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Activists vow to stop Holtec’s nuclear waste plan for New Mexico

‘Deadly, toxic business’: New Mexico will reject nation’s nuclear waste, activists vowOrange County Register, 27 Jan 19

Plan to keep waste at reactor sites is working fine, they say

In Southern California, the greatest hope for removing highly radioactive nuclear waste from the quake-prone coast might be those private, temporary storage sites that need licenses from the federal government to open.

But in New Mexico — where Holtec International wants to build such a site that could store waste from San Onofre, Diablo Canyon and scores of other commercial reactors — locals vow to do everything in their power to keep the state from becoming America’s biggest nuclear waste dump.

“The rush is on by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to grant Holtec a license before the people realize we’re being sacrificed for another government nuclear experiment,” said Noel Marquez, an artist and member of the Alliance for Environmental Strategies.

“We’re having to research, for ourselves, the long-term consequences of this deadly, toxic business. We’re being targeted for environmental injustice.”

The passionate show-of-force came Tuesday, the day before the NRC’s three-judge Atomic Safety and Licensing Board heard oral arguments from project opponents in Albuquerque. The aim is to figure out which groups have standing with the NRC to oppose the Holtec project, but legal challenges to the plan are under way in other courts as well.

Below the radar, the NRC’s plan for temporarily storing nuclear waste is actually working pretty well, said Terry Lodge, an attorney for opponents: “They are storing waste at nuclear reactor sites, relatively uneventfully and not particularly expensively,” he said.

That, to many Californians near the shuttered San Onofre and Diablo Canyon plants, is exactly the problem.

‘Entire project is illegal’

Those familiar with America’s nuclear waste wars may be experiencing Yucca Mountain deja vu.

New Mexico, like Nevada, has no commercial nuclear reactors. Many New Mexicans, like many Nevadans, don’t want to become the nation’s nuclear dump. But New Mexicans, unlike Nevadans, have a different legal argument to make.

Congress’ Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 forbids permanent waste storage on the Earth’s surface, and  —  given the federal government’s decades-long paralysis in finding a permanent, deep geologic repository —  Holtec’s temporary facility could well wind up being a permanent one, they say.

“The entire project is illegal,” said Diane Curran, an attorney representing the group Beyond Nuclear. If New Mexicans “step up and say, ‘We’ll take it in our above-ground facility,’ I’m really afraid you’ll have it forever —  a shallow graveyard for the nation’s nuclear waste.”

At a press briefing Tuesday, opponents raised the specter of cracked and damaged fuel canisters and/or rods; of dangers related to transporting canisters from all corners of the country to New Mexico by road or rail; and of the “geologic unsuitability” of the Southeastern New Mexico site, where there are underground caves, sinkholes from mining and brine that could corrode the storage containers. They also painted Holtec as an opportunistic player trying to maximize its profits and eliminate all risk.

Holtec is in some hot water with the NRC for redesigning spent fuel canisters used at San Onofre without notifying the NRC and following proper procedures…….

January 28, 2019 - Posted by | USA, wastes

1 Comment »

  1. These are the people trying to do something in America. I know because I help them. The fake antinuclear trumptrolls in America do not give a shit . they only empower the few local suicidal rednecks who make some money off this abomination, while everyone else get a sick

    Comment by Doug | January 28, 2019 | Reply

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