For Immediate Release
October 27, 2015
Contact: Karen Hadden – SEED Coalition
New Map shows Texas would be a Corridor for
Extremely Dangerous and Radioactive Nuclear Waste Shipments;
Risk of Radioactive Wrecks Could Double if Texas Becomes an " Interim
Austin, TX – Over 1000 nuclear waste shipments would cross through Texas if plans for the country’s first nuclear waste repository in Nevada move forward. Today, SEED Coalition and No Nuclear Waste Aqui released maps of the likely routes radioactive shipments would use, joining dozens of environmental and clean energy groups across the country. The groups want state residents to weigh in with Congress about the dangers.
According to the map, highly radioactive waste fuel from South Texas Project and Comanche Peak nuclear power plants, and from reactors outside the state, would pass through the Texas on major highways and railways and be transported through Houston, San Antonio, Amarillo and the Dallas/Ft. Worth areas. Each shipment would contain several times more radioactive material than was released by the Hiroshima bomb blast, with 20 to 50 tons of irradiated fuel assemblies in each canister. Department of Energy studies completed in the 1990s confirmed that accidents in transporting the waste to Yucca Mountain would be a certainty, due to the large number of shipments that would be required. The shipments would also be vulnerable to attack or sabotage along the hundreds or thousands of miles that each cask would travel. DOE estimated that 357 rail casks and 857 truck casks would be shipped across Texas.
"Texas is not ready for mass transportation of nuclear waste," said Van Horn resident Patricia Golden, a spokesperson for No Nuclear Waste Aqui. " First responders are not trained to handle a radioactive waste accident. We have all witnessed horrible train derailments and explosions in recent months. On Saturday a train derailed in Texas due to torrential rains in Corsicana. An accident involving nuclear waste could force thousands of people to evacuate their homes, schools, and businesses and radioactively-contaminate huge tracts of land," Golden concluded.
Rose Gardner of Eunice, New Mexico lives only 5 miles from the Waste Control Specialists site that could be used to store high-level radioactive waste on an " interim storage" basis, for 40 – 60 years. " A 93-car train derailed near Gallup, New Mexico just last week. Bringing high-level radioactive waste through our community risks our health, our lives and our land. We do not give consent for the transport or storage of this deadly waste here."
Some members of Congress want to force a nuclear waste dump to open in Nevada, over the objections of President Obama, the state of Nevada and the Western Shoshone Nation. The president has defunded the proposed Yucca Mountain repository since 2010, effectively abandoning the controversial project. Nevada believes the site is not suitable for storing nuclear waste and opposes the project. Nevada controls the land and water rights the federal government would need to complete the project. To overcome that obstacle, Congress would need to enact a law overriding the state’s rights. Doing so would then open the door for nuclear waste shipments to begin, and would likely increase the chances of " interim storage" in Texas or New Mexico.
"Congress should support the people of Nevada and abandon Yucca Mountain," said Karen Hadden, director of SEED Coalition. " It is unconscionable to risk the lives of people in Texas by transporting nuclear waste throughout our state just to dump it at Yucca Mountain, a site that science has not shown to be safe. The least risky path for now is to store radioactive waste securely on the site where it was generated, not put it on our roads and railways, traveling through our communities," concluded Hadden.
"We’re calling on Texas leaders to oppose Yucca Mountain and ensure that transportation of nuclear waste only occurs when there is a scientifically proven, environmentally sound, and socially responsible long-term management plan," said former State Representative Lon Burnam of Ft. Worth. " The nuclear waste problem can never truly be resolved until nuclear power plants are permanently shut down and stop generating deadly radioactive material." Large-scale nuclear waste transport would also occur if, as some in Congress advocate, a "centralized interim storage" site for high-level radioactive waste were created. In that case, the waste would either have to move twice (once to the interim site, and then to a permanent site), thus doubling the risks or the " interim" site would become a de facto permanent waste dump– without going through the necessary scientific characterization.
Texas is at risk of becoming a " centralized interim storage site" since two companies are proposing storage sites in West Texas. " Even the TCEQ’s report on high-level radioactive waste warns that Texas could become a de facto permanent waste site," said Tom " Smitty" Smith, director of Public Citizen’s Texas office. " Thorough scientific study is needed to research whether a suitable site even exists. Politics and generating false " consent" is not the right way to site a repository for high-level radioactive waste and will lead to disaster. We have a simple message – No Nuclear Waste Aqui."
More information and related documents:
States Potentially Affected by Shipments to Yucca Mountain, Nevada. By Fred Dilger, PhD. 2015. Report
prepared for the State of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects.
Based on data from U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) – Final Supplemental Environmental Impact
Statement for a Geologic Repository for the Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive
Waste at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada (FSEIS), Appendix G.
Additional Contact Info:
Former State Representative Lon Burnam, D-90, Ft. Worth, 817-721-5846
Patricia Golden, Van Horn, TX 432-284-0478
Rose Gardner, Eunice, NM (5 miles from WCS site) 575-390-9635
Humberto Acosta, Andrews, Texas 432-661-2011
Tom " Smitty" Smith, Public Citizen Texas, 512-797-8481
Karen Hadden, Sustainable Energy & Economic Development (SEED) Coalition, 512-797-8481