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More Radioactive Waste Coming to Florida?

Florida would be heavily impacted by a new nuclear waste bill in Congress. (energy.gov)
Florida would be heavily impacted by a new nuclear waste bill in Congress. (energy.gov)
July 28, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Environmental groups have a warning for the nation's leaders: Haste will make more waste.

A House vote could come soon on legislation known as the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017.

The bill would mean building more temporary storage facilities around the nation to hold high-level radioactive waste from nuclear reactor sites, both current and closed.

David Kraft, director of the Nuclear Energy Information Service, says it would vastly increase the amount of this waste coming through almost every state by road, rail and barge.

In Florida, it would come in via truck through Alabama and be shipped out near Miami and Ft. Lauderdale.

Kraft calls it a bad idea.

"The bill, if it passes, is calling on the re-institution of the Yucca Mountain facility in Nevada, which has been shown to be flawed,” he states. “And in addition it's calling for the construction of new waste sites around the country, which are both expensive and unnecessary."

HR 3053 is sponsored by Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), who says it would modernize the energy infrastructure and environmental laws and enhance the nation's energy security.

The Department of Energy projects more than 2,300 truck or around 200 train shipments of toxic, high-level, nuclear waste will be shipped through Florida on the way to Yucca Mountain.

Kraft counters that the Shimkus bill serves the interests of a nuclear power industry that is in decline. Instead, he maintains the nation needs an environmentally responsible plan for a permanent disposal facility.

"We at NEIS and many other environmental groups definitely want action taken on what to do with the nation's nuclear waste problem,” he states. “We think this particular bill is really going 180 degrees in the wrong direction."

Dozens of environmental groups oppose the legislation and call the plan "mobile Chernobyl." They warn it would send spent fuel rods from nuclear reactors through 100 major cities in 44 states and 370 congressional districts.



Veronica Carter, Public News Service - FL