Anti-nuclear groups begin New England tour on issues surrounding high-level waste

Citizens Awareness Network and other anti-nuclear activist groups have begun a tour through New England exploring the issue of high-level nuclear waste.

According to a news release, the tour will address “the abdication by the federal government and the nuclear industry of their responsibility for HLNW stranded at nuclear sites throughout the country.”

After kickoff events on Oct. 1 in Burlington and Montpelier, the tour will make stops in the Connecticut River Valley on Oct. 2 with an afternoon news conference in Brattleboro and an evening concert at Hawks & Reed in Greenfield, Mass., featuring the Wildcat O'Halloran Band.

Other stops on the tour, which concludes Oct. 6, include the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston and Plymouth, Mass., home to the Pilgrim nuclear power plant.

The tour brings four national-level speakers to discuss the issues of nuclear waste, present federal policy, and environmental justice. They are:

• Leona Morgan, a Navajo organizer from a New Mexico community affected by uranium mining and the nuclear fuel cycle.

• Karen Hadden, executive director at Sustainable Energy & Economic Development Coalition, Austin, Texas, who will address the targeting of West Texas for a proposed Centralized Interim Storage site for HLNW in Andrews County, Texas.

• Diane D'Arrigo, a radioactive waste project Director for the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, who will speak to the vulnerabilities of centralized interim storage of HLNW and federal policy.

• Deb Katz, executive director of Citizens Awareness Network, who will address the issues of NorthStar and Holtec in Vermont and Massachusetts, decommissioning, and hardened on-site nuclear waste storage at nuclear sites.

All will address the issues of environmental racism that pervade the nuclear industry's solutions.

According to CAN, centralized interim storage “is no solution; it's another attempt by the industry to make its waste problem 'disappear.' What is needed is a scientifically sound and environmentally just solution. Given how dangerous and long-lasting HLNW is, we must put our best minds to create the best solution.”

CAN says it calls for “the criteria of sound science and environmental justice” to drive any disposition plan, and that until a safe and permanent site can found, “HLNW must remain onsite at the reactors where it was created.”

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