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Letter: “Walls” between views on used nuclear fuel storage

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Twenty-nineteen is a brand new year with all the same old problems of 2018, but appears to be on an even more decisive path. “Walls” seems to be the trending word for the year, not only walls between countries, but there are walls developing between many ideologies without compromise. I have been writing endlessly about one great wall here in the U.S., between the pro-nuclear and the anti-nuclear agendas. Maybe its time to take a moment and try to understand the other side. I have and it didn’t make a difference. We are who we are.

Therefore, I will continue my quest to educate as many that will listen of the risk and benefits of nuclear energy. There, I said it — yes, there are risks with nuclear energy just like there are risks in everyday life like driving your car/truck, taking that flight to visit family and even the risk putting your newborn down for the night in that store-bought crib. The benefits always outweigh the risks when the individual person takes safety responsibility and the government oversees safety through regulations.

Most recently (Jan. 11, 2019), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) conducted an open meeting, first in a series, to review the application for WCS (Waste Control Specialists) and partners AREVA and NAC International that have submitted an application to the NRC for a license to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility for used nuclear fuel.

WCS currently operates a number of low-level radioactive waste disposal sites at its 14,000-acre facility on the West Texas border with New Mexico. That will be 35 miles southeast of the Holtec site, which is 35 miles northeast of Calsbad.

Also this month, (Jan. 23), the NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board will be hearing petitions for and against the Holtec Spent Fuel Storage Application. This is where at least 12 anti-nuclear (everything) groups will have their opportunity to state why the facility should not be built in New Mexico. None of the anti-groups are located in Southeast New Mexico, site for (Holtec’s) HI-STORE CISF (or WCS).

The NRC meeting on Jan. 23 will be located in Santa Fe and is open to the public for comments as well. More information can be found on the NRC.gov website.

Martin Kral
Roswell