Protect Oregon from Becoming a Nuclear Waste Dump

On Monday, February 13th at 3:00, House Bill 2215, “the Nuclear Waste Dump bill” will be heard in Oregon’s House Climate, Energy, and Environment committee. [Update: this hearing on this bill has been carried over until Monday, February 20th, 3:00 pm. Written testimony will be accepted until 3:00 pm Wednesday, February 22nd.]

This bill, along with its Senate companion bill, (SB 676) seek to overturn the will of the people of Oregon established by ballot measure in 1980. That 1980 measure prohibited the construction of nuclear power plants in Oregon until an adequate, national high level radioactive waste repository is federally licensed, and then the proposed nuclear plant in Oregon would be subject to statewide voter approval. If HB 2215 becomes law and is passed by Oregon voters, it would allow the siting and operation of commercial nuclear power plants in Oregon, even though there is no federally licensed repository for its high-level nuclear waste. 

From the mining of uranium on indigenous land, to radioactive waste dumped in environmental justice communities, nuclear power including new “Small Modular Nuclear Reactors” (SMNRs), is an unjust energy source, and a false solution to the climate crisis that distracts from clean and just renewable energy development. It has no place in Oregon where the voters have already rejected it. Let’s not waste our time and resources on this dirty and outdated technology. 

According to renowned energy expert and Stanford Professor Mark Jacobson, new nuclear plants are too slow to build and too expensive compared with wind and solar, in Jacobson’s view: “You end up waiting 15 to 20 years longer, for a seven to eight times higher electricity price – it just makes no sense. Even if they improve [build times], say to 12 years, that’s still way too long. We have cheaper, faster, safer technologies. Why waste time?”

Take action: submit your testimony to oppose HB 2215. Written testimony is accepted until 48 hours after the hearing (meaning it's due by 3:00 pm on Wednesday, February 15th). [Update: this hearing on this bill has been carried over until Monday, February 20th, 3:00 pm. Written testimony will be accepted until 3:00 pm Wednesday, February 22nd.]

Possible talking points to include: 

  • Environmental Justice: Nuclear energy is extractive energy, and not part of a Just Transition. The vast majority of uranium mining in the US and around the world has been done on Indigenous land with Indigenous communities suffering from the health impacts. Nuclear production and waste storage often occurs near low-income communities and communities of color. Nuclear energy is a false solution to the climate crisis
  • Too Expensive: Nuclear Reactors, including Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMNRs) are prohibitively expensive and take enormous amounts of money away from proven, cost-effective clean energy sources such as solar and wind.
  • Creates Radioactive Waste: the U.S. still doesn’t have a site for safe disposal of nuclear waste and will not for the foreseeable future. SMNRs create more radioactive waste per kilowatt of electricity generated than conventional nuclear reactors. Many Oregon communities are downriver from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the most toxic clean up site in the Western hemisphere, thanks to nuclear waste. The last thing we need to do is create more of this waste here in Oregon. 
  • Safety: All reactors are prone to accidents and disasters, like the case in Fukushima in 2011. It’s not worth the safety risk.

Submit your testimony now to send a clear message: Don’t turn Oregon into a nuclear waste dump!