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    Helling: Fight against the nuclear reactor

    August 1, 2022 - Staff Writer



      "For 50 years, nuclear power stations have produced three products which only a lunatic would want: bomb-explosive plutonium, lethal radioactive waste and electricity so dear it has to be heavily subsidized. They leave to future generations the task, and most of the cost, of making safe sites that have been polluted half-way to eternity." James Buchan.

      Wyomingites should fight to prevent an experimental "demonstration" nuclear reactor in Kemmerer with all of their might. The design uses liquid sodium as a coolant. Liquid sodium will catch fire and burn upon contact with the air or with water. This technology has a history filled with meltdowns.

      Sodium reactors are not used in the U.S. at this time, after previous failures. A sodium-cooled reactor has never been successfully operated in the U.S., according to Arnie Gunderson, a former nuclear industry executive.

      Meanwhile, the uranium needed for this "demonstration reactor" is a more highly enriched, bomb-grade uranium, most of which would have to be imported from Russia. It would come with an increased risk of nuclear proliferation.

      There are no storage facilities for nuclear waste and the plan is to store the waste onsite in Wyoming. When the Russians invaded Ukraine this year there was a threat of another Chernobyl disaster, as over 20,000 spent fuel rods were still being cooled onsite. The initial meltdown was in 1986.

      I have consulted with S.W. Lawrence, M.D., an environmentalist and a writer on climate systems, energy systems, the electrical grid, and epidemiology. He told me it would be difficult to de-commission a nuclear plant like this. The limited electricity it would produce would be expensive.

      Nuclear is heavily subsidized by the government. The plant would be vulnerable to cyber and other terrorist attacks. Wyoming was likely selected for this experimental reactor because the offer of jobs and money was thought to be too much for Wyomingites to turn down.

      The whole state should be concerned. Wyoming is too pristine and beautiful to sell out to nuclear. Let's stand together and fight this with all of our might.


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