2018 - 04 - 04 Federal Agencies Blocked in Bid to Re-Start Plan for Nuclear Waste Storage at Yucca Mountain

Trump Administration Officials at the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently put in a bid to shock the dead Yucca Mountain nuclear waste project back to life. The process for federal licensing of Yucca Mountain was effectively terminated more than five years ago. Last week the House of Representatives offered more than $170 Million towards the re-start of Yucca, but the Senate declined. The final appropriations bill governing federal spending for the rest of 2018 contains no funds for high level radioactive waste. See recent news report from The Exchange Monitor at https://www.exchangemonitor.com/no-yucca-money-2018-omnibus-houses-top-energy-appropriator-says/

These same agencies are also working to support new nuclear industry proposals to open so-called “temporary” consolidated storage sites - one in rural Texas and a second one in southern New Mexico. This would be in contradiction to current law, which prohibits “interim” centralized storage in the absence of a permanent disposal site.

If either of these sites receives a license to receive the 80,000+ metric tons of deadly radioactive “spent” nuclear fuel rods currently stored at nuclear reactor sites, forty-four states plus Washington, DC, would be subjected to nuclear shipments over a period of decades. As shown on the national nuclear waste route map at http://www.state.nv.us/nucwaste/news2017/ymroutes17.png 1,612 trucks and trains carrying deadly nuclear waste would pass through California if this program were implemented.

San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace spokesperson Jane Swanson observes, “Yucca Mountain is unacceptable as a repository of high level radioactive wastes. The site is located directly above the Amargosa aquifer and is riddled with rock fractures that would allow highly corrosive oxidizing groundwater to carry radioactive material into the water table that flows into Amargosa Valley. Furthermore, transporting radioactive materials on our roads and railroads through major population centers would pose risks of accident, theft or sabotage.”