Tuesday, September 30, 2008

EPA's stance on future generations: 'FRY 'EM'


For Immediate Release
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Contact: Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Watchdog,
Beyond Nuclear, 240-462-3216

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Will Allow Higher Doses of Harmful Radiation at Yucca Mountain Waste Site

TAKOMA PARK, MD - Sixteen years after Congress ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish radiation release regulations for the proposed high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the agency announced its final standards today. After reviewing the standards, Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Watchdog at Beyond Nuclear, issued the following statement:

“Incredibly, EPA would allow future generations to be exposed to significantly higher doses of harmful radiation than current generations are allowed. The EPA's 100 millirem per year distant future dose limit at Yucca represents a six to seven-fold increase in the allowable radioactivity exposure limits for current generations. This is immoral, attempting to legalize more harm to future generations than current generations are allowed to bear. This violates inter-generational equity, a long established ethical norm for the management of forever deadly radioactive wastes.

“EPA claims that its "standards are in line with approaches used in the international radioactive waste management community." But this is highly questionable, in that its 100 millirem per year permissible dose limit for distant future generations is four times higher than comparable standards around the world.

“EPA's final Yucca radiation release regulations are unacceptable. All human generations are of equal importance and moral worth. Generations living 10,000 years from now are as important as current generations, yet EPA would allow them to suffer six to seven times more harmful, cancer-causing radioactivity doses than allowed for current generations.

EPA's statement tries to downplay the harm its proposed 100 millirems per year radiation doses at Yucca would cause by stating that we currently average 360 millirems per year of exposure from natural and artificial radioactivity. What EPA fails to mention is our current exposure to 360 millirems of radiation kills many thousands of Americans each year with fatal cancer. EPA’s decision to allow an increase from 15 to 100 millirems per year downstream from Yucca Mountain dooms future generations to significantly increased rates of fatal cancer.

EPA's finalization of its Yucca regulations a month before the U.S. presidential elections shows just how politicized this issue has become. The Bush administration hopes to get the Yucca dump as far down the road as possible before leaving office as a favor to its friends and campaign contributors in the nuclear power industry. Opening the Yucca dump, despite its flagrant geologic unsuitability, is a top priority of the nuclear power industry which hopes to convince the American public that new reactors are a good idea.”

Kevin Kamps
Radioactive Waste Watchdog
Beyond Nuclear
6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 400
Takoma Park, Maryland 20912

Office phone: (301) 270-2209
Cell phone: (240) 462-3216
Fax: (301) 270-4000

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