Wednesday, February 11, 2015

She grows weary...

Sometimes it is hard to keep the pace up. That is why activism is best left to the young. But I will try again after this respite of clunking heads together about nuclear waste. My Nuclear Information and Resource Service site just sent out an email that puts forth a pretty good argument.

They are asking that we write to Congress and put a halt to the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste disposal site. Until we have provided for appropriate permanent storage of our current nuclear waste we should stop generating more. Amen to that.

For years nuclear power plants have been paying a fee to the U.S. Government that was to take care of the permanent storage of the waste that each plant generates. At the time all that waste was going to be sent to the Yucca facility. Then it became a political football and you know how we love a good football game in this county, so its been tossed around for a very long time and through various flavors of political leadership.

Yucca is not going to happen. Will the money collected from power facilities be returned? Who knows that is another question. But for darn sure those plants are going to have to come up with a good, safe and rather long-term waste disposal onsite until everything can get sorted out on a national basis.

No you can't just jettison all this waste into space. That was actually considered a possible solution years and years ago.

First we stop producing waste. Then we think and discuss and come up with a solution for all the waste that is sitting around in spent fuel pools (very temporary solution) and in dry cask storage. We will have to come up with a beefed up dry cask storage system at each one of the power plants. We had 104 operating once. But even when the plants are decommissioned you don't just turn out the lights, close the door and walk away.

Here is that email I mentioned from the Nuclear Information and Resource Service. Maybe it will help you decide if it is worth voicing your opinion on. This is about as close as I get to clunking heads together anymore.

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6930 Carroll Avenue, #340, Takoma Park, MD 20912;

Take Action: Tell Congress to Dump Yucca

February 11, 2015

Dear Friends,
As you know, splitting atoms to make electricity makes some of the most lethal wastes in the world; it will persist for a thousand millennia or more. So far, this waste has inspired Congress to make some of its worst decisions ever. Congress is the body that picked a site that will not work to geologically isolate the waste: Yucca Mountain. No radioactive waste has yet gone to Yucca Mountain. Let’s keep it that way. Tell Congress now to pull the plug and Dump Yucca.
You can help: Act here to stop Congress’ continued stubborn attempts to dump highly radioactive waste where it absolutely doesn’t belong. 

Join us in taking a series of email actions--we will send you one a month from now through May--designed to educate your Congressmembers on the many reasons Yucca Mountain is simply not suitable as the nation’s nuclear waste repository.

There is very good news we can build on: January 29th, the NRC Staff declared that it does not recommend that the NRC grant a license to the Department of Energy for construction of a repository at Yucca Mountain.

NRC Staff, as it should, recognized that the State of Nevada has the authority to grant or deny water rights essential to the project, and its refusal to do so for Yucca Mountain is a “show-stopper.”  If Congress ordered the federal government to override state water rights in Nevada, it would open the door for the same in every state.
The action by NRC Staff was unanticipated—but very welcome. Now we need to use this opening to educate Congress so they pull the plug on Yucca for good. Act now: tell your Congressmembers to Dump Yucca.
There are many other fundamental reasons (earthquakes, volcanoes, among them) why Yucca Mountain can never be considered an appropriate place to store the nation’s high-level nuclear waste. But the basic trampling of democracy that would be necessary to foist it on the people of the State of Nevada--and the Western Shoshone people within whose treaty territory Yucca Mountain resides--is a good place to start.

What about other bad ideas for waste? You may have heard this week that Waste Control Specialists (WCS) is proposing to build an “interim” consolidated storage site in west Texas. 
Here is our report yesterday on GreenWorld about the proposal. For WCS to do so as it plans likely would require Congressional legislation. No such legislation has been introduced yet; when and if it is, we will let you know. But an “interim” site wouldn’t end the need for a permanent repository in any case—and Yucca Mountain’s relentless supporters in the nuclear industry and Congress aren’t going to stop promoting that site.

Today the law says “Yucca Mountain” and that is a problem. Yucca will fail. We need to ensure it is canceled before any waste ever goes there.

What is the answer for radioactive waste then? First, stop making more waste! For that which is already generated, the best we can do for now is store it as securely as possible until a scientifically-defensible, publicly acceptable permanent site is found. The waste should be placed in dry storage containers that are the best available, while we push for better ones that are monitored and can be repaired, at its present locations. 
Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS) is a principle that more than 200 clean energy and environmental organizations support.

In order for sanity to prevail, we first need to put bad ideas to rest. It is long past time to Dump Yucca!
*Here are some more talking points on the Yucca Mountain issue.
A brief history of the Yucca Mountain project can be found here*NIRS’ fact sheet, Why Yucca Will Fail, is here*The Yucca Mountain page on NIRS’ website is here*More on the HOSS concept can be found on Citizens Awareness Network website here.

Despite Yucca’s multitude of flaws, the nuclear industry and its Congressional backers haven’t yet given up on the project. This campaign aims to change that. 
The first step is to tell Congress now: Dump Yucca.
Thanks for all you do,
Michael Mariotte
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
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1 comment:

  1. Don't get too weary. Good post, Annie. To me, it's eminently sensible. But you know, when I try to tell people about this, they're not willing to listen. They have this "nuclear power is clean" argument in their heads, and that's that. I don't get it. How could anyone think this filthy stuff is clean? And if it is, why do we need a Yucca Mountain-type repository for it? "Clean" is an irresponsible adjective to use for a process that creates nuclear waste. I'm shocked that people don't get this. But they don't. Keep it up, but at the same time, don't blow your gasket. Moderation in all things, doncha know.