Reprinted with permission from Beyond Nuclear
On June 9, the U.S. Department of Energy named 13 consortia, each to receive $2 million in federal taxpayer funding, to help push the DOE’s so-called “consent-based siting” of a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for highly radioactive waste. The funding will be directed to “groups of university, nonprofit, and private-sector partners” who will help communities decide that they want to be the recipients of the country’s waste reactor fuel. Having abjectly failed to find any safe, long-term radioactive waste management “solution” — possibly because there is none — while also failing to halt the production of radioactive waste, the DOE has now moved to what it calls “consent-based siting.” Ironically, Holtec is the “lead” of one “project team” funded by the DOE, even though the company is trying to force a private CISF on New Mexico, despite a clear lack of consent from the state. Given the three tribal affiliated groups, and three Indigenous Nations, being funded as consortia members, it appears the DOE will target Native American communities once again, as it did in the late 1980s and early 1990s. If past examples are any indicator, the “consenting” communities are likely to be those most deprived of resources, especially Indigenous communities and communities of color, who may feel pressured to accept the DOE largesse along with the deadly hazards of living alongside high-level radioactive waste.
— Beyond Nuclear, June 11, 2023