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.



Where is America’s cyberdefense plan?

The Empire State Building towers over the skyline of a blackout-darkened New York City just before dawn. (George Widman/Associated Press)That is the online title of an op-ed by Ted Koppel appearing in the Washington Post (the hardcopy headline reads "Before the cyber-blackout"). Koppel, best known for hosting the ABC news program “Nightline” from 1980 to 2005, is the author of the new book, Lights Out: A Cyberattack, a Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath.

The op-ed raises the specter of a power outage lasting not hours, or days, but weeks, or months, due to a coordinated cyber-attack on the vulnerable U.S. electricity grid.

But the op-ed does not address what this would mean at the 100 still operating atomic reactors across the country, and even at the numerous atomic reactors permanently shutdown.

Even if operating atomic reactors were able to power down and shutdown safely during a power outage, their thermally hot cores would still have to be cooled for several days, or longer, before cold shutdown was reached, or else risk melting down.

Although high-level radioactive waste storage pools would have a longer fuse -- days or even weeks before boiling would expose irradiated nuclear fuel to air, and risk a catastrophic fire -- the pools are not even required to be connected to emergency diesel generators, as reactors are. More.


St. Louis moms up in arms over nuclear waste fears

Moms and their children carry a child-sized casket filled with petitions for Gov. Nixon demanding that a state of emergency is declared. As reported by CBS Evening News, concern among residents in neighborhoods of North St. Louis County around the old radioactive waste dump adjacent to a smoldering landfill fire is deepening:

Ed Smith is an environmentalist who's been studying the site. "The folks around the St. Louis metro area need to be paying attention. We're talking about the possibility, if there's a surface fire, for radioactivity leaving the site."


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.

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