There are many things a county, city or state can do for itself. And there are things which need the federal government to handle. Most of us fight to limit what the federal government does, but we also are willing to close ranks and offer a united front when the federal government fails to take its turn at the plate and do what needs to be done.
A case in point: Storage of radioactive waste from nuclear plants. The issue came up: Where would the spent rods be stored?
After a good deal of study, and lots of pros and cons from proposed sites, it appeared to be agreed the permanent repository would be at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.
Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is from Nevada, has lots of clout, and because people in his state don’t want the waste stored in their state, he’s used his considerable influence to nix the deal. Also, states through which trains would have to travel with the stuff are not happy, either.
If we are to have nuclear power, there has to be some place to store the spent rods. Would we like them, permanently, in our back yard? Nope. Would we like to have them dumped into abandoned iron ore pits in northern Minnesota? Nope.
Well, our friends near Red Wing — the Indians at the Prairie Island facility — do not like the idea of living 600 yards and better from where the plant is located, have about had it with all the foot dragging by the powers that be. And we can’t blame them.
The Prairie Island plant now has 29 storage casks and plans to add more because the plant is expected to operate another 22 years. Even if it shut down tomorrow, there is fear for what will happen to the present casks.
John Greeves, retired director of NRC’s waste management and environmental protection division, said sealed casks used to store spent, highly radioactive fuel rods have leaked at two U.S. plants in 2000 and 2011, in one case because of corrosion.
“Based on the history of (cask) defects that have caused leaks to occur ... it can reasonably be anticipated that over a 60-year license period, one or more ... casks will experience confinement failure, which can lead to an off-site dose to members of the public,” Greeves said in an affidavit.
The so-called experts originally felt Yucca Mountain would be an ideal site. How come no more? Are there better sites? If not, and Yucca won’t do, then do we shut down the entire program? And, if so, how about all the spent rods currently in storage?
This may be a bigger problem than Obamacare!
Chuck Warner, former owner/publisher of the Brownton Bulletin from 1953 to 1986, is a current member of the Brownton City Council.