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A Possible Lesson From the Japan Nuclear Crisis [AUDIO]

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Wyoming has no nuclear power plants but a loss of electricity to other power related industrial facilities could pose risks to human health and livelihoods; That from Steve Jones of the Wyoming Outdoor Council who says Japan’s ongoing crisis underscores the need for robust backup power systems in Wyoming.

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Steve Jones is the Watershed program attorney for the Outdoor Council. Jones suggests a commitment to backup power could prevent a crisis here in Wyoming.

He sites the Sinclair oil refinery as an example.

“They’ve had several upsets over the last year or so and while the company has two external power sources both of those are sourced from the same provider; Rocky Mountain Power and there doesn’t appear to be any independent power source.”

Jones says an electrical system failure there could lead to the breakdown of critical operations and threaten the town of Sinclair.

In-situ Uranium extraction, Jones points out, uses electrical power pumps to keep contaminated ground water within a centralized mineral zone. Loss of power to those pumps, Jones suggest, could lead to contaminated water traveling away from that safe area.

However, Ken Vaughn for Cameco Resources says that water would travel so slowly as to pose very little threat.

“Underground water in that area moves at a rate of from five feet to sixty feet a year. Even if an outage were to last a month were taking about the a month were talking about water moving a few inches to a few feet.”

At the Smith Ranch-Highland Uranium processing facility, Vaughn says, they have back up diesel generators in place.

Steve Jones’ outlines his argument for a commitment to viable back up power to critical industrial operations across Wyoming in his blog. Here’s a link to the full article…

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