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 Hotseat: SPECIAL – St. Louis Nuclear Nightmare

West Lake Landfll, North St. Louis County, MONuclear Hotseat #227: West Lake Radioactive Waste Fire -- Dr. Caldicott, Bob Alvarez, Dawn Chapman

A full length Nuclear Hotseat SPECIAL on the West Lake Landfill in North St. Louis - a Manhattan Project-era radioactive waste dump - and the encroaching underground fire less than a quarter mile away.


  • The history of the West Lake Landfill nuclear waste with Bob Alvarez, who served as senior policy adviser to the Energy Department’s secretary and deputy assistant secretary for national security and the environment from 1993 to 1999. He is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and wrote the landmark November, 2013 report: The West Lake Landfill: A Radioactive Legacy of the Nuclear Arms Race.
  • The medical consequences faced by those exposed to the West Lake radioactive waste with Dr. Helen Caldicott, arguably the single most articulate and passionate advocate of citizen action to remedy the nuclear and environmental crises in the world.   A medical doctor and former instructor in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, she co-founded Physicians for Social Responsibility – which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 – and was herself nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling. She is the author of Nuclear Power is Not the Answer.
  • What it’s like on the ground in the North St. Louis neighborhoods impacted by the radioactive waste with Dawn Chapman, a mother who lives less than two miles from the West Lake Landfill. She Admins the Facebook West Lake Landfill page.



  • President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Please include your e-mail address Phone Numbers Comments: 202-456-1111 Switchboard: 202-456-1414 TTY/TDD Comments: 202-456-6213 Visitors Office: 202-456-2121 Twitter: @POTUS @POTUSPRESSPOOL
  • Senator Roy Blunt United States Senate 260 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 201510 (202) 224-5721 Twitter: @RoyBlunt @RoyBluntMO @RoyBluntPress
  • Senator Claire McCaskill United States Senate Hart Senate Office Building, Ste. 506 Washington, D.C. 20510 (202) 224-6154 Twitter: @clairecmc
  • Congresswoman Ann Wagner United States House of Representatives 435 Cannon House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-1621 Twitter: @RepAnnWagner
  • Congressman William Lacy Clay United States House of Representatives 2418 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-2406 Twitter: @LacyClayMO1
  • EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, William Jefferson Clinton Building mail code: 1101A 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20460 Twitter: @EPAGina

Dump blasts feed concerns about Yucca Mountain

As reported by Keith Rogers of the Las Vegas Review Journal, Richard Bryan (photo, left), chairman of the Nevada Commission on Nuclear Projects (and former state attorney general, governor, and U.S. senator) has pointed to the Oct. 18-19 explosions and fire at U.S. Ecology's so-called "low-level" radioactive waste dump in Beatty, NV as a cautionary tale about the risks of the proposed Yucca Mountain, NV high-level radioactive waste dump, and the large number of irradiated nuclear fuel shipments it would launch onto the roads, rails and waterways of most states:

Yucca Mountain Project opponent Richard Bryan said Tuesday he was "stunned" when he watched a video of small explosions that followed more powerful ones Oct. 18 at a low-level nuclear waste dump near Beatty.

He said explosions and fire at the now-closed, state-owned landfill at the US Ecology site that shut down a 140-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 95 for nearly 24 hours added to his concerns for federal plans to haul 77,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel assemblies and high-level waste to Yucca Mountain, 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

"We've already got kind of a glimmer of what can happen with low-level. ... This stuff is highly dangerous," Bryan, chairman of the Nevada Commission on Nuclear Projects, said following one of 70 press conferences held at cities nationwide on nuclear waste transportation.

The Las Vegas press conference, also featuring Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Judy Treichel, executive director of Nevada Nuclear Waste Task Force, was part of Nuclear Information and Resource Service's "Stop Fukushima Freeways" campaign launch.


Floods, fires, explosions, and earthquake fault lines threaten radioactive waste dumps

As reported by CBS This Morning, the underground garbage dump fire at the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Missouri, creeping ever closer to illegally buried Manhattan Project radioactive wastes in the Missouri River floodplain, has local residents deeply scared. Radioactivity has already leaked into the surrounding community, as in public parks, over the 42 years since the radioactive wastes were illegally dumped there in 1973. As CBS This Morning reported, the risks include not only the underground fire, but also a nearby earthquake faultline.

Beyond Nuclear board member Kay Drey of St. Louis has long watchdogged this illegal dumpsite, nearby and upstream from major metro St. Louis drinking water intakes. In March 2015, Drey and colleagues in St. Louis published a pamphlet entitled "Remove the radioactive wastes NOW! Protect Metro St. Louis' water and air from West Lake Landfill's radioactive contamination!" It includes a map, showing that the radioactive wastes at West Lake Landfill are upstream of the drinking water intakes for North County and the City of St. Louis, on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. The pamphlet urges readers to "Please go to to sign a letter asking U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt and Congress members William Lacy Clay and Ann Wagner to work to transfer responsibility for West Lake’s radioactive wastes to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers."

As Beyond Nuclear put out in its weekly email bulletion on October 22, 2015:

"Thousands of tons of nuclear weapons wastes are near an underground fire at the West Lake Landfill in north St. Louis County. The radioactive wastes originated in the 1940s and 1950s when Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, near downtown St. Louis, processed uranium in secrecy for nuclear weapons. The wastes were illegally dumped at the landfill in 1973." Radioactive wastes have leaked into the local neighborhood and residents in areas adjacent to the landfill have childhood brain cancers 300 times higher than expected and cases of appendix cancer have been found. More  

SIGN THE PETITION calling for a "Declaration of Emergency" in the wake of the fire moving toward this waste.

And, along very similar lines, very heavy rains in Beatty, Nevada appear to have contributed to a series of powerful explosions, and a fire lasting 12 hours, in a so-called "low" level radioactive waste burial trench, that took place on Sunday, October 18th. The radioactive waste dump began operations in 1962, and was abandoned by U.S. Ecology in 1992.

As Dr. Marvin Resnikoff wrote in his 1987 book Living Without Landfills: Confronting the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Crisis, all seven so-called "low-level" radioactive waste dumps opened in the U.S., including U.S. Ecology's dump in Beatty, Nevada, leaked.

And, as CBS This Morning reported above about the earthquake risks at the Bridgeton, MO West Lake Landfill, Beatty, Nevada is in a very seismically (and even potentially volcanically) active area.

The State of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects has compiled the extensive media coverage that has accrued, including a 40-second video of the series of explosions, showing the smoke clouds from the underground fires billowing out, into the air. See the compilation links below, in reverse chronological order:

 Sunday, October 25, 2015
3News - Nuclear dump near Beatty has history of problems, lax oversight - By Ken Ritter, Associated Press

Friday, October 23, 2015

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Monday, October 19, 2015

Follow continuing news updates by visiting the State of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Project's What's News page.


Legal counsel for environmental coalition files Initial Reply Brief against NRC's false nuclear waste confidence

Protestors from the Crabshell Alliance, Sierra Club, NIRS, Nuclear Energy Information Service of IL, Public Citizen, Beyond Nuclear, and other groups just say "NO!" to NRC's Nuclear Waste Con Game during a Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel GEIS public comment meeting at NRC HQ in Rockville, MD in late 2013.On October 23, 2015, attorneys representing a coalition of environmental groups filed an Initial Reply Brief, in response to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) brief, in the New York II case being heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Geoffrey Fettus serves as legal counsel for NRDC, and Diane Curran and Mindy Goldstein serve as legal counsel for Beyond Nuclear, et al. (see the full list of environmental coalition groups involved in the legal appeal at the bottom of this entry).

In its New York I ruling of June 2012, the DC Circuit vacated NRC's Nuclear Waste Confidence Decision, and ordered an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be performed by the agency.

In its Initial Reply Brief, the environmental coalition has argued that the "Court should vacate the Rule and GEIS," as due, for example, to NRC's "failure to comply with the Court’s explicit instruction" in New York I to analyze the risks of a repository for disposal of irradiated nuclear fuel never being opened.

NRC has renamed its Rule and Generic Environmental Impact Statement "Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel," instead of using its debunked, infamous previous name, "Nuclear Waste Confidence." Large numbers of public comments during NRC's meetings across the U.S. branded "Nuclear Waste Confidence" a confidence game (see photo, above). (A confidence game is defined as any swindle or trick in which the swindler, after gaining the confidence and trust of the victim, robs, defrauds, deceives, or otherwise cheats them.)

As the environmental coalition's legal counsel argued in their Initial Reply Brief, NRC's Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel Rule and GEIS would preclude environmental intervenors from raising irradiated nuclear fuel contentions in any future interventions against proposed new reactor combined construction and operations license applications (COLAs), as well as old reactor license extension proceedings. In fact, the coalition seeks to challenge radioactive waste generation in current licensing proceedings.

Beyond Nuclear, which is honored and privileged to be a part of the coalition's legal appeal, is challenging the 20-year license extensions at Davis-Besse, OH and Fermi Unit 2, MI on the Lake Erie shoreline, as well as the COLA at the proposed new Fermi Unit 3 in MI. Beyond Nuclear is represented in those three proceedings by attorney Terry Lodge of Toledo, OH. Other groups Beyond Nuclear formally entered into coalition with to legally challenge those licenses include: Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination; Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario; Don't Waste MI; Ohio Green Party; and Sierra Club Michigan Chapter. Additional groups Beyond Nuclear works with in those three particular fights also include: Alliance to Halt Fermi 3; Citizens Resistance at Fermi 2; and Sierra Club Ohio Chapter Nuclear-Free Committee.

The other environmental groups involved in the coalition's legal appeal before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals include: Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (NRDC); Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL); Missouri Coalition for the Environment; New England Coalition; Nuclear Information & Resource Service (NIRS); Riverkeeper, Inc.; San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace; and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Inc. (SACE). Thus, besides Beyond Nuclear's three licensing proceedings, a large number of additional reactor licensing proceedings are comprehended by this appeals lawsuit.

Beyond Nuclear et al.'s legal counsel, Diane Curran, is from the law firm of Harmon, Curran, Spielberg & Eisenberg, LLP of Washington, D.C. Beyond Nuclear et al.'s legal counsel, Mindy Goldstein, is from the Turner Environmental Law Clinic in Atlanta, GA.

As the name of the appeal, New York II, implies, the environmental coalition is allied with a coalition of states, and an Indian tribe, in challenging NRC's Continued Storage Rule and GEIS. The states include New York, Connecticut, and Vermont; the Native American nation is the Praire Island Indian Community of Minnesota.

Oral arguments for New York II have not yet been scheduled, but are expected to take place in early 2016.

A favorable ruling for the coalition of environmental groups, state governments, and Prairie Island Indian Community would represent a serious blow to proposed new reactor licenses, and old reactor license extensions, such as the ones Beyond Nuclear has been fighting on the Lake Erie shoreline for many long years now.


Unprecedented liquid high-level radioactive waste shipments delayed by congressional demand for security assessment

The Peace Bridge at Buffalo, NY, the route by which unprecented shipments of liquid high-level radioactive waste are most likely expected to rollAs reported by WKBW/ABC-Buffalo, NY, unprecedented shipments, by truck, of liquid high-level radioactive waste, from Chalk River, Ontario, Canada to Savannah River Site (SRS), South Carolina, U.S.A., could be postponed.

The U.S. Department of Energy wants to import the liquid high-level radioactive wastes, for the revenue it would be paid by Canadian nuclear agencies. DOE also hopes to keep its reprocessing capabilities on life-support at SRS. For these reasons, it has sought radioactive wastes not only from Canada, but also from other countries (such as Germany), to import.

The delay is due to:

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved a bill that would require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to provide a complete threat assessment the transportation of chemical, biological, nuclear, and radiological materials through U.S. land borders and within the United States.

The bill was sponsored by U.S. Representative Brian Higgins (D-NY). Companion legislation is expected to clear the U.S. Senate, and the companion bills to be enacted into law with President Obama's signature.

The article quotes Congressman Higgins:

"Terrorists and militant groups have expressed an interest in using highly dangerous weapons, especially those utilizing chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear, known as CBRN agents or materials,” said Higgins. “This bill gives federal agencies the information they need to make decisions and develop policies that are informed by the terrorism threat picture.”