“We are seventy years into the atomic age and we still do not have a basic solution to the radioactive waste problem,” Kevin Kamps told TheFightBack yesterday at a Halloween-themed protest outside the U.S. Department of Energy, which oversees the country’s nuclear industry, or at least it’s supposed to.
Kamps, who’s the radioactive waste watchdog for the organization Beyond Nuclear, was in costume as Mr. Burns, The Simpsons’ character who is the unscrupulous owner of the fictional Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. The protest coincided with the final day of public comment on a draft report of the 15-member Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future.
“They give lip service to public involvement, but what they’ve come up with is a wish list for the nuclear power industry in terms of its radioactive waste liability,” Kamps said of the Commission. “Blind to the obvious dangers so dramatically on display at [the recent meltdown of Japan’s nuclear power plant at] Fukushima, the Commission report proclaims fuel pools and waste casks at reactor sites ‘safe,'” notes Beyond Nuclear.
The conclusion of the Commission isn’t surprising when considering its composition: “[It’s] loaded with hand-picked friends of the nuclear industry like Exelon CEO John Rowe; former Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Richard Meserve; and long-time Congressional booster [and] retired Senator Pete Domenici,” explained Beyond Nuclear in a flier distributed at the protest.
The ongoing nuclear horror that Fukushima has become makes clear that much is at stake with nuclear power. “Fukushima will never be the same, like Chernobyl before it,” said Kamps. He noted that “the risks are greater here in the U.S. than they are at Fukushima Daiichi [because] the pools here are much more full of radioactive waste than there.”
If the U.S. media continues to pay scant attention to the serious issues surrounding nuclear power, it may not be a matter of if, but when, a nuclear horror is visited on the American people. In an effort to avoid this, Beyond Nuclear has launched a “Freeze Our Fukushimas!” campaign which calls “for the suspension of the 23 Fukushima-style reactors operating in the U.S.”
But it’s not just the Fukushima-style reactors that are problematic. Beyond Nuclear points out what should be painfully obvious, particularly to regulators: “THE FIRST SOLUTION TO THE RADIOACTIVE WASTE PROBLEM IS TO STOP MAKING ANY MORE OF IT!!”
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