Divine Strake Test Canceled
Pentagon officials said recently that they have decided to cancel the Divine Strake experiment, a massive non-nuclear blast that had been planned for the Nevada Test Site in support of the bunker-buster and other earth penetrating weapons.
James Tegnelia, director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, said in a statement, "I have become convinced that it's time to look at alternative methods that obviate the need for this type of large-scale test."
The test had faced strong public opposition from the Western Shoshone and downwinders, politicians and environmental groups since its inception. There was concern that that the blast would scatter radioactive material from past above ground nuclear tests over already impacted communities.
Vanessa Pierce, of HEAL Utah, said "The cancellation of Divine Strake is a great victory for all . And it sends a clear message: our lives, our health, and our concerns matter."
GNEP Scoping Meetings Will be Held in New Mexico
The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) is a program to restart nuclear waste reprocessing as an alternate form of waste disposal in the United States. The proposal also includes promoting nuclear power worldwide by providing nuclear fuel services to developing countries, including removal of spent nuclear fuel rods.
The Department of Energy (DOE) proposes to construct three facilities under GNEP, a reprocessing center, a fast reactor and a research center. The reprocessing center would collect the nationŐs spent nuclear fuel and separate its different components, including high level liquid waste, toxic and unusable uranium and the components for new fuel rods. The fast reactor would use the new fuel rods. There is no current disposal pathway for the waste, however, DOE will attempt to develop technology which could reduce the half life of this waste at the research center.
Three places in New Mexico are being considered as possible sites for GNEP. In southern New Mexico, both the Triassic Park hazardous waste site and a new site located between Hobbs and Carlsbad have been volunteered as the possible sites for the fast reactor and reprocessing center. Los Alamos National Laboratory has been proposed as a site to continue research into ways to mitigate the waste.
Community groups are concerned that these sites may become the nation's defacto dump for spent nuclear fuel. Miguel Pacheco, with the Las Vegas Peace and Justice Center, said, "It is a backward concept to create one more ounce of nuclear waste or to build one more nuclear power plant."
DOE will hold four public scoping meetings in New Mexico to receive input regarding this proposal: in Hobbs on Monday, February 26 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the Lea County Event Center; in Carlsbad on Tuesday, February 27 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Pecos River Village Conference Center; in Roswell on Tuesday, February 27 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the Best Western Sally Port Inn & Suites; and in Los Alamos on Thursday, March 1 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the Hilltop House Best Western.