Organizers of a federal effort to assess whether nuclear waste can be stored deep underground have met opposition in Spink County from residents who are concerned about the potential drilling project (April 2016)

REDFIELD, South Dakota — Organizers of a federal effort to assess whether nuclear waste can be stored in 3-mile-deep holes have met opposition in Spink County from residents who are concerned the potential drilling project could lead to waste storage in the future.

Officials attempted to assure residents at recent meetings in Redfield and Tulare that there would be no plan to store nuclear waste in the county, the Aberdeen American News (http://bit.ly/1NbCJXZ ) reported.

Battelle, a nonprofit group hired to manage the U.S. Department of Energy project, is considering whether sites in Spink County would suffice for the study of whether deep rock is suitable for nuclear waste disposal.

The deep borehole field test would not involve any radioactive waste, officials have said. Organizers planned at least two open meetings in the county to answer questions from the community about the proposed research, which also could involve geothermal energy.

“What we have decided to do is ask the residents of Spink County if they will welcome us there with our scientific experiment,” Battelle spokesman T.R. Massey told the newspaper.

The proposal was previously rebuffed in North Dakota.

Kristie Binger, who owns and farms land near Tulare, South Dakota, cited concerns about what would happen if the testing finds the county is suitable as a disposal site.

“You cannot guarantee that everything is going to go perfectly and that nothing might happen,” she said. “Hopefully, if you end up doing it, which I don’t want you to, but what happens then when we’re all in trouble because this is a farming community?”

Spink County would not be good for storing nuclear waste in the future because the proximity of subsurface water makes it an unattractive site, according to organizers.

“We’re not looking at this for nuclear waste disposal. We’re looking at this for an understanding of what granite looks like, how it behaves and what kind of properties it has at 16,000 feet,” said Rod Osborne of Battelle.


THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, April 30, 2016 – 4:47 pm EDT, as posted at http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/story/b9752fbd66d34b8c978eb3e69d9fc626/SD–Borehole-Burial-Nuclear-Waste

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