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Yucca Mountain

Yucca Mountain, the Nevada-based, scientifically flawed and politically unjust proposed high-level radioactive waste repository has now been canceled. However, pro-nuclear forces in Congress have not abandoned Yucca and funding is still allocated to the project.

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Thursday
Jul202017

U.S. Rep. Titus (D-NV) drafting House appropriations bill amendments to fight Yucca dump

From politico.com:

SIMPSON FRUSTRATED WITH APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS: House leadership failed to give senior appropriators adequate time to convince reticent GOP colleagues to support individual spending packages and moved onto a hybrid "security-bus" bill too quickly, frustrated energy spending chief Mike Simpson said Wednesday. "We worked very hard and put in a lot of late nights to get all these bills done, and we did exactly what our conference wanted us to do," the Idaho Republican said. "We should have an opportunity to convince our colleagues that this is a good thing, that they should vote for these." Instead, GOP leaders will move a national security "mini-bus," including Simpson's energy and water title, next week. But exasperated by the process, he declared himself "undecided" on the measure while acknowledging he was "trying to send a message more than anything else."

Bearish on the fate of the other bills: Simpson thought next week's bill would get across the finish line, but he wasn't sure about other measures, including the Interior-EPA spending package. "I'd be surprised if we're able to pass the rest of those bills in September," he said. "I think you're going to do at least a short-term CR and we'll see how long."

Litany of amendments coming: Lawmakers will likely to seek to restore funding through amendments to their preferred DOE programs (ARPA-E, anyone?) on the floor next week, though the "problem is, where do you take the money out from," Simpson said. He also anticipated efforts to strip out riders on items like the Waters of the U.S. regulation. Dina Titus, for example, tweeted she was "drafting amendments to fight Yucca Mountain funding in the House appropriations bill & stop this unworkable project." (emphasis added)

Wednesday
Jul192017

Senate panel OKs spending bill without funds for restarting Yucca

Wednesday
Jul122017

Rep. Barton applauds passage of revitalized Nuclear Waste policy

As reported by the Daily Light of Texas.

Barton's cheerleading for the Yucca dump targeted at Nevada is no surprise. He's been doing that for many years and decades -- and the nuclear power industry campaign contributions have consequently poured in to him.

Barton's love affair with dirty energy industries is infamous. He was forced to step down from chairmanship of the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee in 2010, after apologizing to BP for the Obama administration's and congressional Democrats' strong response to BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill catastrophe!

In the mid-1980s, Deaf Smith County, Texas had been targeted for the western high-level radioactive waste dump, right along with Yucca in Nevada, and Hanford in Washington State. But Texas (with 32 U.S. Reps.) and Washington (with a dozen or more; the two states also shared the House Speakership and the House Majority Leader between them!) then decided Nevada (with a single member of the U.S. House at the time) was the perfect place, and helped, along with eastern states targeted for a second dump-site, to "Screw Nevada" with the 1987 Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act, singling out Yucca as the only site in the country to be further considered for the dubious dump.

Ironically enough, the same bill, H.R. 3053, that Barton is cheering in regards to Yucca, would also make legal the private, for-profit (at federal taxpayer expense) "temporary storage" of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel -- including at Waste Control Specialists in Andrews County, west Texas, a lead candidate. But Barton seems supportive of turning his state into a de facto permanent parking lot dump for highly radioactive waste, so long as the right handful of people are making all the money.

Wednesday
Jul122017

Dirty Water Appropriations Rider -- Yucca dump implications

As Environment America reports -- re: a dirty water rider on U.S. House legislation -- in a statement posted at CommonDreams:

The appropriations bill also includes other riders weakening protections for our rivers, lakes, and oceans.  In addition, it slashes $1 billion from energy efficiency programs and squanders $120 million on an old, failed plan to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.

The Yucca dump proposal itself represents a huge threat to drinking water. If constructed and operated, the Yucca dump would massively release hazardous radioactivity, over time, into the drinking water supply below. That deadly contamination would then flow downstream, where a farming community -- Amargosa Valley, Nevada -- draws that water from wells for drinking and irrigation. Further downstream, in Death Valley, CA, the Timbisha Shoshone Band of Indians drink Yucca groundwater, where it surfaces in springs.

Yucca's guaranteed leakage over time is implicitly acknowledged, even by the U.S. EPA. EPA's Yucca regulations allow for an 11-mile buffer zone, downstream of the dump-site, allowing for a dilution zone for radioactive contamination of groundwater. That is, EPA would not even enforce regulations until an unprecedented 11 miles of "natural attenuation" takes place! If a dump is going to leak that badly, it should never be allowed to open in the first place!

An article by Beyond Nuclear that is along the same lines as Environment America's statement above is "After Flint, Don't Let Them NUKE the Great Lakes Next!" published at CounterPunch in January 2016. It was written in the context of international headlines about the lead poisoning of 9,000 children in Flint, Michigan via the city's drinking water supply, due to the Republican Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder's decision to save $100 per day by not treating the water to prevent severe corrosion of lead-lined piping. The article points out that the Canadian radioactive waste dump targeted at the Lake Huron shore could, ironically enough, poison Flint's drinking water with hazardous radioactivity as well. After the lead poisoning catastrophe, Flint chose to switch back to the much less corrosive Lake Huron drinking water supply (via the Detroit system), rather than the much more highly corrosive Flint River source (also switched to in the first place to save money, a decision made by the Gov. Rick Snyder administration).

Wednesday
Jul122017

Public comment closes, wait begins for decision on national monuments

As reported by the Nevada Independent, the Trump administration is threatening to undo the Basin and Range National Monument designation, instituted by President Obama. Never before has a U.S. president moved to undo a national monument designation established by a predecessor.

As the article reports:

President Barack Obama designated 704,000 acres of undeveloped mountains in rural Southern Nevada as the Basin and Range National Monument in July 2015. The creation of the monument hampered plans to open a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain by sealing off 300 miles of land through which one of the proposed railroad routes to the mountain could have run — plans that the Trump Administration is interested in revisiting.