This year’s DC trip with the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) was a whirlwind of activity. 

After training, we dove headfirst into meetings, starting with the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. Our intern, Danika Lustre, challenged them with a crucial question: how will they gain consent from future generations who won’t benefit from the energy but inherit the waste? Her question left them speechless.

Marcina Langrine and Corinne Salter, Marshallese Youth Reps

Pictured above left to right: Marcina Langrine and Corinne Salter, Marshallese Youth Representatives

Throughout the week, we met with leaders from key states, as well as another meeting with DOE, this time with Ike White and the Office of Environmental Management. For the first time, youth allies from the Marshall Islands joined us in DC, sharing their heart wrenching story of being used as human guinea pigs during Cold War US nuclear testing. Their powerful message serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of nuclear weapons and the ongoing need to help victims through the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA).

Another highlight was teaming up with Don Hancock from the Southwest Research and Information Center to meet with Rep. Mike Simpson’s office. We challenged the false claims that “advanced” reactors solve waste issues or climate change. We advocated for spending more on cleaning up radioactive sites, like Idaho National Laboratory, and less on creating more waste. We also emphasized the importance of RECA’s expansion and extension.

Despite concerns about the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act’s future, we expressed gratitude for Representative Simpson’s support in extending and expanding the program.

This trip was invaluable. We reconnected with allies, made new friends, and strengthened our united front against a radioactive future.