.

But the explosion ranks among the costliest nuclear accidents in U.S. history, according to a Times analysis. The long-term  cost of the mishap could top $2 billion, an amount roughly in the range of the cleanup after the 1979 partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania.

Many months ago, the L.A. Times reported that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) had estimated the recovery costs for the WIPP barrel burst would be $500 million. The paper editorialized that the price tag could easily surpass a billion dollars, which it now reports has been clearly established.

The article quotes Don Hancock of Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC):

“There is no question the Energy Department has downplayed the significance of the accident,” said Don Hancock, who monitors the dump for the watchdog group Southwest Research and Information Center.

...Hancock suggested that the dump might never resume full operations.

“The facility was never designed to operate in a contaminated state,” he said. “It was supposed to open clean and stay clean, but now it will have to operate dirty. Nobody at the Energy Department wants to consider the potential that it isn't fixable.”


Protect the Great Lakes march & rally, GLEA, Port Huron, MI, Sat., 8/20, noon to 5pm!

DO sign the petition: And, if you or folks you know are near enough Port Huron, please attend this second annual event! Please spread the word!Join us, Saturday, August 20,
2016 in Port Huron, Michigan!

Protect the Great Lakes Walk & Rally!
Celebrating grassroots efforts to keep
our Great Lakes clean!

The Walk begins at 12 Noon at the Flag Plaza under the Blue
Water Bridge
(Thomas Edison Parkway). The Walk will follow the
St. Clair River south to Prospect Place, turn west to Pine Grove Ave.,
then enter the park from Pine Grove Avenue.

We walk to raise awareness of the importance of protecting our water!

The Rally takes place from 1 to 5 PM at the Pine Grove Park in
Port Huron, 1204 Pine Grove Avenue, Port Huron, MI 48060.

Map to the International Flag Plaza posted here:

Map to Pine Grove Park posted here:

Harold Watts, Local Woodland Metis member,
will offer a special smudging ceremony before our program.

We will have live music and welcome speakers from many
organizations, including:

LeeAnne Walters, the Mom from Flint who helped expose the Flint Water Crisis 

Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Specialist of Beyond Nuclear,  

Jill Taylor, President of SOS - Great Lakes,

Joshua Radhs, Michigan Clean Up Our River Banks,

And speakers from other great groups!

We’ll also hear from Save Lake St. Clair,  and BikeLine5,

Live Music from Little Big Band!

Contact Elizabeth Lloyd <> for more information.

See the March/Rally flier here!


'Radioactive material' container found on WI river beach

Photo accompanying articleForum News Service reports:

NEAR SUPERIOR, Wis. – A mysterious container warning "caution radioactive material" was found on a Wisconsin beach on Wednesday morning.

The U.S. Coast Guard reported that the responding agencies determined that the container, found on a beach near the mouth of the Poplar River, didn't contain radioactive materials.

Left unexplained is whether the empty container meant the previously enclosed radioactive materials had been released into the environment, or not. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, or its Agreement State colleagues, are supposed to regulate nuclear and radioactive materials, including in industry and medicine, not just in the nuclear power industry. But they often fail at their crucial task.


Kamps' prepared statement for press conference re: highly radioactive liquid waste truck shipments from Canada to U.S.A.

Ottawa Citizen map showing one of the more likely shipping routes from Chalk River, ON to SRS, SC for highly radioactive liquid waste truck shipments. (See larger sized map linked at end of entry.)Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Watchdog, delivered a statement to members of the news media on a press conference call sponsored by NIRS. An environmental coalition, including Beyond Nuclear, has filed a lawsuit seeking to block up to 150 unprecedented truck shipments of highly radioactive liquid wastes, from Chalk River Nuclear Labs in Ontario, Canada through multiple states, to Savannah River Site nuclear weapons and radioactive waste complex in Aiken, South Carolina, U.S.A.

See the press release and invitation to a NIRS-hosted press tele-briefing here. (The audio recording from the tele-briefing is available online. See below in the Update.*)

See the environmental coalition's lawsuit (Complaint), and associated exhibits, here.

See additional background documents here.

(Full size, legible route map -- see above left -- linked here.)


Beyond Nuclear's comments to DOE on so-called "Consent-Based Siting" or radioactive waste dumps

Environmental coalition members from the Crabshell Alliance, Sierra Club Nuclear-Free Campaign, NIRS, PSR, NEIS, and Public Citizen "just say NO!" at the NRC HQ nuke waste con game public comment meeting on 11/14/13 in Rockville, MD. Photo credit David Martin and Erica Grey.Beyond Nuclear submitted six sets of comments to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), by the July 31st deadline, re: "Consent-Based Siting" for so-called "centralized interim storage sites" (de facto permanent parking lot dumps), as well as permanent burial dumps (such as long targeted at Yucca Mountain, Nevada), for high-level radioactive waste/irradiated nuclear fuel.

The first set comprised Beyond Nuclear's "Top Ten List" of "We Do NOT Consent!" talking points.

The second set comprised Beyond Nuclear's two-page version of the "We Do NOT Consent!" talking points, providing more detail.

The third set comprised Beyond Nuclear's 13-page version of the "We Do NOT Consent!" talking points, providing yet more detail.

The fourth set, a 10-page document, protested the very illegitimacy of the DOE's entire "Consent-Based Siting" defintion-setting proceeding. Specifically, the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future (which, ironically enough, Energy Secretary Moniz was a commission member of, and several DOE officials in charge of "Consent-Based Siting" were lead staff members of) highly recommended that DOE no longer remain in charge of irradiated nuclear fuel management, or policy setting. This was due to the countless failures, and betrayals of the public's trust, over many years and even decades, perpetrated by DOE. And yet, DOE initiated and conducted the "Consent-Based Siting" proceeding, and appears determined to simply continue on, setting high-level radioactive waste management policies, despite the Blue Ribbon Commission's strong recommendation to the contrary.

The fifth set, a 10-page document, is entitled STOP RADIOACTIVE RACISM! It chronicles decades of DOE, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and nuclear power industry attemps to dump high-level radioactive waste on Native American reservations, lands, and communities across the U.S. It protests DOE's ongoing environmental injustice, even during this so-called "Consent-Based Siting" proceeding. But one example is DOE's decision to invite the infamous DOE Nuclear Waste Negotiator from the 1980s to 1990s, David Leroy, to participate on the panel at the Boise, Idaho public meeting. Two attachments accompanied this set of comments: President Barack Obama's March 2009 Women's History Month proclamation, honoring Grace Thorpe for blocking radioactive waste dumps targeted at Native American communities; and "Radioactive Racism: The History of Targeting Native American Communities with High-Level Atomic Waste Dumps," a six-page, fully referenced backgrounder prepared by NIRS and Public Citizen on June 14, 2005.

The sixth set comprised the submission of two documents for the record. Both documents came out of the same event, Citizen Awareness Network's (CAN) "People's Summit on High-Level Radioactive Waste," held at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT from April 12-14, 2002. The first document, entitled "Indigenous Anti-Nuclear Statement: Yucca Mountain and Private Fuel Storage at Skull Valley," was prepared for the event. The second document, "Principles for Safeguarding Nuclear Waste at Reactors," although promulgated in September 2006 (and later updated in March 2010), nonetheless had its origins at this same 2002 CAN event. Dr. Arjun Makhijani of IEER coined the phrase "Hardened On-Site Storage" (HOSS) at the 2002 event; the 2006 Principles (updated in 2010) hammered out, in writing, the HOSS principles, which have since been endorsed by hundreds of environmental organizations, representing all 50 states.

In addition to the written submissions above, Beyond Nuclear attended multiple DOE "Consent-Based Siting" meetings across the country, and provided additional verbal comments there.

Beyond Nuclear attended DOE's Jan. 20th "Kick-Off" meeting in Washington, D.C., firing off numerous questions there (incredibly enough, and very tellingly, DOE did not provide an oral public comment opportunity at this "Kick-Off" meeting for a seven month long public comment proceeding!).

Beyond Nuclear also attended DOE's March 29th meeting in Chicago, as reported by Kari Lydersen in Midwest Energy News.

(See comprehensive coverage, in multiple Beyond Nuclear website posts, about the Chicago meeting at the Radioactive Waste section, between the dates March 18 and March 31, 2016.)

And Beyond Nuclear also attended DOE's meeting in Boston, MA, on June 2nd, as reported by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!. There, Beyond Nuclear pointed out that it is disingenuous that the U.S. federal government and nuclear industry are now seeking public consent to dispose of high-level radioactive waste, when they never sought consent for the generation of nuclear waste in any of the operational licensing and license extension proceedings.

In fact, when the DOE was conducting its aborted 1986 crystalline rock repository search in New England, 130 town meetings in New Hampshire took up the issue in warrant articles.  Of those town meetings in the Granite State, 100 town meetings adopted the common language "to oppose the burial, storage, transportation and production of high-level nuclear waste" in the state of New Hampshire. (New Hampshire was targeted for a national high-level radioactive waste dumpsite -- seven historic towns faced extinction, as documented in this 2007 Beyond Nuclear backgrounder.)