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Spent nuclear waste burial halted at San Onofre until NRC can probe ‘near miss’ with canister

August 24, 2018

Orange County Register

Dry Cask storage overview
Dry Cask storage overview
San Onfore Vertical Cask Transporter First fuel move Jan. 30-31, 2018 San Onfore (Courtesy of Southern California Edison)

The ongoing burial of spent nuclear fuel at the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station has been suspended until regulators can determine why a canister loaded with waste became stuck as it was lowered into a concrete vault, producing high radioactivity readings that alerted workers something was amiss.

This is the second time work has been halted at San Onofre since the spring, when a loose pin was found in one of the canisters that holds the spent fuel.

In the aftermath of the latest incident on Aug. 3, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has scheduled a special inspection for Sept. 10. Until then, all work has been halted at the nuclear plant that was decommissioned in early 2012.

"This was an unacceptable event, which is why I halted the fuel-loading," said Tom Palmisano, decommissioning and chief nuclear officer for Southern California Edison, the majority owner of San Onofre. "We will not move fuel until I’m satisfied that we understand how this happened and how to make sure it won’t happen again."

Officials said the canister — which weighs some 50 tons and is full of highly radioactive waste — was no longer tethered to the elaborate machinery designed to support it as it was lowered into the 18-foot-deep vault where it was to be entombed.

Instead, the behemoth rested on a metal guide ring for close to an hour, and could have plunged down, according to the NRC, critics and an independent expert.

How did it get stuck?

"Not exactly a case of square peg in a round hole, but a case of a round peg not properly inserting into a round hole of only slightly larger diameter," concluded Dave Lochbaum, an independent expert with the watchdog group Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, D.C.

The NRC is launching its own probe of the fuel-loading incident, including the three-day lag between when it occurred and when it was reported.

The NRC team is scheduled to spend about a week on site evaluating the operator’s "cause analysis and the adequacy of corrective actions," the NRC said in a statement Friday. The agency’s inspection report, documenting the team’s findings, will be publicly available within 45 days after the inspection is complete.

Critics say the incident could have resulted in disaster, and blast Edison and contractor Holtec, which is building the "concrete bunker" where 40-some years worth of San Onofre’s spent waste will be entombed until the federal government finds a permanent home for it.

Officials say that there was no risk of disaster. Even if the canister had fallen, it was designed to withstand the impact, and there would have been no danger to the public, according to Palmisano, Lochbaum and officials from the NRC.

What happened?

The incident was disclosed publicly on Aug. 9, when industrial safety worker David Fritch stepped up to the microphone at the quarterly San Onofre Community Engagement Panel meeting and announced that he might not have a job the following day.

"There were gross errors on the part of two individuals, the operator and the rigger, that are inexplicable," said Fritch, who works for a subcontractor, according to a transcript. "So what we have is a canister that could have fallen 18 feet. It’s a bad day. That happened, and you haven’t heard about it, and that’s not right."

Actually, the NRC had received a "courtesy notification" three days earlier — on Aug. 6 — when Edison reported the incident as a "near miss."

The trouble began at about 1:30 p.m. Aug. 3, as workers for a subcontractor moved the loaded spent fuel storage canister into its storage vault in the Holtec HI-STORM UMAX dry storage system, according to an Aug. 17 NRC memo.

According to Lochbaum’s analysis, drawn from information from both Holtec and Edison, two workers are assigned to monitor the canisters as they are lowered into the vaults. One worker retreated to a safer distance to reduce radiation exposure, while the other manned the controls, intent on ensuring that both sides of the rigging remained level.

They believed the canister was in, but a radiation protection technician detected radiation levels higher than expected for a properly loaded canister. The workers looked into the "transport sleeve" — where they saw that the canister was stuck on a metal flange near the top of the vault.

How a canister became stuck
Could have dropped 18 feet

The rigging and lifting equipment was slack and no longer bearing the canister’s weight, the NRC memo says. It could have fallen 17 to 18 feet into the storage vault if it had slipped off the metal flange, or if the metal flange failed, the memo says.

Workers scrambled to reconnect it to the rigging and lifting devices, and had it loaded into proper position within some 35 minutes, Palmisano said.

The problem, according to the NRC and Lochbaum, appears to be that the canister was misaligned.

"The estimated time the canister was in an unanalyzed credible drop condition was approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour in duration," the NRC said. SCE "halted all dry fuel storage movement operations in order to fully investigate the incident and develop corrective actions to prevent a recurrence."

The three-day lapse between the date of the incident and when Edison informed the NRC upsets many observers.

"We are extremely concerned by the fact that Edison waited three days to report the event," said Charles Langley of Public Watchdogs. "It is alarming to us that the NRC has waited more than two weeks from the date of the event to initiate an investigation."

Palmisano said that the incident occurred on a Friday, and was reported on Monday, the next business day. That will be a matter of discussion going forward, said the NRC, which also wants to know if the vault’s shell or the canister itself suffered any damage that would compromise safety.

‘Significant safety issue’

Donna Gilmore of, a fierce critic of SCE and Holtec, is outraged.

"Is it possible one or more of the canisters was scratched by the metal flange as they were being loaded into the holes?" Gilmore wrote to the NRC. "As you know, this could result in damage to the canister that can accelerate corrosion and cracking. Since canisters cannot and are not inspected for cracks or depth of cracks, this is a significant safety issue."

SCE has determined that neither the flange nor the canister are damaged, and the NRC’s probe will confirm this, Palmisano said.

Edison has loaded 29 canisters into the Holtec system. Experts say dry storage is far safer for spent fuel than the pools where most of the waste currently cools. The remaining 44 canisters of waste are slated to be transferred to dry storage by mid-2019.

No threat of catastrophe?

While critics charge that this was a near-disaster, officials said that, even if the canister had plunged into the vault, it would not have suffered damage that would endanger public health.

"The canisters are designed and built to safely withstand severe events such as drops," said Scott Burnell, spokesman for the NRC.

Holtec has analyzed a 25-foot drop for a similar canister design, the MPC-32, he said. It concluded that the canister and all associated welds would remain intact, preventing any kind of radioactive release, when dropped 25 feet onto a hardened surface. The MPC-37 canisters used at San Onofre have a thicker metal shell and bottom lid than the one Holtec tested, he said.

"If the canister had fallen, SCE would had to have shown, to the NRC’s satisfaction, that the fuel inside either remained in an acceptable condition, or the utility would have to unload and repackage fuel that no longer meets the specifications under the cask’s NRC approval," Burnell said.

But that didn’t happen.

Lochbaum, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, noted that SCE has had two canister incidents at San Onofre so far.

"At this rate, it will experience three more incidents before the transfer campaign is completed," Lochbaum said. "While neither of the events so far posed undue risk to workers or the public, neither should have happened and steps need to be taken to prevent future incidents that could have worse outcomes."

Fair Use Notice
This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. SEED Coalition is making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of ecological sustainability, human rights, economic democracy and social justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a "fair use" of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

A Texas waste storage plan is back. So is the opposition

September 11, 2018

Edward Klump, reporter
E&E News

Interim Storage Partners facility
Interim Storage Partners LLC is seeking a license for a proposed consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel. The project would be located in West Texas. Photo credit: Interim Storage Partners

A proposal to send used nuclear fuel to West Texas didn’t end last year, but it did stall during a trip to corporate purgatory.

Now a joint venture called Interim Storage Partners LLC has the plan moving forward again. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently restarted its review of a consolidated interim storage application for a site in Andrews County, Texas. And the NRC staff’s safety, security and environmental reviews could be finished in summer 2020.

Critics are worried about what’s brewing. They’re asking questions and hoping for more public meetings. Some would like to halt the project. One of the chief opponents knows the proposal won’t be easy to stop, but she’s working to rally Texans and others against the plan.

Karen Hadden
Karen Hadden. Hadden/Special to E&E News

"Most people don’t even know this is happening," said Karen Hadden, executive director of the Texas-based Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition. "The public is unaware, and they’re unaware of the risks that they are about to be exposed to."

The project is another flashpoint in a long-running debate over nuclear energy and associated waste after a number of U.S. nuclear plants stopped producing power or announced plans to close. Congress has considered legislation that could help pave the way for interim storage facilities in Texas and New Mexico as well as a longer-term site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Hadden has voiced concern about those three sites and potential plans to transport nuclear waste across the country.

The spent fuel storage plan for West Texas is tied to Waste Control Specialists (WCS), which has endured financial issues and houses low-level radioactive waste in the region. A plan by Valhi Inc. to unload WCS to EnergySolutions collapsed in 2017. Early this year, J.F. Lehman & Co. announced that an investment affiliate had acquired WCS. That was followed in March by news of a planned venture involving Orano USA and WCS (Energywire, March 19).

The new Orano-WCS entity — now called Interim Storage Partners, or ISP — later sought a restart of the NRC review that was halted in 2017. In August of this year, the NRC said the revised application was acceptable but that additional information would be sought.

"The NRC staff has reviewed your request and concludes that the revised license application provides information sufficient to resume its detailed review," the NRC said in a letter.

Jeff Isakson, chief executive of ISP, said in a recent statement that ISP looked forward "to an energized and timely process."

‘Snickering and giggling’

WCS waste facility
Waste Control Specialists operates a facility for low-level radioactive waste in Andrews County, Texas. Edward Klump/E&E News

Waste Control Specialists operates a facility for low-level radioactive waste in Andrews County, Texas. Edward Klump/E&E News
ISP said its venture initially is intended to store used nuclear fuel from shutdown reactor locations. That would lower the burden on U.S. taxpayers and allow sites to be redeveloped, it said. The application is for 40 years, though it could be extended by decades.

ISP outlined a first phase for storing 5,000 metric tons of heavy metal, which primarily is used uranium fuel. Reaching a capacity of 40,000 metric tons would involve future license amendments.

Construction and preoperational testing on the project could be finished by April 2022, according to an ISP environmental report.

A license application with the NRC said Orano USA ultimately is majority owned and controlled by an entity of the French government. But ISP has said its governing officers and management board members are U.S. citizens.

ISP said in a statement that the joint venture "combines the strengths of Orano’s decades of expertise in used nuclear fuel packaging, storage and transportation with WCS’ experience operating a unique facility serving both the commercial nuclear industry and the U.S. Department of Energy." There’s a WCS information center in West Texas for people to seek more information. ISP also has a website about its plans.

Much of nuclear waste critics’ focus had turned to an interim storage proposal from Holtec International for New Mexico. That plan is also under review at the NRC (Greenwire, May 9).

While Hadden said there was "a nice reprieve" on the West Texas proposal, she said "the threat is ever-present and on the burner now."

Instead of using the proposed interim sites or Yucca Mountain, Hadden would like to see the United States pursue a new location for a permanent repository that’s geologically sound and uses improved storage technology.

A public step in the process for the West Texas site was evident in late August: a meeting about the emergency response plan. Representatives of the NRC, ISP and other interested parties attended in person in Maryland or on the phone.

The meeting covered aspects of the response plan and gave people a chance to interact. At one point, a speaker said that "nobody lives anywhere near us." That was followed by a description of the location as "in the middle of stinking nowhere." The remarks drew laughter as well as an unhappy response from a listener on the phone who wasn’t sure who made them.

"There was a statement made about this site being in the middle of nowhere, and there was some snickering and giggling," said Monica Perales, an attorney. "I live in the middle of nowhere, and that’s not appreciated."

In an interview last week, Perales said the attitude during the meeting "made me feel as though we in West Texas are expendable." She is a staff attorney with Fasken Oil and Ranch Ltd. of Midland, Texas. Perales said the company has concerns about how the project could affect its interests in the Permian Basin.

Jeff Isakson
Jeff Isakson. Interim Storage Partners
In a recent statement, ISP said Isakson led a presentation by a number of ISP presenters.

"The intent of the comments was to emphasize the benefit of there being no residences within ISP’s Emergency Planning Zone for nearly four miles from the site in all directions," Isakson said in the statement.

He apologized on behalf of ISP for "a poor choice of words by a technical team member." And Isakson said operating safely for the region’s people, wildlife and environment is a priority.

Hadden sought information during the August meeting call about remediation plans if something were to happen. She was told the emergency plan establishes a framework and that more details would be developed in the future.

View from the NRC

Before the call ended, Tom "Smitty" Smith, an environmental activist in Texas who works on special projects for Public Citizen and is married to Hadden, unloaded on the NRC.

"I want to point out that we’re having an emergency because our regulatory agency is failing to allow citizens to ask questions that are appropriate to protect themselves," Smith said, adding: "Our mouths are being taped shut because of actions by this commission."

An NRC representative said the meeting was ending due to time constraints and that some questions were beyond the meeting’s scope. He said various venues are available for questions and concerns.

In a statement last week, David McIntyre, an NRC spokesman, said time can run short when several people are interested in speaking during a meeting. He said the staff does its best to accommodate people who want to speak.

McIntyre said the public generally can participate in this sort of licensing review in three ways — during the public comment on a scoping period and a draft environmental impact statement, through petitioning for an adjudicatory hearing, and by asking questions of NRC staff during certain technical meetings.

In a recent interview, Isakson of ISP said the NRC has a pretty good process to handle a license application.

There’s an "opportunity for the public to be involved as part of that," he said.

Opponents have raised questions about the WCS site in the past and its potential effects on the environment, but ISP praised the location. ISP said the area includes a "formation of almost impermeable red-bed clay in a relatively remote, semi-arid, sparsely inhabited area." The plan to store used nuclear fuel there has seen support over the years from some leaders and residents in the region.

"To fully support the continued generation of clean air nuclear energy in the United States, our nation will need multiple, flexible used fuel management resources while developing a permanent federal repository," ISP said. "Our facility will be one of those resources."

A couple of key dates are approaching in terms of the NRC review of the West Texas storage proposal. Parties that wish to comment on the scope of the environmental impact statement should submit comments by Oct. 19. Previously received comments on that aspect will be considered by staff, the NRC said. Those that want to request a hearing related to the current license application should do so by Oct. 29.

McIntyre noted that ISP’s application and the NRC’s review is specific to the storage facility. If a license were granted, he said, ISP would decide what transportation packages and routes to use.

"The packages and routes would have to be approved by the NRC," McIntyre said. "ISP can choose from package designs previously certified by the NRC staff, or submit a new design for our review and approval."

ISP said its license application refers to used nuclear fuel being sent to the interim storage site by rail. Existing rail infrastructure could be expanded to help accommodate such deliveries.

Not taken for granted

Critics remain concerned about transportation, including the potential effects on cities and the potential for terrorists to target waste.

Hadden has called for public meetings in places such as Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Midland, El Paso and Andrews County to discuss issues related to possible interim nuclear waste storage in Texas. She’s working on a public awareness campaign that’s expected to take place later this month and run into October, featuring a full-scale mock radioactive waste transport cask.

Hadden argued future NRC requests for additional information could bring up new issues the public should be able to examine, so NRC deadlines should be extended. Critics say there is already a new financial situation to analyze in terms of ISP’s involvement.

McIntyre said that once a draft environmental impact statement is completed — which could be in about a year — it would be typical to return to the region for public meetings and present draft conclusions and take public comments on the report.

The Federal Register ended up running a correction regarding the date by which a hearing should be requested in the ISP proceeding — changing it to Oct. 29 from Aug. 29. That was necessary because of what McIntyre called a mistake made at the printer. Hadden saw a bigger theme at play.

"That just strikes me as illustrative of the lack of attention to detail that’s needed when you’re dealing with radioactive waste," she said. "It’s just one example that’s sloppy."

Questions also remain about potential congressional action that could amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. The House passed a bill this year to help reform U.S. nuclear waste management (Greenwire, May 10). It would need to pass in the Senate to move forward, though the outlook is uncertain. In May, the CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute praised the House vote as a step toward implementing "the federal government’s statutory obligation to manage used nuclear fuel."

ISP said "clarifying" the role of DOE in used fuel management would be welcome. But the venture insists that, even without a policy change, developing a private interim storage site would give fuel owners another cost-effective option.

"I think our business can go forward," Isakson said in an interview, "if the waste policy act is not changed."

The ISP CEO said his company is pleased to be involved in Andrews County. And he said WCS and Orano have a strong safety culture.

"There’s been a long history of WCS working with the community and the community being comfortable with WCS," Isakson said. "We don’t want [to] take it for granted."

Fair Use Notice
This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. SEED Coalition is making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of ecological sustainability, human rights, economic democracy and social justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a "fair use" of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

French Orano opens uranium conversion plant despite glut

SEPTEMBER 10, 2018

Geert De Clercq

TRICASTIN, France (Reuters) – French nuclear group Orano on Monday inaugurated a 1.15 billion euro (1.02 billion pounds)uranium conversion plant despite huge global overcapacity for nuclear reactor fuel.

Orano logo
The logo of nuclear group Orano is seen at a nuclear power plant site in Tricastin, France. Sept 10,2018 REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

State-owned Orano’s new plant in Tricastin, southern France, will account for a quarter of the world’s 60,000-tonne annual uranium hexafluoride (UF6) production capacity when it fully ramps up in 2021 and is set to have the industry’s lowest costs, the company said.

UF6, produced by combining "yellowcake" uranium ore concentrate with fluorine, is a precursor of enriched uranium, which fuels the world’s nuclear plants.

Following the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, uranium prices are near decade lows as several countries reduced their reliance on nuclear energy.

In November 2017, Honeywell International Inc (HON.N) suspended UF6 production at its 15,000-tonne capacity Metropolis, Illinois plant, the only such conversion plant in the United States.

Tricastin, France nuke plant
General view of a nuclear power plant site in Tricastin, France. Sept 10,2018 REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
Orano, formerly called Areva, in December 2017 also halted production at its aging 15,000 ton/year capacity Comurhex conversion plant in Tricastin, and will serve utilities from its stockpiles until the new plant comes online and global overcapacity subsides.

From 2019, Orano’s new conversion facility – to be called the Philippe Coste plant – will have capacity of 7,500 tonnes and output of about 5,000 tonnes. When construction is completed early 2021, it will reach full capacity of 15,000 tonnes.

Orano Chief Executive Philippe Knoche told reporters that the new plant’s order book was full for the next 10 years, but added that profitability would remain challenging at current conversion rates.

Following the plant closures, those rates have doubled to about $10 per kilogram over the past year, but are still too low for the industry’s long-term profitability.

Knoche said French utility EDF (EDF.PA) had committed to buy about one third of the new plant’s output, while the rest would be sold mainly under long-term contracts to about 70 utilities in the United States, China, Japan, South Korea and several European countries. Ten to 20 percent of the plant’s output will be sold under short-term contracts of less than three years.

The uranium will come from Areva and other companies’ mines in Niger, Kazakhstan, Canada, South Africa and Namibia.

Honeywell stock price chartOrano board Chairman Philippe Varin said the firm’s new conversion plant had been under development for 10 years and that Orano upgraded it as part of the modernization of its fuel facilities.

"This new facility is a long-term commitment," he said.

Orano and Canada’s Cameco Corp (CCO.TO) each have about a quarter of global uranium conversion capacity, with Russia’s Rosatom a bit more and China’s CNNC a bit less than a quarter each, according to industry expert estimates.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. SEED Coalition is making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of ecological sustainability, human rights, economic democracy and social justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a "fair use" of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Holtec arrives at City Council

August 22, 2018

By Alison Penn
Roswell Daily Record

Roswell meeting on Holec proposal.
Elizabeth Gilbert and Councilors Savino Sanchez and Jacob Roebuck sit at the table of the large conference room as Nick Maxwell shares his opinion on the Holtec International Project on Wednesday afternoon during the General Services Committee meeting. (Alison Penn Photo)

Citizens share opposition or ask city to remain neutral

Editor’s note: This story has been changed to correct the dollar amount associated with the proposed Holtec facility’s construction.

The city of Roswell’s General Services Committee lent their ears to citizen opinions on the proposed Holtec International Project to store nuclear waste in between Carlsbad and Hobbs.

Around 30 people gathered into the large conference room at City Hall on Wednesday afternoon for an hour and a half meeting. The agenda included the Holtec project as a non-action item; no formal action was taken by the city at Wednesday’s meeting.

Chairman Councilor Savino Sanchez made a preamble asking the public to maintain decorum and remain respectful during the speeches. Committee members Jacob Roebuck and Angela Moore were present and Councilors Jeanine Corn Best, Judy Stubbs and Caleb Grant sat in the audience.

Councilor Juan Oropesa was the only councilor who shared his opinion on the matter. Oropesa referenced the city of Albuquerque’s vote to approve a resolution opposing Holtec, which he called a "dangerous project." Lake Arthur City Council also passed a resolution in opposition to the nuclear waste storage and its transportation on the state’s railroad tracks and highways. Oropesa shared his concerns about the waste traveling through Roswell due to a recent railroad derailment and another in Artesia a few years ago.

Oropesa said Mayor Dennis Kintigh has proposed a meeting with Holtec personnel to speak to the council. Oropesa said his original intention was to introduce a resolution in opposition — but added he wanted it to just be on the table for discussion since the other meeting has been planned.

The HI-STORE CIS $2.4 billion underground site on 1,000 acres would be interim storage for 8,860 metric tons of nuclear fuel for 40 years (with potential to extend longer) between Carlsbad and Hobbs. According to previous coverage, the project was approved in June 2016 by Hobbs and Carlsbad and their respective counties Lea and Eddy counties, while Holtec International and Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance (ELEA) submitted their application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The fuel would be transported by the railway to the site until a permanent site is created.

The proposers claim Holtec would assist in infrastructure and other benefits to the economy, but the project has drawn opposition from many environmental activists and other citizens. Various meetings dedicated to the Holtec conversation have been held since the beginning of the year in the southeast region. On the Roswell level, a meeting was held last December.

Martin Kral asked the city to maintain a neutral position on Holtec to allow for the power of leverage in potential negotiations. He said proposing a resolution would cause the city to lose power to negotiate and would "get stuck" with the decision of the federal and state government.

Jimi Gadzia said she was "adamantly against" the Holtec Project and sees no benefit, only a "huge risk" to the city, county and local agricultural industry. Gadzia said railroad representatives said at a public meeting that the railroad line transporting the materials is the "worst in the state, if not the country" and there was no training for the railroad personnel to address radioactive materials. She said she has been attending as many meetings as possible on the matter and witnessed ELEA members speak against another similar project in Texas because they were not benefitting financially.

As someone in the oil business, Thomas "Tom" Jennings said an accident at one of the "hottest plays" in the U.S. could come at a high cost for the local business owners. Jennings said that the Holtec project was highly risky for a low benefit. He said he attended an NRC meeting with seven people in favor (six were nuclear engineering students working for Holtec and one Holtec employee) and 48 attendees in opposition.

Nick Maxwell, from Hobbs, provided public records and resolutions opposing Holtec. He alleged ELEA, a tax-funded body, has held multiple meetings without following the Open Meetings Act and thereby violating them. He also gave a packet from an ELEA meeting on Wednesday morning to the councilors and shared news that ELEA hired a lobbyist to push the matter to the state Legislature.

"I just wanted to let you know Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance is bad news," Maxwell said. "Whether or not you agree with Holtec or not, you should concern yourself that this regional government Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance didn’t play by the rules. They got to where they were and where they are now by breaking our laws."

Lorraine Villegas, also from Hobbs, works in the oil and gas industry and has been to several meetings about Holtec. She said she is aware that the proposed economic growth is an incentive for small communities to pass the matter, but she asked how many billions of dollars did the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP) in Carlsbad site cost the region. She asked for caution from the council on deciding on the matter.

"I oppose it," Villegas said. "If we’re going to call this project consent-based, it’s important to acknowledge that the majority of people who have been at these meetings have opposed it and these are the people who vote for people around here."

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04(at)

Fair Use Notice
This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. SEED Coalition is making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of ecological sustainability, human rights, economic democracy and social justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a "fair use" of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.