500 signatures reached
To: US House Members
Prevent Unnecessary Radioactive Risks Across the Nation
Vote NO on HR 3053, Rep. Shimkus' Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017, which would authorize an inadequate radioactive waste repository and clear a major hurdle for dangerous consolidated interim storage sites proposed for Texas and New Mexico.
As a result, an precedented mass shipment of over 10,000 train shipments of tons of deadly irradiated fuel rods could cross the country - through major cities and 370 of the 435 Congressional Districts, traveling by train, trucks or barges. This unnecessary transport would create risks from leaks, accidents and terrorism, and it would take 24 years to ship all this dangerous waste. Transport routes would likely go through numerous major cities and ports, but haven't been determined yet. A single rail car would carry as much plutonium as was in the bomb dropped on Nagasaki and a leak could expose people to cancer-causing radiation, contaminate land and aquifers and cost billions to clean up.
There is plenty of local opposition. Four Texas counties have passed resolutions opposing the transport of high-level radioactive waste through their communities - Bexar (San Antonio), Dallas, Nueces (Corpus Christi) and Midland counties. People in West Texas and New Mexico made clear at public hearings raised concerns about the health risks to their children made clear they don't want the nation's nuclear waste in their backyard.
This deadly waste should be moved only once - when a viable permanent repository is available. For now, it should remain guarded at reactor sites, or be moved only a short distance if necessary.
Put public health and safety first. HR 3053 should be halted. Don't waste billions of dollars on storage sites that could become unsafe de facto permanent dumps. Yucca Mountain was a faulty decision based on politics, not science and was ultimately rejected because it would leak. Instead of passing this ill-conceived bill, Congress should support scientific efforts to find the right geologic site and develop robust storage systems that can isolate this dangerous waste for millions of years.
Why is this important?
A bill by Rep. Shimkus, HR 3053, would play Radioactive Roulette with our lives and safety, and put nuclear waste storage on the wrong track once again, ignoring environmental risks, states' rights and consent-based process, and cutting short public review. It would push forward expensive, ill-conceived projects such as the failed Yucca Mountain repository and consolidated interim storage sites proposed for Texas and New Mexico.
It would be a massive environmental injustice for the nation's waste to be dumped on small communities that had nothing to do with generating the waste. There is strong local opposition, but targeted cities don't have the millions of dollars needed to fight back. The waste might never leave if shipped to these sites. Unsafe de facto permanent dumps could result from "interim" storage which would be for 40 years or longer. Leaks could potentially contaminate the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides water to eight states.
Transport could involve trains, trucks and barges, with dangerous waste moving throughout major cities across the country, crossing through 370 of 435 Congressional districts, creating risks from leaks, accidents or terrorism.
High-level radioactive waste should only be moved once, when a viable permanent repository is in place, one that has the right geology and robust storage systems that can isolate the waste for millions of years.
Until then, waste should remain guarded at reactor sites, and be moved only a short distance at a few sites to get it off coasts or river banks.
Congress should vote NO on HR 3053. They should instead focus on supporting scientific efforts to find the right geologic site and develop robust storage systems that can isolate dangerous radioactive waste for millions of years, essential steps needed to protect people today and generations far into the future.