Group Petitions Senate to Prevent Mass Transportation of Nuclear High-Level Radioactive Waste
Yesterday, a national environmental group and more than 42,000 individuals delivered a message to the U.S. Senate, urging the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to cancel plans for legislation that would begin mass transportation of high-level radioactive waste throughout the country. Nuclear Information & Resource Service (NIRS) coordinated the national petition drive over concerns that the proposed bill, S.B. 1240, neglects the safety of radioactive waste storage in communities hosting nuclear power sites.
S.B. 1240, the Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2013, was introduced earlier this year by Senate Energy Committee chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Murkowski (R-AK), Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) and Sen. Alexander (R-TN). It would encourage the siting of “consolidated interim storage” facilities to house the nation’s stockpile of irradiated nuclear reactor fuel until one or more final repositories for it are eventually developed.
Dubbed the new “Mobile Chernobyl” bill, it would initiate tens of thousands of shipments of irradiated fuel by road and railways. Federal studies conducted for the first Mobile Chernobyl bill in the late 1990s confirmed that the large number of shipments involved make it all but inevitable that waste transportation accidents will occur.
“Interim storage of high-level radioactive waste was a bad idea when proposed by the nuclear industry in the 1990s—and which led to a veto of such a bill by President Clinton, upheld by the Senate and it remains a bad idea now,” said Michael Mariotte, executive director of NIRS.
“The only purpose of 'interim' storage is to encourage the generation of more radioactive waste even when there remains no scientifically-defensible, publicly-acceptable long-term solution to this vexing problem," continued Mariotte. "Rather than addressing this fundamental issue, 'interim' storage would simply kick the can down the road while endangering the tens of millions of Americans who live near waste transport routes—primarily major highway and railways.”
While prematurely beginning to move the waste, the bill does not address the immediate safety risks of facilities storing the waste at the nuclear power stations where it is generated. Nearly all of the nation’s 100 plus power reactors store the waste in pools that are now packed as densely as the reactor cores, but with 6-10 times as much fuel in them.
An accident in a fuel pool could result in radiation releases that could dwarf even a major nuclear accident like Chernobyl or Fukushima. Scientific experts, including the U.S.’s highest scientific body, have long recommended that the removal of fuel from the pools into passive, dry storage containers be a top priority for national security and nuclear safety.
In addition, S. 1240 could derail federal efforts to develop a viable final repository. The bill would change current law by effectively separating the siting of “interim” storage facilities from the repository program by making it optional to locate them at the same site. In the best case scenario that a final repository for nuclear waste is developed, the waste would most likely have to be moved again, effectively doubling the risk of transportation. In the worst case scenario, facilities created for temporary, “interim” storage could become de facto above-ground nuclear waste dumps.
“There are some provisions of S. 1240, which is based largely on the recommendations of the recent Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, that merit further discussion and debate,” added Mariotte.“For example, the concepts of establishing a new agency to address radioactive waste issues and the establishment of a new consent process for siting of a permanent waste facility deserve a more complete examination and focus on the details of how these would work. But inclusion of 'interim' storage provisions make the bill a non-starter at this point.”
Visit EcoWatch’s NUCLEAR page for more related news on this topic.
Disturbing footage of a snake in Goa, India vomiting an empty soft drink bottle highlights the world's mounting plastic pollution crisis.
By Melissa Hellmann
When her eldest son was in elementary school in the Oakland Unified School District, Ruth Woodruff became alarmed by the meals he was being served at school. A lot of it was frozen, processed foods, packed with preservatives. At home, she was feeding her children locally sourced, organic foods.
By James O'Hare
There are 20 million people in the world facing famine in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen. In developed nations, too, people go hungry. Venezuela, for instance, is enduring food insecurity on a national level as a result of economic crisis and political corruption. In the U.S., the land of supposed excess, 12.7 percent of households were food insecure in 2015, meaning they didn't know where their next meal would come from.
Artists are taking the climate crisis into frame and the results are emotional, beautiful and stirring.
So you've seen the best climate change cartoons and shared them with your friends. You've showed your family the infographics on climate change and health, infographics on how the grid works and infographics about clean, renewable energy. You've even forwarded these official National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration graphs that explain the 10 clear indicators of climate change to your colleagues at the office.
As the Trump administration moves full speed ahead on boosting the oil and fossil fuel industry, opposition to increased pipeline construction is cropping up in different communities around the country.
By Simon Evans
Last Saturday, two dead whales washed up on the coast of Suffolk, in eastern England, and a third was spotted floating at sea.
What happened next illustrates how news can spread and evolve into misinformation, when reported by journalists rushing to publish before confirming basic facts or sourcing their own quotes.
By Monica Amarelo and Paul Pestano
Sun safety is a crucial part of any outdoor activity for kids, and sunscreen can help protect children's skin from harmful ultraviolet rays. Kids often get sunburned when they're outside unprotected for longer than expected. Parents need to plan ahead and keep sun protection handy in their cars or bags.
By Joe McCarthy
A lot of people take part in community clean-up efforts—spending a Saturday morning picking up litter in a park, mowing an overgrown field or painting a fence.