Battelle May Have Deep Borehole Field Test Bid Near Philip

Battelle has a new South Dakota player for the Deep Borehole Field Test! An eager reader points me toward the September 15 edition of the Philip Pioneer Review, which reports local landowners M.R. and Barbara Hansen telling the Haakon County Commission on September 6 that they are talking with Battelle about bringing the engineering project to their land:

M.R. and Barbara Hansen, Philip, discussed the possibility of Haakon County being the site for a deep borehole field test. The test would consist of boring an eight inch hole, down to a depth of three miles. Researchers would study the type of rock, chemistry of the water, at what depth do various types of rock appear, temperatures and other geologic data. It is possible a second drill with a 16 inch diameter hole could happen.

M. Hansen stated 10 acres would be needed for the test. A cement pad and a pit area would be constructed. When the test is finished the hole would be capped. The test is expected to last for five years.

M. Hansen said according to material he had obtained about the project, Haakon County businesses could see an estimated $1 million in revenue with the state seeing $10 million. The project would be overseen by the S.D. School of Mines and Technology, RESPEC, a consulting firm, and Battelle, a research firm.

The commission requested some more information, but did give verbal approval for Hansen to proceed with the proposal [Nancy Haigh, “Wide Range Discussed at Commissioners’ September Meeting,” Philip Pioneer Review, 2016.09.15].

Funny: I thought all that geothermal activity out Philip way would get in the way of conducting the Deep Borehole Field Test. But the Hansens apparently are hearing otherwise, and the Haakon County Commission, at least on first hearing, didn’t jump all over themselves to nuke the project based on any local fears that the project would bring nuclear waste to town.

78 Responses to Battelle May Have Deep Borehole Field Test Bid Near Philip

  1. Robert McTaggart

    Breaking news…no nuclear waste coming to South Dakota…again. Film at 11. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

    Cory, wasn’t geothermal supposed to be one of the potential beneficiaries of deep borehole research?

    I guess the location of an actual deep borehole testing site may depend on where the water sources are. But part of the reason for the testing is to see how material (like a dye) may travel underground.

  2. Donald Pay

    Not surprised at all, though expected it farther east. Slimy activity by Board of Regent’s and SDSM&T “scientists” not to be public about their plans, but that’s the DOE “consent” for you. It pays to pay attention to your local newspaper. This is what happens when the authorities want to do something. Most South Dakotans never hear about it. I doubt they will only need 10 acres. I’d bet it’s gong to require quite a bit more than that, but we’ll never know until DOE deigns to tell us what the proposal really is. Clearly, they don’t want anyone to know until they finally decide in January.

    I’ll be writing to the DOE to state my opposition to the SD site. I will provide the address in a subsequent posting. One way to stop it might be to get lots of folks to email opposition to DOE prior to the decision being made.

  3. Donald Pay

    I think the M.R. Hansen is a retired SDSM&T prof. Way to hide this project, guys. Nice job!!!

  4. Robert McTaggart

    You seem to think that a priori the result of any consent-based process should concur with what you believe, not what the citizenry ultimately decide.

    Maybe….just maybe…we should let such a proposal be announced first, and actually let the folks in the local region/community decide.

  5. Robert McTaggart

    “I think the M.R. Hansen is a retired SDSM&T prof. Way to hide this project, guys. Nice job!!!”

    Breaking news….SDSMT has friends that want to help them with the siting process. Film at 11:30 (we already have some film for 11:00 ;^) ).

  6. Philip business will now be offering the new clothing line called Fukushima Apparel. New entrepreneur, doc, will be modeling these strong lead based fabrics at the 73 Bar, follow the news at 11 for more details.

  7. Donald Pay

    You can let your voice be heard regarding your lack of “consent” for the deep borehole test proposal. Information about this proposal is totally secret, but there likely was a proposal submitted for one or more sites in South Dakota. All proposals submitted to DOE are kept confidential until DOE makes a decision. However, you can try to obtain information and/or submit your comments to DOE regarding the proposal to the person at the address listed below. Mark Payne is the contracting officer, and he may insist he has no authority to consider your comments. That’s just fine, if that is the response. We can document just what a farce the “consent-base siting process” is. Reference the particular project, which is the Deep Borehole Field Test DE-SOL-0010181.

    Send your objections to the Deep Borehole Project application for South Dakota to:

    Mark B. Payne
    Idaho Operations
    U.S. Department of Energy
    Idaho Operations
    1955 Fremont Avenue
    Idaho Falls

    The email address is:

    SUBJECT : A–RFP for Deep Borehole Field Test: Characterization Borehole Investigations

    DESCRIPTION : The U.S. Department of Energy, Idaho Operations Office (DOE-ID) requests proposals for a Deep Borehole Field Test. The project’s objectives are to test the feasibility of characterizing and engineering deep boreholes; confirm the viability of geologic controls over waste stability in a deep geological environment; obtain data on the geological, hydrological, geochemical, and geomechanical characteristics of the deep borehole environment that can be used to inform DOE on future decisions; and to test safety and practicality of engineering deep boreholes and borehole sealing concepts. All work to be accomplished under any contract resulting from this solicitation will be performed without the use of any radioactive waste. This acquisition is a full and open competitive solicitation and is not set aside for small businesses.
    LINK :
    URL :
    DESCRIPTION : Link To Document

  8. The poison will come by train through Rapid City, Wall and then probably spurred into the location. Jobs Jobs Jobs for the clean ups that is for sure. If ya think oil pipelines leak, wait until this rascal starts leeching into the waterways. On the eastern front, Pierre, Sioux Falls all get exposure from the waste. It is an equal opportunity killer.

    Haakon County shows complete republican dominance from pretty much all elections so the cavalcade of stars will be there to showboat the dance. The MC will be Daugaard, of course, followed by the rest of the dwarfs to tell the big lies of how they only want to dig a hole, nothing more. Then they will promise a new school and a new this a new that, all ya gotta do is sign your kids theirs into a future of glow. There ar a whole bunch of poor counties there and abouts, someone will take the bait. They did in Wasta and look what they got with their borehole just up the creek from this place.

  9. Robert McTaggart


    There isn’t even a proposed site yet, and once again they aren’t doing any nuclear waste storage.

    Here is an article on nuclear from Salon.

  10. mike from iowa

    Doc-tell me something. Has the selection of Drumpf as mangled apricot hellbeast in chief emboldened you a bit. You sound like you are wired to the teeth on uppers or something. Not necessarily a criticism, but you sound entirely different now that dipstick is going to pretend to be in charge.

  11. Of course, there is nothing to see here at all. Just unicorns and glitter rainbows, that is why it is so in the open and transparent.

  12. So, what happened at the October and November meetings in Haakon County? Was there more discussion?

  13. Robert McTaggart

    Those who want to stop any suspected process before it begins remind me of others who want to keep people from the polls so they cannot express their opinion.

    To be factually accurate we do not know if there is a proposal from SDSMT, but if one were to occur, by all means voice your opinions and feelings, present your facts, and listen to the arguments being made.

    But I hope there would be consideration of enhancing environmental monitoring and safety oversight instead of outright, knee-jerk rejection. Those two items should assure even Jerry that no nuclear material would be coming in…if he bothered to look at the data.

  14. Robert McTaggart


    My suspicion is that Trump will be a big proponent of natural gas more than anything else.

    If he were to get one thing accomplished for nuclear, then I would advise removing the spent nuclear fuel from shut-down nuclear plants (from communities that did not provide ANY consent to become a de facto interim storage site) to an centralized interim storage site.

    I don’t think borehole stuff is on his radar at all.

  15. Doc, I see data all the time. This is just more yadda data that only means as much as those who input yadda data into systems that can be manipulated with ease. I think the real data is how these kinds of things are done in secret so yadda data and ding bat data really do not mean much when is is done clandestinely. If all is so up and up, why the secrecy? It is kind of like when you pick up a hooker and you worry that your preacher might see you. Has that ever happened to you? Don’t answer that as it may interfere with some data that I am putting together regarding posts that you make.

  16. Robert McTaggart

    Jerry and Donald:

    Here is a link to a 607 page document regarding storage and transportation requirements from the DOE in February of this year: “Nuclear Fuels Storage and Transportation Requirements Document”. So you can see for yourself what goes into the safe transport of nuclear materials.

  17. Robert McTaggart


    Would you rather have inaccurate data right now to try to shut down a process before it begins, or accurate data to completely assess the feasibility of siting a test site for drilling?

  18. Robert McTaggart

    You will shout secrecy, but they have to follow federal guidelines in this regard…particularly if there are competing sites that want the $1 million local impact or $10 million or so impact for the state in question.

  19. doc, data is always subject to the one who puts the info in, would you agree? Accuracy has a lot of variables especially when it comes to something as volatile as putting a nuke dump in your back yard.

  20. A small voice in the back of the room says “let the competition have it” They don’t seem to be reacting in a way that makes sense of what you say doc. Instead, they are telling you to get the hell out and take your nukes with you.

  21. Mr. Pay, I will say one thing about doc, he is at least telling the truth about the transportation of nuke waste to Philip by train.

  22. mike from iowa

    My suspicion is Drumpf is full of natural gas and hot air and is ready to go nukular on America.

  23. Robert McTaggart

    Yes, I will agree that data can be interpreted. Which is why conclusions should not be drawn until after the data and plans are presented.

    I don’t think you believe the drilling cannot be done safely…and I don’t think you believe that the site cannot be successfully monitored for the import of any nuclear material.

    You would like an iron-clad guarantee that the site will never be used for future nuclear waste storage. That would of course be up to the folks granting any consent for operations to begin.

    As I said in earlier discussions on this topic, retrievability via this method is an issue compared with Yucca Mountain-style methods of storage. What if the site withdraws its consent at some point…or can they after a certain amount of time? Those are good questions for the lawyers to work out.

  24. I think that the drilling done in Wasta was done safely. The problem was that it was a failure with the Wastonians having been the losers on the gamble. The bit has hit the fan there and there is no way to fix it.

    The bore hole may not suffer the same, but one thing is for certain, when you ever find the suckers that fall for the million buck scheme, they will then find themselves with waste to “just see if it will work, ya know, we will sue you because you got the money” Maybe they sue Philip in the international courts, how much will Haakon County taxpayers have to shell out for greed? When that fails to bring in but a couple dozen cancer eye broken mouth cows, what will they hook the state for? To risky, let some other state that has money have the million.

  25. Robert McTaggart

    It is not a sustainable business proposition for the community hosting such a site. In other words, once they are done, the holes are plugged and the money is gone. However, the university researchers and companies involved with the drilling become global experts in drilling techniques for future deep borehole disposal needs.

    Permanent disposal sites and/or interim sites would require a more permanent presence and lease agreement, so the economic impact may be steady for a longer time.

  26. Donald Pay

    Here is a copy of the email I sent to Dr. Payne at the Department of Energy:

    “Dear Dr. Payne:

    I wish to comment and ask for immediate release of information on the RFP for Deep Borehole Field Test: Characterization Borehole Investigations

    It has recently come to my attention that Battelle National Labs and others may have submitted a proposal or proposal in response to the above referenced RFP for the State of South Dakota. I know of one potential site near Philip, SD, owned by M.R. Hansen, that may be proposed as a site for the Deep Borehole Test. In order for citizens to assess whether consent for this project should ultimately be provided, I am urging you to immediately release all information you have on this proposed site and any others in South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and Wisconsin.

    I understand that that DOE has decided that the Borehole Test will proceed only upon consent of the people in a state. So far you have not received any such consent for any proposal in any of the above referenced states. Any submission which purports to show consent is fraudulent. Any letter by a Governor or any other state public official is not sufficient consent, because it was taken without public notice and opportunity for comment. Any tentative resolution made by a county commission that occurred without adequate public notice or opportunity to comment is not consent and not worth the paper it is printed on.

    As a resident of the Upper Midwest States named above, I hereby withhold any consent for any proposal for a Deep Borehole Field Test in any of these states, since the Department of Energy has failed to provide requested information on these proposals, thus being in direct violation of consent-based siting. Please cease and desist from any further consideration of approval of any proposal for a Deep Borehole Test in any of these states, since DOE is in violation of consent-based siting, which requires adequate provision of facts and information necessary to make an informed consent decision.

    Please provide an immediate response by releasing any information you have on the proposals.


    Donald Pay”

  27. Donald Pay

    Dr. McTaggart makes the following humorous comment: Maybe….just maybe…we should let such a proposal be announced first, and actually let the folks in the local region/community decide.”

    Hey, Doc, the horse has left the barn, and you, my friend, are horseless. You should have announced this months ago, my good buddy. Now you’re in the same position you were in Spink County. You are all hat, no horse. But I’ve got the horse, good buddy. Read on.

    I’ve called on the Department of Energy to release all the information, or cease and desist from considering this proposal. I’m sure you can sign to that. The proposal has been announced, and it’s time for citizens to start to educate themselves. Right now the Department of Energy is standing in the way of that education. The proposal is made, the information is there, except it’s being hidden from the folks who are supposed to consent.

    Here my friend. Grab my hand, let me help you up onto the horse that the people ride. Let’s Make America Great Again by telling the federal government to get the hell out of Dodge, or Philip.

  28. Robert McTaggart

    I don’t see how consent from Wisconsin is needed for a drilling operation in South Dakota. In fact, Nebraska is closer than any of the other states you mention, and they were not included in your letter. If this were for an actual nuclear waste storage facility (temporary or permanent), then regional input would be warranted.

    If you don’t know where the next site will be proposed, nor what their plans are, nor have analyzed any data that they haven’t presented yet, how can you say that your consent is informed?

  29. Robert McTaggart

    I remind you, that from the beginning of my participation in this blog, I have been completely fine with the consent of the governed. In fact, I was expecting an actual vote in Spink County….but that didn’t happen. True, it would likely have been in opposition :^) , but you seem to do a lot of work to avoid votes.

    But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t voice my opinion and emphasize the need to actually solve problems. And YOU say that I am all hat and no horse….WOW! The nuclear waste isn’t going away, it is costing the government money that could be spent elsewhere, and you have no solution for it. You stand in full opposition to a non-nuclear test drill that would make future storage safer.

  30. Caroline, the October 13 Philip Pioneer Review says the Hansens spoke at the October 3 Haakon County Commission meeting. Not much new info appears in that article, but Nancy Haigh writes, “M. Hansen noted that the project is for educational purposes

    See, folks? No nuclear waste, just education.

  31. Robert McTaggart

    Cory, can you find any mention of it in Philip since then?

  32. Not yet, still checking… the Philip paper is darned hard to search!

  33. Robert McTaggart


    I don’t know how you can square full transparency before they have selected a site, while keeping the proposal process fully competitive. We as taxpayers should want different sites to compete for selection, and that means following federal guidelines which address rules for disclosure and dissemination of data from said grant.

    But once a site has been selected, have at it. We agree on the need for a transparent process, but disagree on when that should start.

    I would agree that it is not a bad idea to really read up on the science of deep borehole disposal and what has been released previously, or learning more about nuclear science….all that is terrific.

  34. Donald Pay

    Well, Dr. McTaggart, I submitted the FOIA for a number of states, and my assumption is that folks everywhere actually want to make an informed decision. I haven’t found anyone in any state, so far, who just wants to roll over and let the federal government do whatever it wants. Now, maybe you think people in South Dakota are all dumb, and don’t want information about this submittal. The only dumb ones I ever found in my forty years of living in South Dakota was the people who run the state, and think they know best. Everyone knows there is a nuclear waste disposal facility at the end of these “tests.” Just read the information from the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board. DOE admitted it.

  35. Robert McTaggart

    Well…keep up the good work, Cory. It will be interesting to see if SDSMT gives it another try.

  36. Robin Friday

    oh geez. . .they’re baaaaack. . .

  37. Robert McTaggart

    I am shocked that they actually want to find a location to store the nuclear waste they have produced during nuclear weapons development. It is un-American to try and solve problems.

    But seriously, the connection between becoming a test site and becoming a permanent disposal site is murky at best. A test site for drilling does not have the same hurdles with access to bodies of water or transportation of waste that a permanent site would. In fact, a test site has NO issues with transportation of nuclear material!

    For commercial wastes, I would rather they recycle the fuel and burn up the plutonium instead of simply burying it in a mixed state deep underground. But the consensus is that for right now, reprocessing is more expensive.

    Likewise, just because they do the deep borehole disposal drilling tests doesn’t mean that they will use this method to store military wastes. Cost and retrievability may mean that a Yucca Mountain style of storage is more feasible.

  38. Educational purposes reminds of loan sharking. If you do not pay the vig, the boys will come and “educate your knees”.

  39. Donald Pay

    Doc, Doc, Doc…They are storing the stuff now. If you listen to what the Republicans want to do, they scoff at this Deep Borehole Disposal Test. They want this stuff stuck in Nevada, or anywhere else where they can find a dumb Governor, like Daugaard. They don’t believe in “consent.” That’s an Obama thing. They’ll stick where they want to, and if any state makes any move, like a “test,” they’ll just say, “Sorry you guys just gave all the consent you are gonna get to give.” The game has changed with the election. Obama was easy. Trump will stick it right where the sun don’t shine. Don’t every think this will remain a “test.” That is over. It’s for real now.

  40. Robert McTaggart

    Educational? Yes. They need to study the geology and hydrology along the length of the borehole.

    You wouldn’t want to simply dump waste down a deep hole and not know what happens to it, or not know if you could take it out if necessary, or not know if your defense-in-depth measures would operate as designed?

    If you are opposed to the pipelines, you would want to know if the containers used for shipping oil by train would work before you put any oil in them….wouldn’t you?

  41. I hope they have bus rides to Philip to visit The Borehole.

  42. Robert McTaggart

    Yucca Mountain is not being developed right now. Certainly having Obama and Reid out of the way changes the political calculus, but I don’t know if that changes anyone’s mind in Nevada. There are however other Senators in states like Illinois that want their wastes removed.

    Yucca Mountain is a very good site for storing commercial wastes. It may not have been done well to gain people’s consent, but technically it is a good location for isolating wastes.

    But at some point, they will need to build another repository. Sooner rather than later if (a.) they decide to never reprocess any of our spent fuel and reduce the volume of said waste or (b.) we boost the amount of nuclear energy we generate to combat climate change. So other locations (interim and permanent) will need to be considered in the long run.

  43. Robert McTaggart


    It will only come to fruition if Jerry gets his train out to Philip. He may not want to see the borehole, but you can’t beat the view on the way over.

  44. doc continues to admit that they are gonna dump nuke waste down the toilet hole Mr. Pay, they are not even being coy about it. Yeah baby, dump baby dump. When that hole is full, poke another one and another until they will contaminate the Bad River that runs into the Missouri River at Fort Pierre. Out of sight, out of mind. Philip will become educational all right, just like Chernobyl.

  45. Porter Lansing

    If SoDak is going to store some nuclear waste, they pretty much have to store all the nuclear waste. What a great contribution to USA. BRAVO!! Just as a hypothetical, how much would the state charge? That’s assuming the state uses eminent domain to buy the property. Or should private land owners be able to cut their own deals? The money paid for land could well be hundreds of billions. This could change the total direction of the state for all time. But then what exactly is the fifty plan for state growth? There is one, isn’t there? For a state to dedicate itself to helping our country deal with this issue and change it’s growth model forever is worth a hundred billion, alone.

  46. If you get that toilet hole doc, the view will be a glowing one that is for sure.

  47. All of the nuke waste in the toilet hole would be world wide too. How exciting! Now that we are back to holding hands with Putin, he will probably make an offer that cannot be refused. Educational indeed, you can learn Russian, starting with nyet and that should be what Philip says quickly.

  48. Porter Lansing

    But then. What if Washington just drilled holes on fed land and didn’t think it needed to ask permission or pay anybody? What could South Dakota do about it? The guy in charge is supposed to be a tough negotiator. So, just drill one test hole and then you’ll have more input. (So will Washington, though.)

  49. Robert McTaggart

    Sorry jerry, I have not said that the test site will become a nuclear waste storage site. You and Donald are raising suspicions that there is a direct connection.


    Would utilities and the DOE pay to have their waste stored. Yes. Is it a one-time deal, or is it on-going for as long as the state keeps it? That I am not sure of.

    If we are only going to build one permanent repository (Yucca or something similar), then we will want to reprocess the fuel. A dedicated reprocessing facility would have an economic impact.

    “AREVA is the world leader and expert in the field of
    recycling spent fuel. Recycling provides an answer to current
    spent fuel storage concerns, reducing both volume and
    toxicity, and providing an additional source of nuclear fuel.

    But this solution also means the creation of thousands of jobs. Construction of an 800mTHM recycling facility would create 12,000 jobs, including 1,000 design jobs. During operation, it would require 2,500 permanent personnel. An infrastructure project of this magnitude has the potential to spur a substantial economic impact and create 70,000 indirect jobs overall. “

  50. Porter Lansing

    Not to be a wise-acre but if the waste is going to be reprocessed then there’s still some left over to put down the hole? Sounds like a great plan … to recycle the waste.

  51. Robert McTaggart

    Reprocessing would reduce the volume of waste in two ways. First, the end product would simply be smaller in total. About 5% of what you had before.

    Second, the heat load from said waste would be reduced. Thus the volume savings you would achieve would be greater than a factor of 20. More heat load means the waste vessels must be spaced further apart to avoid boiling groundwater, which is a path for dispersing radionuclides if waste containment ever failed. In Yucca Mountain regular wastes would not be tightly packed together as a result.

    HOWEVER, today’s commercial waste forms (reprocessed or not) are currently not engineered to be isolated by deep borehole disposal. Military wastes only.

  52. Porter Lansing

    It looks like the canisters are in the deepest mile, then some special plugs in middle mile, then cement plugs to the surface. On the oil rigs, we drilled out cement plugs sometimes but will there be a way to drill through the special plugs and remove the canisters if a more efficient recycling process is invented?

  53. Robert McTaggart

    Reprocessing is not possible for the military wastes in question. They are primarily Cs-137 and Sr-90, and there is no plutonium or uranium to collect via a reprocessing process. You could possibly use it for other irradiation services first (like food irradiation) to get some use out of it first.

    Reprocessing facilities do not exist today in the United States for commercial nuclear wastes. The best that we can do is build in the capability to retrieve our waste in the future to reprocess it when it becomes feasible (which right now depends on the cost of fresh uranium).

    Commercial spent fuel is not designed to be isolated via the deep borehole disposal technique. They would need to drill a much larger hole over that 3 mile distance, and they haven’t done a borehole with the smaller radius yet.

    Heat and irradiation impact mechanical properties, and any extraction procedure has to work the first time, or it will get stuck in-between…and not just now, but say a century from now. If only there were a way to drill a test borehole to test some of those procedures out…..

  54. Porter Lansing

    Outstanding information. Of course there’s a way (your cynicism noted :)) Just green light the bore hole and see what can be learned. It’s a go big or go home project. Either be prepared to make South Dakota the uranium reprocessing center of the country, reap the billions in revenues or just pass on the opportunity, upfront. It appears the tests need to be done in clay, sand and granite substructures and then an assessment of which is best would determine the spot for the bore hole. Would South Dakota citizens be pleased or pissed if the Philip site was chosen?

  55. Robert McTaggart

    …there is a lot of cynicism in academia ;^).

    There are many ways that we could be participating in the global nuclear economy without having a nuclear power plant in the state.

    Deep borehole test drilling, uranium mining, or reprocessing would support the fuel cycle without a reactor. Of these reprocessing would be the most expensive to do, but would have the greatest economic benefit.

    Engineering, manufacturing, instrumentation, power systems, radiation safety and occupational safety would do fine in SD without any reactor.

    If you want a nuclear application outside the power sector that would support agriculture, then you need to look at food irradiation.

  56. Porter Lansing

    Right on point. Reprocessing would by far be the most expensive. Not expensive to South Dakota, though. The money would be flooding into South Dakota like the Red River in the spring. If the state agrees to be a waste depository and embraces it, the other ancillary nuclear operations would naturally gravitate to the area no matter the cost. As it is, no place will allow them even an interview.
    As a chef, I’m wholly behind food irradiation. It’s presently being used to nearly eliminate salmonella and e-coli in over 60 countries. However (I hate that word since it nearly always prefaces negativity) maybe research in this field is better suited to California. SoDak’s harsh climate, somewhat repressed entertainment options and non-growth political leanings might be a detriment to hiring scientists of this ilk; dedicating their careers and moving their families near their workplace. In short, food scientists (like chefs) want to live where the action is and their often wayward kids won’t get in trouble while learning how to grow up liberally.

  57. Porter Lansing

    In conclusion Professor McTaggart, it looks like you’ve put together a plan to move South Dakota into at least the top 10 most advancing scientific states in USA … as well as one of the richest. BRAVO, sir! Porter is all in … as long as the waste isn’t reduced to a slurry and shipped by pipeline to the bore hole site. We all know, pipelines are more dangerous to the environment than trucks and trains. Good luck, Bob. hehehe

  58. doc, doc, doc, story at 11: sdsm&t, heather Wilson, prof. Hansen, regents, daugaard and rounds all use public money and secrecy for their personal advantage, at least if you review eb5 and mcec/platte murders as status quo in SD. if there’s no there there, why hide the ball? because republicans run the state for a few chosen fortunes. don has been at this a LONG, LONG time, and I have represented many of the folks who have gone off leaving acid holes in the black hills, among other disasters. you were how old then? I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some connection with the wasta debacle. deep hole. no viable reason. education. whose?

    like Standing Rock, Don demands answers from power. There will be a bigger need to stand up to protect the environment until power shifts to people who care about the future, not their secret cayman bank accounts.

  59. Robert McTaggart

    Hi Leslie,

    Can you have full transparency at all times while maintaining the integrity of the proposal process? If you don’t care about approving any proposals, I guess you can.

    Can they make one proposal, and improve their case in a second proposal? Is there any data they can provide, or any statement they can make, that would win your consent?

    Do you want future attempts to solve our nuclear waste issues to be done unsafely without the prerequisite science and engineering being performed?

    Which social programs are you willing to sacrifice due to the rising costs of not solving our nuclear waste issues?

  60. Robert McTaggart

    If you are not a fan of deep borehole disposal, and cannot be convinced of its safety and feasibility despite the scientific evidence, then what would you do with the military wastes that they are trying to isolate once and for all?

    Would you be fine with an underground Yucca Mountain or WIPP-like facility for storing them instead?

  61. However we should be clear, Dr. McTaggart, that The Borehole which will be dug near Philip is just a test and they are not going to secretly slide bundles of radioactive gunk down it’s maw. My biggest fear, which is really quite small, is about the microbes and things that are more likely to be discovered because of the hot water ponds that lie deep below Lake Wagonner golf course.

  62. Robert McTaggart

    They are not going to deposit any nuclear waste in a test drill location. The concern from folks like Donald, Jerry, and Leslie is that they will do that at a later date…but that would have to be after the holes have been plugged up.

    Microbes are our friends, more or less. They will probably find something to do with them (like breakup lignin in biofuel feedstocks).

    Transmutation would be an alternative to isolation in theory. That means busting elements in the waste into smaller isotopes or initiating radioactive decays, or both…until you arrive at stable elements. Just too expensive today.

  63. Hi Doc:

    7 questions for me?

    as trump said “not a puppet, not a puppet”. I am no science denier. he is, i’m not.

    I am an “abuse of process by big money” opponent 1st.

    if it can’t be transparent, “the integrity of the proposal process” is a red herring.

    the “military wastes” and whole risk to “future attempts to solve our nuclear waste issues … unsafely without the prerequisite science and engineering” are typical industry approaches, trial by fire–no plan for adequate clean-up. Similarly, this DOE effort is “get your foot in the door before the public knows what you are trying to do”.

    we are lucky don is dogging this thing. otherwise, Hansen, Wilson, Regents & Daugaard will get their secret agenda locked in quick. and some connected insiders and friends will get richer. That’s why she’s here , right?

    That’s why the pipeline doesn’t want the Lakota people and others protesting. Leaky pressurized oil sands pipe lines. leaky baakan pipelines under Montana Yellowstone and Missouri rivers. oil soggy SD fields. broken deep oil well in western SD w/ no oil geology and inadequate bond. wonder if Alberta will have environmental problems 20 years from now despite “adequate” reclamation bonds?

    potential leaky deep bore holes with high hazard nuke waste (HHNW) in central SD before anybody gets wise? I kno, DOE never intended to deposit HHNW in SD.

    That’s why Regents brought Heather here, is my guess. Transparency will never give us these republican answers.

  64. Robert McTaggart


    You would be able to tell if any nuclear material were being delivered to the site. You don’t have to take anyone’s word for it.

    There are these things called cameras that can also send their images 24/7 to a website. So anybody would be able to monitor who entered or left the site.

    I don’t think it would be a bad idea at all to have a “decommissioning plan” approved and paid for in advance of any test drilling.

    If you oppose the pipeline, you should stop driving a gasoline-powered vehicle. How can you be against the pipeline while at the same time needing the fuel from a pipeline? Can’t do that with nuclear waste, since the weapons have already been made, and the electricity has already been delivered. You cannot wish it away.

  65. Robert McTaggart

    Let them develop and refine their proposals first, then have them defend each one in an open and transparent process. I disagree with you on the timing of the transparency, not the transparency.

  66. Taggart,
    Per their meetings there is privacy fences constructed and their own security team on site, I doubt they will allow a web-cam

  67. Robert McTaggart

    You forgot an Mc :^). Nobody ever says “I’m going to get a Big Mac at Donald’s”.

    ….but you do have to enter that land from another property. The trucks for the site don’t teleport there. You could develop an oversight committee where issues are brought up and data is examined.

    If someone jumps the fence at a nuclear facility, it probably is an NRC issue, and that gets disseminated at some point.

  68. mike from iowa

    If you oppose the pipeline, you should stop driving a gasoline-powered vehicle. How can you be against the pipeline while at the same time needing the fuel from a pipeline?

    This pipeline is easy to be against. The end products are destined for overseas and I won’t be burning any of them in my Jeep.

  69. mike from iowa

    These pipelines also carry diesel and jet fuel-correct? I am opposed to flying and I never will fly until I grow my own wings.

  70. Robert McTaggart

    If you are really worried about nuclear wastes being brought to the test site, then active monitoring of the site until the holes are plugged up should satisfy you enough to let them proceed. After that, they must bring in new drilling equipment to drill any new holes.

    But I don’t think that is the issue really. A successful non-nuclear test drilling operation would move the ball forward. One would have a better idea of the feasibility of this approach.

    It would be nice if opponents were partners in developing a viable if not a better solution.

  71. Robert McTaggart

    Principled opposition to the pipeline means you either help to develop a safer pipeline, or you use an alternative source of energy for your transportation needs. You get some partial credit if you change behaviors to use less gas in your daily life.

    Not solving our waste issues means the government will spend a lot of money that it shouldn’t have to. Where does that money come from? How much tornado relief would that pay for? Opposition without ultimately achieving a solution has consequences.

  72. Robert McTaggart
    I didn’t forget the “mc” ( laughs at own joke) I guess no one has seen Scottish television…. you seem to have it all figured out… hence “taggart”

  73. Robert McTaggart

    Sorry, I don’t get Scottish television….literally or figuratively.

    I also don’t get KTTW from Sioux Falls due to the dispute they are having with Mediacom. So I am Fox-free for the foreseeable future (no Vikings games).

  74. Donald Pay

    Needless to say the Department of Energy has formally turned down my Freedom of Information Act request for disclosure of the application submitted on this site. Thus, South Dakotans will not be let in on any information on this proposal until it is a done deal. At that time it will, of course, be very close to the Trump Administration take over, and there will likely be no “consent-based siting.” All the promises about “no nuclear waste” at this test may evaporate as well.

    South Dakota, Daugaard has volunteered you for a huge international nuclear waste dump. What are you going to do about it?

  75. Robert McTaggart

    Why would they place nuclear waste at a test site before they understood the geology and the hydrology deep underground? Or before they knew how much it would cost to do so?

    If containers were to get stuck midway due to poor preparation, it would cost a lot more to drill another hole, let alone try to remove the stuck container.

  76. Robert McTaggart

    I think you leave out the possibility where a South Dakota community would actually approve a test drilling site. Would that not be perfectly consistent with consent-based siting?

  77. Robert McTaggart

    Not sure if you can see the article entitled “Field Validation of Supercritical CO2 Reactivity with Basalts” at, but this is a preliminary carbon capture study in eastern Washington by PNNL.

    They drilled an injection well 1253 m deep, injected supercritical CO2, and then took some samples 2 years later. It looks like a positive result for carbon capture….which is also a relevant topic for deep borehole studies.

    “A nominal 1000 MT scCO2 injection into the Columbia River basalt formation in eastern Washington state was performed. Two years post-injection, core samples extracted from the injection zone showed that carbonate nodules had formed in vugs and veins in the basalt around the injection well. Isotopic analysis of the carbonates conclusively showed the carbonates were derived from the injected CO2. “

  78. NEPA does NOT have any regulations on lowering canisters into borehole whether they are full of waste or empty. Haakon County has NO Zoning Laws that would address what they want to do. Next County Commission Meeting is Dec 6th at 1;00 pm in Philip.