Fighting Nuclear Waste in Texas
A Private Company by the name of AFCI Texas, LLC formed by Bill Jones, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Commissioner, and Monty Humble in 2008 as a storage waste facility company. In its 7 years of existence AFCI Texas, LLC has not built a single nuclear storage site.
The facility being proposed would store High-Level Nuclear Waste in dry cask storage in above ground containers, a method that was designed in the early 1980's as an alternative to reactor pools. It is thought to be one of the first of its kind because the other 65 similar facilities are all located at existing nuclear reactor sites.
The facility's proposed location would be in eastern Culberson County, 8 miles North of Kent, four miles Northeast of FM 2424, and 50 Miles West of Pecos. The current proposed site belongs to the Hughes Family.
The facility would compromise of nearly 350 acres, with an additional buffer zone of 2,500 to 3,000 acres. Bill Jones stated that the land would be deeded to the State of Texas and leased to the facility.
Spent High-Level Nuclear Fuel is among the highest level, most dangerous radioactive waste in existence.
In 2012 the Obama Administration added into law that any company wanting to build a high-level nuclear waste storage facility must follow a "consent-based approach", so they must seek the consent of the local community and state before moving forward.
Transportation of the High-Level Nuclear Waste to the proposed Culberson facility would be by train. The dangers and issues of transportation was the focus of the questions posed by Karen Hadden, director of The Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition (SEED). Her organization also hosts NukeFreeTexas.org.
It is believed that 2 to 5 other counties have already turned down the highly radioactive nuclear facility on their land.
An Explanation of Nuclear Power and its Resulting Waste:
Written by Lupa Jernigan with Van Horn Advocate, spoken by Assoc. Prof. of Nuclear Engineering Sean M. McDeavitt of Texas A&M.
Nuclear plants produce power by harnessing the energy contained in nuclear fuel bundles made up of small pellets loaded into rods and then bundled together. The fuel cells heat water which creates steam. The steam turns the turbines that generate electricity used to power our cities. After a time, typically around two years, these fuel bundles become less efficient and must be replaced. At this point they are still very powerful and must be handled with extreme care. Upon removal from use in the plant they are placed in cooling pools onsite where they are kept from three to five years. After this, there are various methods for continued storage: One is dry cask storage. Dry cask storage involves placing the spent fuel bundles in steel containers, removing the liquid and replacing it with an inert gas such as helium.
Information about the timeline of radioactive waste, according to U.S. NRC: "After 24,000 years, Plutonium is half as dangerous as it was initially. A nearly unfathomable number for a nation that has been around just over 200 years."
Dangers Admitted to by AFCI Texas, LLC include:
Corrosion or failure of any of the casks could be devastating when combined with an unexpected disaster like a flood or tornado to send the radioactive waste into the environment.
The initial decision will be made by county officials. They will decide whether Culberson County and Texas will be the dumping ground for the nation’s most dangerous nuclear waste.
Sources: Sasha Von Olbershausen, Big Bend Sentinel, U.S.NRC, Associate Professor of Nuclear Engineering Sean M. McDeavitt of Texas A&M University & Lupa Jernigan, Van Horn Adovate
Highly Radioactive Nuclear Powerpoint - Great Info(a download)
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