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Waste Transportation

The transportation of radioactive waste already occurs, but will become frequent on our rails, roads and waterways, should irradiated reactor fuel be moved to interim or permanent dump sites.

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Thursday
Sep062018

New England mock nuke waste cask tour (and Texas, Midwest, etc. too!)

Mobile Chernobyl mock nuke waste cask at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City, summer 2000. The State Capitol is a stone's throw uphill from the Union Pacific railway, which would haul many thousands of rail-sized cask shipments of highly radioactive irradiated nuclear fuel, if western dump-sites open.See the alert below, circulated by our friends and colleagues at Safe and Green Campaign in Brattleboro, VT.

Note that Public Citizen's Texas Office, and the SEED Coalition, are also organizing a similar mock nuke waste cask tour in Texas, to take place in late September, to oppose the just announced resumption of the Waste Control Specialists irradiated nuclear fuel centralized interim storage facility in Andrews County, West Texas.

And Beyond Nuclear is also undertaking a high-level radioactive waste transport risk speaking tour, in Colorado in mid-Sept., Nebraska on Sept. 22, Harrisburg, PA on Oct. 2, Florida from Oct. 8-17, Iowa on Oct. 22-23, and other states after that!

Please spread the word to folks you know in these places!

The photo at the left was taken on the Radioactive Roads and Rails Tour through the Heartland of America, which took place from July to August 2000. See more photos from that tour, here.

There is additional info. about this 2000 tour, at the very bottom of this post.

Alert, circulated by our friends and colleagues at Safe and Green Campaign in Brattleboro, VT:

Citizens Awareness Network (CAN) is organizing a High-Level Nuclear Waste (HLNW) Tour in New England to address the abdication by the federal government
and the nuclear industry to deal with HLNW stranded at nuclear sites throughout the country. We have a 'mock' high-level nuclear waste cask and are taking it on the road to show people what an estimated 1,000 shipments through New England could look like.

The tour will bring speakers from across the country to discuss the issues of nuclear waste, federal policy, environmental justice and direct action.  
 
Tour Events:
  • September 20, Thursday, 7:00 PM, Hawks and Reed, 289 Main Street, Greenfield, MA, NUCLEAR BLUES withThe Wildcat O'Halloran Band, "Downtown" Bob Stannard & Court Dorsey as "Will Nukem", and speakers.
  • September 22, Saturday, 1:00 PM, Unitarian Universalist Church (First Parish), 19 Town Square, Plymouth, MA.
Speakers include Kerstin Rudek from Peoples Initiative Bürgerintiative Umweltschutz Lüchow-Dannenberg (Germany), organizer of the successful opposition to nuclear waste transport to Gorleben [see additional info. about Gorleben, at the bottom of this post]; Tim Judson, executive director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service: Leona Morgan from the Navajo Nation; and CAN's Chris Williams and Deb Katz who will address the issues of NorthStar's decommissioning goals including sending HLNW from Vermont Yankee to Texas. The Tour will focus on the industry's attempt to create centralized interim storage (CIS) for HLNW in Andrews County, Texas as well as a second site in Hobbs, NM. Recently, legislation passed the House that would support this controversial approach and fund it. It's important for people to know where their legislator stands on this industry driven nuclear waste and environmental justice issue. Additionally, and Diane Turco will address Pilgrim and Seabrook reactors at the Massachusetts State House and Pine DuBois will speak in Plymouth.  
 
Speakers will address the need to create a permanent solution for this toxic waste and how it will impact vulnerable communities. What is needed is a scientifically sound and environmentally just solution. Until sound science & environmental justice drive any disposition, HLNW must remain onsite. But is onsite storage safe? It's certainly safer in dry cask storage than in vulnerable fuel pools described by the National Governors Association as "pre-deployed weapons of mass destruction". To lessen the vulnerability of dry cask storage to acts of malice or accidents, the casks should be hardened, double-walled, increased separation between casks & earth-bermed to limit exposure. All of this is possible, but the industry and NRC refuse to acknowledge the problem or do anything about it. The nuclear industry is failing! Reactors are closing throughout the country. Interim storage is the industry's attempt to resurrect itself-to claim that nuclear power is a "clean" technology.
 
Speaker Bios

* Leona Morgan Navajo Nation, an indigenous community organizer and activist who has been fighting "nuclear colonialism" since 2007. She is focused on preventing new uranium mining, nuclear waste dumping, and transport of radioactive materials in the Southwest. She co-founded and works with Haul No! (www.haulno.org), Radiation Monitoring Project (www.radmonitoring.org), and Nuclear Issues Study Group (www.facebook.com/NuclearIssuesStudyGroup). Leona is Diné from the Navajo Nation and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico and will address the environmental justice issues inherent in the nuclear industry 's targeting of low income, people of color and Native American communities for nuclear waste disposal. She will address the industry's plan to dispose of New England's HLNW waste in a Centralized Interim Storage sites in Andrews County, Texas and Hobbs, New Mexico.
 
* Kerstin Rudek was head of the Bürgerinitiative Umweltschutz Lüchow-Dannenberg (www.bi-luechow-dannenberg.de) which organized the protests against nuclear waste transports in Germany. More than 50,000 people joined the protests. She is leading the ministry of foreign affairs of the BI and is organizing internationally in the Don't Nuke the Climate campaign (www.dont-nuke-the-climate.org). DNTC works to protect the world from more Fukushimas and Chernobyls and insists on no climate money for nuclear power.
 
* Deb Katz, executive director of Citizens Awareness Network (http://www.nukebusters.org) which was instrumental in the closure of four New England reactors, won a lawsuit against NRC's Decommissioning rule, organized Waste Tours and Action Camps, will address the issues of decommissioning, hardened onsite storage at nuclear reactors and opposition to interim storage of nuclear waste.
 
* Tim Judson, executive director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service (www.nirs.org), a national environmental organization . He has led campaigns on reactors in NY & MA, worked with whistleblowers, and represented organizations pro se in NRC licensing cases. Tim is also President of the Board of Citizens Awareness Network, and a co-founder of Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE, www.allianceforagreeneconomy.org) . He also has a background in the labor movement, as a member, organizer, and research analyst.
 
* Diane Turco, Cape Downwinders (www.capedownwinders.info) advocate for the immediate closure of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant
 
* Pine DuBois, environmental advocate, executive director Jones River Watershed Association (jonesriver.org/jrwa)

Background

Although the nuclear industry & federal government committed to create a solution for high-level nuclear waste (HLNW) disposal, no acceptable solution exists. Federal legislation mandated a repository; Nevada was targeted-billions expended to establish Yucca Mountain. This boondoggle failed- site unsuitability, corruption, inadequate safeguards, Nevada's opposition. As the wrangling over Yucca continues, the industry has a pressing need to create some solution since dangerous waste piling up at reactor sites undermines its position that nuclear is clean and safe. Interim storage sites do not have to meet the strict environmental standards that have plagued Yucca Mountain. The sites targeted for "disposal" like the sites selected for operation, are routinely low income, rural, people of color and Native American communities. The industry pits nuclear communities against each other; reactor communities fear inadequate casks, lack of onsite protections and HLW abandonment by the Feds. Targeted communities for nuclear waste disposal don't want dangerous nuclear waste in their backyard. Waste communities face unconscionable choices-short term economic survival or long-term health and safety.
 
It is essential that reactor and waste communities work together to create effective strategies and actions to defeat industry initiatives to target vulnerable communities and provide protections for reactor communities forced to be guardians of the world's most toxic and long-lasting waste.
 
It is vital that citizens understand the issues and what's at stake. Until the criteria of sound science & environmental justice are the drivers behind any disposition, HLNW must remain onsite.
 

 

[Additional info. from Gorleben, Germany:

From 2001:

See photos from the Gorleben protests of March 1997, here.

Here are firsthand accounts of Gorleben protests.

Here is NIRS executive director Michael Mariotte's fact sheet, "Radioactive Waste Transport: The German Experience," from May 1998.

Additional info. re: the year 2000 mock nuke waste cask tour:

On July 3, 2000, NIRS and Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy and Environment Project launched the Radioactive Roads and Rails Tour through the Heartland of America. From July 3 through August 6 (Hiroshima Day), NIRS drove a full-size mock atomic waste cask from Michigan to the proposed permanent nuclear waste site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Traveling along highways that will experience tens of thousands of real such casks, if nuclear industry-sponsored "Mobile Chernobyl" legislation becomes law, the tour brought attention to the very real public health and safety risks of such transport--and the fact that Yucca Mountain is an scientifically-inappropriate site fora nuclear waste dump in the first place. The tour also stopped in Utah,where a number of private nuclear utilities want to build a "temporary" site for their own atomic waste. The utilities are more aware than anyone of just how hazardous this material is: that's why they will stop at nothing to move it out of their own backyards--where they are responsible for it--and on to the highways and railways to an inadequate site: where taxpayers may be liable for the consequences. A second tour was held in 2001, and Public Citizen held press conferences, rallies and other activities in numerous states. The initial tour diary is below, along with lots of background information on radioactive waste transportation.

Tour Press Release
Tour schedule (1st leg, July 3-August 6)
Press release for Indiana stop of tour

Tour Diary:
July 3-4, 2000
July 5-12, 2000
July17-28, 2000
July29-31, 2000
Final diary entry, August 1-4, 2000

Photos from the Radioactive Roads and Rails Tour]

Thursday
Aug232018

Two trains derail in SE New Mexico [in separate incidents] over the weekend

As reported by KRQE.

This area would see very large-scale rail shipment of irradiated nuclear fuel to the Holtec/Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance centralized interim storage facility, if approved by NRC for construction and operation. Beyond Nuclear, along with a broad environmental coalition, plans to legally intervene against the proposal by NRC's arbitrarily short Sept. 14 deadline.

Re: one of the derailments, the article reports:

The official cause has yet to be determined, but the Midway Fire Department believes the tracks simply gave out.

Each rail car of irradiated nuclear fuel will be very heavy, among the very heaviest loads on the rails. And each train could carry multiple cars of irradiated nuclear fuel.

Friday
Aug032018

Great Lakes Groups Question Newly Discovered Radioactive Waste Shipments from Illinois through Great Lakes Region

Deadly fuel would move from LaSalle nuclear reactors through Port Huron, Michigan.

See the press release issued by Beyond Nuclear, Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes, Don't Waste Michigan, Great Lakes Environmental Alliance (GLEA), Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), and Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS).

Thursday
Aug022018

July 13, 2018 NRC letter to Secured Transportation Services, re: highway route approval for LaSalle, IL irradiated nuclear fuel shipment to Port Huron, MI port of exit

Friday
May112018

U.S. House votes 340 to 72 to "Screw Nevada," again -- and perhaps New Mexico and Texas, too, while they're at it! (As well as countless transport corridor communities en route!)

One of the six toes, on one of the feet, of the Yucca Dump Mutant Zombie (see image, left), twitched yesterday. By a lopsided vote of 340 to 72, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of "Screw Nevada 2.0," a reprise of the 1987 "Screw Nevada" bill, that singled out Yucca Mountain for the country's highly radioactive waste dump-site in the first place. This was the biggest vote on nuclear waste in the U.S. House in 16 years, and seeks to overturn the Obama administration's wise 2010 cancellation of the unsuitable Yucca Mountain Project. In addition to approving H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2018, the House, "in its wisdom" (or lack thereof!), similarly voted down an amendment offered by Dina Titus (Democrat-NV), that would have required consent-based siting for a dump like Yucca, per the 2012 recommendations by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future.

Thank you to everyone who contacted their U.S. Rep. urging opposition to H.R. 3053. Please check this link for more info., including to see how your U.S. Rep. voted on the Titus amendment, and the overall bill. Then please thank or "spank" (express your disappointment to) your U.S. Rep., accordingly, and point out the high-risk "Mobile Chernobyl" impacts of shipping 110,000 metric tons (an increase from the current legal limit of 70,000) of highly radioactive waste, by truck, train, and/or barge, through 44 states, dozens of major cities, and 330 of 435 U.S. congressional districts, if H.R. 3053 becomes law.

In addition to expediting the opening of the Yucca dump, by gutting due process and environmental and safety regulations, H.R. 3053 would authorize centralized interim storage facilities (CISFs, or de facto permanent, surface storage, "parking lot dumps"), as targeted at Holtec/ELEA, NM and WCS, TX. Re: Holtec/ELEA, please continue submitting environmental scoping public comments to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission by the May 29th deadline -- see how, and for more info., at this link.

And please also contact both your U.S. Senators, urging them to oppose bad, dangerous nuke waste dumps targeted at NM, NV, and/or TX, and the inevitable Mobile Chernobyls they would launch: call your U.S. Senators via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, and fill out and submit Food & Water Watch's webform!

To learn more about the Yucca dump scheme, CISF proposals, and nuclear waste transport risks, please see the corresponding Beyond Nuclear website sub-sections.