By Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Nukewatch Quarterly Summer 2020
Right now, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is planning a very dangerous change to the way radioactive waste from nuclear power is handled, creating a fictitious and deceptive name for nuclear reactor waste. Despite being extremely dangerous to human health and the environment, the NRC is trying to downplay Very Long-Lasting Waste by telling the Very Large Lie it is supposedly only “very low level”—or VLLW.
It is not. Disregarding the danger, the NRC proposes to allow regular landfill operators to dispose of this radioactive waste. The proposal would almost certainly result in more widespread radioactive waste leaks into our water, air, crops, and communities.
So-called VLLW is not clearly defined in law but includes extremely dangerous, long-lasting radioactive waste. The NRC claims only very “low levels” of radioactive waste would be disposed of with regular trash, but there is no safe level. Under the NRC’s proposed radiation exposure allowances, one in every 500 people will get cancer if exposed over their lifetimes.
Powerful players in the nuclear industry are pushing for this change because deregulating this waste would save them millions of dollars. Tell the NRC and your members of Congress: Protect public health, not the industry’s shareholders.
The NRC is taking this action behind the backs of the public, under the cover of the COVID-19 crisis, deregulating tons of radioactive waste without nearby communities knowing about it or having a say in it. Stand up to the nuclear industry and its friends at the NRC by telling them and your members of Congress not to dump radioactive waste in our landfills.
NIRS has updates about this issue at NIRS.org, or call (301) 270-6477.
—Diane D’Arrigo, May 28, 2020