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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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Tuesday
Aug082017

NRC Planning for Resumption of Yucca Mountain Licensing Proceeding

Even though the three currently serving U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioners voted by June 9th in favor of reviving the long-suspended Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste dump licensing proceeding, they didn't bother to tell the public till two months later!

On August 8th, the vote count documents were at long last revealed. By a 2-1 vote, the NRC Commissioners voted to fund the beginning of the resumption of Yucca Mountain licensing proceeding. NRC Chairman Kristine Svinicki, and NRC Commissioner Stephen Burns, voted in favor of resuming the proceeding; NRC Commissioner Jeff Baran voted against resuming the proceeding.

The questions upon which they were voting can be viewed in this document.

See the July 31, 2017 NRC Staff Requirements Memorandum, here.

See the NRC's press release about the Commission vote, here.

Svinicki, a Republican, has been on the NRC Commission since 2008. She has been a reliable pro-industry rubber-stamp, voting against the public interest at every turn. When Trump moved into the Oval Office, he declared Svinicki to be the chairman of the NRC. She was recently confirmed by the U.S. Senate for another five years on the NRC Commission. Svinicki had previously served as a top U.S. Senate staffer for such pro-Yucca dump advocates as Larry Craig, Republican U.S. Senator from Idaho. Svinicki stirred controversy during an earlier Senate confirmation to the NRC, when she failed to disclose that she had worked on the Yucca Mountain Project during her stint at the U.S. Department of Energy. Despite her conflict of interest in favor of the Yucca Mountain dump, she was never required to recuse herself from the matter -- as NRC Commissioner, and later Chairman, Greg Jaczko (a Democrat, who worked as the top Yucca staffer for U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), in opposition to the dump) was forced to do, for two years.

Burns, although an Independent, filled a Democratic slot on the Commission, and was nominated by President Obama, and served as NRC Chairman during the last years of the Obama presidency. Beyond Nuclear opposed Burns' nomination and confirmation, because of his years-long stint at the pro-nuclear promotional institution, Nuclear Energy Agency, in Paris, France, a sub-division of OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), where he served as top legal counsel. (Beyond Nuclear objected to this blurring of the lines between nuclear power's promotion, and its safety regulation, just as it had done re: the blatant conflict of interest, during many long months at NRC, by Commissioner William Magwood IV, a Democrat, who successfully courted the top job at NEA, while still serving at NRC.) Before NEA, Burns had served as a senior lawyer in NRC's Office of General Counsel.

Baran, a Democrat, previously served as a top U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee staffer during the chairmanship of Henry Waxman (D-CA). He played a major role in the development of the Waxman-Markey energy bill of 2009, which promoted renewable energy. The bill passed the U.S. House, but the U.S. Senate failed to take it up.

Monday
Aug072017

Sen. Heller (R-NV) questions NRC re: proposed Yucca dump

On July 28, 2017, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) chairman, Kristine Svinicki, responded to questions from Nevada's senior U.S. Senator, Dean Heller, re: the proposed Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste dump. See the cover letter, and Chairman Svinicki's responses to Sen. Heller's questions.

These communications were not released by NRC Chairman Svinicki until today (Mon., Aug. 7, 2017), when they were posted to the NRC ADAMS docket, ten days after they were sent to Sen. Heller.

[Please note that NRC Chairman Svinicki previously stirred controversy, by failing to disclose to the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, during her initial confirmation hearing as a U.S. NRC Commissioner, that she had in fact wored on Yucca Mountain Project related matters, when she worked at the U.S. Department of Energy. The U.S. Senators from Nevada, including Harry Reid (Democratic Leader of the U.S. Senate for many years, now retired), were not pleased that Svinicki had concealed this important fact from them and other U.S. Senators.]

Wednesday
Aug022017

H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017

See the bill, as amended (see the four amendments), passed by the U.S. House of Represenatives Energy & Commerce Committee by a vote of 49 to 4 on June 28, 2017, here.

Here is more info. on the status of H.R. 3053, such as the list of co-sponsors.

This bill would authorize both private, de facto permanent, surface "parking lot dump" storage of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel, a.k.a. centralized interim storage, as well as U.S. Department of Energy operated consolidated interim storage. H.R. 3053 would also revive the Yucca Mountain, Nevada permanent burial dump scheme.

If any of these dumps open, unprecedented numbers of shipments of irradiated nuclear fuel (high-risk Mobile Chernobyls, Floating Fukushimas, Dirty Bombs on Wheels, Mobile X-ray Machines That Can't Be Turned Off) would be launched onto the roads, rails, and/or waterways, for decades on end. Learn more about these transport risks, here.

Please take action to oppose this dangerously bad bill.

Saturday
Jul292017

The Battle of Yucca Mountain

President Trump's proposed budget includes $120 million to reopen licensing for Yucca Mountain, and Nevada's federal delegation is ready to fight.

As reported by USA Today, and reprinted in The Spectrum (St. George, UT).

Saturday
Jul292017

Nevada official says House vote on Yucca funding no shock