Join Us for Nuclear Fool’s Day on April 1st!

This year on April Fool’s Day, join Beyond Nuclear and partner organizations for a conversation on why nuclear fuel is for fools, and learn how you can get involved in building a clean energy future.

When: Monday, April 1st, 2019 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Where: Schlafly Taproom (2100 Locust St., St. Louis, MO 63103)

RSVP (free): Click here

Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear’s Radioactive Waste Specialist, will give an educational presentation about the proposed plan to ship high-level radioactive waste through Missouri.

Under the current Yucca Mountain, Nevada burial dump scheme, 3,574 rail-sized casks on trains and/or heavy-haul trucks, would travel through Missouri, bound for Nevada, if the Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste dump were to open.

The vast majority of the waste shipments through Missouri would be from other states’ atomic reactors to the east, passing through Missouri, bound for Nevada.

The 3,574 casks bound for Nevada would make Missouri among the category of states harder hit than others, in terms of shipment numbers, especially such as compared to most states east of the Mississippi River.

Nuclear Waste Transport Routes Environmental Law

(75% of commercial atomic reactors, and thus high-level radioactive wastes, are east of the Mississippi. However, shipments of such eastern high-level radioactive wastes would pass through states, like Missouri, bound for western dumps like Yucca Mountain, Nevada.)

Missouri also has the dubious distinction of being downstream from potential barge shipments of high-level radioactive waste, from Cooper Nuclear Power Station (located in Nebraska, on the Missouri state line), up the Missouri River, into the Port of Omaha, Nebraska.

Pending congressional legislation, such as the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act (H.R. 3053 in the past congressional session), would expedite the opening of the Yucca dump, and also significantly increase the quantity of waste that could be buried in Nevada (correspondingly increasing the numbers of shipments to cross Missouri from reactors to the east).

Click the links within the post for more information. There are lessons to be learned from Pennsylvania, home to the Three Mile Island Unit 2 meltdown 40 years ago, on March 28, 1979 — directly applicable to Missouri.

So-called “centralized interim storage facilities” (CISF) in New Mexico, and/or Texas, could well mean even larger shipment numbers through Missouri, and in the much nearer term. Whereas the Yucca Mountain, Nevada dump is currently limited to 70,000 metric tons of high-level radioactive waste burial, New Mexico’s CISF has applied for 173,600 metric tons of irradiated nuclear fuel storage capacity; Texas’s CISF has applied for another 40,000 metric tons. Altogether, the CISFs targeted at the Southwest represent three times the amount of highly radioactive waste currently targeted at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, with the potential for a corresponding increase in high-level radioactive waste shipment numbers crossing Missouri. The CISFs have proposed opening and commencing shipments by the early 2020s.

Health, safety, security, and environmental risks include severe accidents, or even terrorist attacks, releasing catastrophic amounts of hazardous radioactivity, impacting an entire region. (See a Public Citizen fact sheet entitled “Everyone Knows That Accidents Happen: Nuclear Waste Transport Casks”.)

Also see a graphic, showing the penetrating power of harmful gamma and neutron radiation, “allowed” or “permitted” to be emitted from shipping containers, at a certain dose rate, at a certain distance (10 milli-Rem per hour, or about 1 to 2 chest X-rays per hour, at a distance of six feet; 200 mR/hr, or about 20 to 40 chest X-rays per hour, at the shipping container’s exterior surface).  Thus, even so-called routine, incident-free shipments would be like “mobile X-ray machines that can’t be turned off,” delivering a harmful dose of gamma and neutron ionizing radiation, at close range, as they pass by. Externally contaminated shipping containers would make such doses even worse. (See 49 documented cases of “surface contamination” in the U.S., just from 1974 to 1992.)

Come learn more about the risks, and how they can be prevented.

PHOTO OP: An inflatable, full-scale replica of a highly radioactive waste Legal Weight Truck-sized shipping cask will be deployed outside the event.

In addition to plenty of Q&A/discussion time, the 90-minute program will include:

A presentation by Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Specialist, Beyond Nuclear, addressing the safety and security risks of transporting highly radioactive irradiated nuclear fuel on the roads and rails, as proposed in legislation currently pending before the U.S. Congress. He will also discuss the risks of irradiated nuclear fuel indoor wet storage pool fires for the entire region, and the interim alternative of Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS), as well as the need to stop generating high-level radioactive waste (unfortunately, the Callaway atomic reactor in Missouri has been rubber-stamped for an extension by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for 60 years of operations, until the year 2044).

An animation, prepared by Scott Portzline, Security Consultant, Three Mile Island Alert (TMIA), about radioactive waste transport risks, will be shown. So too will a 90-second aerial drone-captured video, featuring transport routes in Pennsylvania. A short informational video, “Nuclear Transports – Eye-Witness to Rule-breaking,” also prepared by Portzline, will be shown. Lessons learned from Pennsylvania will be applied to Missouri (the 40th annual commemoration of the 1979 reactor core meltdown at Three Mile Island Unit 2 near Harrisburg is on March 28th).

Short presentations from staff at Great Rivers Environmental Law Center and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment with information on how to get involved locally these statewide environmental organizations.

Event is co-hosted by:
Beyond Nuclear
Great Rivers Environmental Law Center
Kay Drey
Missouri Coalition for the Environment

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