Seducing Nike for New Mexico:

You have to wonder why the new Governor would want to seduce Nike to come to New Mexico. She has to know that it will require huge tax breaks and other subsidies because a precedent has been set with the Film Industry, Facebook, and the great Clean Energy Transition Act of 2019. The state will be losing money with all three of those recent incentive programs. What the state really needs in an industry that wants to come to New Mexico and not require an incentive. In fact, the reverse should be offered.

“Gov. Lujan Grisham spokesman Tripp Stelnicki said Tuesday (7/2) the Democratic governor contacted Nike because she wants the jobs in New Mexico that would go to a planned $185 million factory in Goodyear, Arizona. Stelnicki says New Mexico in recent months has attracted employers like Netflix and NBC Universal. He says Nike would find a friendly business climate in the state.” as reported in the in Las Cruces Sun News.

While all these companies do offer good jobs, unfortunately, the taxpayers of New Mexico are the ones paying the wages for those jobs through obscene subsidies and tax credits. I do believe it takes money to make money, but how much is too much? Soon the Governor will be giving away the farm, the dairy farms that is.

There is an alternative to the great tax credit giveaway. There is actually a company that would like to expand an industry in New Mexico without demanding a tax break. In fact, the company has placed an incentive offer on the table to pay the state and local counties for the privilege of doing business in New Mexico with their billion dollar storage facility – HI-STORE CISF. This facility would take up a mere 300 acres on an isolated thousand acre parcel in Lee County, THE industrial county of New Mexico.

Unfortunately the Governor has a hostel attitude toward a new long term steady revenue stream. She gets confused about the receiving part of giving. She only has a few years left and decided to spend her way out of office on the backs of the New Mexican residents.

Advertisements

I survived 285 to Orla Texas:

On my last road trip down to Carlsbad, New Mexico I saw a bumper sticker on the back of a pickup truck that said ‘I survived 285 to Orla Texas’. Orla, TX is basically a ghost town right in the middle of the Permian Basin, south of Carlsbad, NM on Highway 285. This stretch of highway is symbolic of the many benefits of the O&G boom of southeast New Mexico and the many hazards that usually accompany any rapid explosion of population and traffic. However, not everyone survives and safety is not number one on the priority list of O&G.

Locals in southeast NM have a new name for that section of US 285 south of Carlsbad – Death Highway. In 2018, there were 49 crashes (20 involving a heavy truck), up from 31 crashes (15 truck-related) the year before. The deaths are the tragic consequences of the biggest oil boom the Permian Basin has ever seen (ref: Argus). While this “black gold” rush has turbocharged southeastern New Mexico’s economy it has also brought new dangers to the area’s small towns and rural farming communities.

And it’s not just US 285. State Routes 31 and 128, part of an asphalt triangle that connects Carlsbad, Hobbs and Jal to the south, along with a sea of wells in between, also have become danger zones.

There is another stretch of 285 north of Carlsbad all the way up to Cline’s Corner that also has heavy trucks carrying dangerous radioactive material to WIPP just east of Carlsbad. There is a huge difference in the quality of drivers and roadway north of Carlsbad compare to south of Carlsbad. It is quite obvious what has to be done with this culture of risk on south 285, but for some reason, urgency is not one of them.

For the last twenty year, WIPP trucks have hauled 12,500 payloads of hazardous cargo with drivers traveling over 14.9 million miles and there have been no leaks of radioactive material, personal injuries or environmental issues. The primary reason for this is the overall safety culture with the high-quality drivers and carrier compliance to the rigid regulations of the NRC and the USDOT. WIPP is expected to receive up to 37,000 shipments from federal (DOE) storage facilities and I suspect without incident.

Repost: Unanswered Letter to Lisa Murkowski:

Honorable Senator Lisa Murkowski,

I am writing this email/letter to ask you for your support for two nuclear projects that I have been following for several years now: Holtec Hi-Store CISF project in New Mexico and Elysium Industries Molten Chloride Salt Fast Reactor (MCSFR) in New York.
First, a little background about who I am and why I’m writing you this letter. I am a senior citizen living in Roswell, New Mexico. After 35 years in the IT industry and 15 years flipping houses, I retired from working for pay. Within a couple of weeks, my wife ask me to find a hobby to keep me busy and stop driving her crazy.

I looked around on the internet and found a class from the University of Pittsburgh on Nuclear Science and Technology. From the very first hours of that class I was hooked on nuclear. For the last ten years I have read everything I could find on the internet about all topics related to nuclear and radiation beginning with Madame Curie to the Manhattan Project to most recently the spent nuclear fuel issues of storage. I have met some very smart people on the internet, both domestically and internationally. I even developed a blog site to express what I have learned and I write a weekly newspaper column to share and educate the local community about the safety of radiation and the myths of nuclear.

Recently, the NRC conducted a series of scoping meetings with the citizens of New Mexico regarding Docket ID: NRC-2018-0052 – Holtec International HI-STORE Consolidated Interim Storage Facility Project. I am aware of your involvement with the initial beginning of this interim storage concept for spent nuclear fuel from our commercial nuclear power plants. I attended one of those scoping meetings and was embarrassed by the conduct and the misinformation that was being spread about nuclear based on fear and myths that were created during the 1960’s. No one spoke about the advances of storage technology in the last 30 years except the Holtec representative and one brave college student majoring in Nuclear Physics.

I have written 10 separate comments on NRC.com for docket NRC-2018-0052 and each one discusses a different aspect of the storage proposal. After reading the 121 comments as of 6/9/2018, all but 13 comments were against the project. Most of those comments were redundant sound bites that someone was passing around. I am sure you know the routine from other controversial issues. I am sure the NRC looks at the content of the comment and not the number submitted. I personally find that the number of comments and the number of people attending the 5 NRC scoping meetings were lacking support for or against the propose storage site. It appears to me that the general public is just too busy with their lives to be concerned.

There are three people in New Mexico that I am concerned about; Senator Tom Udall, Senator Martin Heinrich and Congresswomen Michelle Lujan-Grisham, who have all stated that they would support the Holtec project in New Mexico if there were a permanent repository somewhere else, referring to Yucca Mountain. I suspect that Michelle will be our next Governor in 2019 unless the Democrats don’t show up to vote (highly unlikely). This will present a serious problem for the implementation of the Holtec proposed interim solution in New Mexico. Rep. Steve Pearce is an unconditional supporter of the Holtec Project. We need the next Governor to support this project.

This is where I and the State of New Mexico, as well as the rest of the US, needs your immediate help. Both New Mexico Senators and Congresswomen Michelle Lujan-Grisham need to be convinced that this Holtec project is good (and needed) for New Mexico without the requirement to also have Yucca Mountain or some equivalent. Frankly, a deep repository is not needed anymore because above ground storage technology has superseded the outdated notion that spent nuclear fuel has to be buried for thousands of years. I don’t need to explain the Holtec Technology because it is completely and thoroughly documented on their web site:

Home

With thirty years of experience around the world, they have plenty of references about the safety of their storage solution. Unfortunately, there are a lot of political figures in New Mexico that haven’t taken the time to learn about the details of the Holtec technology. The same can be said for the common citizen of New Mexico but that would be expected. At this time Holtec is spending their own money to fund the EIS and the actual construction of the site. They are not asking for tax breaks like every other company that thinks about coming to New Mexico. Facebook is a good example of a company that didn’t need a tax break but New Mexico gave it to them anyway.

I already mentioned that spent nuclear fuel does not need long term storage and 300 years would be the maximum for a Holtec neutron absorbing canister inside a Holtec cask above ground or sub-surface. There is also technology that can reduce that time period down to only 100 years. That would be with a fast spectrum molten salt reactor. There are several in development by different companies here in the US and overseas. All of them have the same criteria of walk away safe and no waste or proliferation. I have studied many of the various designs, including Caroline Cochran and Jacob DeWitte of Oklo with their natural reactor (similar to Kilopower space reactor from Los Alamos Labs). It appear that Oklo has your ear about a small advanced reactor for the Alaskan frontier.

In the lower 48 states there needs to be a slightly different solution. My personal favorite today is the Elysium Molten Chloride Salt Fast Reactor (MCSFR) and its state-of-the-art design. Elysium’s technology is unique as it can provide base-load and clean power while addressing the current issues in the nuclear power industry.  Based on demonstrated technology in the 1960s, Elysium has adapted and improved the molten salt reactor design for commercial deployment. The Elysium reactor has the ability to consume spent nuclear fuel, depleted uranium and weapons grade plutonium, transforming it into industrial heat and electricity within its single, factory built, central reactor core that can be scalable from 400 MW up to 1000 MW.

http://www.elysiumindustries.com/technology/

As an experience Senator you know there is always a gotcha. In the case of the MCSFR it would take 400 years to ‘burn up’ just the spent nuclear fuel in storage today if all 97 US reactors, every coal/oil power plant, every natural gas utility furnace, every solar panel farm, every wind turbine farm and every hydroelectric dam were replaced with an equivalent sized MW MCSFR. What that means is, there is no such thing as a 40 year interim storage facility. I understand that is the standard starting duration from the NRC for nuclear power plant licenses with probable extensions, but I think it would be more believable to let the public know how long some of the spent nuclear fuel will be in an interim storage facility (est: 100 years). The Yucca Mountain project is no longer realistic and the State of Nevada does not want it, nor did they ever want it.

One other titbit of technological information about the Holtec system is available inside the canister – 190C decay heat. When the fuel rods are removed from the reactor core they are very hot and radioactive. Within weeks that heat and radioactivity is substantially reduced in cooling pools and within three years the fuel rods are ready to move to dry interim storage. Holtec has already designed and patented a heat transfer attachment to transfer the decay heat to one or more Stirling engines for the purpose of generating electricity or water desalination.

Water is very critical in New Mexico. The O&G industry needs a lot of water and they produce a lot of waste water from their fracking process. This waste water can be cheaply purified into potable water for the next well to be drilled and fracked. New Mexico also has a lot of saline water under the Tularosa Basin that could be desalinated by using nuclear decay heat or a small nuclear reactor that Holtec has in their technology portfolio. Even an Oklo system would work here. Of course, my personal preference would be a molten chloride salt fast reactor – MCSFR.

In your recent op-ed, you mentioned the need for the government to build a testing environment for advanced reactors. I am assuming the National Labs. I would personally recommend that this test environment be based on molten salt solutions. What I fear though is what always happens to big government projects – they get bigger and take forever. The non-molten salt solutions are already mature technology and really don’t need a testing facility. What they need is a little help getting them to market.
And lastly, we need a NRC that can respond faster. As you stated in your op-ed, other industrial nations are passing us by when we were the ones who started this whole industry with ‘Atoms for Peace’. It is time to take the leadership position again, with the world’s first interim spent nuclear fuel facility that can last long term and eliminate the unused fuel in fast spectrum molten salt reactors, including fission products and actinides. Again, the Elysium MCSFR system is a very viable solution.

Thank you,
Martin Kral
Retired, but not tired.

Anti-lobbies make all the noise:

Have you heard of the latest anti-life protesting phenomena? They called themselves Extinction Rebellion and they declared on their web site: “we are in the midst of a mass extinction of our own making.” Yes, all you O&G Executives in Southeast New Mexico, the finger is pointed at you. And let’s not forget about Holtec International trying to solve a problem that doesn’t really exist except in the minds of those few noise makers. This is one of the serious flaws in a democracy – only the few really influence the outcome.

The anti-lobby groups are a lot like the Democrat Party this election cycle. They have to get more radical then the norm to get the attention they want. The environmental groups are transitioning from the simple names and concerns, like Sierra Club or Concern Citizens, to more radical environmentally extreme group names like Extinction Rebellion, Earth Liberation Front, Animal Rights Militia and the Justice Department (no, not the US DOJ, but one has to wonder).

Here in New Mexico we have our own anti-fossil and anti-nuclear advocacy starting at the top with the newly elected Democrat Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham. She came into office with a ‘big bang’ theory that wind and solar was the only solution for our state’s participation in solving climate change. It only takes one person, the influencer, to get the ball rolling down the right or wrong path and that person got to the Governor first. You snooze, you lose, O&G and Holtec/ELEA. Actually, the real snooze’s were the other 99 percent of New Mexicans for not voicing yourselves for what you do support.

What also parallels the Democrat Party this debate season is that some New Mexican industries have a tendency to want to crush or eliminate other businesses from participating in the prosperity of a New Mexico energy economy that could be the envy of the country for decades, even centuries, with stored fuels for the future.

Hate me if you will, but President Trump (the influencer) is the one person that has contributed the most to the US being the O&G king of the world. He is silently doing the same thing for the Nuclear futures.

Nuclear Corridor of New Mexico: Ver:2

From the higher elevations of northwest New Mexico to the arid flat lands of southeast New Mexico there is a proud history of nuclear development in the state. It all began in Los Alamos with the Manhattan Project and innovative technology that has been credited for ending WWII with Japan. The splitting of the atom has changed the world forever and New Mexico played a very important role with the detonation of the world’s first plutonium bomb at Trinity.

After WWII, New Mexico continued to participate in leading edge technology expanding the use of nuclear for many purposes other than weapons of war. The Los Alamos National Labs and the Sandia National Labs were both established by the Federal Government to continue to research nuclear technology for nuclear energy and nuclear medicine.

During the Cold War years of 1950-1980, a lot of waste by-products of nuclear research began to build up and a repository for long term storage was required and New Mexico’s salt formation, left over from the Permian Epoch, proved to be the ideal location. WIPP was developed during the 1990’s and has been used in safe storage production for 20 years. In 2014, a minor leak with no health or environment issue caused the plant to reassess it’s safety culture and has resumed operation.

Just down the road a few miles from WIPP, the URENCO uranium enrichment plant opened for operation in 2010. Natural uranium is brought in from out of state to be enriched for nuclear fuel used in the current fleet of 98 Light Water Reactor (LWR) here in the US. The by-product of this process, depleted uranium, will be used in advanced nuclear fast reactors (in development for 2030). Also, URENCO applied for an updated license for a higher enrichment percentage being developed as the fuel for the advanced small modular reactors (SMR/LWR) available in Utah starting 2024.

Half way between URENCO and WIPP is a site proposed for the HI-STORE CISF. Unused spent nuclear fuel rods (not waste) will be stored on an interim basis until the advanced nuclear fleet of power stations have been widely commercialized as a replacement for renewable wind and solar industrial complexes. This new fleet of advanced molten chloride salt fast reactors (TerraPower and Elysium) will consume the stored nuclear fuel until it has been completely eliminated. A deep permanent repository like Yucca Mountain is no longer needed. Problem solved through innovative technology thanks to Bill Gates and others around the world.

Itemized Response to Demonizing SENM

Itemized response to Kim Fitzsimmons opinion piece in the ABQ Journal. The original article is displayed below:

1) SENM’s O&G, Nuclear, Farming and Tourism are all making billions of dollar for schools and social programs to benefit all residents of NM.

2) Holtec did not buy 32 acres of land in SENM. ELEA owns 1,000 acres in Lea County for the proposed HI-STORE CISF site.

3) The initial license request from Holtec with the NRC is for 40 years and 500 canisters with priority to decommissioned NPP across the US.

4) Future amendments to the license could see additional canisters up to 10,000.

5) The site is ~35 miles due east of Carlsbad and ~15 miles due northeast of WIPP.

6) In 2014, a minor leak with no health or environment issues caused the WIPP plant to reassess it’s safety culture and has resumed operation in 2017 after decontamination. WIPP also added another ventilation system so they can mine for salt and manage waste storage at the same time.

7) In 2006, Humboldt Bay, CA became the first plant to feature HI-STORM UMAX subterranean storage. Humboldt just experience a 5.6 earthquake Saturday night (6/22/19). No damage.

8) Southern California Edison’s San Onofre nuclear plant selected a seismically hardened version of the HI-STORM UMAX in 2014 after the State of California ordered the plant shuttered and decommissioned for political reasons. Holtec was not involved in the shutter of SONGS.

9) One of the fears by anti-fossil lobby groups is that frac’ing causes small earthquakes in the 2.5 seismic range and with no damage at the surface. Extraction of oil and gas does alter the pressures below ground level but so does extraction of water for farm irrigation.

10) O&G drilling uses produced water (recycled) for the frac’ing process. O&G uses ~1% of the total fresh water capacity of New Mexico. When oil prices reach $100, desalinated saline water is affordable.

11) The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved the transfer of the Oyster Creek Generating Station operating license from Exelon Generation to Holtec International, including the stored nuclear fuel. Holtec is also acquiring Indian Point, Palisades and Pilgrim nuclear units, including the independent spent fuel storage facility located at Big Rock Point in Iowa

Here is the original article from the Albuquerque Journal:

Guest Columns

A fracked ‘Nuclear Alley’ scarier than aliens
By Kim Fitzsimmons / Roswell Resident
Saturday, June 22nd, 2019 at 12:02am

Two powerful forces have landed in southeastern N.M. No, much worse than extraterrestrials. Nuclear waste disposal and drilling companies see us as prime real estate worth billions of dollars.

“Nuclear Alley” is known by the residents of Hobbs, Carlsbad, Eunice, Loving and Jal. In 2015, Holtec International bought 32 acres near Carlsbad for the storage of 173,000 British metric tons of nuclear waste for 20 years. A British “metric ton” adds 200 lbs more per ton than the standard U.S. measurement of 2,000 lbs. The Holtec site plans to store radioactive material 15 miles from the WIPP site. WIPP, the Waste Isolation Power Plant, is operating despite a 2014 radiation leak closing the plant for three years. Near Eunice, a Urenco uranium enrichment plant now operates a $4 billion waste site only 12 miles north of WIPP.

(According to Sanonofresafety.org, a website highly critical of Holtec operations in California), Holtec’s radiation storage canisters weigh up to 100,000 pounds with a thickness of 5/8 of an inch. Many countries store waste in thick-walled, bolted-lid metal casks 10 to 20 inches thick, the standard in most of the world, except the U.S. In 2012, the California San Onofre nuclear power plant closed due to faulty Holtec containers. Steam generators from 2011 showed premature wear on over 3,000 tubes, in 15,000 places. In 2018, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission concluded every Holtec canister downloaded into the storage holes was damaged due to inadequate clearance between the canister and the divider shell in the storage hole (vault). The NRC states that canister walls are already “worn.” This results in cracks. Once cracks start, they continue to grow through the wall.

ExxonMobil, Chevron and Occidental Petroleum are among many companies that use “fracking” when drilling. Fracking increases the risk of earthquakes because highly pressurised wastewater and chemicals are blasted underground, creating unstable fissures. A U.S. Geographical Survey noted increased dramatic earthquake changes in 17 U.S. zones, including southeastern N.M., which are in “particular danger from an increased number of what it calls ‘induced’ quakes where wastewater injection increases the underground pore pressure, which may lubricate nearby faults, thereby making earthquakes more likely to occur.”

Our precious Pecos River flows near these drilling sites. Fracking of one well consumes 3-6 million gallons of water. In water-starved southeastern N.M. and the Permian Basin, over 103,000 wells now require 500 million gallons of water to drill. After fracking, millions more gallons of toxic wastewater is generated and has to be disposed of before our drinking water and land is destroyed.

Radioactive storage and big oil have been very generous with their money in Santa Fe, convincing elected leaders to turn our southeastern backyard into a toxic soup of fracked wells, wastewater and radioactive leaks. Visitors will avoid entering “Nuclear Alley,” realizing the dangers of exposure to this waste. Bye-bye to tourists who want to visit Carlsbad Caverns and other attractions here.

It may be too late. Holtec has cemented its foothold here by buying over 30 acres for radioactive storage. The very profitable oil/gas drilling companies are firmly entrenched in N.M. I would welcome extraterrestrials any day over them.

 

 

 

 

Demonizing Southeast New Mexico

Everyone in New Mexico knows that the southeast corner of the state is the economic backbone of our state. Without the revenue generated by several primary industries located here, the state would absolutely be worst than a third world non-developing country. And yet, residents within the state have the gall to demonize it’s source of prosperity: O&G, nuclear and yes, the dairy farms. All three of those industrial industries bring in billions of dollars to the local economies, thousands of good paying jobs and billions in tax revenues to support our state educational and social support systems for all to benefit.

The Albuquerque Journal printed a recent opinion hit piece against Southeast New Mexico’s O&G and Nuclear Industry with serious allegations of misinformation. The author is definitely anti-industry and must think that the state can run on just the gas and hot air that comes out of our Santa Fe politicians, which is more then the 332,000 cows of our dairy industry. The opinion piece had so many errors, errors that were perpetuated from prior debunked and misguided opinion hit pieces. The internet has a cascade of unwarranted fear mongering misinformation about O&G frac’ing and Nuclear radiation.

The NMO&G Association spends millions of dollars on information marketing to educate the public about the industry as it is functioning here in New Mexico. One little unknown fact about hydraulic fracturing is: the process was first used by the oil and gas industry in 1947, the same year the aliens crashed landed north of Roswell. Scary! One of the fears by anti-fossil lobby groups is that it causes small earthquakes. Extraction of oil and gas does alter the pressures below ground level but so does extraction of water for farm irrigation.

The author was not able to discredit the innovative technology used by O&G and Nuclear. Instead, the author attempted to discredit the various oil companies and Holtec International. The Dairy Industry got a ‘pass’ in this hit piece. The author choose not to attack dairy or is not aware of the anti-industrial farm lobby and their attempts to discredit our dairy farms humane treatment practices.