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Tuesday
Mar262019

Energy Secretary Rick Perry says he, and Andrews County, Texas, are fine with "interim storage" becoming permanent!

Beyond Nuclear, and its many allies opposed to CISFs (consolidated interim storage facilities) for highly radioactive irradiated nuclear fuel, have warned for many years, that "temporary" could easily become de facto permanent surface storage, if they are ever opened, as at Waste Control Specialists, in Andrews County, west Texas, and/or Holtec International/Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance, in southeast New Mexico.

But now Trump's U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry -- the former governor of Texas -- has come right out and admitted it. In response to U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) at a U.S. House appropriations subcommittee hearing on March 26, 2019, Perry said he, as well as the host county targeted -- Andrews, in west Texas -- are fine with so-called "consolidated interim storage" at Waste Control Specialists, LLC turning into de facto permanent surface storage.

Watch the YouTube video, from the 23 minute 30 second mark, to the 29 minute 30 second mark, here.

(See below for a transcript of the exchange, typed up by Michael Keegan of Don't Waste Michigan.)

Energy Secretary Perry seems unaware of the 40,000+ public comments -- a record-breaking number on the subject matter of high-level radioactive waste (HLRW) -- submitted to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) late last year, opposed to the CISF targeted at WCS (recently renamed ISP, short for Interim Storage Partners). A fair number of those comments came from residents of Andrews County itself -- and significantly, Hispanic residents of Andrews County.

Energy Secretary Perry likewise seems unaware of his own agency's warning, in Feb. 2002, that high-level radioactive waste, abandoned at the surface of the Earth, will leak catastrophically over a long enough period of time -- guaranteed -- and hence the need for safe, sound, deep geological disposal.

(But then again, at a presidential campaign debate, Perry began to say he would abolish the DOE, only he could not remember the agency's name! "Whoops," he gulped. But when Trump tapped him to be his Energy Secretary, Perry was only too happy to oblige, any such thoughts of agency abolition forgotten. It can be argued, though, that Perry is doing a heckuva job at running the agency into the ground, which may be just as "good" as abolishing it outright?!

It should also be noted that the founder of the WCS "low-level" radioactive waste dump, Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, nicknamed "The King of Superfund Sites," was also Rick Perry's biggest single campaign contributor, in Perry's successful runs for TX governor, as well as his failed runs for president. Perry has been a big supporter of CISFs, in TX and NM, ever since.)

The Department of Energy issued its warning in its Feb. 2002 Final Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed national dump-site at Yucca Mountain, on Western Shoshone Indian land in Nevada.

However, what DoE has never been willing to admit is that Yucca itself is scientifically unsuitable (let alone lacking consent-based siting, and violating the Treaty of Ruby Valley of 1863, the highest law of the land, equal in stature to the U.S. Constitution itself), and would leak massively to the environment over time, defeating the purpose of deep geological disposal!

Because Yucca is unacceptable as a dump-site (for all of the reasons listed above, and many more), it cannot be looked to as a place to off-load the burden of CISFs. Energy Secretary Perry is right -- once high-level radioactive waste is parked at the surface in Texas (and/or New Mexico for that matter), it will never leave again. It will become de facto permanent storage, at the surface. In that sense, a forever parking lot dump. Just what DOE itself warned would leak hazardous radioactivity, catastrophcally into the environment, over a long enough period of time.

It is high time for the American people to just say no to the Yucca dump, as well as CISFs in TX and NM. Contact your U.S. Rep. and both your U.S. Senators, and tell them that! After all, the HLRWs would have to travel through most states, many major cities, and the vast majority of U.S. congressional districts (by train, truck, and/or barge, at very high risk) to get to NM, NV, and/or TX -- likely including your town, or one near you!

House Committee on Appropriations March 26, 2019.

Unofficial Transcript - Keyed in by Michael J. Keegan

At 23:30 minutes

Mr. Simpson Ranking Member

Thank you and to follow on that you were constrained in this budget requests by  the law which is the  caps and so consequently given in this years not last years  funding.  I have no idea what this years level of budget will be I understand the restraints on our 302 B on this commit but I am going to be trying to put this budget together, which are the caps which is what you have to do.

Let me start out by saying I am pleased that the department has continued to request funds to reopen Yucca Mountain - the licensing process anyway.  We need to, we need to move forward with a permanent repository without farther delay.  Could you tell us a little about what the costs of delaying, Yucca Mountain being delayed, about the taxdollars being spent as well as the negative impacts such as...  How willing are communities going to be accepting interim storage if there is not a permanent repository and no prospects of a permanent  repository and they could become a defacto permanent repository.

Will communities being willing to accept wastes for Yucca Mountain or the wastes from the sites that should be going to Yucca Mountain.

Secretary Department of Energy Rick Perry:

Thank you, we worked closely during my tenure with your office on this issue.  I remind the members, I remind the public that this is the law and I held up my hand and committed to upholding the law the laws of this Country when I took this role.

So understanding that this is the law, and our budget asks for those line items that will allow us to maintain that we are required to conduct by Congress,  and also for the regulatory commission to  the NRC their funding that is what this budget request is for.   Um there is also request in there for Interim storage.   So, because if we don't do this in some form or fashion,  and  we've got 38  permanent  repositories and it is in every one of your  states, I don't know if it is everyone's district or not, it certainly is in everyone's... Madam Chair, I made a little map,  and that's the 39 states it's deposited.  I think that this is where high level waste is now deposited, that is  the question for us as citizens, and you as our elected officials.  Is this going to be our solution?   I certainly hope that is not the case.

We are going to be open to any of the ideas to the scientists that we have at our agencies at our labs may find, we will work with Congress any way we can to find a solution. We've been  worked with WIPP out in NM to come up with some additional volumes, and the state agreed to that this last year so we can take more int that site . 

There is also a site in West Texas in Andrews County that  is also legitimate site , obviously Yucca continues to be (cut off by Simpson)

Congressman Simpson:   Let me ask you even the site in Texas do you think that they'd be willing to accept permanent storage?

Rick Perry:  I am going to leave that up to current governor to answer for you directly.  The previous governor was very supportive of it being a permanent site, there was a clear effort to make ... and the people of Andrews the citizens of Andrew County very very supportive. We had a low level nuclear committee when I was the governor.  Again I don't know..

I am not going to speak for the current governor or legislators but  for 14 years prior to those individuals coming on there.So you know, my point is We've got to find a solution, 39 states as final repositories is not a, is not an appropriate  solution to this.

Thank you.

Oh and you asked me, I'm sorry you asked me specifically the costs.

The cost is $2 million dollars a day, $2 million dollars is the cost of keeping the process in 38 states, is the cost per day to keep in 38 states, the cost has been $8 billion since 2010.

At 29:30 Congressman Marcy Kaptur - Thank you Mr. Simpson now on to Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz