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. 😦 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. 😦 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?
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).
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.