More Radioactive Waste to Make Its Way Through Maine?
Monday, July 31, 2017
WISCASSET, Maine -- 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 active and closed.
Doug Bogen, executive director of the Seacoast Anti-Pollution League, said New Englanders could end up sharing the roads, rails or waterways with nuclear waste from New Hampshire's Seabrook Station Nuclear Power Plant, Maine's decommissioned Yankee Nuclear Power Plant and from the nuclear submarine base at Portsmouth Shipyard.
"And all of that waste would need to be shipped down the East Coast, through towns like Portsmouth or Dover, and on southward and westward,” Bogen said. “And we're very concerned about the issues around transport, as well as the final destination of this waste."
HR 3053 is sponsored by Rep. John Shimkus. R-Ill., who has said it would modernize the energy infrastructure and environmental laws and enhance the nation's energy security.
David Kraft, director of the Nuclear Energy Information Service, said the measure would vastly increase the amount of this waste coming through almost every state by road, rail and barge. He called 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,” Kraft said. "And in addition, it's calling for the construction of new waste sites around the country which are both expensive and unnecessary."
Kraft said a better way to go is for the nation to devise an environmentally responsible plan for a permanent disposal facility.
The legislation is being opposed by dozens of environmental groups that have dubbed 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.
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