Caravan of Mock Nuclear Waste Transportation Casks Converges at Capitol to Join Lawmakers and Activists in Fight Against Yucca Mountain
Senators and Environmental Leaders Urge Rejection of Dangerous Nuclear Transportation Scheme
CALIFORNIA CITIZENS ENCOURAGED TO TAKE ACTION AT NUCLEARNEIGHBORHOODS.ORG
Washington, D.C. - With giant replicas of radioactive waste transportation casks as a backdrop, national environmental, public interest and consumer groups joined lawmakers and activists at a press conference and rally to urge the Senate to reject the dangerous proposal to transport high-level nuclear waste to a dump at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. A final vote in the Senate is expected within the next month.
The caravan of six casks converged at the Capitol today after a three-week national tour across the country in an effort to alert citizens who live near the projected nuclear waste transportation routes. Each dumbbell-shaped cask is 20 feet long and seven feet tall, a life-size replication of the actual casks that would be travelling on the nation's highways, railways, and waterways for up to 38 years if the Yucca Mountain Project is approved.
"We have been overwhelmed by the response of local communities as we've driven through town after town in the last few weeks," said Amy Shollenberger, an activist from Vermont who drove one of the casks through New England and the Midwest. "We've come to Washington to deliver the message that people across the country are worried about the prospect of regular shipments of deadly nuclear waste through their communities."
Activists presented a statement endorsed by more than 200 citizens groups opposing the Yucca Mountain Project.
Leaders of national environmental and public interest organizations emphasized the dangers of transporting high-level nuclear waste and problems with the Yucca Mountain site itself, calling last Friday's earthquake in southern Nevada "a wake-up call from Mother Nature."
"The Department of Energy's Yucca Mountain recommendation fails to address transportation concerns," said Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen. "Shipping tens of thousands of tons of nuclear waste in untested casks to a questionable site, as currently proposed, poses risks that cannot be justified. An accident or attack involving just one of these shipments could be catastrophic."
"We are extremely concerned that these mobile Chernobyls-- more than 100 thousand shipments of waste-- will move across America for four decades, past our homes and past our children's schools," said Gene Karpinski, executive director of U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
Senators Harry Reid, assistant majority leader from Nevada and John Ensign (R-Nev.) spoke at today's event. Other participants included representatives of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, Clean Water Action, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, League of Women Voters, National Environmental Trust, Nuclear Information Resource Service, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Public Citizen, Safe Energy Communication Council, Sierra Club, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, and Women's Action for New Directions.
Lisa Gue, Public Citizen, 202-454-5130
Kevin Kamps, NIRS, 202-328-0002