The mystery nuclear waste memos: They exist!

UPDATE: I have also obtained a letter from Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to Gov. Brian Sandoval, attached to the other memos below. That missive, dated the day before the two met Tuesday, lays out the DOE's version of the timeline and points out what the state agreed to in December and claims Nevada has been kept informed every step of the way.

 

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After two weeks of pushing and prodding, I've finally obtained those memos Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz was talking about at that Senate hearing two weeks ago.

They are attached here.

Bottom line: Late last year, the memos says, the state "agreed" that the Oak Ridge waste met the specifications for low-level waste. But because the waste had "long-lived alpha decaying isotopes," the state questioned how shallow it should be buried at the former Nevada Test Site. (Moniz was accurate in his testimony that the memos were "signed," but not by state officials -- only by DOE officials. But the state does not dispute their accuracy.)

But this is only part of the story, as state officials were not just concerned about the burial of the waste but the transportation thereof and overall policy questions such as: What else ya got for us, DOE? Those have yet to be resolved after a series of meetings this year, including between Moniz and Gov. Brian Sandoval on Tuesday.

I just finished an extensive interview with Leo Drozdoff, the director of the department of Conservation and Natural Resources, who has been intimately involved since last year with this process. I will update this post soon with the fruits of that interview, which cleared up much confusion and outlined what the state's concerns are over shipments they likely have no way to stop but that the DOE does not want to ram through.

I'll also tell you how Rep. Dina Titus backed off on criticism she made Wednesday evening of the governor's office -- a classic example of how the substance of all of this is obscured by the ever-looming, always annoying politics of nuclear waste.

More soon....