Author Archives: Martin Kral

About Martin Kral

Retired, just having fun writing about energy.

Nuclear is safe energy:

To view the video this article is based on, click on the link:

In a landmark study completed in late 2017, a group of UK scientists set out to find the truth about the risk of a nuclear accident. They used the “J-VALUE” a mathematically rigorous way to assess the cost-benefit of policy decisions in terms of changes to life expectancy and economic impact.

Here is what they found:

No one should have been evacuated from Fukushima due to radiation levels. The average expected loss in life expectancy from staying was 19 days. Instead, there were 1,121 deaths in the 3 years from physical and mental reactions do to the evacuation. This averaged out to a loss of life of 37 days. The loss of life expectancy in the worst affected Fukushima town was still less than that experienced by Londoners due to air pollution.

Not using this method in policy making has real impacts. Japan and Germany switched from nuclear to coal after the Fukushima accident. This resulted in an additional 28,000 air pollution-induced premature deaths.

Even in Chernobyl, five times too many people were moved away between 1986 and 1990. If another nuclear accident happens, data from Chernobyl and Fukushima should teach us to be wary of evacuations for the long term.

The COVID-19 pandemic here in New Mexico has reached 9 months when it should have been assessed within 3 months or shorter. What we are experiencing now is the postmortem effect of physical and mental depression by not being out doing our daily routines more safely then we were. There was no valid reason to keep the state on lock-down this long.

This is the same sociopolitical agenda that I have been experiencing with the environmentalist and state government opposing nuclear energy and fuel storage. We have got to come to our senses and learn about this fear that has been perpetrated against the general population about viruses and radiation. Both are needed to sustain life on this earth and both can be managed in a safe and responsible way.

Consolidated Interim Storage should be licensed:

On February 22nd, 2006, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved a license to store unused spent nuclear fuel (SNF) sealed canisters inside concrete cask on land least from the Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians in Utah near the Idaho border. The license was for a parking lot up to 4,000 canisters on 500 slabs of concrete above ground with senses. This was six years before the Blue Ribbon Commission on Nuclear Waste Committee decided to implement consolidated interim storage (CIS) solution to replace the delayed Yucca Mountain permanent repository for SNF.

In December 2012, The consortium of utility companies behind the idea asked the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) to scrap its license for a 100-acre parking lot for radioactive waste containers on the Skull Valley Goshute Reservation in Tooele County. The request signals the end of a long, often bitter struggle that pitted the consortium and the Skull Valley Band of Goshutes against the Utah government and a majority of its citizens, mostly Republicans.

The original plan was ill-conceived and had too many major obstetrical to overcome. It was almost a replication of the ill-conceived planning for Yucca Mountain also. Billions have been spent on both projects without any concrete solution except to understand what is needed to implement a solution for unused spent nuclear fuel. What was needed was a sound environmental site and an experienced company to manage the handling of transportation and storage.

There are a couple of private companies that have those qualifications with both domestic and international experience. Holtec is one of those companies that has applied for a license to store unused SNF at a site in Southeast New Mexico. The project is currently going through an environmental impact study (EIS), referred to as the HI-STORE CISF project. However, there are sociopolitical opposing forces that come with any project in America today, regardless of its impact.

It is a wonder Elon Musk was able to get SpaceX to the moon and I suspect he will get to Mars (requires nuclear power) before the US Government and the State of New Mexico approves anything nuclear here on earth.

Sociopolitical fear of nuclear “waste”:

“There are two types of challenges to establishing a long-term storage or disposal solution in the US. The first is scientific and technical (S&T) and the second could be called sociopolitical,” said Tom Isaacs, independent strategic advisor to Southern California Edison (SCE) for Nuclear Waste Management.

In California’s case, the S&T facts of spent fuel stockpiles are the accumulated safe cask count at Diablo Canyon (est. 84), Rancho Seco (22), Humboldt Bay (6), and San Onofre (123) reactor sites. The sociopolitical fact is that the state has outlawed safe and clean nuclear energy. State law now requires all nuclear fuel to be removed from California. That is currently 235 cask of stored reusable spent uranium fuel that has not affected the environment or public health.

In New Mexico’s case, the S&T facts are that the US Department of Energy has transported over 12,000 shipments of permanent transuranic waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) since 1999 without incident. In those 21 years, there was one minor storage incident that did not affect the environment or public health. WIPP is not licensed to store retrievable spent nuclear fuel.

In the last 60 years of S&T facts, the US Navy has completed some 850 spent nuclear fuel shipments totaling over 1.6 million miles of transport by highway and railway, safely. Since the early 1960s, there have been over 1,300 safe shipments of commercial spent nuclear fuel in the United States without a single environmental or public health incident.

Worldwide S&T facts are that more than 25,000 shipments of spent nuclear fuel were made between 1962 and 2016 (latest published data) by land, sea, and air without any injuries or deaths resulting from a release of radiation. There have been no recorded incidents since 2016 either.

However, science and technology doesn’t matter when the opposing forces to the HI-STORE CISF proposal are using sociopolitical fear based on legacy situations during World War II and the following Cold War era. Appropriations have been made in the clean up of America’s messy nuclear weapons history. It was what it was and is no longer the situation with better science and technology applications today.


Blah, blah, blah. That is all that I hear from review after review since 3/20/2018 and a current total of 373 comments, many as form letters developed by the opposing parties. Most of those comments focused on the emotional concerns about having a nuclear fuel storage facility in New Mexico. Many of those concerns are based on legacy information from decades ago which no longer apply to current nuclear science and technology.

As a supporter of the HI-STORE CISF project, I have the most comments posted and every single one addresses a different aspect or perspective view of the technical characteristics of the technology. I started with a simple list of the ten reasons I support HI-STORE CISF, each a one line talking point for presentation purposes. I then followed with a 300-400 word detail explanation of that specific line item previously posted on this blog.

Here is a link to the original NRC Review Presentation you can download. The presentation explains the entire social and environmental procedures and processes as outline in the illustrations above:

Here are the ten reasons I support HI-STORE CISF in Lea County, NM

1) I have 100% confidence in the safe storage of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) – anywhere.

2) Spent nuclear fuel is not nuclear waste, but reusable fuel for newer advanced molten salt reactors.

3) The proposed Holtec HI-STORM UMAX system is already safely used in over-regulated California.

4) New Mexico already knows how to transport and store radioactive transuranic waste – WIPP.

5) New Mexico already knows how to manage, process, transport, and store uranium fuel – URENCO.

6) Lea and Eddy County communities are generally in support of radioactive storage facilities.

7) BNSF completely rebuilt the rail line between Clovis and Carlsbad, including street/road crossings.

8) Holtec “super safe” rail carrier has 12 axles with a cask cage on an extra-strong frame.

9) HI-STORE CISF site has enough acreage for a future heat transfer or liquid fuel conversion facility.

10) SNF is a steady multi-billion dollar industry for the State of New Mexico, subsidies not required.

Well, there you have it. It is time to move on. With more and more nuclear power plant decommissioning’s, there needs to be a place to consolidate the spent nuclear fuel.

NRC-2018-0052 – WIPP, it is what it is:

When Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) was first conceived and designed, the intent was to provide a permanent storage site for all four of the radioactive material classes; spent nuclear fuel from all nuclear reactors, high-level waste left over from unused nuclear bombs, transuranic materials from nuclear bomb production and even low-level waste from medical and other commercial uses of radioactivity.

The “creeping” Permian salt formation 2,000-6,000 feet below the surface from Southeast New Mexico through West Texas, Oklahoma, clear up to Kansas was the perfect location for all classes for radioactive waste. It was 80 years ago when the site was selected for its tight rock formation and it will be for billions of years from now. Once a hole is dug into the salt, the cavity will immediately start closing up and encapsulate whatever was placed there, forever.

WIPP was the perfect solution for storing unwanted radioactive waste, but some politicians had this wild idea that maybe someday, some of the material there would be of use in the future and had to be retrievable. Anything stored in WIPP would never be retrievable from the salt rock after a few years. Therefore, a second site was needed for the unused spent nuclear fuel from all nuclear reactors, whether private commercial reactors or military reactors from the Navy.

Today, WIPP is only licensed to store transuranic materials that have been contaminated with radioactive plutonium and the other heavyweight elements from the last row on the periodic table. For those who didn’t take Chemistry 101 in High School, those are the man-made heavy elements beyond uranium discovered after mankind learned how to split an atom. Not everyone agrees that splitting the atom was the greatest discovery of all mankind, YET.

After decades of trying to find a second storage site for retrievable unused radioactive fuel, it is ironic that the two sites being considered are right back in Southeast New Mexico and West Texas, also known as the Permian Basin. WHY? Because the politicians cannot change the science of geology (or chemistry). It is what it is.

A multi-billion dollar uranium fuel industry:

After the Rail Runner, Film Credits, Super Computer, Spaceport America, the ART, Facebook Data Center, and most recently the ETA (wind and solar), one has to wonder how New Mexico seems to be unable to attract new business opportunities without having to give up huge subsidies in the form of deferred taxes and some cases, direct cash payments. Every single one of those misguided efforts has turned into major boondoggles for the state with more sunk cost than revenue.

Now the three most successful industries in the state, O&G, Dairy Farms/Cattle Ranches, and Tourism have been depleted by a single virus – COVID-19. What the state needs now is an industry that is immune to the economic conditions of the world markets and any environmental disaster like a worldwide virus pandemic. It needs to be an industry with little or no effect on the existing industries in the state.

HI-STORE CISF is a multi-billion capital investment with a multi-million dollar steady revenue stream for the state bank account. New Mexico has a golden opportunity to invest in an industry that will not be affected by the surrounding environments or require a substantial cost to attract to the state. There is no requirement to the state, except to approve the project to be developed.

For those with a vision beyond today will realize that this investment in HI-STORE CISF is not just about an interim storage facility with a 40-year NRC license. It is the beginning of a long term advanced multi-billion dollar uranium fuel industry that will last beyond decades and centuries.

With 99.9% of the stored material in the spent nuclear fuel rod as recyclable and reusable as molten salt fuel, only 0.01% is unusable radioactive fission products that could easily and safely be permanently stored in a deep borehole or even WIPP, for as long as WIPP is in production.

However, the Governor and her Democrat colleagues are trapped by the past and lack the foresight of the great opportunity HI-STORE CISF presents to New Mexico. Remember this when you vote at your polling station this November.

Governor’s green-energy policy is wrong:

The only practical way to lower global CO2 emissions is to encourage innovation that could make low-carbon energy cheap for everyone. Policies like the Biden-Harris Climate Plan or Governor Lujan-Grisham’s Energy Transition Act (ETA) would outlaw American fossil fuel use and won’t stop global CO2 emissions from rising, but they will ruin the American economy.

Wind turbines cannot provide the reliable energy that our amazing electrical grid requires 24/7. That’s why every place in the world that uses unreliable wind energy depends 24/7 on massive amounts of reliable energy from coal, gas, hydro, or nuclear plants.

The only reason utilities buy unnecessary, wasteful wind turbines is government policies like the Governor’s ETA here in New Mexico that force them to do so or reward them for doing so. “We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them,” says Warren Buffett.

One of the worst wind favoritism policies is the wind Production Tax Credit (PTC), which pays utilities to shut down or slow down reliable gas, coal, and nuclear power plants whenever the wind blows, driving many out of operation and threatening the grid’s future.

The perverse incentives of the wind PTC and other wind favoritism are not only making electricity more expensive but less reliable. That’s why grids around the US are already blacking out industrial customers, and California, Texas and the Northeast are warning of residential blackouts. Xcel has warmed New Mexico too.

The future will be nuclear energy with a bit of O&G for; electricity, water desalination, hydrogen production, heat intense manufacturing like steel, aluminum, cement production and of course nuclear medicine, regardless of what the Governor does in her last year in office. It is time to vote for reliable energy, not green chaos.

Source: Alex Epstein –

America needs more energy freedom

In the last 15 years America has become the world’s leading energy producer thanks to energy freedom, allowing all sources of energy to compete and innovate. To make even more progress we need more energy freedom, not mandates of renewables or bans of fossil fuels and nuclear.

America’s future depends on America’s energy industry. Energy is the industry that powers every other industry. The lower cost and more reliable our energy is, the more competitive every American company is and the lower the cost of living is for every American.

America can only remain an energy leader if we continue producing fossil fuels, the world’s largest and fastest-growing source of energy. Fossil fuels are by far the lowest cost source of energy for billions of people. Unreliable solar and wind can’t come close.

Contrary to the myth that CO2 emissions from fossil fuels are causing a climate crisis, the climate death rate is actually lower than ever thanks to human adaptation. Rising CO2 levels will continue to cause manageable warming as well as significant global greening, not a crisis.

The only way to lower CO2 emissions and benefit America is to promote innovation that makes low-carbon energy truly reliable and low-cost. Are China and India going to stop using fossil fuels so long as they are the lowest-cost option? They won’t and they shouldn’t.

America can lower emissions and energy costs by decriminalizing nuclear energy. Nuclear is actually the safest source of energy and the only way to provide reliable non-carbon electricity anywhere in the world. Yet politicians are over-regulating it to death.

If America tries to rapidly eliminate fossil fuel use through a Biden-Harris Climate Plan or a Lujan-Grisham NM ETA law, we will not prevent a climate crisis, but we will cause a crisis by making energy completely unreliable and unaffordable for American industry and American consumers.

America needs more energy freedom across the board, including in nuclear energy, fracking, development of federal lands, development offshore, pipelines, and export terminals, all of which can be done safely and responsibly.

Source: Alex Epstein –

The “real” day after tomorrow?

My wife and I just watch an older movie called “The Day After Tomorrow” (2004) as a time filler while under the COVID-19 shut-down. The movie was an exaggerated catastrophic climate change disaster event that seems to be the model for the Green New Deal or for New Mexico’s Energy Transition Act (ETA). The ETA is another exaggerated climate change event that negatively affects real lives, not just a movie audience.

To refresh your memory, the ETA requires New Mexico to be 100% free of emissions from electricity generation by 2050. The environmentalists have hoodwinked the Governor and her supporting democrat legislators into believing this was possible within 30 years. First on their agenda is to shutter all high energy-dense coal generating power stations and supporting coal mines. This will eliminate thousands of steady jobs, mostly in northwest NM.

I have been analyzing what will happen the day after tomorrow now that everyone is living day by day with an unknown energy future. The one thing I do know is that high energy-dense fuel is required 24 hours a day 7 days a week to recover from the pandemic and support our “new” energy intense digital business and school environments. The ETA mandates non-emission wind and solar use that only produces electricity when the wind blows and the sun is shining and requires some type of backup system.

Now Marathon Petroleum, the company that runs the oil refinery in Gallup, just told their 230 employees they are permanently closing the facility by the end of the year. The last reduction of O&G in the San Juan Basin was back in 2008 and when the rigs left, they never came back.

However, there is still hope for the day after tomorrow in Gallup and northwest NM. A new concept in comprehensive wholesale high density nuclear electric energy, for community-own power utilities, is being developed at the Idaho National Labs. Twelve small modular reactors are being built by NuScale Power for UAMPS with intermountain electric grid accessibility by 2027. Gallup is a member of UAMPS. Search Google for more information.