Monday, February 04, 2013

Completely Comfortable: Next to a Nuclear Repository

WelcometoCarlsbadMaybe it was the collapse (this year) of an attempt to lift a ban on uranium mining in Virginia that got the Washington Post thinking about the other end of the fuel cycle, but here’s what they think regardless:

Since the president helped to kill the Yucca project, his administration has borne a particular responsibility to devise a workable way to clean up this mess.
Last month the Energy Department finally released its proposal. It is a reasonable plan for post-Yucca policymaking that nevertheless relies on a big assumption — that someplace in the country will volunteer to host some waste.
Oh, somehow I don’t think that will be so difficult. Even the people around Yucca Mountain wanted Yucca Mountain. And the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission proposed the idea of consent-based repository siting after seeing it work at New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and in Sweden, where towns competed for a repository.
But disbelief that anyone would take used nuclear fuel is really the gist of the Post’s editorial.
We are skeptical that many localities would volunteer to host waste facilities, particularly the permanent repository, no matter the economic benefits. But perhaps the administration’s staged approach might be a way to convince communities, with each step building confidence that this material can be stored safely.
Yes, it really “might be a way.”
Here’s the Carlsbad Current-Argus on WIPP:
"WIPP is one of the greatest unsung success stories around, a project with a perfect safety record and more of a game changer for our economy than even oil and gas," said Eddy County Commissioner Jack Volpato, a Republican. "I see it or maybe something else like it creating a whole new generation of jobs."
In particular, Volpato said, Carlsbad and Eddy County will push for a federal study to determine if a second repository similar to WIPP could safely bury high-level nuclear waste from defense projects.
I’m sure I could find stories about environmentalists griping like crazy about this, but the point is that county elected officials see jobs in WIPP and it’s operated so well as to preclude objection – or fear from those politicians.
The idea of taking nuclear waste from the rest of America and salting it away under the desert is not radical thinking in Carlsbad, which has been a neighbor to WIPP since 1999. For many people, nuclear-waste disposal is pure business now, not a cause for worry.
"I was a skeptic when WIPP came here. Then I educated myself and I have become entirely comfortable with it," Volpato said.
I think I’ll listen to Carlsbad on this one.

1 comment:

jimwg said...

For Pete's sake, government! Put the hole to SOME use, huh???

James Greenidge
Queens NY