A “usual legislative suspect” showed up again in the opening days of the 2011 “short” session in the form of Senate Bill 34. Sponsored by Senator Bob Leeper (I) from Paducah ( home of the gaseous diffusion plant), SB 34 would spur the development of Nuclear power facilities by replacing the current requirement for a plan to dispose of nuclear waste with a plan to temporarily store it instead. It could also create conditions (through the generation of waste streams from new nuclear facilities) , that would require siting low-level waste disposal sites in Kentucky. KCC has opposed this bill in the past two sessions and plans to do so again.
By 2020, it’s estimated by Dr. Rodney Ewing, a researcher at the University of Michigan, that more than 77,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel from power plants will be in storage in the U.S.. While the greatest part of the volume will consist of lower level, shorter-lived nuclear constituents, the threat from the long-lived, actinides such as plutonium 239 (half-life of 24,000 years) and the Neptunium isotope Np 237 (radioactive half-life of 2,000,000 years) will constitute the bulk of the radiotoxicity problems in the next few hundred years. Researchers are studying ways to possibly bind these wastes with minerals such as zircon for safer long-term disposal, but the results of tests on the effectiveness of this are not yet in. We feel that in light of on-going research, the only prudent course is to minimize and not encourage the production of these wastes until a suitable, long-term solution is devised for the problem.
Another bill of interest is SB 10 which would create an amendment to the Constitution giving citizens an inalienable right to (among other things) hunt,fish and trap on all public lands unless the State can show a “compelling” interest to restrict it and use the “least restrictive means” to further that interest. This seems to be another “Government as the enemy” bill. The standards for what constitutes a “compelling interest” are not specified nor is “least restrictive means”. This raises the spectrum of unrestricted hunting and trapping on nature preserves, wildlife management areas, trail riding reserves, State Parks,etc. Perhaps one day the aliens that flew over and dropped this “government” on us will come and retrieve it so we can go back to the “good old days” of children working twelve hour days, 360% interest rates and not letting “just anyone” vote. Stay tuned for what should be a noisy, interesting if not productive session.