Will Otero County, New Mexico, Become The Nation's High Level
Nuclear Waste Dump?
The Department of Energy’s
Salt Basin Deep Borehole Research Project
is all about radioactive waste disposal.
In my opinion “A better Resolution”, here is a copy of a better resolution that I sent my Otero County Commissioner (Lori Bies) a week or two AHEAD of the May 12, 2017 meeting. It protects private property rights while expressing no support for the DBFT. In my view it meets DOE’s requirements. All it needed is a final review and minor changes by a lawyer. Commissioner Bies, “my” commissioner ignored all of it.
Copy of latest Quay County New Mexico resolution opposing the nuclear borehole DBFT in Quay County. I shared this with Commissioner Lori Bies a week before her vote to enable the nuclear borehole.
DOE Public Meetings Are Over
Do El Paso, Texas, Dell City, Texas, Hudspeth County, Texas know about the risks to their water? The Borehole plan calls for multiple penetrations of the aquifer, with no independent oversight of the drilling. Texas has been excluded from all public meetings.
Ask questions and SPEAK UP or the DOE will assume you consent. See my “Who Do You Call” page for contacts (HERE)
Otero County Commissioner Lori Bies was ask about her position on the Commissions proposed “non-support” resolution (It did not pass). She states:
“If, in fact, this location is not the chosen site, we put ourselves in a position where the property owner and come back on the county and then we have another litigation situation”
She is apparently afraid of a law suit. Heck of a way to run a county in my view.
Salt Basin Deep Borehole Research Project, What’s to know?
– What are deep boreholes used for?
– Private property rights.
– Nuclear waste. Bomb making and nuclear power “spent” fuel.
– Nuclear waste dumping.
– DOE (Department of Defense) who are they?
– Other places that DOE has tried to dump.
What are DOE Deep Boreholes to be used for?
Keep in mind that the project is an experiment. No one, I mean no one, knows what may happen.
The Deep Borehole idea was born in the 1950s as a way to dispose of radioactive waste. It is all about nuclear waste disposal. The waste is very “hot” both thermally and radiation wise, and there is a lot of it, and it remains “Hot” in some cases for over 200,000 years. Thermal considerations are important too, For example the Hanford capsules are presently kept in 122 F water to prevent temperature damage. The water must be constantly cooled to 122F. 1,900 of these capsules are at Hanford, WA (They are a result of nuclear weapons manufacturing). They present a real threat to the environment. Just one example!
No one knows how to safely dispose of bomb waste and the “spent” fuel piling up at the nuclear power plants. Spent fuel is actually very radioactive and thermally hot. No nuclear power generating State wants radioactive disposal in their back yard.
So a couple of ideas were kicked around for getting this dangerous stuff away from (important) people. WIPP and the Yucca Mountain repositories were two ideas (not discussed here). They were located away from important people, in very isolated, rural areas. Another idea was a deep, deep hole into the edge of the earth's crust where the radioactive material could be dumped. Naturally the hole must be sealed, stable and have no migration to the surface (by water or anything else). Keep in mind that the time frames are very hard to understand – 200,000 years or more. Name something mankind has that will last that long (no don't count the nuclear waste!).
Deep Boreholes are about radioactive waste disposal, not geothermal energy or science. The idea is to drill a hole about 17” in diameter three miles deep into (hopefully) solid rock. Move the waste to the hole. Process the waste into capsules. Place the waste down the hole and then seal the hole and hope there are no earth quakes or volcanic eruptions or ?? for 200,000+ years. What could possibly go wrong?
These holes are steel cased but concern about sealing is real. For example a steel casing will disappear over a long time due to corrosion, and leave a pathway from the super radioactive waste to the surface or to the ground water. Sealing is a big issue.
Sandia Labs and others have proposed a field of some 950 deep bore holes to dispose of existing spent nuclear fuel (with another couple wells needed each year). Boreholes for weapons waste disposal would add to that. Spacing would be about 200 yards between holes. An area of 10 - 20 sections should take care of a national waste dump (wild guess). The site would have to isolated, rural and controllable. Know any places like that?
The "Salt Basin Deep Borehole Research Project" is the “first” step to see if dumping this waste is practical. If the test shows SE Otero County has perfect geology for radioactive nuclear waste will DOE then go to Nevada or Ohio to drill another $37,000,000+ deep hole (that may not work), and then dispose of nuclear waste in Nevada or Ohio? Or will they come to a proven area, rural, isolated Southeastern Otero County, and drill and dump here?
Who really believes that DOE will spend $37,000,000, find a proven site, and not move nearby to dump nuclear waste? The land below Pinion meets all DOE criteria. Will it be the next dump?
There is something "fishy" about what we are being told about the Borehole. The Department of Energy (DOE) proposes to spend $37,000,000 for two holes. We are told that these holes will be to test out the concept of nuclear waste disposal and will show if the geology is suitable for nuclear waste. Once completed we are supposed to believe that DOE will then go elsewhere, maybe to Ohio or Nevada or Kansas, and drill another $37,000,000 "test" hole to see if the rock is good there and then dump radioactive waste in Ohio or Nevada or Kansas?
Really? Does that seem reasonable?
Here is what actually is going on. DOE will drill and test. Maybe plug that test hole. If things are good for a nuclear dump they will buy, or take, nearby land (eminent domain if necessary) and drill a field of boreholes for a nuclear waste dump. The Sandia Laboratories plans (HERE) show about 950 boreholes are likely. MIT plans HERE. This saves DOE a cool $37,000,000. MORE important it saves them many years of time. A new borehole in Ohio or Nevada will take several years (probably over 5 years (if allowed at all)) to permit and bring in, and then it might turn out to be poor geology! If Otero County has good rock we'll be “it”.
Their argument is if this project succeeds, that doesn't mean nuclear waste will come to our community. The question is where will it go? WHO wants nuclear waste disposed of near them? Answer; “No one”. If you look at this from the federal government's point of view this is the perfect location. Geologically ideal & sparsely populated. There's a reason this same project was rejected in Rugby, ND, Spink County, SD and Quay county NM.
Private property (can we say “NO”)
The "Salt Basin Deep Borehole Research Project" is located on private property. We should not infringe on property rights. The Department of Energy is asking “the community” to “consent” to the project. Refusing to consent does NOT harm private property rights. It is everyone’s right to have an opinion. DOE would have you believe saying “no” affects private property rights – wrong. We are not passing a law or regulation forbidding drilling the borehole! We are saying we just don't support it.
DOE, Nuclear Waste and Rural Dumps
Dangerous to people for, in some cases 100 of thousands of years, military bomb making has made thousands of tons of radioactive waste. Places such as Hanford, WA have tons of materials that must be moved to a disposal site (because of leaks and deals made with Washington State). There are several weapons labs in the same condition. Nuclear power plants in the East, Midwest and West Coast generate tons of highly radioactive “spent” fuel every year. With no disposal available the DOE allows the material to pile up at the power plant. None of the power making States want this radioactive waste disposed of in their backyard. They have sued the DOE to remove the waste. DOE is paying billions in settlements.
DOE had a waste repository in Nevada. Mr. Obama and Senator Reid caused the Nevada repository to be mothballed in 2011 (Yucca Mountain). Now DOE needs to do something about nuclear waste.
DOE used to be the Atomic Energy Commission. They were (are) charged with promoting nuclear power and aiding the nuclear power industry. They subsidize nuclear power by agreeing to take charge of nuclear waste and disposing of it somewhere. They also work with the military weapons labs (Sandia, Los Alamos, Hanford, Savanna River Site, etc) to take responsibility of bomb / lab radioactive waste. There is considerable pressure to dump waste somewhere. DOE runs the WIPP site and DOE contractors are responsible for the WIPP accident. DOE has a reputation for not honoring contracts and for not properly managing contractors (and thereby putting the local communities in jeopardy). See citations below.
DOE claims that the local community must “consent” before they will go forward with "Salt Basin Deep Borehole Research Project". Sounds good, right? But DOE has not defined what “consent” means. They have not revealed “who” will count consent. In Otero County, DOE has been polling county residents even before they have held community meetings and before they have an information website available (the website is still not up). Looks like the are stacking the deck.
All other communities approached for a borehole have not consented (except a Texas site on a Texas university site which has not weighed in). These include communities in North Dakota, South Dakota and New Mexico (Quay)
DOE has the power to condemn and take land. The Federal Government has a long history of taking property in Otero County. See the “Feds Take from Otero” page
If they drill this hole nuclear waste will come !!
Deep Borehole Test Facts and More
DOE’s "Salt Basin Deep Borehole Research Project"
A Test, or a Radioactive Trojan Horse?
The US Department of Energy is pushing a Deep Borehole experiment in Otero County.
Deep Boreholes are planned to be used for disposal of nuclear waste.
See latest details on the borehole page under the Menu “Deep Borehole” or click HERE.
The claim by Department of Energy (HERE) is that this just a test (nothing to see here, move along). They claim that no radioactive waste will be dumped in this particular hole. They DO NOT promise that similar holes in eastern Otero County won't be drilled and used for nuclear waste, if the first hole looks good.
Department of Energy geologists claim suitable test sites exist across 40% of the USA. However, DOE has only selected remote, isolated, rural areas for the TEST project. Could this be to facilitate a future nuclear waste dump? They claim it is just about science. They claim they need this test to see if nuclear waste might be dumped into a deep hole. They claim that these boreholes might be drilled almost anywhere in the USA but somehow rural, isolated southeastern Otero County is “better” for a test hole than a place with a Walmart or a gas station!
The project is funded by your tax money even if it the work is on private land. If the Department of Energy’s claims are true then this project is a colossal waste of your tax money. Why “test” in one site and then turn around and drill yet another $37,000,000+ hole to test the real dump site?
The Boreholes will be three miles deep and 8”- 17” in diameter.
The DOE contractor, TerranearPMC has stated that up to two (2) holes will be drilled. However, their contract states DOE may drill many as they wants (see the borehole page). TerranearPMC has not been honest in discussing the possible number of holes.
DOE plans to drill just northwest of Dell City, TX, in Otero County. The first holes are to be on private property. The owner has the right to drill. HOWEVER, DOE wants local residents to approve and support the first hole or they won't start here and they will not expand into nuclear waste disposal in the future. Your opinion counts at this point. Your saying “NO” does not impact private property rights! He may drill or not. Your opinion affects DOE's interest. If you are concerned about the holes and possible future nuclear waste dump, EXPRESS your opinion!
Sign the Petition Against the project - HERE.
( https://gopetition.com/petitions/no-to-the-otero-borehole.html )
The Weed Meeting (March 16, 2017), Still No DOE Representative !
I want to thank Otero County Commissioners Janet White and Lori Bies for attending. Otero County Commissioner Susan Flores has not attended any of these community meetings which is sad (maybe I missed her). The Weed meeting with 70+ in attendance showed these rural residents were overwhelmingly against this project. I gave out 50 fliers (all I had) and many people continued to show up after the meeting started (and TerranearPMC stopped the formal sign in). Of the fifty I spoke with only one, a TerranearPMC employee, was in favor. Two women were undecided (later during the meeting became "against") and the others were not no but "hell NO". Many more spoke up before, after and during the meeting!
Community questions were excellent. I am always amazed at the quality of my neighbors. Some with technical expertise greater than TerranearPMC's best and all with intelligent questions and observations.
Again no Department of Energy representative. The questions about the "next" project, that many feel will bring in nuclear waste, were not answered by DOE (obviously). TerranearPMC gave the same canned answers. They failed to answer the majority of questions (they answered 4-5 out of 60+). They again promised to put questions and answers "on their website", "sometime in the next few weeks". My experience with this approach is that some questions get forgotten or misstated, and some questionable answers go unchallenged.
Thanks to all that helped setup the meeting and to those who got the word out!
Say "NO" to the Borehole! Time to write or call your County Commissioner, State representative, State Senator and their federal counterparts and say "NO".
Weed Meeting Flier is HERE.
Other Meetings Fliers are HERE. Smaller size HERE.
DOE claims that local communities must “consent” to this project before DOE will proceed.
Sign the Petition Against the project - HERE.
( https://gopetition.com/petitions/no-to-the-otero-borehole.html )
The U.S. currently has more than 109,000 metric tons of high-level waste from nuclear reactors and atomic weapons production awaiting disposal, according to a 2010 study.
Otero County has a long history with Government contracts and takings, see HERE.
If the test shows SE Otero County has perfect geology for radioactive nuclear waste will DOE then go to Nevada or Ohio to drill another $37,000,000+ hole (that may not work), and then dispose of nuclear waste in Nevada or Ohio? Or will they come to a proven area, rural, isolated Southeast Otero County, and drill and dump here? This will impact Alamogordo, Cloudcroft, Weed, Mayhill, Sacramento, Pinion, the entire county. It will impact El Paso and Dell City Texas. Dell City is right next door to the “test” site and likely future nuclear waste disposal area. El Paso, TX is just down the road and gets water from this area.
If you want nuclear waste in your backyard then DO NOTHING.
If you want to protect Otero County from becoming the
DOE National High Level Nuclear Waste Dump
you must act. We have a narrow window of opportunity to stop nuclear proliferation in our back yard. Let's take positive action to stop the nuclear waste disposal project before the cancer spreads into Otero County. Make your opposition loud and clear. In ND a petition of 2,000 signatures stopped them.
Contact the Project Officer: Suzette M. Olson: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact me at walt AT weed-skies DOT org if you want to get involved!
Click click HERE. for more Borehole information.