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.



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.


Margene Bullcreek, leader of Skull Valley Goshute resistance to radioactive waste dump targeted at her community, has passed on

Margene Bullcreek. Photo by Gabriela Bulisova.It is with heavy hearts that we share the sad news that Margene Bullcreek passed on, on Sunday, March 1st, 2015. An In Memoriam has been issued by her colleague Ian Zabarte of the Native Community Action Council (NCAC), where Margene Bullcreek has long served as President.

As emphasized in a NIRS victory tribute, published in Sept., 2006, when the U.S. Department of the Interior effectively blocked the Private Fuel Storage, LLC high-level radioactive waste parking lot dump targeted at her community in Utah:

"The greatest commendations, of course, go to Margene Bullcreek and her organization Ohngo Gaudadeh Devia Awareness (OGDA)...Their victory not only protects their own community and its future generations, but countless millions who live along the routes through dozens of states that were targeted for transporting the atomic wastes to Utah." More.


Environmental coalition speaks out against unprecedented, risky, liquid high-level radioactive waste shipments!

Peace Bridge between Fort Niagara, ON and Buffalo, NY is one of numerous border crossings where unprecedented liquid HLRW shipments could travel.A coalition of environmental groups has submitted comments to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) regarding proposed truck shipments of liquid high-level radioactive waste, to travel from Chalk River, Ontario to Savannah River Site, South Carolina.

The comments were filed regarding CNSC's Technical Assessment Report: “NAC-LWT Package Design for Transport of Highly Enriched Uranyl Nitrate Liquid.”

NAC-LWT is short for Nuclear Assurance Corporation-Legal Weight Truck.

Comments were submitted by Dr. Gordon Edwards, President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsiblity; Beyond Nuclear; Northwatch; and many others.

The shipment of liquid high-level radioactive waste is unprecedented, extremely risky, and unnecessary in the first place.


Secretive, unprecedented, risky shipments of liquid HLRW from Canada to U.S. raise concerns -- take action!

Peace Bridge between Fort Niagara, ON and Buffalo, NY is one of numerous border crossings where unprecedented liquid HLRW shipments could travel.As reported by the Welland Tribune, unprecedented shipments of liquid high-level radioactive waste (HLRW) have not yet begun to roll from Ontario, across at the New York State border crossings, and down the East Coast to Savannah River Site, South Carolina. Even when they do roll, local, regional, and state emergency preparedness officials will not be informed till afterwards, if at all. This begs the question -- what if the worst happens? Will emergency responders even know how to handle the situation?

An article in the Investigative Post has revealed numerous concerns about the liquid HLRWs traveling over the Peace Bridge between Fort Niagara, Ontario, and Buffalo, New York.


Barbara Warren, Executive Director of Citizens' Environmental Coalition in Albany, NY has prepared an action alert, attached to a backgrounder prepared by environmental attorney Terry Lodge of Toledo, OH. Resistance to these shipments has been expressed by a growing coalition in the U.S. and Canada, including such groups as the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, Beyond Nuclear and Nuclear Information and Resource Service. The action alert and backgrounder describe the potential need for a grassroots citizen legal challenge under the U.S. National Environmental Policy Act against these hastily proposed shipments.


Opposition grows to unprecedented shipments of liquid high-level radioactive waste

An infrared photo of a high-level radioactive waste rail shipment. The high temperature of such shipments, however, is the least of our worries. A severe accident, or attack, involving such a shipment could breach the container, leading to disastrous releases of hazardous radioactivity. This is true for solid irradiated fuel shipments, but all the more so for unprecedented, unanalyzed liquid HLRW truck transports.Grassroots opposition is mounting against a proposal to conduct the unprecedented transportation of liquid high-level radioactive wastes (HLRWs) from Chalk River, Ontario, Canada to Savannah River Site, South Carolina, U.S.A. Although some 2,500 to 3,000 shipments of irradiated nuclear fuel in solid form have occurred in the U.S. since the 1940s, never before has liquid HLRW been shipped. The risks of a disastrous environmental release due to a severe accident would be even higher for liquid shipments than for solid shipments.

In addition, the shipments would be associated with the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. James David Ballard, an expert on terrorism, testified in federal court in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1999 that DOE high-level radioactive waste shipments are at increased risk of terrorist attack because they are associated with the U.S. federal government's nuclear program. Dr. Ballard was testifying as an expert witness on behalf of a U.S.-Canadian-First Nations grassroots coalition opposed to solid weapons-grade plutonium mixed oxide fuel truck shipments from Los Alamos, New Mexico, U.S.A. to Chalk River.

The most likely shipment route for these liquid HLRW trucks is from Ontario into upstate New York, such as at Buffalo and/or Niagara Falls. However, for security reasons, the border crossings could vary, occurring elsewhere in New York, or even other states.

Dr. Gordon Edwards of Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility has prepared a backgrounder on these proposed liquid HLRW truck shipments, a resolution in opposition, and list of resolution endorsers.

As of July 2, 2013, 91 groups had endorsed the resolution. If your group would like to endorse the resolution, please email Dr. Edwards at Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility:

In addition, please contact your U.S. Senators, your U.S. Representative, and President Obama. (You can phone your Members of Congress via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.) Urge them to block these unprecedented, high-risk shipments.