Originally published on the Healing Ourselves and Mother Earth website (http://www.h-o-m-e.org)
A windmill on every high tension tower could supply all of America’s electricity. What’s the worst thing that could happen on a wind farm?
Humans have recorded their history for only 300 generations. Each nuclear reactor supplies electricity for a couple of generations, and High Level Nuclear Waste (HLW) that threatens 1200 generations. Surely we can do better than that. The health and safety of our families is our right- it supersedes corporate profits—and it is not negotiable.
1. Take Back America’s Future- Stop Making High Level Nuclear Waste.
After fifty years of the best scientific research in the world, there is no solution to HLW in sight. Moving some HLW to contaminate a new site will not eliminate the problem. Nuclear reactors and their fuel pools are just as dangerous as the waste they generate, both as daily threats to public health and as terrorist targets.
2. Nuclear Waste Is Safer Sitting Still Than Going 60-90 MPH.
Keep it off our roads and rails for at least 100-150 years, and decrease the danger to the public exponentially. In most cases, moving HLW poses a much greater danger to the public than responsible on-site storage. Avoid repetitive doses along transportation routes or severe doses due to traffic accidents.
3. No Illegal Dump Proposals Based on Environmental Racism.
Both sites being studied for HLW storage, Yucca Mountain and the Skull Valley Goshute Reservation in Utah, are on Native lands– an obvious violation of environmental justice. For the future, let’s set policies that respect all Americans.
4. New Risk Assessments For All Nuclear Facilities.
Reactors are the only form of energy production that require an evacuation plan. 74% of past incidents at nuclear reactors have involved human error. The events of September 11th and more recent threats make it clear that we need revised evaluations. They must consider the full picture: human error, earthquakes and terrorism, with conversion to on-site waste storage and renewable forms of energy production.
5. Responsible On-Site Monitored Retrievable Storage (MRS) for Waste
As reactors are shut down, containment vessels should be modified to isolate MRS casks from the environment.
Currently there is only minimal external cask monitoring. Casks must be monitored internally for radiation levels, pressure, and temperature so technicians can safely re-open them in the future.
Assured storage, including above or in-ground monitored leachate collection systems, should be used.
Other protective measures include earthen berms around outdoor casks, and bunkers, like nuclear weapons facilities.
The Nuclear Waste Fund is projected to have approximately $35 billion, and can easily pay for MRS.
Annual reporting of inventory to public Oversight and Safety Committees for each facility.
6. Public Oversight of Waste is Mandatory at Every Level
It is clear after twenty years of industry-biased Dept. of Energy research that a new credible approach is required. A public non-profit corporation should be created to study the problem of high level waste disposal, including members of the industry, the public, and independent scientists. This approach would get away from the culture of fear and nuclear denial, and foster new ideas. Oversight and Safety Committees (using European models) should be in place for each facility, and include local community members.
7. Renewable Energy- Convert Reactor Sites to Solar & Wind Energy Production
The 20% of our nation’s electricity provided by nuclear reactors could be readily replaced by conservation, efficiency, and renewable sources. Conversion of reactor sites would provide a just transition for workers to the healthier field of renewable energy production, utilizing comparable job skills and minimizing retraining. Additional jobs should be created through the implementation of efficiency standards and conservation programs, further reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil and deadly nuclear fuel. For example, the electricity generated by Diablo Canyon nuclear facility on the seismically active coast of Southern California could be readily replaced by 500 large wind turbines located on the 1200 acre site and/or off shore.
8. National Health Care For Those Already Exposed to Radiation From Reactors and Weapons