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NARA VISA, N.M. In deep hole, a chance for economic improvement

January 7, 2017

Quick comments by Greg Mello published in the Santa Fe New Mexican :

Thank you for this insightful story, with its fine on-the-the ground reporting.

We need to wisely work with our rural communities, because we need them and they need the rest of us. Nuclear waste is not how to do it.

Perhaps, if we are to contemplate New Mexico being a site for a major nuclear waste disposal site, besides the one we already have, we should start asking for some very serious compensation in fiscal and renewable energy terms. Otherwise spent nuclear fuel or high-level nuclear waste disposal would begin to define the state -- to make its identity and reputation -- with very deleterious effects on our future.

New Mexicans would not be out of place EVEN NOW to ask for a complete transformation of the state's electricity grid, transportation system, education system, agricultural base, and more, with massive investments to create a world showcase of:

  • distributed, locally-owned and operated renewable energy;
  • energy storage (and research on energy storage at UNM, NMT, NMSU, and elsewhere);
  • public financing structures to collect and disburse the funding for all this;
  • energy research and training in our universities (NOT the national laboratories, which on average -- note that -- provide very poor if not negative return on energy investment);
  • high-value-added, water-saving, organic horticulture and agriculture;
  • urban and rural transit and bicycling;
  • meanwhile providing free college education for all the state's youth at either nominally 4-year or 2-year institutions;
  • free graduate study in energy and sustainability fields;
  • Wildlife protections and related employment, education, and learning camps; and more.

Remember, nuclear waste disposal would require a huge investment, on the order of what has been spent at our two national laboratories to date over decades. Even nuclear waste storage, as proposed by Holtec, Eddy Co., and Lea Co., would be a huge investment.

The programs described above would cost less than these sums that if federal funds were used to leverage private investment. Asking for all of the above is not asking for too much -- not at all.

This could be done through a public, locally owned and controlled banks and other authorities, which would help facilitate development for public New Mexico purposes, from good wages to local control and ownership of the new productive infrastructure.

The renewed grid should be publicly owned.

The transformation of households, businesses, and communities from consumers to producers, owners, installers, and maintainers, would keep, and bring, young people and spawn the kind of creative social and political revolution we need.

Of course it would be necessary to tightly regulate any such disposal activity, with stronger authorities than currently exist.

In the absence of such a deal, which would greatly benefit the whole US as well as New Mexico, we should reject this disposal.


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