By Mary Hladky

Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear sounded the alarm recently about large amounts of dangerous nuclear waste passing through Kansas City unless we work to stop it. Speaking March 21 at the Rime Buddhist Center in KC MO, Kamps said legislation is being discussed to ship nuclear waste from eastern states (75 percent of U.S. nuclear reactors are east of the Mississippi) to western states, with much of this traffic passing through KC.

The containers used for these rail and semi-trailer-truck shipments have been called into question, many being defective. Kamps advocates hardened on-site storage (HOSS) close to the point of generation instead of moving nuclear waste across the country. We need to eliminate nuclear power plants and their current waste storage pools (not HOSS) for many reasons:  

    • There are 125 nuclear reactors in the U.S. They have produced enormous amounts of waste that will remain radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years, with nowhere to safely put it.   
    • Accidents, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, or other disasters can trigger a nuclear accident. The current historic flooding of the Missouri River threatens the Cooper nuclear power plant in Nebraska. Cooper continues to operate at full capacity with record flood levels, which is potentially very dangerous to human life. There are three nuclear power plants on the Missouri River.  
    • Nuclear plants and the waste storage sites are national security threats as they are potential targets for terrorist operations.
  • There is an increased cancer risk to people living near or working in power plants, and for millions of people exposed to nuclear waste traveling through the U.S. via railways, highways, and waterways.  

We all need to do our part to prevent nuclear waste from traveling across the country. We need to make our objections clear to our legislators. PeaceWorks KC and Beyond Nuclear are both good places to keep on top of this issue.  

—Mary Hladky is vice chair of the PeaceWorks Board. Ron Faust took the picture of Kamps showing off his prop (not able to upload, Google Picture substituted), an inflatable “cask” to hold radioactive waste.