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.



ANA submits comments to DOE on "Consent-Based Siting" of radioactive waste dumps

The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA), a network of organizations and leaders seeking a nuclear-free future that safeguards our communities and environment, has filed comments with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), regarding its "Consent-Based Siting" proceeding for opening centralized interim storage sites and permanent burial sites for high-level radioactive waste and irradiated nuclear fuel.

Beyond Nuclear has been a member organzation of the ANA network, since Beyond Nuclear was founded in 2007. ANA is a coalition of some three-dozen watchdog groups, many from communities living in the shadows of DOE nuclear weapons complex facilities. Some of those facilities -- such as Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) -- are already permanent burial dumps for radioactive wastes (in WIPP's case, plutonium contaminated wastes from the weapons complex).

The WIPP area -- Eddy and Lea counties, New Mexico -- is also being targeted for consolidated interim storage for commercial irradiated nuclear fuel (a.k.a. a de facto permanent parking lot dump). ANA member groups CCNS (Concerned Citzens for Nuclear Safety), Nuclear Watch New Mexico, and SRIC (Southwest Research and Information Center) watch-dog nuclear issues in New Mexico; SRIC has watch-dogged WIPP specifically for decades.

Waste Control Specialists, LLC (WCS) in Andrews County, West Texas, just across the border from New Mexico, is also targeted for a parking lot dump. WCS is already a national dumpsite for a large variety of so-called "low" level radioactive wastes. It is located directly adjacent to, or even above, the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides vital irrigation and drinking water to numerous states on the Great Plains, from Texas to South Dakota. Because of this, several Texas state environmental officials resigned in protest over the original opening of this risky dump.

Numerous other DOE nuclear weapons complex sites may also be on the target list for parking lot dumps, including the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina. SRS has long "served" as a "long-term" storage site for highly radioactive wastes, some of which are being permanently abandoned in underground storage tanks, which is almost guaranteed to cause radioactive ruin of the Savannah River, and perhaps even the Tuscaloosa Aquifer, over time. A number of ANA member groups watch-dog SRS, including: Georgia WAND (Women's Action for New Directions); Nuclear Watch South; and SRS Watch.

The situation is very similar at Idaho National Lab (INL), putting at dire risk the Snake River, and the Snake River Aquifer. The Snake River Alliance is the ANA member group that has long watch-dogged INL.

HEAL (Healthy Environment Alliance) Utah led -- along with traditional Skull Valley Goshutes tribal members Margene Bullcreek and Sammy Blackbear -- the successful grassroots environmental justice effort to fend off a parking lot dump for commercial high-level radioactive waste, targeted at the tiny Indian reservation west of Salt Lake City, a decade ago.

Yet other ANA member groups have been forced to deal with actual dumping of radioactive wastes, or the attempted dumping of such waste, without their consent. This includes PRESS (Portsmouth/Piketon Residents for Environmental Safety and Security), targeted for a centralized interim storage site and reprocessing facility under the George W. Bush administration's Global Nuclear Energy Partnership a decade ago.

It also includes Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, central to the effort to fend off a "Monitored Retrievable Storage" (MRS) site for commercial irradiated nuclear fuel in decades past.

It also includes Heart of America Northwest, and Hanford Challenge, which watch-dog the worst radioactively contaminated site in the Western Hemisphere, the Hanford Nuclear (Weapons) Reservation, which "hosts" many millions of gallons of high-level radioactive liquid wastes, in leaking storage tanks.

And still other ANA member groups, such as PSR (Physicians for Social Responsibility) Kansas City, PeaceWorks Kansas City, and Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center, given their geographic location along major "Mobile Chernobyl" shipping routes for high-level radioactive waste transports, have played vital roles in calling attention to, and fending off any unnecessary rush into, those risks, for a long time.

This listing, unfortunately, is far from exhaustive.


Public Citizen action alert: Nuclear dump in your community?

Update from Public Citizen

After four decades of failing to find a place to dump our nation’s lethal nuclear waste, the federal government is trying a new approach:


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is designing a new process called “consent-based siting” for developing nuclear waste facilities that would require a state and local community to agree to stockpile our radioactive waste.

And the DOE is asking the public to weigh in on the process.

That’s right — instead of forcing a radioactive waste facility on a state or community against its will, which is the current U.S. policy, the DOE is attempting to adopt a process that is more adaptive, flexible and open to public input and scrutiny.

Public Citizen has identified 10 principles that the DOE should build into its design to achieve and maintain fair and just consent-based siting.

View our 10 Criteria for Community Consent, then urge the DOE to incorporate them into its design.

We have an obligation to future generations to find a safe, permanent solution for managing nuclear materials they had no part in creating.

However, a community or state should not unwillingly have to bear this responsibility.

That’s why a fundamental change in the government’s approach to public engagement, consultation and consent in managing lethal waste is necessary.

This is an opportunity.

Don’t let the government waste it.

Thank you,

Allison Fisher
Public Citizen’s Climate and Energy Program


Action Alert: Minneapolis, MN DOE "Consent-Based Siting" public meeting, Thurs., July 21st

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will hold its final "Consent-Based Siting" public comment meeting in Minneapolis, MN on Thursday, July 21st. This is the ninth of nine such meetings held across the U.S. this year.

The meetings come in the context of DOE seeking "consent" for rushed centralized interim storage* (de facto permanent parking lot dumps) for high-level radioactive waste, by as early as 2021. It's important we turn folks out, both in person, as well as via the Webcast.

Whether it's the long-targeted Yucca Mountain, Nevada dumpsite, or a parking lot dump, the high-risk Mobile Chernobyl shipments launched, through most states, would be unprecedented in number.

Please see below for sample talking points you can use to prepare your own. Also see DOE's mtg. announcement, as well as backgrounders and maps we've prepared or assembled, re: transport risks, whether by road, rail, and/or waterway. Finally, a backgrounder shedding light on/asking important questions about the risk that Minnesota could be targeted once again, as it was in the 1980s, for a national high-level radioactive waste dumpsite.


---Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Beyond Nuclear
(240) 462-3216

*While "consent-based siting" for permanent geologic repositories (dumpsites) is also on the agenda, DOE predicts a national dumpsite won't open till 2048. However, parking lot dumps are scheduled for as early as 2021, meaning the groundwork is already being laid now. Also, this public comment proceeding will lay the groundwork for permanent geologic repository site searches to come, including the potential targeting of MN in the future. 

"We do NOT CONSENT!" Sample talking points you can use to prepare your own, to DOE, opposing the Yucca dump, parking lot dumps, and Mobile Chernobyls


Beyond Nuclear has prepared sample talking points, entitled WE DO NOT CONSENT!, that you can use to prepare your own public comments, for submission to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in opposition to high-risk, high-level radioactive waste shipments (by road, rail, and/or waterway) to Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as well as to "centralized interim storage sites" (de facto permanent parking lot dumps).

Full length (13-page) version: Beyond Nuclear's WE DO NOT CONSENT! sample talking points are available in PDF format (as well as Word format, with live URL links, at our Website).

Short summary (2-page) version: PDF format (and Word format, with live URL links, at our Website).

Beyond Nuclear has also prepared an even shorter version of sample talking points, a one-page, Top 10 List, of comments to make to DOE: PDF format; and posted online (with live URL links).

Please feel free to use one or more of the sample talking points (verbatim, or adapted to your own words) to prepare your own public comments, and then submit them to DOE by its July 31, 2016 deadline. Express your strong opposition to the Yucca dump, to parking lot dumps, and to Mobile Chernobyls/Floating Fukushimas/Dirty Bombs on Wheels! Also speak out against non-consent based targeting of such states as MN down the road in the future. And please, spread the word.


Eight down, one to go: DOE so-called "Consent-Based Siting" meeting in Minneapolis the last before public comment deadline

DOE's new "truth in advertizing" logo?!Eight down: Washington, D.C., Jan. 20; Chicago, March 29; Atlanta, April 11; Sacramento, April 26 (Chernobyl+30 years); Denver, May 24; Boston, June 2 (see Democracy Now! coverage, mentioning Beyond Nuclear!); Tempe, AZ, June 23; Boise, ID, July 14.

Just one last one to go:

  • Minneapolis, MN on July 21, 2016 at the Hilton Minneapolis. Please register here to attend the Minneapolis meeting in person or view the event online.

Speak now (before the July 31 deadline for public comments), or forever hold your peace, regarding Mobile Chernobyls through a town near facto permanent parking lot dumps for high-level radioactive waste...and permanent burial dumps for high-level radioactive waste on scientifically unsuitable, socially unacceptable, and/or environmentally unjust (radioactively racist) locations!


Join the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Public Meeting This Thursday, July 21st in Minneapolis, MN

The U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy, "Consent-Based Siting" team has put out the following invitation:

On Thursday, July 21st, the Department of Energy will host a public meeting in Minneapolis on designing a consent-based process to site facilities needed to manage our nation’s nuclear waste. The Department is seeking diverse viewpoints to strengthen the design of its consent-based siting process. We hope to hear from you on issues such as:

·         fairness

·         models and experience to draw from

·         the roles of communities, states, Tribal Nations, and others in consent-based siting

·         information and resources needed to achieve informed consent

·         other perspectives and values the Department should consider

Ultimately, based on your input, the Department will design a proposed process for developing a site, which will in turn serve as a framework for collaborating with potential host communities in the future.

The public meeting will be held at the Hilton Minneapolis from 5:00 PM until 9:30 PM Central Daylight Time. Registration is encouraged in order to assist our logistics planning. To register, please visit this registration page. Those unable to attend in person can view the meeting online through a live webcast. For more information, please visit our website at

We look forward to your participation and hope to see you in Minneapolis!

John Kotek

Acting Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy

U.S. Department of Energy

[The announcement included a flier, and an agenda.]

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