ACTION NEEDED: Contact your Governor NOW!

The Senate version of the FY 2007 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill (HR 5427), approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 29, 2006, authorizes the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to take irradiated nuclear fuel currently housed at commercial reactors and temporarily store it at federal sites. The “interim” storage sites, termed Consolidation and Preparation (CAP) facilities, would be located within a state or regional site for up to 25 years, without the possibility of license extensions. Current DOE sites would be the most likely locations. If enacted, this provision would result in a dangerous transformation of the nation’s nuclear waste policy without the prospect of a public debate or hearings.

Currently, more than 50,000 metric tons of nuclear waste is piling up at nuclear power plants in 31 states, awaiting geologic repository at Yucca Mountain. However, a series of scientific, political and technical problems have delayed the opening of Yucca Mountain.

With the Bush Administration pushing for a nuclear power revival, the nuclear industry will have a difficult time finding investors until the waste problem is resolved. These industry considerations have led the drive for interim storage, not safety issues as proponents claim. While interim storage may facilitate the licensing of new nuclear power plants, it does not change the fact that we lack a viable, permanent solution for nuclear waste.

While the bill directs the Secretary of Energy to consult with governors in states where nuclear reactors are located to identify interim storage sites, it would still give DOE authority to build these facilities over objections from states and local governments. This dangerous provision could force at least 31 new nuclear waste storage sites which could become permanent waste dumps if effective waste treatment technology is not developed, or a suitable repository never opens. If regional interim storage sites are opened, states may be forced to accept other states' nuclear waste.

Moving waste from the reactors to interim storage sites will not resolve the waste problem nor improve security at the reactor sites. As long as nuclear reactors continue to operate, there will continue to be nuclear waste at each reactor as it cools in spent fuel pools on-site for at least 5 years. Also, adding more radioactive waste to already contaminated DOE sites makes a bad situation worse and would be a direct contradiction to the legal cleanup agreements made with states and tribes. THIS WILL NOT MOVE OUR COUNTRY TOWARDS A SOLUTION FOR NUCLEAR WASTE.

Transporting high level nuclear waste from the 103 reactors in 31 states to the interim storage sites will only weaken our ability to protect the nation against the threat of terrorism. There will be added risks to public health and safety as the 50,000 metric tons of highly radioactive waste is transported on busy highways and railroads across the nation for over forty years. States are far from prepared to begin such a massive waste transportation program.

It is important contact your Governor to ask them to voice their opposition to Congress that they DO NOT want their state to become a nuclear waste dump. HR 5427 may not see any floor action in the Senate, but rather will be delayed until after the November elections and settled in an omnibus bill. If this happens, it will make it more difficult to voice your opposition. Your action now is needed!

Jodi Dart, Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, 322 4th St, NE, Washington, DC 20002 202-544-0217 E-Mail: