NEIS sponsors a week of activities against premature, hazardous radioactive waste transport through Illinois

NEIS hosted a week of events and activities in response to recent House Congressional legislation that would prematurely place hazardous high-level radioactive waste (HLRW) on our roads, build expensive and unnecessary HLRW storage facilities in Texas and New Mexico, and would reopen development of the flawed site at Yucca Mt., Nevada as the nation’s HLRW disposal repository.

Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear

Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste specialist at Beyond Nuclear of Takoma Park, Maryland was the featured guest speaker at a number of events sponsored by NEIS in Chicago the week of November 12th.

Both Beyond Nuclear and NEIS are part of a national coalition of grassroots, environmental, anti-nuclear and environmental justice groups opposing the HLRW plans advocated in H.R. 3053, sponsored by Rep. John Shimkus (R., IL-15).  The bill – Amendments to the High-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act – passed the House in early 2018.  However, the Senate has not acted on the bill.  If the Senate does not take it up before Dec. 31st, 2018, the bill is dead and would have to be reintroduced into a now Democratic-controlled House in 2019.

The week got off to a poor start when both Sens. Richard Durbin and Tammy Duckworth declined to meet with Kamps and NEIS in Chicago before returning to the Senate for the year-end session.

Kamps was a guest speaker on “World View,” the award-winning show hosted by Jerome MacDonnell on WBEZ-FM radio, 91.5 Chicago.  Kamps went into considerable detail about how

Kamps (l.) and Jerome MacDonnell on WorldView

Chicago and Illinois are slated to become the rail and truck crossroads of the nation for HLRW shipments should the plans for the proposed  “centralized interim storage” (CIS) HLRW facilities in Texas and New Mexico, or the Yucca Mt. facility in NV, move forward in the Senate.

(NOTE: in 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers rated the condition of Illinois roads and rails a “D” and “D-“ respectively.  Worse, these barely passing ratings were better than the national averages.).  The program can be heard here.

Kamps later teamed up on a panel coupling the hazards of HLRW transport with the already experienced hazards of oil trains in a panel called “Crazy Trains,” held at the NEIS office in Chicago.  Charles Paidock, Secretary of the Chicago Greens, and a transportation lobbyist and railroad historian, provided information about the oil “bomb” trains.

Kamps was also the featured guest for NEIS’ second “3-min Nuclear Video” project.  The segment will be posted to the NEIS website and NEIS’ newly created YouTube channel soon.

Kamps was coming through Illinois on the final leg of his HLRW Midwest/Great Lakes Tour, conducted to alert residents of these states to the upcoming tremendous potential hazards resulting

Inflatable mock-HLRW shipping cask

from the massive shipment of HLRW across the country.  As part of the Tour, Kamps – and previously, activities in TX and NM – have been using an inflatable scale-model of a HLRW rail transport cask to call attention to the issue.  NEIS helped finance the construction of this cask, and will be displaying it in downtown Chicago soon as part of the effort to defeat unwise HLRW transport practices and proposals.■