Radioactive Waste

No safe, permanent solution has yet been found anywhere in the world - and may never be found - for the nuclear waste problem. In the U.S., the only identified and flawed high-level radioactive waste deep repository site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada has been canceled. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an end to the production of nuclear waste and for securing the existing reactor waste in hardened on-site storage.



NUCLEAR WASTE: Hearing shows disposal stalemate far from over

As reported by E&E News. The article is behind a subscription pay wall -- but free trials are possible.


Americans Are Paying More Than Ever to Store Deadly Nuclear Waste as Plants Shut Down


Beyond Nuclear media release: Proposed bills, to dump radioactive waste on Nevada, New Mexico, and/or Texas, are outrageous, and must be blocked


For immediate release: June 13, 2019

Contact: Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Specialist, Beyond Nuclear,
(240) 462-3216,

Proposed bills, to dump radioactive waste on Nevada, New Mexico, and/or Texas, are outrageous, and must be blocked

Yucca repository in NV, consolidated interim storage facilities in TX and/or NM, would launch Mobile Chernobyl shipments, through most states, for decades

TAKOMA PARK, MD -- Statement by Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Specialist at Beyond Nuclear, Re: U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee/Environment & Climate Change Subcommittee, “Hearing on Cleaning Up Communities: Ensuring Safe Storage and Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel”:

As stated in our letter for the record of the hearing, we object to H.R. 2699, the “Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2019,” just as we objected to last session’s similar, to identical, H.R. 3053. This dangerously bad bill advocates for the scientifically unsuitable Yucca Mountain dump, which is neither consent-based, nor environmentally just – nor even legal, given Western Shoshone Indian title to land and water, per the “peace and friendship” 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley, signed by the U.S. government, the highest law of the land, equal in stature to the U.S. Constitution itself. In opposing the Yucca dump, we join with well over a thousand environmental and environmental justice organizations which have expressed similar opposition to the Yucca dump over the past 32 years, ever since the “Screw Nevada” bill of 1987.

We also oppose the “Spent Fuel Prioritization Act of 2019,” H.R. 2995. Why would a relatively recently shut down nuclear power plant, like San Onofre in California, and even still operating atomic reactors, as at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California, get to cut in line, in regards to high-level radioactive waste export shipments? Big Rock Point in Michigan, as an example, has been shut down since 1997. Yankee Rowe in Massachusetts shut down in 1992. There are a dozen or two reactors in this country that shut down prior to San Onofre Units 2 and 3, which shut in 2013. What ever happened to the "oldest fuel first" policy?! California reactors should not be allowed to cut in line. They are not the only ones in the country at risk of earthquakes, tsunamis, rising seas, and other disaster risks.

As the environmental movement has called for since 2002, Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS) of high-level radioactive waste should be implemented. If not on-site, then as near to the site of generation as is safely possible. For example, San Onofre’s high-level radioactive wastes could be moved a few miles east, deeper into the heart of Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base. This would remove the wastes from the earthquake fault line area, from the tsunami zone, away from rising seas – with the added bonus of thousands of U.S. Marines to help guard them. This, rather than ship San Onofre’s waste a thousand miles to the east, to New Mexico and/or Texas, for “interim storage,” from where they would someday (or some decade, or some century) have to be moved yet again – to where, we know not – instantly doubling transport risks, for no good reason.

 We also oppose the “STORE Nuclear Fuel Act of 2019,” H.R. 3136. This bill would make legal the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) taking title (ownership) of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel at a privately owned consolidated interim storage facility (CISF), such as those currently targeted at New Mexico by Holtec International/Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance, and at Texas by Waste Control Specialists/Interim Storage Partners. Besides the environmental injustice, or radioactive racism, inherent in targeting a majority Hispanic region with the deadliest radioactive wastes in the U.S., there is also the pollution burden already borne by these communities, due to intensive nuclear and fossil fuel industrial activities.

But in addition, as New Mexico Governor Michele Lujan Grisham wrote in a letter to Energy Secretary Perry, and Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Svinicki, just last week, the lack of a permanent repository means that “consolidated interim” risks becoming de facto permanent, surface storage. The U.S. Department of Energy itself warned in its Feb. 2002 Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Yucca Mountain dump, that high-level radioactive waste, abandoned at the surface of the land, given loss of institutional control, and inevitable degradation and failure of containers over long enough time periods, would result in catastrophic releases of hazardous radioactivity to the environment. This could happen on-site at reactors, but it could also happen away-from-reactor, as at CISFs in New Mexico and/or Texas. Due to such risks, the governor of New Mexico has communicated clearly to decision makers that her state does not consent to taking on such risks. Secretary Perry’s statement in response to a question from U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, at a House Budget Committee hearing in late March, that “interim” becoming permanent in west Texas would be fine by him, and by west Texans, shows that Secretary Perry is not even familiar with his own department’s warnings about the high risks of containers failing in the future, causing catastrophic radioactivity releases downwind, downstream, up the food chain, and down the generations.

The common theme of all these dangerously bad bills, that would rush open a permanent repository at Yucca Mountain, and/or CISFs in New Mexico and/or Texas, is the transportation risks.

The common theme of all these dangerously bad bills, that would rush open a permanent repository at Yucca Mountain, and/or CISFs in New Mexico and/or Texas, is the transportation risks.

Our country needs to avoid radioactive waste wrecks, both figurative – of policy – as well as literal, on our roads, rails, and waterways. We need to just say no to unwise irradiated nuclear fuel transport, storage, and disposal schemes, that have more to do with offloading nuclear utilities’ liabilities onto the public, than on protecting health, safety, and the environment. Transporting high-level radioactive waste by truck, train, and barge, through most states and the District of Columbia, scores of major cities, and the vast majority of U.S. congressional districts, would take unnecessary risks of Mobile Chernobyls, Floating Fukushimas, and Dirty Bombs on Wheels.


Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abolish both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic. The Beyond Nuclear team works with diverse partners and allies to provide the public, government officials, and the media with the critical information necessary to move humanity toward a world beyond nuclear. Beyond Nuclear: 7304 Carroll Avenue, #182, Takoma Park, MD 20912.


Still no long-term storage for radioactive waste

Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Watchdog from the group “Beyond Nuclear“, talks about their latest efforts to prevent several “consolidated interim storage” sites in New Mexico and Texas.

As reported by 89.9 WORT, community radio in Madison, WI.


U.S. House Panel to Discuss Spent Fuel Bills

As reported by the ExchangeMonitor.

See the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee/Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change's post about the June 13th hearing, here. (A Livestream posted at that same link goes live at 10am, Thurs., June 13.)

Witness testimony that has been posted thus far includes that from:

Robert J. Halstead
Executive Director
State of Nevada, Office of the Governor, Agency for Nuclear Projects


Geoffrey H. Fettus
Senior Attorney, Nuclear, Climate, and Clean Energy Program
Natural Resources Defense Council