Tuesday, October 27, 2015

New Map shows Maryland would be a Corridor for Extremely Dangerous and Radioactive Nuclear Waste Shipments

Crabshell Alliance, 325 East 25th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218

New Map shows Maryland would be a Corridor for Extremely Dangerous and Radioactive Nuclear Waste Shipments


Contacts: Gwen DuBois 410-615-0717 or Max Obuszewski 410-366-1637/727-543-3227 or mobuszewski at verizon.net

WHO:  Members of the Crabshell Alliance and Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility in Baltimore and other groups around the country are concerned about the dangers of shipping highly radioactive wastes around the country and on thoroughfares. Go to www.crabshellalliance.org.

WHAT:  Crabshell and PSR have released maps of the likely routes radioactive shipments would use, joining dozens of environmental and clean energy groups across the country. It seems that nuclear waste shipments would travel from Calvert Cliffs to the port of Baltimore if plans for the country’s first nuclear waste repository in Nevada move forward. It would take an estimated 326 barge trips to move the nuclear waste. The groups want state residents to weigh in with Congress about the dangers.

Each shipment could contain several times more radioactive material than the Hiroshima bomb blast released, 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. The Crabshell Alliance & PSR will gather to highlight these dangers.

WHEN: From 12:30 to 1:30 PM on Tuesday, October 27, 2015

WHERE: Outside the CSX Tunnel, Howard and Lombard Streets, near Camden Yards, where a chemical fire burned out of control in 2001 

WHY:  “Maryland is not ready for mass transportation of nuclear waste” said Dr. Gwen DuBois, representing both the Crabshell Alliance and Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility. “First responders are not even trained to handle a rad waste accident. We have all witnessed horrible oil train derailments and explosions in recent months. An accident involving tons of nuclear waste in Baltimore could force thousands of people to evacuate their homes, schools, and businesses and radioactively-contaminate dozens of square miles,” DuBois concluded. A horrific fire took place in 2001 in the CSX Tunnel at Howard Street when chemicals on a train exploded in a fire ball. Imagine what might have happened if that train had been carrying nuclear waste!

  Some in Congress want to force a nuclear waste dump to open in Nevada, over President Obama’s and the state’s objections as well as that of  the Western Shoshone Nation. The president has defunded the proposed Yucca Mountain repository since 2010, effectively abandoning the controversial project, while Nevada believes the  site is not suitable for storing nuclear waste and opposes the project. Nevada controls 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 the nuclear waste shipments to begin.

“Congress should support the people of Nevada and abandon Yucca Mountain,” said Max Obuszewski, also with the Crabshell Alliance and Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility. “It is unconscionable to risk the lives of Maryland’s residents transporting nuclear waste through the Chesapeake Bay, just to dump it at Yucca Mountain, where we know it will leak anyway. We need real solutions to nuclear waste, and we are never going to get there until Congress abandons Yucca Mountain. Until then, the waste can be stored more securely where it is now, without putting it on our roads and railways, traveling through our communities,” concluded Obuszewski.

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.

Crabshell and PSR are calling on Governor Larry Hogan to oppose Yucca Mountain and ensure transportation of nuclear waste only occurs when there is a scientifically proven, environmentally sound, and socially responsible long-term management plan. The nuclear waste problem can never truly be resolved until nuclear power plants are permanently shut down and stop generating radioactive material. New reactors would only exacerbate the problem: more dump sites would need to be created, and the transportation of lethal atomic waste would have to continue indefinitely.


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