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ARTICLE ARCHIVE

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.

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Monday
Nov062017

Michael Lewis: Many Trump Appointees Are Uninterested In The Agencies They Head Up [Including DOE!]

As reported by NPR's program, Fresh Air:

The Moneyball author is writing a series of articles for Vanity Fair about President Trump's picks to lead federal agencies — and the consequences of those appointments.

Show host Terry Gross introduces the interview:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. You might know our guest, journalist Michael Lewis, from some of his books, such as "Moneyball" and "The Big Short," both of which were adapted into movies. Lewis has spent a lot of this year exploring the ways the Trump administration is changing the federal government at the ground level.

Lewis has spoken to many career employees of the departments of energy and agriculture. He says they found Trump appointees ill-prepared for the jobs they have and uninterested in the work of the departments they're running. In a series of articles for Vanity Fair, Lewis reports that the consequences of such ill-informed leadership could be troubling in areas as critical as maintenance of the nation's nuclear arsenal and managing nuclear waste, both functions of the Energy Department. Lewis spoke to FRESH AIR's Dave Davies about his series and about his latest book, "The Undoing Project," which is now out in paperback. (emphasis added)

(See Michael Lewis's July 26, 2017 Vanity Fair article, "Why the Scariest Nuclear Threat May Be Coming from Inside the White House.")

Thursday
Oct122017

120 groups urge U.S. House of Representatives members to oppose H.R. 3053, the 2017 Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act

Today, a letter signed by Beyond Nuclear, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and 117 additional organizations from across the country, was delivered to U.S. House of Representatives' offices, urging opposition to H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017.

There is still time to sign your group onto this letter -- another update will be delivered to U.S. House offices before the bill goes to the floor for a vote. The current sign on deadline is close of business, Friday, October 20th.

To sign on, there’s a google form here (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSflR0_uHQfQ9Ds4JRklF1VmtdbtxRVcDJzLIoOcn5633Vk2mA/viewform?usp=sf_link) that NRDC would prefer folks use, or else email Sean Alcorn at NRDC <salcorn@nrdc.org> your name, title, organization name, city and state.

Individuals can also take action. Please contact your own U.S. Rep., and urge them to oppose H.R. 3053.

Sierra Club has a webform you can fill out and email to your U.S. Rep.

You can also phone your U.S. Rep.'s D.C. office, via the Capitol Switchboard, at (202) 225-3121.

Or look up your U.S. Rep.'s direct contact info. Find your U.S. Representative, by entering your zip code, clicking GO, and following the instructions.

Thursday
Oct052017

Sign your organization onto a coalition letter opposing H.R. 3053!

H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017, sponsored by U.S. Representative John Shimkus (Republican-Illinois), was poised for U.S. House floor action as early as next week.

However, as Politico has reported:

NUCLEAR WASTE BILL ON ICE - FOR NOW: Shimkus said plans to bring a committee-passed nuclear waste package, H.R. 3053 (115), to the House floor are on hold for now as Nevada lawmakers, some of the most vocal opponents of the measure, deal with Sunday's massacre. "In light of the tragedy, there's no desire to move quickly," he said.

We must use this opportunity provided by additional time, to build resistance to this dangerously bad bill.

Please sign your group onto the coalition letter pasted in below! And please spread the word to other groups you know!

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has kindly spearheaded this group sign on effort, just as it did at the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee stage in late June 2017. (The scores of groups that signed onto that version of the letter will automatically stay on this time around, unless they explicitly communicate with us to be taken off.)

To sign on, there’s a google form here (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSflR0_uHQfQ9Ds4JRklF1VmtdbtxRVcDJzLIoOcn5633Vk2mA/viewform?usp=sf_link) that NRDC would prefer folks use, or else email Sean Alcorn at NRDC <salcorn@nrdc.org> your name, title, organization name, city and state.

Text of letter to U.S. House of Representatives:

 

Dear Representative:

On behalf of our millions of members, the undersigned organizations urge you to oppose H. R. 3053, the “Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017” (115th Congress, 1st Session). This bill will put our nation’s nuclear waste storage policy on the wrong track yet again. It ignores environmental concerns, states’ rights and consent to host the waste in the first instance, and attempts to truncate public review in order to force a “solution” – either Yucca Mountain or a new consolidated interim storage site – that have both proven to be unworkable. Rather than blindly charge forward at the cost of public safety and public resources, we urge Congress to reject this bill and start the important and necessary work on a comprehensive set of hearings to commence building a publicly accepted, consent based repository program.

The bill you will vote on retains the flaws contained in its earlier forms. Some of these harms include unwise efforts to recommence the licensing process for proposed repository at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. This is a project certain to fail the NRC’s licensing process due to the geology and hydrology of the site that make it unsuitable for isolating spent nuclear fuel for the required time. Next, the draft legislation suggests going forward with a consolidated storage proposal before working out the details of a comprehensive legislative path to solve the nuclear waste problem, entirely severing the link between storage and disposal, and thus creating, an overwhelming risk that an interim storage site will determine or function as de facto final resting place for nuclear waste. The draft provides no safety, environmental or public acceptance criteria, only speed of siting and expense. This is precisely the formula that produced the failure of the Yucca Mountain process and made it, as the previous administration noted, “unworkable.”

Other provisions conflict with the well-established and necessary requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. §4321, et seq. Doing so exacerbates the public interest community’s (and that of Nevada) objection of the last two decades – that the process of developing, licensing, and setting environmental and oversight standards for the proposed repository has been, and continues to be, rigged or weakened to ensure that the site can be licensed, rather than provide for safety over the length of time that the waste remains dangerous to public health and the environment. 

This bill was largely changed for the worse in committee. The bill now sets us on path to go forward in the next few years with a consolidated storage proposal before working out the details of a comprehensive legislative path to solve the nuclear waste problem and, frankly, creates an overwhelming risk that an interim storage site in New Mexico, Utah, or even Texas (although the Texas site just requested that its license application be held in abeyance) will be the de facto final resting place for nuclear waste.

This will not work. It is likely those states will, in some form or another, resist being selected as the dumping ground for the nation’s nuclear waste without a meaningful consent based process and regulatory authority that garners both public acceptance and a scientifically defensible solution. Further, and also just as damning, it sets up yet another attempt to ship the waste to Yucca Mountain irrespective of its certain likelihood of failing the regulatory process, or seek to revive the licensed Private Fuel Storage site that has been strongly opposed in Utah or even open up New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) facility for spent nuclear fuel disposal despite strong opposition and contrary to 25 years of federal law. The latter site also was designed and intended for nuclear waste with trace levels of plutonium, not spent fuel (and we note, a site that has already seen an accident dispersing plutonium throughout the underground and into the environment, contaminating 22 workers, and thus the site was functionally inoperable for years). All of this runs precisely counter to the core admonition of the previous administration’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (“BRC”) that “consent” come first.

The waste will not be going anywhere for years and it should be incumbent on Congress to fix problems in a meaningful fashion, not attempt an expedient solution that is destined to fail, again.

Our concerns, many of which were detailed above or in earlier letters, remain. We would be pleased to work with any representative on a feasible, constructive path forward, but this legislation would put the nation’s nuclear waste storage policy on the wrong track yet again and we urge you to reject it. Thank you for your consideration of our views.  

Sincerely, [99 groups currently signed on]

Alliance for Environmental Strategies

Alliance to Halt Fermi 3

Basin and Range Watch

Bellefonte Efficiency & Sustainability Team; Mothers Against TN River Radiation

Beyond Nuclear

California Communities Against Toxics

Cape Downwinders

Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility

Citizen Power

Citizens Awareness Network

Citizens’ Environmental Coalition

Citizens’ Resistance at Fermi 2 (CRAFT)

Coalition for a Nuclear Free Great Lakes

Code Pink (separate?)

Code Pink Women for Peace

Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety

Concerned Citizens for SNEC Safety
Crabshell Alliance

CT Coalition Against Millstone

Don’t Waste Michigan

Ecological Options Network (EON)

Energía Mía

Energy Justice Network

Environmental Working Group

Food & Water Watch

Friends of the Earth

Georgia Women's Action for New Directions (Georgia WAND)

Grandmothers Mothers and More for Energy Safety

Great Lakes Environmental Alliance

Green State Solutions, Iowa

Hip Hop Caucus

Hudson River Sloop Clearwater

Indigenous Rights Center

League of Conservation Voters

Los Alamos Study Group

Michigan Safe Energy Future, Kalamazoo MI Chapter

Michigan Safe Energy Future, Shoreline Chapter

Missouri Coalition for the Environment

Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment

Natural Resources Defense Council

Nevada Nuclear Waste Task Force

No Nukes NW

North American Water Office

Northwest Environmental Advocates

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

Nuclear Energy Information Service

Nuclear Free World Committee; Dallas Peace and Justice Center

Nuclear Information and Resource Service

Nuclear Issues Study Group

Nuclear Watch New Mexico

Nuclear Watch South

Nukefree.org

Nukewatch

On Behalf of Planet Earth

OurRevolution Ocala

Partnership for Earth Spirituality

Peace Action of Michigan

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Physicians for Social Responsibility – Chesapeake

Physicians for Social Responsibility – Kansas City

Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles

Physicians for Social Responsibility – Oregon

Physicians for Social Responsibility – San Francisco Bay Area Chapter

Pilgrim Legislative Advisory Coalition PLAC

Pilgrim Watch

Portsmouth/Piketon Residents for Environmental Safety and Security (PRESS)

Public Citizen

Public Health and Sustainable Energy (PHASE)

Public Watchdogs

Radiation and Public Health Project

Radiation Truth

Riverkeeper

Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center

Safe Utility Meters Alliance NW (SUMA-NW)

San Clemente Green

San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace

San Onofre Safety

Sierra Club

Snake River Alliance

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Southwest Research and Information Center

Stand Up/Save Lives Campaign

Straits Area Concerned Citizens for Peace, Justice and the Environment (SACCPJE)

Sustainable Energy & Economic Development (SEED) Coalition

Task Force on Nuclear Power, Oregon and Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility

Tennessee Environmental Council

Tewa Women United

Texas River Revival

The Lands Council

The Nuclear Resister

The Peace Farm

Thomas Merton Center

Toledo Coalition for Safe Energy

Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment)

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Harford County

Vermont Citizens Action Network

Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance

Veterans For Peace Golden Rule Project

Western States Legal Foundation

Wednesday
Sep272017

Scores of groups oppose H.R. 3053!

Thursday
Sep212017

Congressional action alert reminder: Help stop nuke waste dumps! Contact your U.S. Rep.!

Help push back against nuclear power lobbyists! If you've already taken these actions, thank you -- please spread the word to others. If not, please contact your U.S. Representative, and urge opposition to H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017. Rumor has it the bill could go to the U.S. House floor for a vote in the next week or two. If H.R. 3053 becomes law, it would expedite the opening of environmentally unjust, scientifically unsuitable, non-consent-based radioactive waste dumps in Nevada (permanent disposal at Yucca Mountain), New Mexico, and/or Texas (so-called centralized interim storage facilities, at Holtec/Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance, and Waste Control Specialists, LLC, respectively). These dumps would require unprecedented numbers of high-risk "Mobile Chernobyl" road, rail, and/or waterway shipments of irradiated nuclear fuel through most states to get the nuke waste there. To find the contact info. for your U.S. Representative, enter your zip code, hit GO, and follow the links, or get patched through to their office by phoning the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 225-3121, and follow the voice prompt instructions.