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.



Potential barge routes, on U.S. surface waters, to ship high-level radioactive waste to NV, NM, and/or TX


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.

If opened, the CISF at WCS, TX would have launched unprecedented numbers of shipments, mostly by rail (but also by barge and/or heavy haul truck, at certain nuclear power plants), of irradiated nuclear fuel through many states.

Located less than 40 miles from WCS across the TX/NM border, however, the ELEA, NM CISF (Eddy-Lea [Counties] Energy Alliance) is still proceeding full steam ahead. ELEA, located very near the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), if opened, could also launch unprecedented numbers of Mobile Chernobyls, Floating Fukushimas, and Dirty Bombs on Wheels.


Mobile Chernobyl House bill moves to full Energy & Commerce Committee! Contact your U.S. Rep.!

Infrared photo of a train shipment of irradiated nuclear fuel in Germany. Although what is shown is thermal heat, gamma radiation would also stream out, like a mobile X-ray machine that can't be turned off, as Loren Olson has put it.The effort by U.S. House Republicans, to ram radioactive waste dumps down the throats of Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas, without their consent, is picking up steam! U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) succeeded in rushing the Mobile Chernobyl bill through the Environment and the Economy Subcommittee he chairs last week, and now it moves on for consideration by the full U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee.
Urgent action is needed to prevent the launch of Mobile Chernobyl irradiated nuclear fuel transport risks, in unprecedented large numbers, through many states, en route to the Yucca Mountain, NV permanent burial dump, and/or de facto permanent parking lot dumps in TX and/or NM! 

Many states in the Lower 48/Continental U.S. would be impacted by trucks, trains, and/or barges carrying commercial high-level radioactive waste to NM, NV, and/or TX. Emails, phone calls, and/or faxes to U.S. Representatives are urgently needed. Please read on, or skip to the TAKE ACTION section below...

Mobile Chernobyl routes through many states:

See Mobile Chernobyl road and rail routes throughout many states, across the U.S., here. This map was published by the State of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects, in the context of Yucca-bound shipments by truck and train.

However, depending on the particular circumstances, there would be a lot of overlap in routing, whether shipments were headed to NV, or TX/NM (the two centralized interim storage facilities, so-called, are less than 40 miles away from each other, across the TX/NM border). Here is a map published by the Public Citizen Texas Office, showing projected routes for irradiated nuclear fuel shipments into the WCS site in west TX. And here is WCS's own map, from its license application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, showing national rail routes that would be used to ship high-level radioactive waste to west TX.

Note that the heart of many major cities would be hard hit, with rail and/or truck routes passing though large population centers (map again provided by State of NV Agency for Nuclear Projects, in context of Yucca-bound shipments).

In addition, there is also the potential for irradiated nuclear fuel barge shipments on surface waters across the country, from the Great Lakes, to rivers, to sea coasts. Check out these backgrounders for maps and shipment numbers (published by the Department of Energy in its Yucca dump Final Environmental Impact Statement in Feb. 2002), as well as for info. on the high risks involved: 
Again, centralized interim storage facilities in TX and/or NM, would simply multiply such risks. In fact, many congressional districts could see the very same high-level radioactive waste casks pass through twice -- once en route to centralized storage, and again as they are moved to permanent disposal!


Please email, phone, and/or fax your U.S. Representative ASAP (snail mailed letters take a long time to arrive at the U.S. House, due to security screening, but might arrive in time for the Energy & Commerce Committee vote, if you send it right away). You can reach your U.S. Rep. by phone, via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard, at 202-225-3121; their email/web forms, fax numbers, and snail mail addresses can be looked up at this U.S. House website, by entering your ZIP code in the upper right hand corner. You can contact your U.S. Representative's Washington, D.C. office, and/or their one or more district offices near you.)
Please urge your U.S. Representative to oppose H.R.___, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017, and to urge all their colleagues on the full U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, and the full House of Representatives, on both sides of the aisle, to do the same! (Note that the bill is so half-baked, and ill-considered, it still doesn't even have an H.R. bill number yet! And yet, Rep. Shimkus rammed it through mark up, and passed it through the subcommittee, and has now sent it on to the full committee for a vote!)

Thanks for taking action, and please spread the word!


Additional background info.

As revealed in this Beyond Nuclear press release, subcommittee chairman Shimkus, who is advocating this bill to open the Yucca dump, as well as surface parking lot storage in TX and/or NM, is quite unfamiliar with irradiated nuclear fuel rail routes through the Chicago area, in his home state of IL. He has also inappropriately downplayed the security risks of such shipments, specifically the risk of an attack by terrorists using shoulder-fired, tripod-fired, or vehicle-mounted, anti-tank missiles, such as TOWs, all too available on the international black market. See the full Beyond Nuclear post about the October 1, 2015 Shimkus hearing, at which we were invited (by Ranking Democrat Tonko) to testify, here.


Crash raises nuclear waste fears