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.



Beyond Nuclear to present, please call-in to NIRS-sponsored Oct. 15th "Stop Fukushima Freeways" tele-conference briefing

The Mobile Chernobyl mock nuke waste cask, a full size replica of a truck shipping container, shown in front of the State Capitol in Jefferson City, MO during a cross-country educational tourOn Oct. 7th, NIRS announced:

STOP FUKUSHIMA FREEWAYS: Keep Nuclear Waste Off Our Roads, Rails, and Urban Centers!

Telebriefing: Thursday, October 15th, 2015, 8 pm Eastern

Join the coordinated campaign media launch

Dear Friends,

Congress will order the transport of highly radioactive waste through our major cities, communities, farms and forests, and even our waterways, unless we say STOP!

If highly radioactive “spent” nuclear fuel went to a central site, how would it get there? This month our network of activists and allied organizations will show that picture.

Transporting the highly radioactive waste that has piled up at the nation’s nuclear power reactors is a far greater hazard than Congress or the federal government has admitted. These bodies also play down the risk that anything bad will happen. It is only rational to prevent extra and unnecessary shipments.

NIRS will host a telebriefing next Thursday, October 15, 2015, to share more information on transport.
Register for this telebriefing by clicking here.

And join the Stop Fukushima Freeways campaign this month by helping NIRS and grassroots groups across the country raise awareness of the issue with a nationally-coordinated release of new maps of the projected routes that this lethal radioactive waste would travel. Many groups acting together as one community on the same day underscores that we are working together to stop bad ideas. NIRS will help you do it, but we ask that each group/activist step up and contact the media in your region in your own name. To join this campaign now,
sign up by clicking here.

Congress wants to revive the failed Yucca Mountain repository site, and is also considering creating a new option for the creation of consolidated storage sites that would be identical to the storage already at reactors. We call on you to stand together and reject these bad ideas. We can’t allow any more lost time, money and other resources on the failed Yucca plan, or there will be no resources for a better plan. The first step remains an end to making more of this waste.

Fukushima stands as proof that this same waste can be catastrophic when stationary in pool storage. Dry storage is a step forward in reducing radioactive risks; many environmental and safe energy groups have endorsed the concept of hardened on site dry storage (HOSS).

The risks go way up, however, when these containers containing waste that will give a lethal dose of radiation in seconds if unshielded are put on a truck or a rail car. Learn more—see the links below, and register for NIRS' telebriefing: STOP FUKUSHIMA FREEWAYS.

You will receive call-in information after you register. There is also a web-phone option.

STOP FUKUSHIMA FREEWAYS   NIRS Tele-Briefing Thursday, October 15, 2015, 8 pm (eastern) to 9:30 pm (eastern)


Diane D’Arrigo, Radioactive Waste Project Director, Nuclear Information & Resource Service (
Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Watch Dog, Beyond Nuclear (
David Kraft, Executive Director, Nuclear Energy Information Service (
Judy Treichel, Executive Director, Nevada Nuclear Waste Task Force

The telebriefing will be recorded and posted online.
If you register, we will send you that link in the days after the event.

Hot Cargo Factsheet
Talking Points on Yucca
Science vs Fiction at Yucca Mountain

Bills in Congress that, if passed, would trigger transport of highly radioactive waste:
HOUSE: H.R.3643 -- Interim Consolidated Storage Act of 2015
SENATE: Nuclear Waste Administration Act SB 854
Click here for a webcast of an October 1 hearing in the US House Commerce Committee: Transporting Nuclear Materials: Design, Logistics, and Shipment. Written testimony is posted here.

Thank you for your activism!


Beyond Nuclear testifies before Congress against Mobile Chernobyl, Yucca, and parking lot dumps

Detailed maps showing DOE's proposed Yucca dump bound high-level radioactive waste rail shipping routes in downtown Chicago.Beyond Nuclear's radioactive waste watchdog, Kevin Kamps, was invited as a witness at a hearing on "Transporting Nuclear Materials," held by the U.S. House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee, Environment and the Economy Subcommittee on Oct. 1st. See the hearing description, with links to the witnesses' written testimony, as well as a video recording of the hearing, here.

On the video recording, Kevin's opening remarks begin at the 1:09:50 mark, and end at 1:15:26. A question and answer exchange between Ranking Democrat, Paul Tonko of NY, and Kevin begins at 1:25:05, and ends at 1:27:42 (Kevin discusses the Baltimore train tunnel fire of July, 2001, and the reportedly large number of latent cancer fatalities and astronomical clean up costs that would have resulted, had high-level radioactive waste been on board).

(Note that the hearing began more than 30 minutes late, so the beginning of the video recording is blank. Also, the quality of the video recording is poor, with many skips.)

Read Kevin's introductory remarks, as well as his full written testimony. Working with David Kraft, executive director of Nuclear Energy Information Service of Chicago, Kevin also prepared this backgrounder, to set the record straight on high-level radioactive waste shipments targeted at downtown Chicago, under the Department of Energy's Yucca Mountain dump transportation plan. Robert Halstead, now director of the State Agency for Nuclear Projects in the Nevada governor's office, also prepared detailed maps showing Chicago area Yucca dump shipping routes. (see map, above left)

Claims by a number of hearing witnesses that high-level radioactive waste shipping accidents in the past had never experienced radioactive releases or leaks has also been debunked by a 1996 Halstead report, citing federal government documents. Beyond Nuclear has also prepared a backgrounder rebutting this inaccurate testimony.

Learn more about the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's attempt to revive the cancelled Yucca dump, by visiting Beyond Nuclear's Yucca Mountain website section. There, you'll learn how you can submit public comments on NRC's Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the dangerous Yucca dump proposal.


Art and wilderness "final nail in the coffin" of beleaguered Yucca dump and Mobile Chernobyl rail route

This undated photo provided by Triple Aught Foundation shows part of an artwork by Michael Heizer called “City” near Garden Valley, Nev. Mammoth bones, the prehistoric rock carvings and more than a million acres of wilderness will be protected as part of three new national monuments that President Barack Obama is creating in California, Nevada and Texas and announced Friday, July 10, 2015. Tom Vinetz/Triple Aught Foundation / APAs reported by Cy Ryan in a Las Vegas Sun article entitled "Why new national monument could derails plans for nuke dump at Yucca," President Obama's declaration of a Basin and Range National Monument in the rural heart of Nevada could be the final nail in the coffin of the proposed high-level radioactive waste dump at Yucca Mountain.

So says Robert Halstead, the director of the State of Nevada's Agency for Nuclear Projects, who has led opposition to the U.S. Department of Energy's 300-mile-long, $3 billion rail line proposal that would be needed to transport irradiated nuclear fuel to the controversial dump-site.

The rail route would now have to pass through a national monument, threatening its wilderness and wildlife, and disrupting perhaps the largest landscape art project in North America. "City," created by Michael Heizer over the past half-century, is as large in size as the National Mall in Washington, D.C. More.


Senate Appropriations bill would rush Mobile Chernobyls onto the roads, rails, and waterways

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. Most states would be impacted.

After an interim period of decades, the wastes could well simply be shipped back in the same direction -- or even to the very same place -- from which they came in the first place. For example, the cancelled Private Fuel Storage, LLC parking lot dump targeted at the Skull Valley Goshutes Indian Reservation in Utah proposed storing 40,000 metric tons of irradiated nuclear fuel until the Yucca dump could receive the wastes. If waste had been sent there, once Yucca was cancelled, the wastes would have been "returned to sender." 50 containers of irradiated nuclear fuel from Maine Yankee, for example, would have risked 4,000 round trip shipping miles, to accomplish absolutely nothing (other than the combustion of a large amount of global warming gasoline!).


U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, stalwart opponent of Yucca dump, announces he won't seek re-election

U.S. Senate Democratic Leader, Harry Reid of NevadaU.S. Senator Harry Reid (Democrat from Nevada) has announced he won't seek re-election, and will retire 22 months from now. Reid, who has long served as either the U.S. Senate Majority or Minority Leader (depending on the number of Democrats serving in the chamber), has devoted his entire Senate career to successful opposition to the high-level radioactive waste dump targeted at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

In 1987, when the "Screw Nevada" bill was enacted into law, Reid was a rookie U.S. Senator. In "Screw Nevada," other targeted, more populous and politically powerful states -- such as Texas and Washington, as well as Northeastern states -- ganged up on Nevada, singling out Yucca Mountain as the sole location in the country to be further studied as a potential irradiated nuclear fuel and HLRW dump. This, despite the fact that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) already knew by then, via preliminary scientific studies, that the site was unsuitable.

But the nuclear lobbyists picked the wrong rookie Senator to mess with. For nearly three decades, Reid has led a bipartisan Nevada consensus that has blocked the dump at every turn. In 2000, he secured 34 Senate votes, enough to sustain President Clinton's veto of a congressional attempt to rush open the dump, despite incomplete scientific studies. In 2002, he secured 39 Senate votes against Yucca, the most ever. Coming off the Senate floor after that vote, Reid -- a former boxer -- spoke with environmental allies, saying "It's like at the bar. Sometimes, you've just got to take it out back."

Even during the pro-dump George W. Bush administration, Reid was able to put the brakes on multi-billion dollar annual Yucca dump budgets. Working closely with President Barack Obama, Reid convinced the new administration in 2009 to completely defund the project, and even move to withdraw DOE's construction and operating license application. This has resulted in the effective cancelation of the Yucca dump, and dismantlement of its personnel and physical infrastructure, in the past several years.

Even with Republican majorities in both houses of Congress pushing hard to revive the Yucca dump, Reid has continued his adamant opposition. Opponents to countless "Mobile Chernobyl" trucks, trains, and barges of HLRW traveling through most states, and to a radioactive waste dump guaranteed to leak massively if ever opened, owe a huge debt of gratitude to Democratic Leader, U.S. Senator Harry Reid.