Beyond Nuclear presents at Heartwood re: courts deferring to agencies, on unprecedented highly radioactive liquid waste shipments

Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Kevin Kamps, presented at the 2017 Heartwood "Strong Roots!" forest protection council on Sat., May 27th.

Kevin's talk was entitled "Head-On Collision: Chevron Deference Meets Mobile Chernobyl on Steroids." (See the power point presentation; or the PDF version.) He described the efforts by an environmental coalition, including Beyond Nuclear, to stop unprecedented high-risk, highly radioactive liquid waste truck shipments from Chalk River Nuclear Lab, Ontario, Canada to Savannah River Site, South Carolina. Terry Lodge of Toledo, Ohio has served as legal council for the coalition since 2013; he was assisted by attorney Diane Curran of Washington, D.C. at oral arguments in Jan. 2017.

However, in Feb., 2017, a federal judge deferred to the U.S. Department of Energy's supposed expertise, greenlighting the truck shipments without an environmental impact statement. The judge cited an obscure, but widely invoked, legal doctrine called "Chevron Deference" (named after a 1984 lawsuit between Chevron and Natural Resources Defense Council) as a key basis for her adverse ruling.

The shipments began in April 2017. Routing is top secret, given the security risks, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. But the most direct routes could take the 150 truck shipments, set to continue for four years, near the location of the Heartwood gathering in the mountains of western North Carolina -- as on highways such as I-81 and I-26, as through Asheville. (See map, above left, showing one such potential route; see here for a larger version of this route map). See Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Transportation website section for more information about this particular scheme, as well as similar ones.

Also presenting (see the power point, "Judicial Deference to Federal Agency Actions: In Theory and Practice") during the session was Perrin W. de Jong, an attorney who has faced adverse rulings based on the "Chevron Doctrine" himself, in lawsuits seeking to protect the tranquility of hiking and horseback riding nature trails through forested areas, against the threat of disturbance by gun shooting ranges.

Carol Polsgrove, a free lance journalist who organized the workshop sessions, compiled a bibliography, with links to documents on the subject matter. (See .docx version; see .pdf version.)


US nuclear regulators greatly underestimate potential for nuclear disaster, researchers say


Stellar line-up at 2017 Alliance for Nuclear Accountability Awards event

The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) will honor an impressive line-up of individuals and organizations at its May 23, 2017 awards reception on Capitol Hill. This year's winners are:

*   Representative Ted Lieu -- For leadership in introducing legislation to prevent any President from using nuclear weapons first in a conflict without explicit Congressional approval.

 *  International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons -- For ceaseless global leadership and public education in support of negotiations for a legally binding instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons.

 *  Tina Cordova -- For tireless efforts to honor and seek compensation for generations of innocent people affected by the first atomic bomb test at the Trinity site.

 *  Dave Kraft (pictured) -- Judith Johnsrud Unsung Hero Award in collaboration with Beyond Nuclear -- For nearly four decades of diligent dedication in the belly of the beast, and his good humored, visionary work for a nuclear-free world, demonstrating tireless determination, despite daunting odds.

*   First Annual Bill Mitchell Grassroots Activist Award honoring an individual who shares the commitment to community empowerment of ANA’s founder.

ANA represents communities downwind and downstream from U.S. nuclear weapons sites as well as those confronting the detriments posed by the nuclear power fuel chain. Beyond Nuclear serves as the nuclear power "pod" representative within ANA and helps to lead the grassroots lobbying efforts on that issue each year, that take place during the forthcoming DC Days that coincide with the awards event. The ANA Awards are at the Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 562, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC. Hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served. Read the ANA press advisory.


Highly radioactive liquid from Canada raises concerns about worker safety at Savannah River Site

Transfer containers used to unload highly radioactive liquid waste from Canada may not provide adequate radiological shielding for workers at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina where the first shipment was recently unloaded. In a press release today, watchdogs, including Beyond Nuclear, sounded the alarm about worker safety as the first of these unprecedented liquid radioactive waste transports completed its journey from Chalk River, Ontario to SRS. Activist groups from both sides of the border and along the travel route have long been protesting and attempting to prevent these transportations, the first time liquid radioactive waste has been moved in this way. Read the full press release.


A simple video tutorial about the not-so-Utopian evolution of nuclear energy

Written by M.V. Ramana (also a Beyond Nuclear Advisory Board member) and Sajan Saini.