Nuke dump edges closer

John Buchser, Nuclear Waste Team lead

Thank you to the more than 450 folks from the Sierra Club who told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that we don’t like Holtec’s plan to ship the entire country’s electric utility radioactive waste to New Mexico. The NRC has recommended accepting this waste in NM, despite the fact that current law requires a permanent repository.

The very heavy loads will be shipped on Class-1 rail routes whose safety is compromised by under-funding of $450 billion. Holtec’s “economic boom” will be about $3 billion over 20 years.

The Sierra Club is legally challenging this plan, and another just across the Texas/New Mexico border next to Eunice, NM, proposed by WCS/ISP.

The NRC is also supporting the Texas facility. The comments are due on Election Day; what a great way to distract the public! Please take a moment to email a comment to WCS_CISF_EIS@nrc.gov.

Our tireless lawyer, Wally Taylor, has successfully fought licensing for nuclear power plants across the country. This battle looks tougher, with political leadership in most states supporting these dangerous plans.

About 20% of US electricity comes from nuclear power. The most recently approved plant in the US is $20 billion over budget, and two other plants under construction have been abandoned. The industry’s dream now is with the “small modular reactor.” The term “modular” may be accurate, but the concept is not small — it’s just as big, and the outlook just as risky. Wind and solar technologies are displacing dirty fuels. The safest future for our planet is to complement renewable technologies with storage. For taxpayers, the long-term costs of used nuclear-fuel management will be with us for millennia.

I spent about two years looking at the challenge with a team of Sierra Club leaders from around the US. There is sound advice out there, but the NRC is ignoring most of it. This summer, the Sierra Club Board of Directors approved new guidelines. You can find them at riograndesierraclub.org/holtec/

Full details are available at: www.nrc.gov/waste/spent-fuel-storage/cis/waste-control-specialist.html

Nuke dump edges closer
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