About Us - National Radioactive Waste Coalition

About Us

National Radioactive Waste Coalition

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Mission Statement

The National Radioactive Waste Coalition will carry out a strategic plan to permanently block the Yucca Mountain Repository, stop consolidated interim storage, store high-level wastes as close as possible to their sites of generation in “hardened” safe-as-possible storage, and reduce the inherent dangers of high-level wastes at decommissioned nuclear plants and other sites.


Statement of Purpose

The National Radioactive Waste Coalition is committed to stopping the production and reprocessing of radioactive waste.

We believe the isolation of radioactive waste is critical for protecting all living things, from the tiniest organisms in the soil and water to all humans living on our planet and are committed to working to ensure that this isolation is accomplished. Radioactive waste must be maintained as close to where it was generated as possible and input from the local host community must be considered in regard to how the waste is stored. The transport of radioactive waste to an interim storage location or to Yucca Mountain is not acceptable.

Our work is grounded in respect for all people and we commit to rejecting oppressive solutions or actions and to preventing the creation of sacrifice zones.

We will fight to ensure that environmental racism is not used to decide where waste is stored and will work together to ensure that the recognized lands of indigenous people and tribes, especially sacred areas, are not used to store radioactive waste.

We will engage diverse people in the work of the campaign and find possible long-term solutions for waste storage. We will build solidarity through strong collaboration and by honoring the needs of local communities. We are committed to sharing skills and knowledge across organizations, age ranges and communities, so that all skills and knowledge are respected and integrated throughout our movement.

We will work to see that institutional memory, the lived experience, is passed on between people as a regular activity and are committed to non-violence and the equitable distribution of resources. Fundraising responsibilities will be shared and the results used throughout the movement to ensure that all communities can participate in our work together.

The nuclear generation of electricity is not carbon free. It is expensive, slow to install and creates the waste we are working to stop. It is not the answer to a carbon free future.

Working together we will hold the nuclear industry as well as government officials and agencies accountable for their actions. We will also hold them accountable for enforcing our laws and for honoring treaties to keep us all as safe as possible.

Principles We Are Committed to as a Movement: Guiding Principles for Humane and Equitable Nuclear Waste Policy

The NRWC has developed six principles that can apply to federal policy and legislation on nuclear power fuel chain radioactive waste. These principles guide our work, inform our decision-making, and maintain our focus on the goals of the Coalition. They also apply to federal policy and legislation on nuclear power fuel chain radioactive waste.

  1. Stop Making Nuclear Waste
    Nuclear Energy has created a vast Nuclear Waste Legacy, which has contaminated and continues to contaminate our environment, threatening public health now and for many generations into the future. After more than 70 years, the nuclear industry and the government still have not developed a safe, equitable, and cost-effective way to prevent the adverse and intergenerational effects of nuclear waste. We cannot continue adding to this intractable problem; we must stop making nuclear waste by stopping/preventing new sources of nuclear waste and discontinuing existing sources.
  2. Prioritize Human Health and Environmental Protection
    Our country’s nuclear waste decision-making policy must protect public health and safety andthe environment, not nuclear industry profits and subsidies. The foundations of nuclear waste
    policy must therefore be grounded in environmental and public health principles; racial, gender, and intergenerational justice and equity; sound science; and independent regulation and oversight.
  3. Acknowledge and Combat Environmental Racism and Injustice
    For decades, Indigenous peoples, communities of color, and working-class communities across our country have been forced to bear the burdens of the nuclear industry. Imposing these burdens on these communities is a result of systemic racism and environmental injustice. Nuclear waste policy must advance environmental justice and equity, honor tribal treaties, and protect Indigenous Peoples’ rights.
  4. Stop Subsidizing the Sources of Nuclear Waste
    We must stop subsidizing the private corporations that create nuclear waste and instead give communities the resources they need to address and remediate the adverse impacts caused by the waste. This is one of the most important means of dismantling the inequities that exist between the nuclear industry and the people who bear the burdens of nuclear waste.
  1. Protect and Support Communities Already Adversely Affected
    The nuclear industry has left communities across our country with economic dependence and generations of nuclear waste and no solutions for safe and effective treatment, transport, or storage. We must invest in solutions and provide direct resources to protect the communities that have already been asked to bear too much of the burden by storing the nuclear industry’s waste. Additionally, transportation of nuclear waste is inherently dangerous to communities all along the shipment routes, and should be done once, at most, only once as safely as possible.
  2. Communities Must Have the First and Last Word
    Top-down and corporate decision-making regarding new nuclear waste siting has failed for decades, putting corporate interests ahead of democracy, justice, equity, and sound science. Decisions about new nuclear waste storage and transportation must begin and end with the communities that will be adversely affected by a proposed decision. Community-centric decisions will be founded in the confidence that those most directly affected can best protect the interests of community members.

The subcommittees working on the National Coordinating Committee proposal and on Indigenous Peoples’ Laws & Treaties have also proposed that the campaign commit to the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing that is included in Appendix VII.B. and online HERE

Meet the National Coordinating Committee

The NCC is the delegated supervisory and governing committee for the Coalition. Its members come from member organizations. It is responsible for implementing the Coalition’s Strategic Plan, and handling administrative matters for the Coalition.

David Kraft

Dave Kraft is director and co-founder of the 43-year old Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS)  in Chicago Illinois.  He was born and spent most of his life in the Chicago area, except for a 4-year stint in Hamburg, Germany.  He studied astronomy and psychology at University, after which he worked in community mental health facilities for nine years.  He came to the nuclear power issue totally by accident – Three Mile Island.

NEIS is currently the only Illinois environmental organization working full-time on nuclear power and waste issues.  Its 4 main programs deal with:  nuclear reactor issues; radioactive waste; nuclear not being a climate solution; and general nuclear power issues.  NEIS also advocates for more renewables, efficiency, storage and improved transmission as viable alternatives to nuclear power.

NEIS initiated programs like the monthly “Night with the Experts” and “Meme the Media” ZOOM programs, and its “Nuclear is NOT a Climate Solution” project (sine 1999); and has been a founding partner in other projects like the (now defunct) Radiation Monitoring Project, and the National Radioactive Waste Campaign.

To prevent nuclear demons from taking over, he raises orchids, and watches the sky a lot; with a dash of biking and camping as needed.  Lists of favorite books, movies and people available on request.

NEIS can be reached at: www.neis.org’ neis@neis.org;  (773) 342-7650

Deb Katz 

Deborah Katz, CSW is executive director of Citizens Awareness Network, a non -profit, grassroots New England organization fighting for clean air, democracy, and environmental justice. CAN was instrumental in the closure of reactors in MA, VT and CT. Katz designed the community health study with the MA Department of Health, organized local community participation and secured pro bono support from Harvard School of Public Health, USGS, Clark University, and John Snow Institute to investigate the epidemic of disease in her community brought on by long term exposure to radioactive releases from a nuclear power reactor. She coordinated environmental justice tours to Utah, Nevada, Washington, DC and South Carolina, three Action Camps (0ver 1,000 organizers participated) and  national People’s Summits on Nuclear Waste.  Katz won a Giraffe Award for sticking her neck out to protect New England reactor communities.  The House of Representative from the Commonwealth of MA cited her for outstanding leadership and service in the public health field. Katz is an author who published Valley of the Shadow, a picture book on the grief process for the left behind.

Jenn Galler 

Jenn Galler is a Community Organizer with Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League in Baltimore, MD. She has been working on nuclear justice issues since 2019, with this coalition being some of her first exposure. She participated in Peace Camps doing direct actions against the U.S. nuclear sharing agreement in Germany and the Netherlands. Currently, she is also in grad school for Environmental Science and Policy at Johns Hopkins University. 

Leigh Ford 

Leigh is a 4th generation Idahoan and loves to travel, but like a salmon, Idaho always draws her back. Both her grandfathers worked at the Idaho National Laboratory so she has deep emotional ties to the surrounding area and the water beneath it. Leigh feels strongly that she needs to do her part to help support the clean up of nuclear waste and protect it for future generations. “Water is more precious than any resource I can imagine and I intend on defending and protecting it in any way I can. I want my children to experience the beauty of our state and to always want to come home to the clean water and fresh air Idaho offers.”

Mays Smithwick

Mays Smithwick is the NRWC Coordinator. Mays grew up in Colorado, situated between the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains. They completed their undergraduate degree in the Global Studies department at Eugene Lang College the New School for Liberal Arts with a double minor in Philosophy and Cultural Studies. They received a MA degree from the Department of Experimental Humanities at New York University. Their ongoing research explores nuclear colonialism in the United States. Mays has worked with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons to coordinate the Second Meeting of the States Parties to the TPNW and Nuclear Ban Week New York, and they are a member of the New York Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Mays can be reached at mayssmithwick@gmail.com

Cee’ Cee’ AndersonGeorgia-WAND

Eileen Shaughnessy
Demand Nuclear Abolition (DNA) – formerly the Nuclear Issues Study Group (NISG)

Jesse Deer In Water
Citizens’ Resistance at Fermi

Nancy Vann
Safe Energy Rights Group (SEnRG)

Marilyn Elie
Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition

Rose Gardner
Alliance for Environmental Strategies

Tim Judson
Nuclear Information and Resource Service

Karen Hadden
SEED Texas