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Waste Safe Here 


No nuclear garbage collector is needed for Humboldt County ("Wanted: Garbage Collector," Aug. 25), though some corrections are needed for the article.

 Humanity needs to stop creating more nuclear waste. There is no good way to store it. The article did point out that dry cask storage (DCS), like used here, is "one of the safer bets." The way it was implemented here makes it the safest in the nation.

It was not the Community Advisory Board (CAB) that pushed PG&E to move the irradiated fuel into dry casks. It was Redwood Alliance. We wanted DCS because it was important to get that irradiated fuel out of the reactor building ASAP. That plant was unlikely to withstand the huge earthquake that will inevitably happen there, and the DCS system WILL withstand that earthquake. Frankly, I don't think we could have asked for better.

 The article infers that the plant did not burn fossil fuel until PG&E gave up on the nuke. But two multi-fuel boilers were operating and built before the nuke plant.

 The author quotes David Lochbaum in a way that could make readers think a fire might start in the Humboldt dry casks if they were punctured in a certain way. That is a problem worth considering at other plants where the fuel has not had 35 years to decay and cool down. The old fuel here has had time to cool and transform. Additionally, Humboldt's casks are designed to withstand train and truck collisions, making the possibility of fire so far-fetched that it was not worth mentioning.

 The article incorrectly said, "regulators could make a huge difference in community safety by taking away the last remaining radiation risk." That might be true if the waste would magically beam itself somewhere. Trucking Humboldt's radioactive waste is riskier than leaving it where it is.

 Finally, it wasn't until 1982 that the Nuclear Waste Policy Act was enacted, so no U.S. utilities "went down the nuclear path when the federal government was promising it would collect their messy garbage." No nuclear reactor has started construction since 1974.

Michael Welch, Arcata


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