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.



Public Citizen's comments to DOE re: "Consent-Based Siting"

Public Citizen has published a press release, with a link to its comments to the U.S. Department of Energy regarding "Consent-Based Siting" of radioactive waste storage and disposal facilities.


IEER's Comments on the “Design of a Consent-Based Siting Process for Nuclear Waste and Disposal Storage Facilities”

Arjun Makhijani, Ph.D., President of Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Energy on the “Design of a Consent-Based Siting Process for Nuclear Waste and Disposal Storage Facilities.”


Fairewinds Energy Education Comments on "Consent Based Nuclear Siting"

Radioactive waste being dumped in an unlined ditchFairewinds Energy Education just submitted its comment to the United States Department of Energy regarding its "Consent based siting" process. Should you decide to comment, learn more here. Comments are due Sunday, July 31

Fairewinds Energy Education Comments on "Consent Based Nuclear Siting"

“Consent based siting” is the process proposed by the Department of Energy (DOE) to locate radioactive waste dump sites around the US.  Fairewinds Energy Education believes that such a process is biased against communities struggling financially due to factory closings and the global economy. Choosing an atomic waste dump is tempting to towns and villages so anxious to increase short term income and economic survival that they are willing to sacrifice long-term environmental damage in return for that income.  

At its heart, the consent based process is an environmental justice violation as well as a DOE method to avoid finding an appropriate scientifically viable site to dump by foisting it on impoverished citizens who will not mount a protest. 

Nuclear waste remains toxic for tens of thousands of years.  The consent based siting proposed by the DOE lures currently underemployed citizens to commit their hometown community for hundreds of future generations of potential genetic damage in return for a short term income gain to a few individuals, who own that land. 

While atomic power reactors have left all of us with mountains of radioactive garbage that will need monitoring and special handling for hundreds, and even thousands, of years, instead the DOE must find the best waste dump location, and not just stick the waste where the fewest individuals will launch protest actions.  When Litchfield County Connecticut and Orange County California have an equal chance at being chosen to be the site of a nuclear waste dump as environmentally sensitive low income counties in Texas or Native American reservations in the west, the DOE will have succeeded in optimizing its search for a waste disposal site.  The current Consent Based Siting process violates the basic tenants of environmental justice.


NRDC: Response to DOE’s Invitation for Public Comment To Inform the Design of a Consent-Based Siting Process for Nuclear Waste Storage and Disposal Facilities

NRDC's logoNatural Resources Defense Council, Inc., (NRDC) has submitted its Response to DOE’s Invitation for Public Comment To Inform the Design of a Consent-Based Siting Process for Nuclear Waste Storage and Disposal Facilities to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

One of the authors of NRDC's Response, Geoffrey H. Fettus, NRDC Senior Attorney, served as legal counsel for an environmental coalition (including NRDC, Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, Nevada Nuclear Waste Task Force, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Public Citizen, and others) from 2002 to 2004 that won a major legal victory against the proposed Yucca Mountain, Nevada high-level radioactive waste dump. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in Nuclear Energy Institute v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ruled in favor of the environmental coalition, and State of Nevada, and ordered EPA back to the drawing boards on its Yucca dump safety, health, and environmental protection regulations. The agency had tried to cut off regulations at 10,000 years, long before the hazard of the radioactivity waste would dissipate.

Four long years later, in 2008, EPA had finalized its court-ordered rewrite of the regulations. The agency acknowledged that high-level radioactive waste would remain hazardous for a million years, 100 times longer than EPA had first admitted. (Even this is an underestimate: Iodine-129, for example, present in irradiated nuclear fuel, has a half-life of 15.7 million years; its hazardous persistence, then, is 157 to 314 million years!)

The legal victory played a huge role in blocking the momentum of the Yucca Moutain dump during the George W. Bush administration. The Obama administration later cancelled the dump project as "unworkable," and U.S. Senator Harry Reid, Democratic Senate Leader from Nevada, successfully blocked any further funding for the highly controversial and scientifically unsuitable dump scheme.

Most recently, Fettus, on behalf of NRDC, worked with an environmental coalition (including Beyond Nuclear), and its legal counsel (Diane Curran and Mindy Goldstein), to challenge the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Nuclear Waste Confidence policy.

(After an adverse ruling by a three-judge panel on June 3, 2016, the environmental coalition on July 18th appealed its case to the full (en banc) U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.)


NIRS: Would You CONSENT to Nuclear Waste? Tell DOE "NO" to Fukushima Freeways.

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6930 Carroll Avenue, #340, Takoma Park, MD 20912; 301-270-6477;;

Would You CONSENT to Nuclear Waste?

Tell DOE "NO" to Fukushima Freeways.

July 27, 2016

Dear Friends,    

What would it take for you to consent to accept nuclear waste in your region? The Department of Energy (DOE) wants to know.

DOE has held 9 public meetings across the country this year, and is now taking written comments, on the concept of public “consent” to accept high-level radioactive waste.

Send DOE  your comment today: No more nuclear waste - No Fukushima Freeways!

After decades of trying to force-feed the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear dump down the throats of Nevadans and the Western Shoshone Nation, the DOE and nuclear proponents now want to know what it will take to get people to “consent,” or at least appear to consent, to take nuclear waste in their communities.

DOE acknowledges this is also “consent” to future nuclear waste production as part of setting up an “integrated waste management system.” The federal agency says that the future of nuclear energy in this country depends on this.

Tell DOE what you think of nuclear waste by clicking here.

DOE seeks public input on how to be FAIR, WHO to include in the consent process, and what RESOURCES it will take to induce community participation in the nation's radioactive waste program.

  • DOE wants to identify who adequately represents a community and will consent to take nuclear waste on its behalf.
  • DOE is not defining exactly what or how much nuclear waste we would be “consenting” or not consenting to accept.
  • And DOE is not asking how a community can refuse or express permanent “non-consent,” although you can let them know that if you choose to.

Although they have reports, diagrams of storage containers and systems, ideas and plans for the tens of thousands of tons of nuclear waste in this country, they claim to want to negotiate with communities who would “consent” to take it forever or supposedly temporarily.

Tell DOE what you think of nuclear waste by clicking here.

No consideration of the rights or consent of communities along transport routes is being made or requested. Although one of the greatest dangers to the most people, environments and ecosystems is the movement of tens of thousands of tons of nuclear waste on roads, rails and waterways, DOE has stated that there is complete federal preemption over transport of nuclear waste, so states and communities along the transport routes would have no voice, no matter how much waste DOE plans to move through them.
DOE is giving no consideration of the rights of future generations who will inevitably be affected.
DOE and the nuclear industry are eager for volunteering or consenting communities to take the waste and for the DOE to take title to it--absolving the industry of responsibility for managing the waste it creates before there is even a proven solution for its long-term management.

Thanks for all you do!

Mary Olson - Southeast Office Director
Diane D'Arrigo - Radioactive Waste Project Director

For More Information

NIRS Info Materials on Fukushima Freeways and Consolidated Storage

Talking Points on Consent-Based Siting from Beyond Nuclear

Click here to read a Federal Register notice that explains more about DOE's request for public comment on these issues. There is also information on this DOE website.

You can contact Diane D'Arrigo or Mary Olson at NIRS for more information about the other meetings and the issue generally.

Submit a Public Comment! We encourage everyone to submit your own thoughts on these issues to DOE. Comment deadline is July 31, 2016. Please send an email to Please include “Response to IPC” in the subject line.

Stay Informed:

NIRS on the web:

GreenWorld: (NIRS' blog chronicling nuclear issues and the transition to a nuclear-free, carbon-free energy system)

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[This NIRS action alert, reproduced above, is also posted online here: ]