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Waste commitment needed

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Uranium conference boosts reactors, more disposal

About five years ago, I was introduced to the concept of an “energy corridor,” more of an “energy circle” in truth, centering on Hobbs and including Eddy County and Texas communities such as Andrews and Midland.
Much has happened since. An example is the bold, three-dimensional signs at the Hobbs city limits. Corporate lodging has appeared. North of the Marriott Fairfield is a large apartment development, addressing the desperate housing shortage of 2006.
“EnergyPlex” has become a Lea County trademark.
During April’s final week, the Economic Development Corporation of Lea County, and New Mexico Junior College offered a conference, “Uranium Fuel Cycle 2011,” both an update and a sales pitch. A few highlights follow.
The fuel cycle starts with mining, explained Gregory O.D. Smith, CEO of Orenco USA. The remaining steps are conversion, enrichment, fuel fabrication, electricity production at the nuclear power plant, distribution and use.
Mining also has its cycle, said Virginia McClemore of New Mexico Tech.
“Today we’re looking at a mine as a life,” she said. “It’s no longer explore, mine and walk away. Mine closure and post-closure are actively part of the equation.”


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