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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
Jun042015

"West Lake Landfill Encloses a Unique Danger"

Photo of Bridgeton Landfill Aug. 19, 2013 showing black liner material to be covered. (Photo: dnr.mo.gov/bridgeton/)Kevin Killeen of KMOX/CBS St. Louis has interviewed Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Kevin Kamps, about the nuclear weapons radioactive wastes illegally dumped in the West Lake Landfill in metro St. Louis, MO:

A radioactive waste watchdog from Maryland is calling for the total removal of nuclear waste from the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo. Kevin Kamps, with the group Beyond Nuclear says other towns have nuclear dumps, but St. Louis has something worse.

“In this particular case you have a radioactive waste dump with an underground fire adjacent to it in an urban area on major drinking water supplies,” Kamps says. “So obviously it has to be moved.”

Kamps says the dump, which is 20 miles west of downtown St. Louis, is the only nuclear dump threatened by an underground garbage fire.

“There are millions of people in this area who are at risk,” Kamps says. “Air born released of radioactive hazards, water born releases of radioactive hazards and that’s why it has to be dug up and disposed of in a more secure setting.”

He urged citizens to write their congressman or senator saying you want the Westlake nuclear waste taken away.

Kamps specializes in high-level waste management and transportation for Beyond Nuclear, an environmental company who’s goal is to raise awareness and limit the countries nuclear waste levels.

In March 2015, Beyond Nuclear board member Kay 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 www.moenviron.org 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."

Saturday
May302015

"Kirk Urges President to Halt Canadian Proposal to Store Nuclear Waste Near Great Lakes"

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL)U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (Republican-Illinois, photo left) has issued a press release, and the text of a letter he sent to President Obama, calling for administration action to protect the Great Lakes against Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) proposed "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive waste dump, targeted at the Lake Huron shoreline at Bruce Nuclear Generating Station.

Sen. Kirk stated: “As co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, I am fighting to keep our lakes free from toxins that could harm our precious ecological system and threaten the drinking water source for more than 30 million Americans. Storing nuclear waste underground along the shores of the Great Lakes directly jeopardizes the wellbeing of this shared natural resource, and I urge the President to work with the Canadian Government to postpone this decision and protect our lakes for generations to come.”

In 2011, and again in 2013, Sen. Kirk sent letters of concern to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator. Last year, and again this year, Sen. Kirk has introduced resolutions of disapproval for the site.

In his letter to President Obama, Sen. Kirk stated: "This matter presents an immediate threat to all the Great Lakes, and I ask you to use all diplomatic means available to urge the Canadian government to delay its decision-making process until the proposal has been given all due consideration by the [International Joint Commission."

Sen. Kirk warned: "As a permanent repository, the Kincardine, Ontario facility would hold 7 million cubic feet of nuclear waste for thousands of years. Any leak during that time could unleash toxic material throughout the Great Lakes Basin, and contaminate the largest surface freshwater system in the world while causing irreparable damage to the more than 3,500 plants and animals that inhabit the ecosystem."

More information about Canada's Great Lakes shore radioactive waste dump is posted under Beyond Nuclear's Canada website section.

Thursday
May282015

Help stop dangerous radioactive waste dumps! Contact Congress and the White House today!

The lethal legcy of radioactive waste has mounted since 1942, and we don't even know what to do with the first cupful. It's time to stop making it!Radioactive waste wars have been declared, yet again, by the nuclear power industry and its friends in high places.

In the U.S., House Republicans hope to revive the Yucca Mountain dump for high-level radioactive waste, despite Nevada's long-standing objections. Yucca is not only geologically unsuitable, and would leak massively if ever opened, but it is also Western Shoshone Indian land, and they don't want the dump!

Senate Republicans will likely make their own move to resurrect the Yucca dump via an amendment on the Senate floor. See Beyond Nuclear's Yucca Mountain website section for recent updates.

In Canada, the federal Environment Minister will act by September 6th -- but could act at any time -- on the recommendation by the federal Joint Review Panel to approve the environmental assessment, and go forward with licensing the construction and operation of Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) proposed "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive waste dump on the Great Lakes shoreline. See Beyond Nuclear's Canada website section for recent updates.

Please contact your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative right away. (You can get patched through to your Senators' and Representative's offices via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121; fax numbers and postal addresses, as well as web forms, can be found at each of your Congress Members' websites, via the links above.)

Urge your Members of Congress to oppose the Yucca Mountain dump's revival, as included in the U.S. House Energy and Water Appropriations bill, and likely to be introduced as an amendment to the U.S. Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill.

Also urge your Congress Members to co-sponsor bipartisan resolutions opposing OPG's Great Lakes shore radioactive waste dump. (In the House, the resolution is H. Res. 194; in the Senate, the resolution is S. Res. 134. See the list of current co-sponsors, below.)

Please also contact President Obama at the White House. Thank him for his long-standing, strong opposition to the Yucca dump, and urge him to continue to stand strong against congressional Republican efforts to revive the cancelled project. Also urge President Obama to take action to stop Canada's Great Lakes shoreline radioactive waste dump, before it's too late, in order to protect the drinking water supply for tens of millions of people on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes, in eight U.S. states (from west to east: MN, WI, IL, IN, MI, OH, PA, NY).

Current co-sponsors of the congressional resolutions opposing Canada's Great Lakes shoreline radioactive waste dump:

U.S. Rep. Kildee (D-MI) has taken the lead in the U.S. House with H. Res. 194, and has been joined by the following 19 co-sponsors: Benishek (R-MI); Bishop (R-MI); Conyers (D-MI); Dingell (D-MI); Dold (R-IL); Duckworth (D-IL); Duffy (R-WI); Fudge (D-OH); Gibson (R-NY); Higgins (D-NY); Joyce (R-OH); Kaptur (D-OH); Lawrence (D-MI); Levin (D-MI); Miller (R-MI); Moolenaar (R-MI); Renacci (R-OH); Schakowsky (D-IL); Slaughter (D-NY); and Trott (R-MI).

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has taken the lead in the U.S. Senate on S. Res. 134, and has been joined by the following four co-sponsors: Baldwin (D-WI); Durbin (D-IL); Kirk (R-IL); and Peters (D-MI).

Wednesday
May272015

"Nuclear Waste Hard To Handle For GOP Candidates"

Forget about a hot potato -- how about a radioactive hot potato?!

As reported by Jason Plautz in National Journal, "Two early voting states are on opposite ends of the Yucca Mountain divide." South Carolina -- the third presidential primary after Iowa's caucus and New Hampshire's primary -- stores a large amount of irradiated nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste at its many commercial atomic reactors, as well as at the Savannah River Site nuclear weapons complex. The powers that be in South Carolina have long been in favor of dumping its radioactive wastes on Nevada, even though the Silver State already suffered the ravages of four decades of nuclear weapons testing, and has not one single atomic reactor within its borders.

But the Nevada caucus comes just days after the South Carolina primary in the presidential campaign. Republican presidential candidates are now trying to walk that tightrope, dangling above a mountain of radioactive waste 73 years high.

As Hannah Northey at E&E Daily has reported, U.S. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) is keeping tabs on which Republican presidential candidates support the Yucca dump, and which oppose it. Members of the latter category are much more likely to receive his support, Sen. Heller had indicated.

Tuesday
May192015

"Yucca Mountain left out of Senate funding bill" -- but for how much longer?!

As reported by Devin Henry in The Hill, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has not included funding in the Energy and Water Development section of the Senate Appropriations bill to revive the cancelled Yucca Mountain, Nevada radioactive waste dump. However, Alexander -- a long time Yucca dump supporter -- has made clear that the Senate floor debate of the Appropriations bill would be a good place to add Yucca dump funding by amendment.

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), the Democratic Leader of the U.S. Senate, can be expected to fight any such amendment with everything he's got. After all, he's been successfully leading the fight against the Yucca dump since the "Screw Nevada bill" of 1987, when he was a rookie Senator.

President Obama has also opposed the Yucca dump as "unworkable" -- de-funding the project, and even moving to withdraw the U.S. Department of Energy's application to construct and operate the high-level radioactive waste dump in Nevada.

The U.S. House has included funding for Yucca's U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensing proceeding. A conference committee between House and Senate appropriators would be another juncture for Yucca dump opponents to remain vigilant against funding being added to the bill.

Alexander's Senate Appropriations Bill language also includes funding for centralized, or consolidated, storage of commercial irradiated fuel -- something opponents have dubbed de facto permanent parking lot dumps. Nuclear boosters near the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in NM, as well as at Waste Control Specialists in Texas, have expressed interest in becoming consolidated interim storage sites -- for a price. Alexander's provision, supported by ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein on the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, would launch unprecedented numbers of risky high-level radioactive waste trucks, trains, and barges onto the roads, rails, and waterways.