ACTION ALERT: Protest Nuclear Waste on September 29

September 28th, 2010 - by admin

Nuclear Information Resource Service – 2010-09-28 00:55:04



(September 27, 2010) — Truly, the only solution to the “nuclear waste problem” is to stop making more of it!

Nuclear energy production is the number one producer of new radioactivity on Earth, followed by nuclear weapons production. Join us in sending a message: NO MORE!

That’s the message of International Radioactive Waste Action Day. In some places, there will be protests and other events. In Canada, for example, dozens of activists will be participating in key public hearings on the proposed transport of radioactive waste through the Great Lakes to Sweden for “recycling” into consumer goods. In Australia, an effort will even be made in Parliament to officially declare the day!

We’ve come up with two easy and fun ways for everyone to participate, whether there’s an action in your town or not.

First, send a message to the US Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future here. [See copy of letter below.]
Second, here’s an easy way to take a stand and show you care: just go here to download and print any of five signs we’ve made (or make a sign of your own!). Have a friend take a photo of you holding the sign. Then, take a pic of your friend holding the sign. Send the photos of you and as many friends as you can back to us at

We’re going to post all the photos online, and begin making a photo petition to be presented to the Blue Ribbon Commission in the new year.

The Blue Ribbon Commission will be able to not only read our words, but to see our faces too — it’s a great way of showing that this is about real people with real concerns.

Grassroots activists working together have changed the course of nuclear history:

*We organized campaigns that resulted in state laws and ultimately a federal law that repealed a re-use and “recycle” policy for radioactive waste known then as “Below Regulatory Concern;”

*We have won important lawsuits, including on the radiation standards for repositories, on environmental impact statements for new nuclear weapons factories and countless others;

*We have stopped legislation repeatedly — including changes to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act that would have started Mobile Chernobyl (the name we coined for the large scale shipment of irradiated nuclear fuel)–as well as helped to stop the centralization of this waste on Native Lands;

*We have helped stop the construction of nuclear power reactors, the closure of nuclear weapons production sites, reprocessing sites and helped to shut down operating reactors.

When we stand together we do a lot. Truth is, the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future is mandated by the Department of Energy to help the continued production of more radioactive waste. It was formed when President Obama decided to end the scientifically-indefensible Yucca Mountain site. And the report that this body issues in the next year is likely to lead to new legislative action on nuclear waste policy.

But Yucca is not completely dead yet: House Minority Leader John Boehner has promised it will rise again if the Republicans gain control of Congress this November.

And the Blue Ribbon Commission itself is dominated by nuclear advocates interested primarily in keeping the nuclear industry viable–not in finding real solutions for the radioactive waste problem. So the Commission needs to hear from all of us.

Send your message to the Blue Ribbon Commission today. Ask your friends to send a message too!

Then, download and print a poster and take a picture of yourself and your friends. Send the photos back to us at for posting online and begin creating a giant photo petition!
NIRS, 6930 Carroll Avenue, #340, Takoma Park, MD 20912.

Michael Mariotte is the Executive Director of the Nuclear Information and Resource
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BRC: Stop Making Radwaste; Start Taking Scientifically-Sound Decisions

As part of International Action Day on Radioactive Waste, I wanted to share some of my recommendations for US radioactive waste policy:

The 20th Century did not demonstrate that radioactive waste can be isolated from the cycles of Living Earth for the period of time that it will be hazardous. It did demonstrate that reprocessing of irradiated nuclear fuel is a proliferation threat. I have worked toward ending the industrial scale production of this waste from military and from civilian energy activities as the only rational response to material that has the potential: to be used for thousands of bombs if reprocessed and to burden future generations with material that will remain risky literally for eons. The only “solution” to radioactive waste is to stop making more of it.

I support the decision to end the Yucca Mountain program. It is clear from empirical data that the site is a poor one since it is an oxidizing, unsaturated environment, since it will leak radioactive gases and over time radioactivity would pollute the groundwater in the region, which is the only local source of water supply there, as well as the potential for volcanic redistribution of the waste.

I oppose reprocessing (separation of plutonium) since it does not meet the goal of isolation of radioactivity from our environment and instead results in the substantial expansion of volume to be disposed of in a repository. In addition, reprocessing by definition leads to further production of more radioactive waste if the plutonium is reused. It is also not rational to introduce even more plutonium — a nuclear weapons usable material — into commerce in an age when nuclear proliferation by state and non-state parties is a serious security threat.]

Finally, I call upon the Blue Ribbon Commission to heed the request which originates from communities where radioactive waste is stored now (around nuclear power reactors and nuclear weapons sites). I recommend that regulations be changed to require the hardening of waste storage for greater security and safety including: mandatory dry storage in containers (after 5 years) that have earth berms around each one; increased monitoring of each container for radiation, heat and security; greater participation of the local host community. See the Principles for Safeguarding Nuclear Waste at Reactor Sites also known as Hardened Onsite Storage or HOSS.

Given the immense difficulty, expense, and risk of waste with vast amounts of plutonium in it, it is prudent to stop making more — a finite and limited time and amount in the pipeline will further the chances of increasing safety and security in the management of the waste that we already have. A scientifically based program focused on demonstration of the isolation of these wastes from the biosphere should be your goal.

Thank you,