The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is presenting the public with an extremely flawed environmental statement to approve disposal of the nation’s 80,000 metric tons of nuclear reactor waste in Southern New Mexico in the face of severe and assured environmental risks. The NRC document is yet another document to keep a flailing nuclear industry afloat at a time when alternative energies are far more clean and economical.
The NRC only analyzes a 40-year period for “interim storage” until the wastes can be removed to a permanent repository, which does not exist and has not been planned for or sited at any other location in the United States. HOLTEC admits in its licensing application that the nuclear wastes could remain up to 120 years. That fact is ignored by the NRC in its draft environmental impact statement.
The NRC gives no consideration in its cost/benefit analysis to the important resources that offer far more economic value and social benefit over time than the disposal of nuclear waste. Objections by the public and New Mexico’s governor, Legislature and state agencies for ignoring these economic and social resources that would be compromised or destroyed have been minimized, ignored and waived aside by the NRC. These include:
Groundwater, petroleum and gas, minerals, agriculture and cultural and historical sites.
The history of nuclear and hazardous waste cleanup at sites around the United States has left populations further exposed to radiation and exorbitant costs that are not paid. New Mexico citizens have long been victim to cancer and disease from uranium tailings, nuclear weapons testing, radioactive contamination from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.