Update on Permian nuclear waste storage

  • 1.  Update on Permian nuclear waste storage

    Posted 07-15-2020 11:06
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    Permian Basin Oil & Gas News Flash



    Reporting on Unique Items of Interest

    July 14, 2020


          -  Update on Fight to Stop High-Level Nuclear Waste From Being Stored in the Permian Basin

     Big News in the Fight Against High-Level Nuclear Waste Coming to the Permian


                   As many of you know, The Permian Basin Coalition of Land & Royalty Owners and Operators (the "Coalition"), Founded by Fasken Oil & Ranch, has been working hard to stop two license applications filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.   We have made major progress in this fight.  Two relatively small companies, Waste Control Specialists/Interim Storage Partners (WCS/ISP) and Holtec International (Holtec), have submitted license applications to store most if not all of the high-level nuclear waste from power plants across the U.S. at two locations in the Permian (see location map below).  Plans are to store this incredibly dangerous material at the surface, relative unprotected from terrorist attack or sabotage!


    Governor Abbott has recently assured the Coalition that he stands in strong opposition to the Andrews County license.  Recently, after a briefing by Coalition member Javaid Anwar, the Governor voiced his opposition to President Trump in person.  The Coalition has also been working with Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham's office and has been assured that she stands firmly opposed to the Holtec license in Lea County, New Mexico.  Both Governors are expected to send letters to President Trump asking him to do everything in his power to stop the licenses.  


    Below is the letter to President Trump from Oilmen, Oilwomen and Friends of the Permian Basin that we have feature in previous News Flash issues.  Its purpose is (1) to brief President Trump regarding plans underway to move large volumes of nuclear waste from power plants around the country to long-term storage sites near the center of the Permian Basin (see location map in the letter), (2) to highlight the risks and poor judgment of these plans, and (3) to request that the President do everything within his power to stop this madness.


    We now have about 1,800 letter signatures, including those Permian leaders listed below.


    • Vicki Hollub - CEO, Occidental Petroleum
    • Tim Leach - CEO, Concho Resources
    • Travis Stice - CEO, Diamondback Energy
    • Javaid Anwar - President, Midland Energy, Inc.
    • Jim Henry - CEO, Henry Resources
    • Dick Salisbury - Founder, Saulsbury Industries
    • Bubba Saulsbury - Saulsbury Industries
    • Don Sparks - Founder and CEO, Discovery Operating
    • Jeff Sparks - Discovery Operating
    • Autry Stephens – CEO, Endeavor Energy Resources
    • Ernest Angelo - Founder and CEO, Discovery Exploration
    • Arlen Edgar -Founder and Principal, Arlen Edgar Oil Investments
    • Bruce Brady -President, Great Western Drilling
    • Bill Holmes - Partner, Mid-States Operating Company
    • Bill Kent - Founder and CEO, The Kent Companies
    • Dennis Johnson - CEO and Chairman, Summit Petroleum, LLC
    • Kyle Stallings - Founder and CEO, Desert Royalty Company, LLC
    • Tom Jennings, CEO, First Roswell Corporation
    • Margaret Purvis - President, Purvis Operating Company
    • Briggs Donaldson - Land Manager, Purvis Operating Company
    • Wayne Newkumet - President, Newkumet Exploration


    Expect an important announcement regarding Permian Basin Petroleum Association support very soon!


    We encourage each of you who has yet to lend your name to the cause to sign the attached PDF copy and return the signature page to  We will make sure your signature is included with all others received.  The letter can also be signed digitally by following this link:


    Through our connections we are planning to have this letter personally delivered to President Trump, with copies to some of his family members and to leaders of his reelection campaign team.  Please take action and join us for the good of our region, our industry and our country.  YOU CAN ALSO HELP BY FORWARDING THIS LETTER TO YOUR FRIENDS AND ASSOCIATES AND ENCOURAGING THEM TO SIGN AND RETURN IT.  Thank you!


    Oilmen, Oilwomen and Friends of the Permian Basin


                                                                                                                            February 3, 2020                            


    The Honorable Donald J. Trump

    President of the United States of America

    The White House

    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

    Washington, D.C.  20500


    Dear Mr. President:


    We are oilmen, oilwomen and friends of the Permian Basin of West Texas and Eastern New Mexico, writing to bring to your attention an issue of great concern.  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is now considering two permit applications to allow high level nuclear waste, mostly spent fuel from nuclear power plants across America, to be stored for at least forty years near the center of the Permian Basin's prolific oil and natural gas fields.  These plans defy common sense.


    The Permian Basin's oil & gas renaissance has led the U.S. in becoming the largest producer of oil & gas in the world.  The country depends on the Permian to keep energy costs down for consumers, the economy humming, and the nation energy independent and secure.  Locating high level nuclear waste facilities in the heart of the Permian Basin puts this at risk.


    Two relatively small companies, Waste Control Specialists/Interim Storage Partners (WCS/ISP) and Holtec International (Holtec), have submitted permit applications to store a total of approximately 210,000 metric tons of high level nuclear waste at two locations in the Permian (see location map below).  To put this in perspective, collectively there are about 90,000 metric tons of spent fuel being temporarily stored at nuclear power plants across the county waiting for a permanent disposal solution.  If the WTS/ISP and Holtec permits are issued, it appears that storage of most of America's high level nuclear waste (some of the most dangerous material in the world) will be consolidated in the Permian Basin.  We understand that some of this deadly waste would be transported through heavily populated American cities.


    We respectfully request that, for the good of the country, you do everything in your power to ensure that the WTS/ISP and Holtec permits are not granted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.


    We are all supporters of nuclear energy as one of the many domestic energy sources needed to power American Energy Security and Independence.  However, placing high level nuclear waste in the heart of the Permian Basin oil fields puts our strategic oil and gas resources at risk unnecessarily.  We are especially concerned that these poorly protected remote sites will become terrorist targets.  This deadly material would be stored at and very near the surface at the WTS/ISP and Holtec sites.  Taking out Permian oil production via a terrorist attack on one or both vulnerable storage sites would not only materially harm America but would benefit Iran and organizations funded by Middle East oil money by driving oil prices up.


    Storage of nuclear waste in the Permian Basin is not the right option.  The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) guidebook on spent nuclear fuel advises that storage away from reactors should "avoid lands with exploitable mineral and energy resources."  In addition to the risk of a catastrophic radiation release caused by terrorism, sabotage, or operator error, the dry storage casks are susceptible to corrosion.  A release would put our amazing Permian people and our strategic oil and gas production and resources at great risk.  High winds and dust storms common in our region could worsen any catastrophe.  A release would also likely contaminate some of our fresh water tables.  We average only about 15 inches of rain a year in the Permian and thus water is also a very precious natural resource.





    Those of us leading this fight are available to brief and consult with you and your staff any time.  We are also looking forward to your upcoming visit to the Permian Basin.  Would it be possible to schedule a brief meeting of Permian Basin leadership with you and your staff in Washington, D.C. or when you visit Midland/Odessa? 


    Thank you, Mr. President, for your most effective and historic service to America, and for your help with this very important matter!


                                                                                                                            Most respectfully,


                                                                                                                            LIST OF SIGNATORS HERE


    Posted on behalf of James Mayer