USA : Country Update : 20 May 2018

The following is a summary of key recent events, activity and announcements from the US over the past week.  Full media reports and other links to these events and news announcements can be found on our international media page.  Scroll through the international media page for the date on which the event or announcement occurred to read the relevant article.

In addition to continuing comment on the US House of Representative’s vote on Yucca, the following has been reported in US media:

US Government changes policy on plutonium use and storage

US Energy Department has decided not to progress with a MOX processing facility in South Carolina, because it is cheaper to permanently dispose of the material at WIPP (13 May).

WIPP supports local shoolchildren

WIPP allowed a local high-school to test their robots underground before the students competed in an international robotics competition (13 May).

Newspaper editorial in support of geological disposal

Editorials in Arkansas media (14 May) and Connecticut newspaper (15 May).

Democrat Senatorial candidate caught “lying”

Democrat challenger to incumbent Dean Heller in November’s US Senate elections in Nevada accuses Heller of actually voting to fund Yucca Mountain, but her claims fact-checked and dismissed by leading US political magazine (14 May).

Ban on geological disposal near Great Lakes

Local media report on Michigan congressional delegation success in getting US House of Representatives to support a ban on geological repositories for radioactive waste on both sides of the border around the Great Lakes (14 May).

Alaska’s only nuclear plant to be decommissioned

Plant to be decommissioned rather than ‘mothballed’ because temporary facilities to store radioactive waste will not provide the long-term protection required (15 May).

Republican calls for ‘rebranding’ of Yucca Mountain project

Republican candidates for state-level elections would all prefer to find alternative uses for Yucca Mountain site and new ways to regenerate local economy.  One candidate says “Yucca” has become a toxic name and the site needs rebranding (15 May).

Oregon Congressman hopes to fast-track Yucca Mountain

Oregon congressman fears an environmental catastrophe if waste is stored on the surface is not quickly disposed of safely deep underground (16 May).

New Mexico lawmakers question Holtec International

Holtec International aggressively questioned by New Mexico’s Interim Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee over their planned temporary radioactive waste storage facility (17 May).

Ohio does not want radioactive waste stored at decommissioned site

Local opposition to the plan to store radioactive waste indefinitely on the site of the old Piketon nuclear facility in Ohio (17 May).

US Department of Energy approves a new US$288m ventilation system for WIPP

The increased ventilation will allow waste emplacement activities to be performed at the same time as mining and maintenance operations.  The system was recommended following the underground ruptured package incident in 2014 (17 May).

Nuclear-Waste Tax Case in Court

Florida nuclear power company Nextera seeking to claim US$100m tax refund by arguing that radioactive waste storage and disposal costs are tax deductible (17 May).

Nevada congressman criticised by constituents for opposing Yucca Mountain

In an open letter to Rep Mark Amodei, resident Resident complains that Amodei does not represent local opinion and interests by voting against Yucca Mountain (17 May).

West Valley, NY remains safe for nuclear waste

A local geologist claims research conducted by the New York State Geological Survey during the 1960s reveals that the locally-disputed West Valley site is safe in geological terms (18 May).

More public comment allowed on proposed temporary nuclear waste site in New Mexico

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has scheduled additional public meetings in New Mexico regarding Holtec International’s proposal to build a facility to store radioactive waste (18 May).