Dedicated to a safe, healthy environment for the Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico and all of Otero County.

Asked Not Answered
[Otero Deep Borehole]
[Risks From Drilling the Hole]
[Risks From Nuclear Waste]
[Risk to Property Value]
[Wasted Taxes]
[DOE Reputation]
[Feds Take from Otero]
[Lies of Ommission]
[Asked Not Answered]
[Who Do You Call?]
[Fake Support]

Question Asked by the Public and NOT Answered

Sign the Petition Against the project - HERE.
( https://gopetition.com/petitions/no-to-the-otero-borehole.html )

The Department of Energy contractor, TerranearPMC ask for questions concerning the nuclear Borehole project. They specifically solicited questions during the three public meetings. This sounds good, right? TerranearPMC was interested in addressing issues, right? However, During these meetings less than 10% of the questions asked were addressed. TerranearPMC stated that it would answer the questions on its website, but refused to give a time frame for answers. I find questions answered this way tend to have cursory responses unless they match the contractor agenda (if they are answered at all). Please refer to the Project website for the latest in “answers”.

Residents Questions:

Questioner 1
The U.S. NUCLEAR WASTE TECHNICAL REVIEW BOARD recommended several improvements such as Independent expert review of the drilling program design and implementation and transparency for the Deep Borehole Field Test.

The NWTRB recommended that DOE describe “A transparent pathway from the Deep Borehole Field Test to siting”. Transparency is key. The Department of Energy refused to agree to show this “pathway” from test to nuclear waste dump. Instead falling back on the poorly defined consent-based process (which does not discuss the mechanism to move from test to waste dump. The DOE process fails to discuss the pathway from test site to nuclear dump. There obviously is a pathway as the NWTRB discusses it and the DOE does not deny it in their response to the NWTRB.
- What will be the pathway from the Salt Basin Deep Borehole Research Project “test” and the working site discussed by the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board?

Reference: http://www.nwtrb.gov/corr/doe060916.pdf

- There was no solicitation for public comment on site selection criteria or actual test site selection. Why?

Weapons labs throughout the US are under pressure from state and local governments as well as local residents due to on-going environmental damage. In some Labs this pressure and the damage has become critical. In addition, the current push to modernize nuclear weapons will put additional pressure on the Labs and on nuclear waste management. Hanford, WA and Los Alamos, NM are two of these Labs that need a solution to this urgent problem. One of the TerranearPMC project Technical Advisory Committee members has ties to Hanford (Heoversaw cleanup for half of the Hanford nuclear reservation, 1999 – 2007.).
- Don't these close ties to the troubled Hanfod site create a conflict of interest? Hanford waste is the waste most discussed when DOE (and TerannearPMC) discusses Borehole disposal. Technical Advisory Committee members should not be, or appear to be, influenced by conflicting interests (such as the urgent need to find a disposal site).
- What assurance do stakeholder have that the oversight committee (Technical Advisory Committee) is truly independent when they have such close ties to DOE and the troubled nuclear labs?The NWTRB recommended oversight that would prevent possible conflicts. Here is their recommendation (this includes the test borehole) I quote:“Independent expert review-The Board recommends that DOE ensure the drilling program design and implementation are reviewed by experts with extensive experience in drilling and down-hole operations (e.g., logging, testing, well completion) and in designing and operating equipment for handling highly radioactive material. These experts should be independent of the Deep Borehole Field Test contractor and of the lead national laboratory on the project, and should be able to monitor the progress of the project and report on it to the Secretary of Energy.”
- Why is TerranearPMC not providing proper independent project oversight and safety, as recommended by the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board ?

Questioner 2
- Will waste water injection system be used to dispose of waste water ?

- What prediction models are you using to assess potential hazards of inducing seismic activity due to water injection ?

- Are these models quantitative and probabilistic in approach ?

- After a recent earthquake, the State of OK ordered the shut down of 37 water injection disposal wells in the area.

5. Water injection systems in OK have resulted in a 5000% increase in earthquakes.

- Water waste injection can cause earthquakes. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering Mar 7, 2017.
- If the area is found acceptable, how many holes would be dug in one area ?
- How many water injection sites ?
- Increased seismic activity with more injection sites ?
- Doesn’t the geology change from one spot to another ?
- What assessments will be done for each hole ?

- Are assessments coordinated with Federal, state or county agencies that have regulatory over site relating to different parts of the injection system activity? Or is this oversight not required because the well is on private property ?
- If the area is found to be acceptable, will future holes be dug on private property thereby circumventing government oversight ?

- It has been stated pretty clearly that this particular borehole will not be used to store radioactive material. But if the area is found acceptable, will other boreholes be dug in that area to store radioactive material ?

- Are there any boreholes that currently contain canisters of radioactive material ?
What is the short and long term performance of these canisters ?

Sandia Report Aug 2009 – Deep Borehole Disposal of High Level Radioactive Waste 

- No nuclear waste will be store at the research now or in the future. But what about areas outside and adjacent to the research site ?

- But NM statutes does allow storage if there is agreement between the federal government, a state task force and and legislative sub-committee and then approved by the governor. What say does the county have?

- Is this process circumvented if private landowners buy into having their property used ?

Questioner 3
- Why has the Department of Energy (DOE) failed to attend any meetings? There are questions that only they can answer.

- Is DOE paying for this project with tax money?

- Has DOE provided criteria for site location.

- Has DOE provided criteria for work scope?

- Will the Department of Energy agree that no nuclear waste will be disposed of, by DOE, in boreholes, within a 50 mile radius of the Salt Basin Deep Borehole Research Project site (in Otero County), now or in the future?

- The TerranearPMC Contract with DOE states that any number of holes, any diameter may be drilled. What is to stop the DOE from drilling several more holes and holes over 17”?

- How is stakeholder "consent" being measured?

- By what means is consent measured?

- By whom is consent measured?

- Is there a formal process for measuring consent? What is it?

- What is DOE's "policy" for assessing consent?

- How is dissent (non-consent) measured and is it reported to DOE?

- Does the TerranearPMC Project want “Informed Consent” or just consent?

- If informed consent is desired why were many sign-in forms at the Alamogordo meeting (3/14/17) pre-checked expressing consent?

- If informed consent is desired why were polls taken in January before TerranearPMC provided an information website and before any public information meetings?

- If informed consent is desired why were our legislators approached in January before TerranearPMC provided an information website and before any public information meetings and asked to sign a press release and the press release held until March?

- Are all stakeholders given an opportunity for consent? Dell City, and El Paso, Texas have a stake in this project as it penetrates their aquifer. Why are they excluded?

The U.S. NUCLEAR WASTE TECHNICAL REVIEW BOARD recommended safety improvements such as Independent expert review of the drilling program design and implementation. DOE declined these suggestions. Here are some community safety questions:

- What independent on going State oversight will there be?

- What on going County oversight? Will County oversight imply “consent” for the Project to DOE?

- Who can shut down this project if accident or risks to the County become too great?

- Who can shut down this project if accident or risks to local residents become too great?

- What timely communication mechanism is there to alert the County and all local residents of problems or major accidents? Timely means minutes not months.

- The site is close to old faults and volcanic activity. If earth quakes start in five years who will have responsibility?

- If the aquifer is damaged who is responsible? Who pays damages?

- Who will have responsibility and accountability for incidents that damage stakeholders? . . . DOE?

Questioner 4
1. How deep and what size surface casing do you plan to set?
2. Are you planning to circulate cement to the surface? How much cement do you plan to use?
3. Which company will be pumping the cementing?
4. How deep and what size intermediate cement do you plan to set?
5. What is your cementing program for the intermediate casing?
6. How deep is the shallow fresh water at this location?
7. How deep is the water zone that may not be potable but is pretty good water in large volumes?
8. What are the names of the formations where water is located In the area?

Observations By Public (not addressed by TerranearPMC)

Observer 1
TerranearPMC Predictions:
1.   Deepest flowable free water will be encountered 1000’ below surface.
2.   No faults and/or fractures will be encountered in crystalline basement.
3.   Borehole will be cylindrical and vertical.
4.   20” casing (upper 7000’) will be cemented in such a way as to seal off water-bearing zones.
5.   Cement will be confidently evaluated with CBL (cement bond log), CET, or other wireline acoustic tool.
6.   No geothermal fluids will be encountered (brine > 200F)

Our Prediction:
1.   Flowable free water will be found in basement.
2.   A fault or fracture will be encountered at least every 1000’ of borehole depth.
3.   Borehole will be irregular in shape.
4.   Upper 7000’ of borehole will not be sealed – annulus will be unbonded and unsealed.
5.   Cement bond log will be ambiguous.
6.   Geothermal fluid (>200F) will be encountered.


Many more questions were ask. The above were copied to me.

Sign the Petition Against the project - HERE.
( https://gopetition.com/petitions/no-to-the-otero-borehole.html )

Contact the Project Officer: Suzette M. Olson:  Email: olsonsm@id.doe.gov


Disclaimer, we are NOT lawyers. These are our OPINIONS. Information and opinions on this site is not legal advice. For that go to a lawyer.