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.



Nevada's U.S. senators respond to House Energy Nuke Waste Bill

While there was bi-partisan support in the House Energy Committee for Yucca Mountain (and consolidated storage), the bi-partisan opposition in Nevada continues.

June 28, 2017
Cortez Masto Statement on House Bill to Revive Yucca Mountain

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, released the following statement on H.R. 3053, a bill that was approved this morning by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and would allow for the revival of Yucca Mountain to move forward:

“Any proposed nuclear repository site or storage facility should require the consent of the host state before it can advance. It is unjust and unfair to force Nevadans to live next to a nuclear waste dump that could harm both their health and livelihood. We also cannot ignore the scientific analysis that has deemed Yucca Mountain unsafe and unfit for nuclear waste storage. This bill ignores the detrimental impacts to Nevada’s communities and economy if Yucca Mountain moves forward. The state of Nevada stands ready to fight any and all proposals that seek to revive Yucca Mountain, and I’m prepared to take on this fight in the Senate.”


June 28, 2017

Heller Statement On Nuclear Waste Policy Act Clearing House Energy Committee

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) released the below statement after the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, legislation proposed by Congressman John Shimkus (IL-15) that amends the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, which names Yucca Mountain as the country’s sole nuclear waste repository.

“This legislation is dead on arrival in the Senate. The only real solution to our nation’s nuclear waste problem is through consent based siting like in my bipartisan, bicameral legislation, the Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act,” said Heller. “We owe it to the American taxpayer to move past the failed policies of Yucca Mountain. I will continue to stand with the State of Nevada and fight this reckless proposal every step of the way in the U.S. Senate.”

In April, Heller appeared before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment during a hearing on the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. In his testimony, Heller encouraged the consideration of his Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act, legislation that permits the construction of a nuclear waste repository only if the Secretary of Energy receives written consent from the governor of the host state, affected local officials, and affected Indian tribes.



Media Statement by Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear, on Today’s U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee Mark Up Hearing re: U.S. Rep. John Shimkus’s (R-IL) Bill, H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017:

Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Specialist at Beyond Nuclear, issued a statement today. It begins:

“Yesterday, Beyond Nuclear joined a coalition of 50 national, regional, and local grassroots environmental groups, in a letter calling on members of the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee to oppose H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017, as dangerously misguided. This letter is part of a decades-long campaign, by over a thousand environmental groups from all 50 states, in opposition to the Yucca Mountain, Nevada high-level radioactive waste dump scheme. This environmental coalition remains as vigilant and determined as ever.

“Yucca Mountain has repeatedly failed the test to serve as a high-level radioactive waste burial dump for the past several decades, and still does.

“First and foremost, Yucca Mountain is located on Western Shoshone Indian land, as recognized by the United States government when it signed the ‘peace and friendship’ Treaty of Ruby Valley in 1863. Thus, the Yucca dump scheme is illegal and unconstitutional. Treaties are the highest law of the land, equal in stature to the Constitution itself. It would be like the U.S. trying to force the burial of its radioactive wastes onto Canada or Mexico, against their sovereign will. As with nuclear weapons testing at the adjacent Nevada Test Site, the Western Shoshone have made clear for decades, they do not consent to this dump on their land.

“In fact, the Native Community Action Council (NCAC) has achieved official party status by establishing standing in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s licensing proceeding for the Yucca dump. NCAC’s contentions assert that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) does not hold title to the land or water at Yucca Mountain. This belongs to the Western Shoshone Indian Nation. Read the full press release.


50-group environmental coalition urges rejection of H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017

Beyond Nuclear joined with a 50-group environmental coalition, spearheaded by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), to urge members of the U.S. House of Represenatives Energy & Commerce Committee to vote against the latest incarnation of the Screw Nevada and Mobile Chernobyl bill, H.R. 3053 sponsored by U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL).

The bill would also legalize private centralized interim storage facilities (CISFs) for commercial irradiated nuclear fuel. Waste Control Specialists, LLC in Andrews County, west Texas, and the Eddy-Lea [Counties] Energy Alliance in southeastern New Mexico, near the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (for military plutonium contamination disposal) are the top targets for such de facto permanent surface parking lot dumps. The two CISFs are less than 40 miles apart, across the TX-NM border.

The legislation, which cleared Shimkus's Environment and the Economy Subcommittee a couple weeks ago, will undergo mark up before the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee, and a likely up or down vote, on Wed., June 28th at 10am Eastern. If it passes, it would then move on to the full U.S. House floor, for consideration.

Beyond Nuclear encourages everyone to contact their U.S. Representative, to urge strong opposition to this dangerously bad bill. (Look up your U.S. Rep.'s contact info. at this site, by typing in your ZIP code at the upper right, clicking GO, and following the internet links.) Feel free to cite, and share, the group letter above, when you communicate with your U.S. Rep.'s office!


DOJ Wins Stop To $367M Merger Of Radioactive Waste Firms; NRC suspends licensing proceeding on WCS CISF

A Delaware federal judge on Wednesday blocked the $367 million merger of EnergySolutions Inc. and Waste Control Specialists LLC, siding with the U.S. Department of Justice in the government's bid to enjoin the deal on antitrust grounds. [This story was broken by Law360 Environmental. The remainder of the article is behind a pay wall.]

WCS had hoped EnergySolutions -- its competitor in "low-level" radioactive waste dumping -- could take it over, which would allow for the resumption of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensing proceedings on WCS's proposal to construct and operate a centralized interim storage facility (CISF) for 40,000 metric tons of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel in Andrews County, TX. This court ruling appears to have dealt a severe blow to those plans.

By coincidence, the NRC Commissioners just affirmed their vote, at around 2pm Eastern on Thursday, June 22nd, to approve the combined request by WCS, NRC staff, and even opposing environmental groups (including Beyond Nuclear), to suspend the CISF licensing proceeding.

Here is a link to the NRC Commissioners' MEMORANDUM AND ORDER, which actually denies most of the environmental coalition's requests made on April 28, 2017, regarding procedures and deadlines to come, should this licensing proceeding resume.


Nuclear Waste “Russian” Roulette SPECIAL – Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear – Nuclear Hotseat #311

Nuclear Hotseat has featured Beyond Nuclear on its June 6th, 2017 edition, focused on radioactive waste issues. Listen to the audio recording, here, and see host Libbe HaLevy's write up, below:

This Week’s Featured Interview:

  • Kevin Kamps, Nuclear Waste Watchdog/Bulldog for Beyond Nuclear, gives an all-encompassing vision of nuclear waste problems faced by not just the United States, but the world.  Included in his discussion are:
    • Hanford Site
    • Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
    • San Onofre
    • Yucca Mountain
    • US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement

Numnutz of the Week (for Nuclear Boneheadedness):

Ontario Power Generation has studied every aspect of the problem and – believe it or not! – come to the conclusion that what’s a little desecration of First Nation lands and sacred burial grounds, and putting the safety of the entire Great Lakes water basin in nuclear danger when it’s SO convenient to site the nuclear waste REPOSITORY – NOT “BUNKER” AS THEY’RE TRYING TO RE-LANGUAGE IT!!!!! – on its own property. 

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