Radioactive fuel shipments planned through New Mexico counties – Santa Fe New Mexican

CLOVIS — Getting spent gasoline from nuclear power crops to a proposed interim storage facility in Lea County would require routing the waste by rail by way of Clovis.

Holtec Worldwide, a agency That makes a particularity of spent gasoline storage and nuclear power plant website decommissioning, is looking for a license To function the Southern New Mexico storage facility.

As An factor of Holtec’s license quest, The agency should additionally Deal with transportation factors.

Ed Mayer, program director for Holtec, on Monday outlined the steps Holtec is taking To Make constructive the waste canisters, weighing As a lot as 200 tons every, journey safely to the storage website in Lea County.

There Wouldn’t be as a lot spent gasoline visitors coming by way of Clovis as many might think about, he said, estimating “one or two practices a month” would arrive in Clovis to be switched to the Lea County monitor. Each practice would automotivery a most of 10 casks every.

The practices, he said, Can be solely devoted to hauling spent gasoline, And every would include armed guards driving in a particular automotive. Each practice Can be monitored all by way of its journey by each the U.S. Division of Transportation and the federal Nuclear Regulatory Fee.

As properly as, he said, every practice Can be pulled by two locomotives to asconstructive the practice might proceed alongside its route if one locomotive broke down.

Mayer said the casks have been designed and examined to be impeinternetrable. They’ve been dropped from 30 ft, crash-examined with the equal of a Boeing 747 slamming into them, burned with flames As a lot as 1,400 levels Fahrenheit and dropped from 5 ft onto spikes.

Each canister would include As a lot as 100 gasoline rods, the columns of uranium gasoline pellets that warmth water into steam at nuclear power crops.

The rods Contained in the canisters are “utterly dry,” Mayer said, and Can be surrounded by helium, a gasoline That Does not react with completely different substances, After which encased in ceramic supplies surrounded by layers of lead, metallic and completely different suppliess.

Mayer said know-how for the transportation plan has been in use with out critical incident for A minimal of 60 yrs. It was used to haul gasoline for the U.S. Navy’s nuclear submarines and plane automotiveriers, and suppliess Utilized in nuclear weapons packages, he added.

Holtec recurrentatives have carried out conferences Prior to now yr with police, firefighters And unsafe suppliess handlers Inside the 15 New Mexico counties That Can be affected by the transportation and storage plan, Mayer said.

“They’ve A lot of questions,” he said, “however As quickly as we depart, they Have not any considerations.”

Holtec faces challenges to the siting of the interim storage facility in New Mexico.

New Mexico Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, opposes creating The power Inside the state For 3 causes, he wrote in an e-mail.

“It is being licensed as short-term facility however There’s not a everlasting repository even being deliberate in America,” Steinborn wrote. “That is the equal of throwing New Mexico over a cliff with no internet. Temporary might probably Discover your self to be everlasting, and we Shall be at Prolonged time period hazard for cask failure, and potential dissolution of … Holtec.”

Mayer said 40 yrs Ought to be enough For finding, licensing and developing a everlasting spent gasoline repository. As properly as, he said, new utilized sciences might Outcome Inside the spent gasoline being recycled To current extra electrical power.

Fuel rods “use solely 2 % or 3 % of their weight” earlier than They’re consigned to spent gasoline, Mayer said, “however new utilized sciences might faucet the remaining 3 % of their weight Which Could Even be used.”

Mayer said Holtec has Put aside funds To function the plant for As a lot as two yrs in case it fails as a enterprise. Holtec’s current monetary power, he said, makes that extremely unprobably.

Steinborn argued transporting All of the nation’s spent gasoline on The solely rail line by way of Clovis, Portales and Rosproperly places “A unprecedented hazard and burden In your group and New Mexico.”

The transportation hazard is doubled, he wrote, as a Outcome of the spent gasoline Ought to be hauled over The identical rail Path to get to the everlasting repository.

Mayer said Using practices that solely automotivery waste canisters, the presence of armed guards and the fixed monitoring of practices alongside the route will reduce the hazards, even Inside the event of an accident.

Steinborn wrote that the interim storage “poses super hazard to completely different financial actions Inside the area that May want To close down if there is an accident, As properly as to undermine the attrlivelyness of recruiting completely different enterprise to an lively extreme diploma nuclear waste hall.”

Mayer said the oil enterprise, the chief enterprise Inside The world, is snug with The state of affairs.

“They drill down 10,000 To fifteen,000 ft for fracking,” he said, whereas the Holtec silos are solely 25 ft deep.

The silos, Mayer added, are designed To face up to seismic movement As a lot as 1.3 events the acceleration of gravity, which is greater than The regular utilized to the San Andreas fault alongside the West Coast.

The waste canisters, Mayer added, are designed To Get up to corrosion Because of radiolively decay for “lots of of yrs.”