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National Radioactive Waste Call-In Day

Congress needs to hear from you!  Make a call on Wednesday to express your support for hardened on-site storage rather than wrong-headed proposals like consolidated interim storage.

To find your elected officials, please enter your ZIP Code. If you live in a split district, you may need to enter your full address.

ZIP Code:    

Call Script:

Representative/Senator __________,

I am calling you today to express concern about the current management of radioactive nuclear waste in this country and plans underway that would attempt to address the waste crisis with terrible ideas like Consolidated Interim Storage (see talking points).  I oppose consolidated CIS because it’s too expensive, dangerous and won’t reduce the number of storage sites anyway.

Instead, I urge you to require reduction of the density of overcrowded spent fuel in pools at reactor sites and pursue dry cask storage that is protected from attack called ardened On-Site Storage, which is the safest and cheapest near-term action we can take to secure existing nuclear waste. 

Thank you for your time.


Talking Points:

Get the waste out of the pools.

Studies by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and other scientific bodies indicate that reducing the density of spent fuel in pools must be done urgently as these pools are at risk for fire if any loss of cooling water occurs. Fuel rods must stay in the pools for up to five years but many of the pools have fuel for much longer.

We support the concept of Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS) and urge you to pursue this effort.

Instead of wasting ratepayer and taxpayer funds to move irradiated fuel around the country in the pretext of a solution, the safest, most responsible, and most economic action to take would be to improve the security and safety of waste storage at reactor sites.  Nuclear waste can be more safely stored in dry casks once they’ve cooled enough, and the protected by bunkers or concrete.  Over 170 national and local organizations from all 50 states have signed onto the Principles for Safeguarding Nuclear Waste at Reactors.  While on-site storage is not a permanent solution, it is the best medium-term option for addressing the serious and urgent security and safety threats posed by current irradiated fuel storage.

Consolidated Interim Storage means shipping radioactive waste to off site locations that are only temporary.

We do not support consolidated interim storage, because:

Consolidated Interim Storage Would Not Result in a Meaningful Reduction in Waste Sites

As long as most commercial nuclear reactors remain in operation or new ones come online, centralized interim storage will not reduce the number of waste sites.  Instead, these “interim” sites would become indefinite long-term parking for high-level wastes.

We Are Not Prepared for a Large-Scale Waste Transport Program

The National Academy of Science (NAS) in its February 2006 study on the transport of nuclear waste, made it clear that no government or private entity is prepared in the near-term for the safe large-scale shipment of irradiated fuel. The NAS report identifies several important issues that still need to be studied before any large-scale shipments begin, including full-scale physical crash testing of transport packages under severe accident conditions, security issues of transportation, and extreme accident conditions with very-long-duration fires.

Consolidated Interim Storage is Extremely Expensive

According to a 2001 MIT report, to create enough “interim” storage for the more than 65,000 metric tons of commercial nuclear waste currently in the U.S. would cost between $5.9 billion and $13.7 billion, not including licensing, transportation, and other expenses.

Consolidated Interim Storage Creates Environmental Justice Issues

Native American communities have been repeatedly targeted for radioactive waste storage sites because of their weaker regulatory requirements and dire economic situations.  DOE sites, often located near low-income communities of color have disproportionately borne the radioactive risks of nuclear weapons facilities, and thus also seem inviting.  Providing “incentives,” that is, bribes to low-income communities of color to accept highly radioactive waste is a textbook violation of environmental justice principles and will inevitably lead to decades of public and elected official opposition and legal battles that will detract from real solutions.

The Public Has Legitimate Safety Concerns

Opposition to a transportation program and questions about its safety and competence are completely rational and cannot be dismissed as an unreasonable fear of radiation. According to the 2006 NAS report, “most people recognize that transportation programs are run by fallible institutions and that institutional and human error play a large role in determining transportation risks.”

Permanent Repository

1. Consistent, generic, and scientifically sound standards for siting and environmental impacts should be determined prior to moving on and creating incentives for the creation of a permanent waste repository.

2. Consent must be obtained through a well-defined process which first, defines what a potential site is ‘consenting to,’ and has a clearly defined beginning and end with many steps  (and places for a site to opt out) finally leading up to a licensing application as a final decision.