Letters to the Editor 5-25-18

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Yucca Mountain was safe, secure idea

Dear Editor,
I read with interest Sherry Robinson’s editorial, Interim nuclear waste? Not so fast in the Monitor of May 16. I wish to make the following comments.
The NRC statement that spent fuel in cooling ponds and casks is safe and secure is correct. Such storage has been used, under construction, or considered in countries like Argentina, Finland, Germany, Russia, South Korea, Sweden and Switzerland. I designed part of an IAEA remote monitoring system for the encapsulation and storage of spent CANDU fuel at the Argentine reactor in Embalse. I’ve spent numerous hours on top of the storage casks there.
The proposed use of Yucca Mountain was a safe and secure idea. The USA has spent over $15 billion to construct and study the site; I believe this was shown to be a perfectly reasonable solution to spent fuel storage.
Ms. Robinson makes a couple comments about the barrel rupture and radiation leak at WIPP on Valentine’s Day 2014. The Albuquerque Journal published my opinion piece shortly afterward entitled “A Molehill Blown Into a Mountain.” From data I’ve seen, I believe this was a minor event that could have been corrected without closing WIPP and for less than $1 million USD. The resulting expenditure of a half billion USD and three-year closure of WIPP was absurd. The public, media and our congressional delegation understand little and react greatly to the words NUCLEAR, and RADIATION.
Finally, I agree that the present storage of sufficient cooled spent fuel (four to five years in reactor cooling ponds) in properly designed and fabricated casks is safe and secure. I believe Yucca Mountain could be used as it was intended; I also believe the interim storage in southern New Mexico can also be done safely. However, I realize the opposition from the public and watchdog organizations will delay, or prevent, these actions.
Doug Reilly
Los Alamos

Sheehey is best choice for state representative

Dear Editor,
Los Alamos Democrats (plus others in House District 43) have to choose in the upcoming New Mexico primary election for State Representative (June 5, with early voting open through June 2) between two Los Alamos County councilors, Pete Sheehey, a retired LANL scientist, and Christine Chandler, an attorney.
I have supported both Pete and Chris in each of their previous campaigns, but my choice in this election is Pete Sheehey. In making this choice I asked myself: (a) Who will make the greatest effort needed to address a complex range of diverse citizen concerns across a widely spread district (i.e., from  Santa Fe and Rio Arriba County in the east through Los Alamos County into Sandoval County in the west); (b) Given that these concerns typically involve some combination of technical, financial and public value components, who will make the consistently concerted effort to obtain a balanced resolution of government initiatives; and (c) Will the candidate have the personal fortitude needed to sort through conflicting political agendas both within the district and in the House of Representatives.
Pete has consistently made an effort to seek out constituents and listen attentively to their concerns. He has worked well with the Council to build consensus on difficult issues, such as the Aug. 28, 2017 “Proclamation Celebrating the Contributions and Just Treatment of Immigrants and Refugees in the County of Los Alamos.” He negotiated this Proclamation carefully to get a unanimous bipartisan 7-0 vote from the council, and turned a potentially divisive issue into one that earned widespread community support.
Pete has had no difficulty in voting against legislative proposals that he felt were wrong in terms of technology or the public good. I have complete confidence that Pete will continue to do what he thinks is right, rather than going along with “business-as-usual” so common in public governance. This is why I support Pete Sheehey for our District 43 state representative.
Robert Wells
Los Alamos

Chandler is person of
energy, intelligence,

Dear Editor,
I highly recommend Christine Chandler for District 43, New Mexico State House. I have known Chris for more than 30 years as a colleague, supervisor and friend. She is a person of energy, intelligence and integrity. In all the time I have known her, she has devoted herself to public service and to volunteering in the community.
As we all know, New Mexico has a serious problem with its education system. This impacts not only the lives and futures of the children themselves, but the ability of our state economy to thrive in a highly competitive atmosphere.
Chris knows that education from pre-K through college is the foundation for decent wages, healthy families and a sustainable quality of life for all citizens of New Mexico. She is prepared to begin on day one to work to find solutions to this intractable problem, and I have no doubt that she will spearhead important improvements to education in our state.
Likewise, I know Chris will fight for access to medical care for all, another fundamental necessity to a vibrant and healthy state.
Chris understands the fundamental needs of a healthy community through her work as a Los Alamos County Councilor.  Prudent investments in infrastructure, public and school safety and critical services are key factors in creating and maintaining a livable community. Having worked with her for 20 years, I know she will continue to support strong protections to preserve our precious New Mexico environment, and the public lands that make our state so unique.
She has gained a working knowledge of the Legislature in recent years as a lawyer for one of the key committees. This will allow her to begin right away to advocate for the District without having to first learn the ropes.
She will listen carefully to rational debate and then decide on the issues based on the public interest of the State and her District.
I believe Chris is a reasoned progressive with a strong core of values centered on public service, improving the lives of our children and building healthy communities. I know she will work hard to promote these values.
I urge you to vote for Christine Chandler for House District 43.
Sheila Brown
Santa Fe