It’s Still There
The earthquake that hit southern Maine this past Tuesday night reminded us all of some very fragile material, long forgotten by a lot of Mainers. Remember the Maine Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in Wiscasset? Well, the spent nuclear fuel leftover from its years of operation is still being stored there.
Spent nuclear fuel is the fuel that was used in Maine Yankee’s reactor during plant operations from 1972-1996. It was supposed to be removed by the U.S. Department of Energy beginning back in 1998. It’s still there.
The Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company located on Bailey Point Peninsula in Wiscasset is approximately 63 miles from Hollis Center Maine, the epicenter of Tuesday night’s 4.0 quake. Luckily, the quake did not crack the nuclear waste storage containers.
The Federal Government must eventually dispose of this nuclear waste in a safe and responsible way, as soon as they figure out what one is. It all comes down to the “play now pay later” mentality. Play time was over long ago, and it’s time to pay, for the safety of all Mainers.
During the earthquake, residents of Waterboro experienced “explosions” of some kind, there was a “cracked floor” in Brunswick and one resident in nearby Bath described the feeling and sound “like a train rolling through the house”. Just imagine.
According to the Maine Yankee website, ”The Maine Yankee Community Advisory Panel on Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage and Removal was established in March 2005 to enhance open communication, public involvement and education on the interim storage of spent nuclear fuel at Maine Yankee and to advocate for its prompt removal from Maine Yankee to a safe location outside New England”. The Advisory Panel meets often and there is a public comment section of the meetings.
Maine Yankee is also suing the Federal Government for not removing the spent fuel and for damages incurred.
We remember the aftermath of last year’s tsunami and what happened at Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. Let’s hope that something is done soon with this ticking time bomb before Mother Nature has another fit.