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.



Beyond Nuclear testifies before Congress against Mobile Chernobyl, Yucca, and parking lot dumps

Detailed maps showing DOE's proposed Yucca dump bound high-level radioactive waste rail shipping routes in downtown Chicago.Beyond Nuclear's radioactive waste watchdog, Kevin Kamps, was invited as a witness at a hearing on "Transporting Nuclear Materials," held by the U.S. House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee, Environment and the Economy Subcommittee on Oct. 1st. See the hearing description, with links to the witnesses' written testimony, as well as a video recording of the hearing, here.

On the video recording, Kevin's opening remarks begin at the 1:09:50 mark, and end at 1:15:26. A question and answer exchange between Ranking Democrat, Paul Tonko of NY, and Kevin begins at 1:25:05, and ends at 1:27:42 (Kevin discusses the Baltimore train tunnel fire of July, 2001, and the reportedly large number of latent cancer fatalities and astronomical clean up costs that would have resulted, had high-level radioactive waste been on board).

(Note that the hearing began more than 30 minutes late, so the beginning of the video recording is blank. Also, the quality of the video recording is poor, with many skips.)

Read Kevin's introductory remarks, as well as his full written testimony. Working with David Kraft, executive director of Nuclear Energy Information Service of Chicago, Kevin also prepared this backgrounder, to set the record straight on high-level radioactive waste shipments targeted at downtown Chicago, under the Department of Energy's Yucca Mountain dump transportation plan. Robert Halstead, now director of the State Agency for Nuclear Projects in the Nevada governor's office, also prepared detailed maps showing Chicago area Yucca dump shipping routes. (see map, above left)

Claims by a number of hearing witnesses that high-level radioactive waste shipping accidents in the past had never experienced radioactive releases or leaks has also been debunked by a 1996 Halstead report, citing federal government documents. Beyond Nuclear has also prepared a backgrounder rebutting this inaccurate testimony.

Learn more about the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's attempt to revive the cancelled Yucca dump, by visiting Beyond Nuclear's Yucca Mountain website section. There, you'll learn how you can submit public comments on NRC's Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the dangerous Yucca dump proposal.


Critics to DOE: Treat excess weapons-grade plutonium as a dangerous, deadly radioactive waste, not a nuclear power commodity!

As reported by Steven Mufson at the Washington Post:

A group of more than a dozen prominent former arms negotiators and senior diplomats has sent a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz urging an end to the U.S. nuclear fuel program at the government’s Savannah River complex that they say is too costly and a threat to non-proliferation efforts.

...The signatories included former nuclear arms negotiators Robert Einhorn and Robert Gallucci; former ambassadors Thomas Pickering and Joseph Nye; former White House director for arms control, former Pentagon and intelligence official Henry S. Rowen; former head of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Jessica Matthews; former Nuclear Regulation Commission members Peter Bradford and Victor Gilinsky; National Medal of Science winner and a designer of the first hydrogen bomb Richard Garwin; and nuclear policy experts Henry Sokolski, Frank von Hippel, S. David Freeman and Ploughshares Fund president Joseph Cirincione.

But such concerns about the use of Mixed Oxide Uranium-Plutonium (MOX) fuel at commercial atomic reactors goes back 20 years. Grassroots anti-nuclear activists, as in the 1999 lawsuit Alice Hirt v. Bill Richardson, Energy Secretary, urged that weapons-grade plutonium be mixed back into the high-level radioactive waste from which it came in the first place, and be treated as a deadly, dangerous radioactive waste, not a nuclear power commodity.

However, the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility at the U.S. Department of Energy's Savannah River Site in South Carolina has proceeded regardless, a $5 billion waste of federal taxpayer money thus far, with no end in site. The program risks nuclear weapons proliferation internationally, and also risks a plutonium-fuelled nuclear power catastrophe at reactors never designed for MOX use. More.


Beyond Nuclear submits public comments to CEAA and the Canadian federal Environment Minister opposing the DUD

OPG wants to dump Ontario's radioactive wastes less than a mile from the shore of Lake Huron!Beyond Nuclear has submitted yet another round of public comments to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and Canadian federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, opposing Ontario Power Generation's Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) for radioactive waste burial targeted at the Great Lakes shore at Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in Kincardine, Ontario.

David Martin of Greenpeace Canada dubbed the DGR the DUD, for Deep Underground Dump.

To see what YOU can do to help stop the DUD, visit Beyond Nuclear's Canada website section!


Aug. 16, Rally in Port Huron, MI to stop a nuclear waste dump on Lake Huron shore!

DO sign the petition at, and the spread the word about, 16th, 1PM at Pinegrove Park in Port Huron, Michigan (1PM - 4PM) to rally to stop a deep underground nuclear dump, proposed for the shores of Lake Huron in Canada.

Here's a Facebook link to the event:

Beyond Nuclear will be there, and hope you can too. Please spread the word!

See the flier!



"Industry push on Yucca Mountain troubles allies"

Photo by Las Vegas Review Journal, of recent congressional visit to Yucca Mountain, NV "Exploratory Studies Facility" tunnel. NEI and certain Members of Congress can't seem to give up on the dead end that is the long proposed, now cancelled, Yucca dump.As reported by Steve Tetrault in the Las Vegas Review Journal, the Nuclear Energy Institute's (NEI) renewed push for a high-level radioactive waste dump at Yucca Mountain, NV has even its congressional supporters "taken aback." U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, respectively, have been pushing centralized interim storage for commercial irradiated nuclear fuel, as has U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The three nuclear power industry friendly U.S. Senators recognize the power of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who has devoted his long career in the Senate to blocking the Yucca dump, against all odds. In addition, President Obama quickly moved to defund the Yucca project, and even to withdraw the U.S. Department of Energy's application to build and operate the repository, once he entered the Oval Office.

However, NEI -- Las Vegas-style -- seems to be gambling that once Reid and Obama are gone from the political scene, it'll be able to have its way on Yucca. Reid has announced his retirement, meaning both he and President Obama will leave office at the same time, in January 2017.

Way back in 1987, the nuclear power industry and its friends in government forced the passage of the "Screw Nevada bill," against the will of the State of Nevada and its congressional delegation. However, they never anticipated the resolve of rookie U.S. Senator Harry Reid, a former boxer, to outlast their dastardly plan.