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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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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.
Friday
May182018

U.S. SENATE'S 'BIG FOUR' ON NUCLEAR WASTE PLAN MEETING

As reported by the Politico Morning Energy newsletter:

SENATE'S 'BIG FOUR' ON NUCLEAR WASTE PLAN MEETING: A bipartisan group of four senior senators are planning to get together in hopes of launching a new push on nuclear waste legislation, according to Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Lamar Alexander. "Our staffs have been working, but I don't know if a date has been set," Murkowski, chairman of the Energy Committee, told ME. Their Democratic counterparts at the meeting would be Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Maria Cantwell. The planned meeting comes after the House passed its own broad nuclear waste overhaul that would move the Yucca Mountain repository forward.

Friday
May112018

U.S. House votes 340 to 72 to "Screw Nevada," again -- and perhaps New Mexico and Texas, too, while they're at it!

One of the six toes, on one of the feet, of the Yucca Dump Mutant Zombie (see image, left), twitched yesterday. By a lopsided vote of 340 to 72, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of "Screw Nevada 2.0," a reprise of the 1987 "Screw Nevada" bill, that singled out Yucca Mountain for the country's highly radioactive waste dump-site in the first place. This was the biggest vote on nuclear waste in the U.S. House in 16 years, and seeks to overturn the Obama administration's wise 2010 cancellation of the unsuitable Yucca Mountain Project. In addition to approving H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2018, the House, "in its wisdom" (or lack thereof!), similarly voted down an amendment offered by Dina Titus (Democrat-NV), that would have required consent-based siting for a dump like Yucca, per the 2012 recommendations by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future.

Thank you to everyone who contacted their U.S. Rep. urging opposition to H.R. 3053. Please check this link for more info., including to see how your U.S. Rep. voted on the Titus amendment, and the overall bill. Then please thank or "spank" (express your disappointment to) your U.S. Rep., accordingly, and point out the high-risk "Mobile Chernobyl" impacts of shipping 110,000 metric tons (an increase from the current legal limit of 70,000) of highly radioactive waste, by truck, train, and/or barge, through 44 states, dozens of major cities, and 330 of 435 U.S. congressional districts, if H.R. 3053 becomes law.

In addition to expediting the opening of the Yucca dump, by gutting due process and environmental and safety regulations, H.R. 3053 would authorize centralized interim storage facilities (CISFs, or de facto permanent, surface storage, "parking lot dumps"), as targeted at Holtec/ELEA, NM and WCS, TX. Re: Holtec/ELEA, please continue submitting environmental scoping public comments to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission by the May 29th deadline -- see how, and for more info., at this link.

And please also contact both your U.S. Senators, urging them to oppose bad, dangerous nuke waste dumps targeted at NM, NV, and/or TX, and the inevitable Mobile Chernobyls they would launch: call your U.S. Senators via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, and fill out and submit Food & Water Watch's webform!

To learn more about the Yucca dump scheme, CISF proposals, and nuclear waste transport risks, please see the corresponding Beyond Nuclear website sub-sections.