Donate! Alliance Logo

Latest News

After numerous disclosures about releases and discharges from the US nuclear weapons complex that harmed public health and safety, Congress created the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) in 1988. Its statutory mission is to “provide independent analysis, advice, and recommendations to the Secretary of Energy to inform the Secretary, in the role of the Secretary as operator and regulator of the defense nuclear facilities of the Department of Energy, in providing adequate protection of public health and safety at defense nuclear facilities.”

Though the Board is far more active at DOE’s current nuclear weapons facilities, it plays a role at the Idaho National Laboratory. For instance, it monitors the progress, or lack thereof, at the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit, which has thus far failed to solidify INL’s liquid high-level waste.

The DNFSB’s ability to provide adequate oversight would be compromised if the Department of Energy succeeds in limiting its access to information. The Snake River Alliance always comes down on the side of government openness, and we joined our colleagues in the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability to push back on DOE Order 2401.1. You can read more at http://www.ananuclear.org/the-nuclear-free-frontpage/2018/8/26/ana-sends-letter-to-sec-perry-in-defense-of-dnfsb and https://www.propublica.org/article/nuclear-safety-board-slams-energy-department-plan-to-weaken-oversight.

BOISE, Idaho (August 23rd, 2018) — A proposal by the federal Department of Energy to ship about 33,600 barrels of nuclear waste to the Idaho National Laboratory has sparked citizen outrage across southern Idaho. The proposed shipments could start coming from Hanford, Washington, as early as 2019, and could violate terms of Idaho’s 1995 Nuclear Waste Agreement.

Since April, citizen concerns have been raised on Don’t Waste Idaho.org about the potential for these plutonium-contaminated materials to come to Idaho and remain here for years. The campaign has included public meetings, rallies and an online petition. Now, the Snake River Alliance has purchased advertising space on billboards across southern Idaho, encouraging people to call Idaho’s Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and stop nuclear waste.

Tracy Andrus, daughter of former Governor Cecil D. Andrus, is an advisor to the Don’t Waste Idaho campaign. “My father spent his life trying to keep Idaho from becoming the nation’s nuclear waste dumping ground,” said Andrus.

“The Department of Energy has been trying to circumvent Governor Batt’s agreement since the ink was dry. We need Attorney General Wasden to stand firm. Any backing away from our hard-won protections could open the door for long-term storage of everyone else’s nuclear waste above the drinking water of most of southern Idaho.”

Julie Hoefnagels, president of the board of the Snake River Alliance, has carried petitions to farmers’ markets and other events. “We’ve talked with lots of folks across the state who are worried,” said Hoefnagels. “Many people don’t know the history here. Hundreds of tons of nuclear waste were dumped in Idaho over decades, and liquid waste was even pumped into the aquifer. We are still in the middle of a $20 billion Idaho cleanup project. If Idaho doesn’t enforce our existing agreement, the Hanford waste could end up staying here as well.”

Wendy Wilson, executive director of Snake River Alliance, says transporting the plutonium-laced waste from Hanford across Oregon and Idaho could also be dangerous. “We haven’t received detailed information about how they propose to move these materials. Much of this waste is uncharacterized and potentially flammable. If there is a truck accident on a public highway, it could be just about anybody’s family in the next lane.”

The group has collected more than 2,000 petition signatures urging Attorney General Wasden to hold the Department of Energy to the terms of the 1995 Nuclear Waste Settlement Agreement and ensure the federal government cleans up the nuclear waste above the Snake River Aquifer.

“This is not a problem our Attorney General should be facing alone. We hope Idaho legislators, mayors and city council members will also stand up and voice their concerns,” said Wilson.

The Snake River Alliance raised funds online for six billboards in Boise and Twin Falls.

ABOUT Don’t Waste Idaho is supported by the Snake River Alliance, Idaho’s grassroots nuclear watchdog and clean energy advocate. The campaign’s Advisory group includes: Former aide to Democratic Governor Cecil Andrus Marc Johnson, Tracy Andrus of Eagle, Former state Representative Donna Pence (D-Gooding), Buhl-based farmers Leslee and James Reed, Twin Falls City Councilman Chris Talkington and Gary Richardson of Boise. Learn more at DontWasteIdaho.com or by calling (208) 344 9161.

Written by Hannah Smay

Each spring for the last 30 years, members of the Snake River Alliance have been part of a special group of concerned citizens that descend upon Capitol Hill for a week to promote peace, human health, and the environment. This May was my first time joining the inspiring crew of activists from the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) in Washington D.C. for the 30th Anniversary DC Days.

ANA is comprised of over 30 organizations from across the country living downstream or downwind of our nation’s nuclear facilities such as Hanford, Washington and Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Each group is concerned about the consequences of U.S. nuclear policies in their community. There was a sense of instant camaraderie in the group of activists. I found myself becoming fast friends not only with other first-timers, but also with the seasoned activists who, like my mom Liz Paul, have been lobbying for ANA since the 1980s.

These citizen lobbyists act as local, regional, and national watchdogs, putting pressure on the government to clean up nuclear waste and contaminated areas. They are advocating for nonproliferation and disarmament, opposing the risky transportation of radioactive materials on our nation’s roads and railways, and fighting against the expansion of nuclear weapons and energy production.

After a day of training where we learned the ropes of citizen lobbying and the issues at stake, ANA’s multigenerational activists dispersed across the hill for over 90 meetings with senators, representatives, staff, and key government officials from the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy.

With fellow Idahoans from the Snake River Alliance – Beatrice, Amy, Terry, Liz, and Dave –  I met with Congressman Simpson and Senator Crapo to discuss the future of nuclear waste and nuclear energy in Idaho. We voiced our opposition to the funding and development of small modular reactors at Idaho National Lab, which don’t make financial sense but would produce intensely hazardous and persistent waste with nowhere to go.

We also campaigned against plans to transport Hanford’s waste across the Snake River Plain to be treated at Idaho National Lab. This would be a potential violation of the 1995 Nuclear Settlement Agreement (learn more at https://www.dontwasteidaho.com/). Even when Congressman Simpson tried to evade some of the hard questions, we held our ground. We made sure he knew that his constituents – including nurses like Terry, and millennials like me — won’t stay silent about the nuclear dangers in our backyards and headwaters.

We told Idaho’s members of Congress that we want them to secure sufficient funding for the estimated $400 billion clean-up needed for Cold War nuclear weapons wastes. We asked them not to sink taxpayer dollars into redundant, dangerous small modular reactors and waste “solutions” like the permanent high-level waste repository proposed at Yucca Mountain, a plan resurrected by the Trump administration despite decades of research deeming the site unfit.

In addition, ANA activists demanded smarter, safer policies about nuclear weapons. We said NO to new, low-yield nuclear bombs that only increase the chance of nuclear war. We asked Congress to sponsor bills in both the House and Senate to restrain the president’s authority to launch a nuclear first strike and move to a “no first use” policy.

After our long days walking the marble floors of Capitol Hill and advocating for responsible, peaceful nuclear policies, we had a lot to celebrate! Under the shadow of the Supreme Court, we raised our glasses to honor 30 years of tireless nuclear advocacy in D.C. In a room with a view of the thunderclouds over the Washington Monument, we applauded Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey and California Representative Barbara Lee who inspired us to keep fighting for peace and planet.

It was empowering to be among such dedicated, encouraging folks all coming together for a safer and cleaner future.  I’m already looking forward to the next 30 years of D.C. Days!

Radioactive RoadshowThe Radioactive Waste Roadshow will be in the Boise 4th of July Parade from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. Join us downtown and show your support for the Don’t Waste Idaho Radioactive Zombies that will be walking alongside the Roadshow!

Watch for the Radioactive Roadshow float! Volunteers (and friendly zombies) with clipboards will be there so you can add your name to the petition to keep out-of-state nuclear waste from coming to Idaho. We the People will send our message loud and clear…Don’t Waste Idaho!

Friday, June 8, in Twin Falls, the Alliance hosted a rally against the proposed shipment of nuclear waste to Idaho from Hanford Washington. Watch here

Help us stop this potentially dangerous action. Sign the petition or volunteer to get involved at Dont Waste Idaho