Response to Melanie anti-nuclear article #3 – Fukushima vs. ELEA/Holtec CISF

Paragraph 1 – about explosions: Yes, there was a hydrogen explosion and destruction with some minor injuries outside of the nuclear containment structure. There was no injuries from radiation exposure. Just recently, two people lost their lives here in SENM when a G&O pumper storage tanks blew up. No outrage about the hundreds that die every year from G&O accidents. Nuclear is by far safer, and a whole lot cleaner to the environment.

Paragraph 2 – tsunami was the disaster: Yes, there were multiple disasters on March 11, 2011 starting with the worst earthquake (9.1) recorded that impacted Japan enough to automatically shutter all 45 nuclear reactors safely, as designed. Then one of the largest tsunamis to hit the east coast of Japan occurred and destroyed miles of coastline and inland killing ~20,000 people that were not able to get to higher ground. The tsunamis also flooded everything including the backup electricity needed to keep the nuclear reactor cooling system operational. The complete lack of power caused the reactors to heat up and melt the fuel rod inside the reactor core which reminded completely sealed. The government’s reaction to the meltdown ordered a ~40 km evacuation which cause tremendous stress on many people where another ~1,300 people actually died (heart attacks and suicides). In hindsight, only 10km was needed and these people did not need to be evacuated and would have survived.

Paragraph 3-4 – not all radiation is bad: Yes, there was low levels of radiation release both in the air and into the sea. There are roughly 30 thousand-trillion Becquerel (PetaBecquerel) of Fukushima radioactivity in the Pacific Ocean….a number so colossal it is hard to get one’s mind around it. Let’s compare that to the isotopic levels we would find in the Pacific Ocean if Fukushima never happened. Here are the top five… (1)
1 – Potassium-40 = 7.4 billion-trillion Bq
2 – Uranium, isotopes 238 and 235 = 22 million-trillion Bq
3 – Rubidium-87 = 700 million-trillion Bq
4 – Carbon-14 = 3 million-trillion Bq
5 – Tritium (Hydrogen-3) = 370 thousand-trillion Bq.
Although 30 thousand-trillion (Fukushima’s number) is an astonishing number in-itself, when we compare it to the roughly billions-of-trillions of Becquerels that exist naturally, it literally takes the scare-factor out of the equation. Nuclear energy opponents often use big, scary Fukushima numbers in isolation from what we find in nature because it shocks people and fulfills the antinuclear agenda. When placed in a real-world context, the impact diminishes mightily.

Paragraph 5 – Fukushima is safe today: Foods from Fukushima farms were banned from the Japanese marketplace until a monitoring program could be put in place to insure safety. Some species of seafood were found to exceed Japan’s highly-restrictive limits for marketing, and were banned. Milk and dairy products from Fukushima were confiscated to prevent possible ingestion of radioactive Iodine. In the months and years that followed, Fukushima produce and seafood were given detailed monitoring, and none exceeding the national standards ever made it to the consumers. As time passed, nearly all foods were found to be less radioactive than national standards and were available for marketing. The only exception has been a few species of food-fish. However, fear of the possibility of radiation, combined with distrust of the government, caused an on-going boycott of all foods associated with Fukushima Prefecture. Four years after the accident, nearly 20% of the consumer demographic continued to shun all foods from Fukushima, even though contamination was undetectable. (refer: Hiroshima Syndrome)

Paragraph 6-7 – Fukushima is not a medical disaster: There have been no deaths or incidents of medical harm to any member of the public due to radiation exposure. Thorough medical examinations have been given to the mandated evacuees, and many concerned residents from outside the no-go zone, free of charge. Nearly a third of a million children who were age 18 or less at the time of the accident have been screened for thyroid issues; specifically cysts more than 0.5mm in diameter and/or nodules more than 5mm in diameter. In early 2015, roughly 125 children had been discovered with these (pre-cancerous) anomalies, and about 70 have had surgery to remove them. Because no such testing had ever been done before on Japan’s children, Fukushima University medical team extended the screenings to three prefectures hundreds of kilometers from Fukushima Prefecture. It was found that the rate of these anomalies in Fukushima children was actually a bit less than with each of the three prefectures unaffected by the nuke accident. It appears that Tokyo’s immediate banning of all Fukushima dairy products has prevented a recurrence of the child thyroid cancer situation following the 1986 Chernobyl accident. (refer: Hiroshima Syndrome)

Paragraph 8 – Fukushima was about nuclear reactors, not SNF storage: The Holtec canisters are stored in-the-ground in concrete & steel cavities that make them essentially impregnable to the societal threats that have emerged in the 21st century. The HI-STORE CIS storage facility, consisting of HI-STORM UMAX vertical ventilated system, is engineered to be immune to extreme environmental phenomena such as hurricanes, floods, tornados, and earthquakes. HI-STORE CIS is designed to withstand a crashing aircraft or an (improbable) on-site fire without any radiological consequences. The facility is environmentally benign releasing no effluents or emitting no emissions. The radiation dose at the site boundary computes to a small fraction of the cosmic radiation that bathes our planet. HI-STAR 190 will be our workhorse for transporting the canisters from the on-site ISFSIs to the Consolidated Interim Storage Facility in southeast New Mexico, called HI-STORE CIS. The HI-STAR 190 is the most heavily shielded, most versatile and most rugged cask in the nuclear industry.

Paragraph 9: see paragraph 2 above.
Paragraph 10 to end of article – Nuclear is for life: Would have, could have, and should have. Hindsight is always 20/20. What Fukushima proves is that nuclear power plants are not that dangerous. But ELEA is not about nuclear power plants. It is about storage of spent nuclear fuel and there has not been any nuclear storage accident that have resulted in any harm to the health of humanity and the environment.

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Energy Capacity Factor:

Every time there is a discussion about wind and solar as a renewable energy for the future there is this misunderstanding about what is the real capacity of the individual wind turbine or solar panel and how much electricity is actually produced by them. There is the ‘rated’ capacity of energy which is what the manufacturer stamped on the outside of the packaging and then there is the capacity factor which is the actual energy produced by the wind turbine and solar panel equipment.

There is no energy source that has a capacity factor of 100%, except occasionally nuclear. There are a variety of reasons for the production interruptions such as; no sun, no wind, too much wind, drought, water needed for other proposes, polar vortex freeze, fuel interruptions and scheduled maintenance. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that utility-scale solar photovoltaic installations in the US had an average capacity factor of 27% in 2016, with utility-scale wind farms at 35%, hydroelectric at 38%, coal plants at 55%, natural gas plants at 56% and nuclear power plants at 92%. The capacity factors for 2018 have not significantly increased so wind and solar percentages may have peak.

When it comes to energy, density is the more important criteria to consider for the cost of the energy. Yes, there are other considerations but when you have energy sources like uranium and thorium that are one million to two million more energy dense than all other equivalent energy sources; coal, oil, gas, wind, solar, biofuels, geothermal, hydro, wood, wave, and any other creative and innovative way to generate electricity and heat sources. Also important to consider is the environment and the ideal would be an environmentally clean and cheap energy.

Nuclear energy, discovered only 100 years ago, was always going to be the future energy solution for a clean, safe, cheap, abundant, sustainable fuel source on earth and even on the moon, Mars and other deep space travels. For the last 60 years, nuclear power generation has been the safest energy for humanity and the environment. The initial fuel source of uranium was mined and enriched to be used in the first three generations of nuclear reactors, the solid fuel water cool reactors. These reactors produced ~trillions of megawatts of electricity and manufactured enough unused nuclear fuel to be stored for the next generation of liquid fueled molten salt reactors (MSR) that will sustain energy for thousands of years at current electricity usage.

There are basically two formats (paths) of energy fuels; those that are already stored, or easily stored, for anytime access and those that are real-time and have to be used immediately in a onetime pass through process. Stored fuels like coal, oil, natural gas, uranium, thorium, geothermal and water retain their energy indefinitely or until it is accessed and used. Real-time fuels like wind, solar and wave are available at point of capture and have to be use immediately for electricity generation and in some cases can be temporarily stored in batteries. Real-time fuels therefore require very large swath of land or sea to erect massive mechanical structures to capture enough wind or sun to provide electricity for the masses in urban population centers. Backups for this intermitted production can be provided temporarily from batteries and a more permanent basis with natural gas turbines or other stored fuel systems like nuclear, hydro, oil, coal and even wood.

Real-time energy is proving to be a very expensive electricity generation process because of all the raw materials and real estate required to erect wind, solar or wave farms for industrial and commercial use. The weather dependent intermittency requires stored fuel backup systems and adds a redundant cost. Germany has always been a leader in renewable with wind and solar. They have had to increase their use of coal backup to supplement their weather patterns and have increased their CO2 levels instead of lower them as they committed to at the Paris Climate Accord.

The cost of renewable in the US goes beyond all the raw materials and labor to build and maintain the energy farms. The renewable developers were given substantial discounts, tax credits, subsidies or other backroom deals all at the expense of the tax payer and the Utility rate payer. The State of Oklahoma is now questioning the continuation of credits for renewable because of the serious impact it is having on the state budget. As the state was experiencing an $868 million budget shortfall this last year, a growing resistance to continue large credit amounts that could bankrupt the state was forming. Out of state wind companies who derive great profits from the state credits was also very concerning. The largest new wind farm project, the $4.5B Wind Catcher with its $2B in so called savings to the customers, is now in jeopardy within Oklahoma.

Let this be a warning to New Mexico that Oklahoma’s G&O tax revenue, with tax credits, cannot make up the extreme cost of renewable credits in their state budget. Even though NM G&O is booming right now, NM should not extend its budget too far with renewable credits or may find itself in the same situation as our neighbor.

Update: 2/12/2018

Dear Martin,

Between 2016 and 2017, California’s electricity prices rose three times more than they did in the rest of the United States, according to a new analysis by Environmental Progress.

The increases came despite 2017 having had the highest output of hydroelectricity — the state’s cheapest source of electricity — since 2011.

Between 2011 and 2017, California’s electricity prices rose five times faster than they did nationally.

Today, Californians pay 60 percent more, on average, than the rest of the nation, for residential, commercial and industrial electricity.

California’s high penetration of intermittent renewables such as solar and wind are likely a key factor in higher prices.

Michael

Nuclear Waste Fund:

Over the last 60 years, US utility companies with nuclear power plants (NPP) in their fleet set aside $Billions into a special fund for nuclear waste management and nuclear plant decommissioning. The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 is a United States federal law which established a comprehensive national program for the safe, permanent disposal of highly radioactive wastes. Yucca Mountain, north of Las Vegas, Nevada on the Federal Government’s Nevada (Atomic) Test Site, was to be that single repository site. After twenty years and $Billion spent on a 5 mile tunnel under the mountain ridge, the site is still not licensed and may never be licensed because the State of Nevada does not want it. They never wanted it in the first place but the Federal Government decided for them. Any nuclear storage site should have the local community buy-in.

For the last months I have been writing about the changing definition of nuclear radiation standards. It has been determined that the LNT/ALARA standards set in the 1950’s were primarily for political reasons and not based on existing science at that time. It is important to understand that low-dose to med-dose radiation levels have been determine to be safer than originally set based on current observable data coming out of TMI, Chernobyl and Fukushima power plant accidents. It is also very important to note that nuclear reactors cannot explode and are completely contained and moderated. Nuclear weapons on the other hand will cause a great deal of damage. Japan is a good example of this difference. Hiroshima was the first atom bomb and killed thousands of people. Fukushima was a 3-reactor nuclear meltdown where no one was harmed from radiation exposure.

Nuclear power plants in the US and around the world have been storing unused irradiated uranium fuel rods known as spent nuclear fuel (SNF) at the plant sites in above ground concrete canisters. The federal government by law is required to eventually move and manage all the SNF in the US. The Yucca Mountain site has never been licensed to open for deliveries. In the meantime, the US Congress created another law requiring the SNF to be stored at community friendly consolidated interim storage facilities (CISF) until they decides what to do with the future of Yucca Mountain.

Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance, LLC (ELEA) operates out of Carlsbad and Hobbs New Mexico. ELEA is working with Holtec International, a private company, who has applied for a license to temporarily store SNF in New Mexico until the fuel is either used up in fourth generation advanced nuclear reactors (GEN4) or actually stored in a licensed Yucca Mountain. Holtec International has over 30 years of experience in above ground and subterranean storage technology providing complete turnkey solutions for SNF storage and transport in the US and several international countries including Chernobyl, Ukraine.

Spent nuclear fuel doesn’t need to be buried in extremely expensive deep repositories like WIPP or Yucca Mountain. There is only a 300 year concern about the radiation level of SNF and modern neutron absorbing canister technology has already been developed to store the fuel safely for that length of time. These safe and secure canisters have been in use around the world for several decades at most of the NPP sites. In a two-step process the reactor fuel rods are cooled in water for 5 years inside the NPP containment building and then transferred to dry storage in these specially designed storage and transport canisters for safe and secure storage for another 300 years, somewhere.

So now the question becomes ‘where and who pays’ for the transport and storage management of the SNF from around the US? There is a bill in Congress (H.B.3053) that will allow money from the Nuclear Waste Fund to be used by a private business, Holtec International in this case, to develop and manage a CISF site. This bill appears to have bi-partisan support in Congress and once approved, ELEA/Holtec will be able to move forward with the project.

Communication to the community will be done through town hall meetings, local newspapers and most likely a special web site. As each phase becomes more refined, I will personally report back to the residents of SENM my assessment so that we all stay informed and not get blindsided by some questionable implementation. I will also try to address the opposing sounds bites that we will definitely hear about from the anti-nuclear environmentalist (which is an oxymoron). Nuclear energy is already an environmentally clean and safe energy.

For more information about this substantial revenue generating project for all of New Mexico can be found at the following link:

https://holtecinternational.com/productsandservices/hi-store-cis/

 

HI-STORE-CIS is the name of the technology solution being proposed for ELEA. It is a subterranean storage design where existing canisters are inserted into below ground containment cylinders like layers of an onion. This provides additional safety protection without any transfer of SNF from existing storage and transport canisters while still allowing future access to the fuel needed by Utility companies and military installations with GEN4 advanced reactor technology connected to the national power grid or to an independent mini or micro grid configuration for remote locations, like Puerto Rico or any island.

Open Letter to Southeast NM

Southeast New Mexico is at the beginning of one of the healthiest Gas and Oil (G&O) booms ever and the money is flowing in every direction. The G&O companies will make good profits as will the State, counties, cities and citizens living near the Permian Basin. However, as has happened several times in the past there will be a bust again and then the hardships return. It doesn’t have to be that way this time because there is an alternative way to counter that ebb and flow from G&O with another ‘steadier’ stream of revenue for Southeast New Mexico.

The US has been building nuclear power plants for the last ~70 years based on a water cooled design using solid uranium oxide fuel (LWR/PWR). The fuel rods containing this solid fuel can only last about six years because of fission damage to the cladding around the uranium fuel rods will eventually breakdown and have to be replaced. The 95% unused fuel in the rods have to be stored in water pools for up 5 years to cool down and then put into dry storage canisters for another ~300 years or until the uranium is considered safe for the environment again.

However, that whole process is completely unnecessary. Back in the 1960’s, Enrico Fermi, top nuclear scientist on the Manhattan Project, described an alternative solution to storing nuclear waste: Consume all actinides in fast neutron reactors, leaving only fission products, which require special storage for less than 300 years. That fast reactor was built and operated for 30 years in Idaho, recycling its own fuel base and not producing any ‘waste’ to be concerned with. Unfortunately, the Government defunded that prototype and the technology did not make it to the US commercial marketplace.

Today that waste burner reactor design concept is being re-addressed in the private sector with the Fast-Spectrum Molten-Salt Reactor by Elysium Industries. The Molten Chloride Salt Fast Reactor (MCSFR) is state-of-the-art in its design. The technology is unique as it can provide base-load and clean power while addressing the current issues (waste and meltdowns) in the nuclear power industry and not cause climate change. The new cost effective Elysium MCSFR has the ability to consume spent nuclear fuel, depleted uranium, thorium and even weapons grade plutonium, transforming it all from a perceived waste problem into profitable energy.

Which brings me to the primary reason for this letter. I have been following the progress of the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance (ELEA) / Holtec International’s proposal for a Consolidate Interim Storage Facility (CISF) to store spent nuclear fuel (SNF) in New Mexico. While the technology is sound and I support it, I do have a concern about the word ‘Interim’ in the proposal. Here is the shocker that is not being addressed from my perspective so far.

  • If you replace every existing GEN3 nuclear reactor in the US with an equivalent Elysium GEN4 MCSFR, there is enough stored SNF to produce heat/electricity for approximately 2,000 years. If you add all the stored Deleted Uranium (DU) fuel to that, they would produce heat/electricity for another estimated 20,000 years while consuming 100% of the nuclear fuel (no more waste).
  • If we replaced every electricity generating source in the US (GEN3 nuclear reactor, hydroelectric dam, coal furnace, gas turbine, wind turbine, solar panel, biofuel solution, etc.) with an equivalent GEN4 MCSFR, there is enough stored SNF to produce heat/electricity for ~400 years. If you add all the stored DU fuel to that, it would produce heat/electricity for another ~4,000 years eliminating all energy production waste.
  • If we replace every intense heat processor needed for manufacturing cement, steel, aluminum or desalination of brine waters or produce hydrogen transportation fuels, gasification of coal, and clean gas and oil into environmentally cleaner fuels, stored SNF and DU would still last for centuries without extraction of new uranium/thorium minerals.

My only question is: How long do we plan to store SNF in New Mexico? I think it is extremely important for this question be answered at any public forum planned over the next year to educate the public about the ELEA Project. My answer is 300 years maximum after the SNF is removed from LWR/PWR nuclear reactors. That’s how long it takes for the SNF to decay inside a neutron absorbing dry storage canister proposed by ELEA/Holtec for the CISF site.

I think ELEA should change the purpose of having the CISF site to that of a long term nuclear fuel depot. That would let the people know that the storage facility would also produce a steady revenue stream and jobs until the fuel is all used up – possibly thousands of years. Now that is a nice compliment to the G&O revenue SENM already produces.

I would be foolish to think that everyone would support this project because there are a lot of people that tow the ‘anti-nuclear everything’ line based on a lot of misinformation since the 1960’s. It is difficult to change those people but there is a new younger generation that has the ability to reason and make a decision based on current information about radiation learned from the Chernobyl and Fukushima experience. What we use to think about radiation has been completely flip upside down.

Anyone wanting more information can read my blog at http://www.kralspaces.wordsmith.com or contacted me directly at mkral@cableone.net.

Martin Kral
Concerned resident of Roswell, NM

New Mexico, wake up!

Renewable is too expensive:
.
When it comes to energy, density is the most important criteria to consider. Yes, there are other considerations but when you have energy sources like uranium and thorium that are one million to two million more energy dense than all other equivalent energy sources; coal, oil, gas, wind, solar, biofuels, geothermal, hydro, wood, and any other creative and innovative way to generate electricity, why would you ever consider anything else.
.
I will attempt to make it understandable why nuclear energy, once discovered 100 years ago, was always going to be the future energy solution for a clean, safe, cheap, abundant, sustainable fuel source on earth and even on the moon. For the last 70 years, nuclear power generation has been the safest energy for humanity and the environment. The initial fuel source of uranium was mined and enriched to be used in the first three generations of nuclear reactors, the solid fuel water cool reactors. These reactors produced ~trillions of megawatts of electricity and manufactured enough unused nuclear fuel to be stored for the next generation of liquid fueled molten salt reactors that will last thousands of years at current electricity usage.
.
There are basically two formats (paths) of energy fuels; those that are already stored, or easily stored, for anytime access and those that are real-time and have to be used immediately in a onetime pass through process. Stored fuels like coal oil, natural gas, uranium, thorium, geothermal and water retain their energy indefinitely or until it is accessed and used.
.
Real-time fuels like wind, solar and wave are available at point of capture and have to be use immediately for electricity and in some cases can be temporarily stored in batteries. Real-time fuels therefore require very large swath of land or sea to erect massive mechanical structures to capture enough wind or sun to provide electricity, weather permitting for the masses in urban population centers. Backups for this intermitted production can be provided temporarily from batteries or a more permanent basis with nature gas turbines or other stored fuel systems like nuclear, hydro, oil, coal and even wood.
.
Real-time energy is proving to be a very expensive electricity generation process because of all the raw material and real estate required to erect wind, solar or wave farms for industrial and commercial use. The weather dependent intermittency requires stored fuel backup systems and adds a redundant cost.

Q&A with local residents

The following dialogue came from the replies to the open letter to SENM counties of Eddy, Lea and Chaves. (See letter below)

Dialogue about ELEA:

Q. Was thinking we already had nuclear waste…what is at leaky WIPP? Don’t need anymore!

A. Yes, there was a very small leak at WIPP cause by poor repackaging by Los Alamos. There was no harm to anyone or the environment. The press exaggerated everything. WIPP is very safe.

I can understand your apprehension and if you would like we can have coffee some day and I can bring you up to date on what is happening in the nuclear industry today. It is the safest source of energy for the last 70 years and it will be the primary base of energy in the future, along with G&O.

Q. That same efforts in solar energy? …

A. Yes, that is true. There is an effort in New Mexico being placed on wind and solar farms by both PNM and XCEL. They are both spending billions on materials to build the farms and most of that money is going out of state. Over half the labor force that built the Roswell Solar farm out on Pine Lodge was out of state labor and the other half was out of work oil man/women. Almost all of the material was from out of country. Oil is booming again so the new wind farm up by Portales will probably have to hire their labor from other out of state wind construction projects. Hopefully a few will be hired from Roswell.

My point being: Wind and Solar generate revenue for out of state entities. ELEA/Holtec will generate revenue in state. Big difference to the State of New Mexico.

Q. The first thing that comes to mind when I hear nuclear. ..is fukushima.

A. No one died of radiation exposure at Fukushima. It was a tsunami disaster. Yes, three reactors did melt down and that was a big financial lost to Japan power because they immediate started up all their retired coal plants and built NG plants to make up for the 30% of the nations electricity lose from their 43 nuclear reactors that have been shut down for 6 year now. Five of those reactors have been restarted.

Q. I know what you’re saying, in just saying what comes to mind. Some Ppl will associate that disaster with what you are proposing. I know I did. Are you from NM?

A. I moved to NM in 2005 to retire. I studied everything that is available in public domain about Fukushima. The Japanese are a very proud (and smart) people and they are moving back to their homes. There was actually a second disaster there and that was the unnecessary 30 km evacuation zone. A lot of older people died from the stress of the relocation. No one died from radiation exposure in Japan. The farmers are back raising their crops and the fishermen are back and their products are safe and being shipped all over the world already, even to the US. China can’t get enough fish from Japan.

The media exaggerated the accident because they have no idea how a nuclear power plant works. The explosion you saw on TV was a hydrogen explosion from the gases and steam created when the reactor wasn’t water cooled. The reactor itself is contained inside a protective shield and is physically impossible (basic physics) to exploded. The reactor got very hot and melted the fuel rods inside. Nuclear power is not a chemical reaction and therefore cannot burn or exploded like G&O.

Q&A. A member of this group made the following statement and asked a few questions, but wanted to stay anonymous:

Who Would Manage it, What Degree and Common Sense would they have, and For How Long?
Me Personnally Do Not Want to be Part of, Nor Near, Don’t like WIPP Either they are Using NM for Waste Land. https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/fcb/1/16/1f641.png😦 Who Gets Paid for the Land and Permanent Damage to Area, NO ONE WILL EVER USE or Live on the SITE EVER Again. GUESS they have to Have DUMPING Grounds Somewhere. https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/fcb/1/16/1f641.png😦 What is Worse, YOU are UPSET that RDR Won’t Give you FREE Advertising Time, We all Pay and So Should YOU, They Provide a Service, and They have Done Nothing Wrong, YOU Look Bad AGAIN.

No name, here are the answers to your questions:
1) Holtec International will own and manage the site under DOE/NRC regulation. ELEA is an NGO that is hosting the project in Eddy and Lea counties.
2) Holtec has been storing spent nuclear fuel around the world for the last thirty years. They are one of three companies doing so. They handled the Chernobyl SNF storage and most decommissioned nuclear power plants in the US.
3) The reason for the letter is to ask the question ‘how long?’. They are stating that it is an interim storage facility until Yucca Mountain can take the fuel. Problem is: I don’t see Yucca Mountain ever getting completed. Therefore, I believe that ELEA has to be considered a nuclear fuel depot and become the supply chain for the next generation of nuclear reactor that will use it up.
4) WIPP has a billion dollar annual budget with high paying jobs and a lot of taxes and fees going to the State of NM. No one lived at the WIPP site before it was built and no one should ever live there. That is why it is where it is.
5) Like WIPP, ELEA/Holtec will generate billions annually for high paying jobs and more taxes and fees for the State of NM. Holtec already got the Governor to approve the sale of the land to them. They will own it as a private business. There shouldn’t be any government funding but you never know what might happen until it does happen.
6) Yes, I have my problems with the paper. I wrote a column for over 2 years and they cancelled it. I never asked for a penny. I have written guest articles since but Tucker is not interested. I do write the letters to the editor and they do print those. That is my only form of direct communication in Roswell. I might look bad in your eyes but I do get a lot of good feedback from common folks that I run into all the time. As I said, people find my article/letters informative. That is why I do it.

Q. We know who is getting the money! A “small” leak is way too big!

A. Who is getting the money? Where is the money coming from?

The leak at WIPP caused no health issues or environmental issues. How can that be big? There is more radiation in background that you breath in everyday then you or anyone else got from WIPP in over 10 years that it has been in operation. If you live near the Relief Route you probably haven’t seen the trucks go by several times a week. No extra radiation there either.

Okay. I guess you are not going to answer my two questions so I will for the benefit of the others in the group who are reading this.

Holtec International is the primary state holder. They will invest a lot of their investor money in this project and they will also profit from it once it is in operation.

ELEA is an NGO so they will not be able to profit from this project. Some of their friends might have businesses that could benefit, but that goes with the territory.

Eddy and Lea counties will greatly benefit and all the communities within those two counties from high paying jobs, taxes and fees.

The State of New Mexico will greatly benefit with a steady stream of tax and fee revenue unlike the risk they have with the G&O ebb and flow market conditions.

The US Government will benefit because they will finally have a place to store the fuel until it is used up by future advanced reactors. The Government is currently paying heavy fine into the Nuclear Waste Fund for their delays to respond to their own laws.

The Nuclear Waste Fund (balance in the hundred billions from the Utility companies and rate payers) will probably be the primary source of revenue to pay for the project. Holtec investors will also pay for the project. So far, no entities in NM are paying a thing, but never say never. This is not like the Spaceport America project that is hurting the tax payers of NM dearly. Branson pulled the wool over Richardson’s eye on that one.

Anyway, I hope that helps to disclose what I know so far about the financing. I will be learning more at the end of the month.

Q. You tell me who owns the land where the project will be?

A. ELEA owns the property and is selling it to Holtec International. That sales might have already been completed. I will know more later this month.

There is a map of the nuclear corridor with the original post.

Q. I see the benefit of all those jobs and $, however, if just one accident or catastrophic event would happen, was all that $ worth it?
I say no.

A. What is going to be stored is spent nuclear fuel. That is the unused uranium in the reactor when they rotate the fuel every 4-6 years. They have been doing this for 60 years and storing the unused uranium in water pools for 5 years for cooling and then put in very secure dry storage canisters. Those canisters have been parked on concrete pads at every nuclear power plant around the world (for all 440 reactors and counting). No one has ever died or been injured at a nuclear fuel storage pad.

What ELEA wants to do is place those original canisters inside the latest canister technology and store below ground (subterranean) with the top at ground level. There is a US law that says the unused nuclear has to be move to Yucca Mountain or consolidated at some interim location like ELEA.

I respect your ‘no thanks’ position but I did want to help you and others to understand that nuclear fuel storage is more regulated and safer than anything the G&O neighbors have. How many death have there been in the G&O industry just in NM over the last 2 years. G&O is a dangerous profession if you are in the field. That is why they make the big bucks. And I would never say ‘no’ to what they are doing for their families, communities, and the State of NM budget.

Q. Why was the proposed location chosen? And thank you for your answers.

A. There is a corridor of nuclear related industries between Carlsbad and Hobbs (east to Andrews TX). It is considered nuclear friendly by the community and governance. Of course WIPP was first and then URENCO and WCS. International Isotopes bought the land but the market demand for their product slowed down. ELEA purchased 1,000 acres for the GNEP project back in 2007. Remember all the town halls for that? See the map that I posted at the beginning of this thread. It shows where everything is at.

Also, if you have Google Earth, take a tour of the area. You will be astounded at how many G&O pumpers there are in the area too. I really don’t believe this is a dumping ground as some have said. It is the state’s money pit in a positive way. This part of NM is what keeps the state afloat. Without it, the entire state would be one of those shitholes (some thing we already are) but I believe in our potential to change that. ELEA is one of those positive entities that can do it. Remember, every new industry has a supply chain that comes with it. That will be a lot of extra jobs.

Q. You make good points. Be safe and i think your team should have no problem continuing this project.

A. I have no team. I am an individual looking out for the future of New Mexico for the next generation. My generation will be leaving soon. I live in Roswell.

Q. “What is most important is that we have some transparency in Roswell” yes! I agree. Do you by chance know why they defunded the operation in Idaho?

A. Yes.
President Nixon approved the fast breeder reactor project in 1971.
President Carter decided to defund the fast breeder reactors in 1977 in favor of all things – renewables.
Why did they abandon the fast breeder reactor after spending billions to develop and prototype it. That is what new Administrations do, right?
1980 – President Carter signs the Energy Security Act, consisting of six major acts: U.S. Synthetic Fuels Corporation Act, Biomass Energy and Alcohol Fuels Act, Renewable Energy Resources Act, Solar Energy and Energy Conservation Act and Solar Energy and Energy Conservation Bank Act, Geothermal Energy Act, and Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Act.
President Reagan came along next and reversed a lot of what Cater put into place. Sound familiar?
Every one of those pretty much went belly up when the fossil industry kicked into overdrive to keep them at bay. Fossil ruled thru the 1980’s and 1990’s when nuclear should have been advanced. President Carter killed nuclear in the US and it has taken climate change to bring it back.
Here is a link to a timeline of energy events from 1951 to present. What you will notice is that trillions of dollars have been spent on alternative energy sources to counter G&O (and coal).
https://energy.gov/…/doe-history…/timeline-events-0

Q. I like alternative energy. I like the solar panels on houses. I would like all houses to have solar panels. Of course the way most people live they would still need to buy energy to run extra stuff. I am not anti nuclear power though. I think both should be explored. Coal and eventually fossil fuels will be gone someday. They just aren’t sustainable.

A. Yes, solar panels on individual homes is great for the home owner if they can afford them. I don’t have them because I would not benefit from the lengthy ROI.

You would be surprised at how sustainable G&O really is. That is why I still support it as one of our future energy sources, even though I know nuclear is better.

Q. This is why New Mexico remains a “poor state,” because too many individuals in NM oppose so many revenue projects. For Roswell to be considered for this, it seems like a beneficial thing. I can say that this city has little jobs, and it is very unfortunate. We are by far one of the poorest cities, and don’t get me wrong, I fully understand that money isn’t everything, but it is worth a shot. We need more things to do, more jobs, etc., for the crime rate to decrease.

A. There was no answer to this last statement.

 

Cannabis and Radiation:

What do cannabis and radiation have in common? Both are over-regulated, misunderstood and unnecessarily restricted necessities of life. I have written many times about the health benefits of radiation. Well, cannabis also has many health benefits. Yet, both are kept from the general public by Government agencies that employ people who have not taken the time or effort to research them. What is amazing to me is that both were used for medical purposes over 70 years ago and then all of a sudden both were classified unsafe for general public use. What happen 70 years ago that would have cause this?

In a recent report, author Barney Warf describes how cannabis use originated thousands of years ago in Asia, and has since found its way too many regions of the world, eventually spreading to the Americas and the United States through Mexico. “The idea that this is an evil drug is a very recent construction,” and the fact that it is illegal is a “historical anomaly,” Warf said. Marijuana has been legal in many regions of the world for most of history.

The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was the first US national law making cannabis possession illegal, with the exception of some industrial or medical purposes. Today, the federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, along with heroin and LSD, indicating it has high potential for abuse and addiction, no accepted medical uses and no safe level of use. Warf also wrote in his report, “Mexicans were frequently blamed for smoking marijuana, property crimes, seducing children and engaging in murderous sprees.” Fear is the keyword as to why cannabis is still illegal today and stymied its medical, recreational and industrial uses, not Mexicans.

As with cannabis, fear of radiation has also stymied its use for nuclear medical procedures and nuclear industrial uses, like generating electricity, desalinating water, smelting steel and aluminum, and cement to name a few. In the 1940’s, the US military displayed the bad side of radiation and society has not been able to recover from that to experience the benefits from the good side of radiation. Until recently, no dose of radiation was considered safe but now the limits have been raise for safe low doses of radiation based on data from recent experiences in the world.

Society needs to be re-educated about the safe use of cannabis and radiation.