Coal baron and pro-nuclear Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Republican Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) are pushing for bad legislation on nuclear waste and uranium mining. On Thursday, the Senate’s Energy & Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing to advance both bills. We need to nip them in the bud.
Both Manchin’s and Barrasso’s bills would be huge giveaways to Big Nuclear. Manchin’s bill would put thousands of hazardous shipments of highly-radioactive nuclear waste on our roads, rails, and waterways, all at taxpayers’ expense. Indigenous peoples, people of color, and poor, rural communities would be targeted for supposedly temporary (but probably permanent) above-ground radioactive waste dumps. People in over 80% of Congressional districts along the transportation routes would face radiation exposure and disaster risks for decades.
Sen. Barrasso’s bill would open the floodgates to toxic and unjust uranium mining and increase the risk of proliferating nuclear weapons. It would remove environmental protections for more highly-enriched uranium fuel (called HA-LEU) to be used in new types of nuclear power reactors. Specifically, the bill would allow uranium for HA-LEU to be mined on Indigenous lands, and provide no protections for drinking water. Enriching uranium fuel to such levels would also set a bad example for the rest of the world, potentially making it harder to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
Together we can stop these outrageous dangers to our health, environment, and safety.