Press "Enter" to skip to content

Refugees as Nuclear Waste, Playing Nicely with Others, and Other Crackerbarrel Trivia

In trivia from yesterday’s Aberdeen crackerbarrel…

Senator Brock Greenfield (R-2/Clark) compared his anti-refugee bill to his mom’s anti-nuclear waste bill, saying both are simply measures to expand the Legislature’s oversight. It’s funny that Republicans are working hard to expand government power. It’s not funny that Senator Greenfield views refugees the same way he views nuclear waste.

Senator Greenfield boasted that legislators don’t attack each other, then noted wryly that a couple of his Republican colleagues may try to prove him wrong. Brock didn’t say names, but we know who he meant, don’t we, Stace and Lance?

Senator Nelson discloses latest gift from lobbyists... and keeps his smile healthy! Twitter, 2017.02.03.
Senator Nelson discloses latest gift from lobbyists. Better keep working on that smile, Stace—the Pro-Tem has his eye on you! Twitter, 2017.02.03.

Addressing a questioner’s concern with transparency, accountability, and Joop Bollen’s big smile, rookie Representative Drew Dennert (R-3/Aberdeen) said the root of the corruption problem with EB-5 and GEAR UP was federal money. Hmmm… that’s like saying the root of South Dakota’s meth problem is acetone manufacturers.

Since Republicans struggle with simile and subtlety, let’s just say it: No, Drew, the root of EB-5 and GEAR UP corruption was corrupt friends of friends who thought they could take money from the till because nobody in Pierre was watching.

And in participation awards:

Aberdeen American News, crackerbarrel coverage, 2017.02.05, p.8A.
Aberdeen American News, crackerbarrel coverage, 2017.02.05, p.8A.

Representative Burt Tulson drove 120 miles to get 85 characters, including spaces.

Hmmm… 75 characters, 10 empty spaces… that’s darn near a description of the Republican caucus in Pierre.


  1. Robert McTaggart 2017-02-05 13:58

    Technically, HB 1071 could still approve the siting of a nuclear waste facility (or nuclear waste reprocessing facility) without the consent of the residents. It is just now the Legislature and the Governor would have to agree if the measure is approved.

    I note that the codified law below already exists, so is HB 1071 necessary if nuclear waste will always include uranium mixed in with it? Plus the codified law requires direct measurement, HB 1071 does not.

    34A-6-114. Disposal of certain radionuclides at solid waste facility prohibited. Radionuclides found in nature, such as radium, thorium, and uranium, that have become concentrated through human activities, and which have been generated during oil and gas production activities with a total laboratory-measured radioactivity level of Radium-226 plus Radium-228 greater than 5 picocuries/gram above the background radioactivity level, are prohibited from being disposed of at any solid waste facility permitted under this chapter. The background radioactivity level is as measured at each individual permitted solid waste facility. All radioactivity levels shall be measured using methods and procedures approved by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

  2. Robert McTaggart 2017-02-05 14:01

    And I am still waiting for similar measures to restrict making South Dakota a dump for waste generated by wind or solar energy.

  3. Robert McTaggart 2017-02-05 14:27

    There was a Government Accountability Office report that was submitted last week. “Benefits and Costs Should Be Better Understood Before DOE Commits to a Separate Repository for Defense Waste” at

    Sounds like separating defense wastes into their own facility (including boreholes) may cause some issues with defense budgets. GAO basically wants more info on benefits, risks, and costs than DOE submitted in their report.

  4. Tim 2017-02-05 14:30

    What Robert said.

  5. Donald Pay 2017-02-05 15:22

    Dr. McT,

    Nice try, and I would certainly argue it when there is an attempt to stick radioactive waste here, but I have serious doubts about your argument being successful, and it would be foolish to count on it.

    SDCL 34A-6 concerns disposal in solid waste facilities, not nuclear waste disposal facilities. The key is the words “…permitted under this chapter.” Before we would believe you regarding a ban on radioactive waste dumping, we would have to receive some sort of legal finding regarding whether 34A-6 applies to nuclear waste disposal facilities. We have studied this argument before in 1984, and been told by state environmental regulators (it may have been Randy Brich, Sen. Rounds brother-in-law) that 34A-6 does not apply to low-level radioactive waste dumps. We thought about hanging our nuclear waste vote initiative off 34A-6, but didn’t. We would have had to have agreement state status to actually regulate LLW disposal facilities. However, that was back a long time ago, and I’m sure that the statue you cite has been added or greatly modified since then.

    Even if you get over that hurdle, you have total preemption by the federal government over high level radioactive wastes and defense wastes. So, the chances that 34A-6 would ever be recognized by the feds as controlling is near zero, absent legislation on “consent-based siting.”

    Still, I agree with you that SDCL 34A-6-114 stands as the definitive statement of both the Legislature and the Governor concerning “consent” regarding disposal of those specifically identified radioactive wastes in South Dakota. It is a total ban on such wastes being disposed in South Dakota and supersedes other statutes giving the Governor authority to say yes or no with respect to disposal of wastes containing those specific radionuclides in those specific amounts. However, there is no ban on any other specific radionuclide.

    SDCL 34A-6-114 could be amended to be far broad and to apply to consent. That would be a nice initiative, using current state law to do what Daugaard says he wants to do.

    Still, disposal of radioactive wastes has been preempted by federal statutes, and, ultimately what the feds say about this is going to hold. But it wouldn’t hurt to toughen up and straighten up current state law, just in case the feds are really serious about seeking consent.

  6. Donald Pay 2017-02-05 15:36

    The federal money aspect is interesting. All the money regarding the nuclear waste borehole is federal money. Who is pushing this project? Daugaard, the crook.

  7. grudznick 2017-02-05 16:22

    Mr. Pay, don’t you live in Wisconsin? Are they drilling boreholes there for nuclear waste? am guessing they are not or you would be busier. Remember, sir, when they dig The Borehole over by Philip it is #4Science, not for your wastes. No wastes here, sir.

  8. grudznick 2017-02-05 16:38

    So Mr. Nelson is now happily accepting gifts from lobbying organizations? Let me be clear , I think he should brush more than most, but when he stands on the floors of the legislatures and pontificates his blowhardedness I hope they throw toothbrushes at him from the balconies.

    Boo, Mr. Nelson. Boo, you take your gifts and blog about them but then you whine about others. Boo, Mr. Nelson. You are a fake.

  9. grudznick 2017-02-05 16:47

    Goodness. I had my granddaughter look it up. That fellow handing out dental supplies is a lobbist. Mr. Nelson is taking gifts from lobbists!!! How fast his fake morals are discarded, eh?

  10. Robert McTaggart 2017-02-05 17:21


    Last I checked, nuclear waste was a solid waste, but that is a technicality here…depends on how things are defined. But after further reading this is designed to prevent materials from oil and gas drilling from being put into solid waste facilities.

    But it doesn’t sound like there is anything keeping solar/wind from going to the dump for their waste items. In all cases, solar, wind, and nuclear, it will be better for waste management and sustainability if we recycle what we can first before simply burying the rest.

    I don’t think DOE will have a better idea about the costs of the deep borehole technique until they actually start doing drilling tests. Then the question is whether one joint site will be better instead of two, partially because of where the money is coming from.

  11. Robert McTaggart 2017-02-05 17:30


    Radiation INSIDE the reactor containment has been measured as higher.

    “The firm said radiation was not leaking outside the reactor…”

    Note that radioactivity can increase as all of the radioactive decays occur in the short-term, and then fall off in the long-term. The higher levels are indeed an obstacle to completing the clean-up on-site.

    Science and engineering blocking radioactivity from the public? Imagine that. Time, distance, and shielding still works.

  12. grudznick 2017-02-05 17:30

    Dr. McTaggart, when we dig The Borehole and learn all our learnings that can be learned have been learned, and we don’t and will not have any nuclear waste here in our state because we have a law bill against it. But when we have to bury the batteries and nasties from the solar and wind, could we put them down The Borehole before we plug it with sackcrete, or is that a bad practice?

    The Borehole could give a place to bury solar waste.

  13. Robert McTaggart 2017-02-05 17:44

    The issue is still trying to keep chemicals and certain elements from getting into the aquifer. Maybe for a select set of elements it could work, but the separation required may be too expensive.

    Unfortunately, solar and wind operate on the level of electron-Volts per transaction, and nuclear gets 200 Million electron-Volts per transaction. So nuclear requires a smaller footprint and generates less waste as a result.

    Thus the focus really should be on recycling the critical elements and chemicals instead. You see the waste that coal produces, and coal combustion is a chemical process, not a nuclear one. We just haven’t produced as much energy with solar and wind yet, so the waste issues are just now being thought about.

  14. jerry 2017-02-05 17:46

    Read again doc, This is what is called a hole. “Tepco also said image analysis had revealed a hole in metal grating beneath the same reactor’s pressure vessel. The one-metre-wide hole was probably created by nuclear fuel that melted and then penetrated the vessel after the tsunami knocked out Fukushima Daiichi’s back-up cooling system.

    “It may have been caused by nuclear fuel that would have melted and made a hole in the vessel, but it is only a hypothesis at this stage,” Tepco’s spokesman Tatsuhiro Yamagishi told AFP.”

    doc, this thing is leaking just like the one in Philip will leak as they all do. Time to nuke the nukes and go renewable all the way. Leave the oil in the ground and the yellow cake, Mr. grudznick could use for chocolate frosting. That nuke stuff is to toxic to put on the good folks over there in Philip, South Dakota no matter how much you try to bribe them.

    Send Daugaard over to Japan for a good close up look at that hole and then report on how safe it all is.

  15. jerry 2017-02-05 18:21

    The problems with Nuke leaks are that they continue to leak and continue to create huge storage problems. So much so that the Japanese are just letting the contaminated water drain into the Pacific Ocean.

    What will happen in Philip, South Dakota will be much the same. The leaks will get into ground water first and then on the surface, follow the Bad River to the Missouri River to contaminate fishing, agriculture use as well as human consumption. Daugaard already made a millions in the political field, so he does not need to make more millions under the table with this poisonous plan. NO NUKES.

  16. grudznick 2017-02-05 20:26

    Mr. jerry, just like The IM #22 crowd you continue to ignore facts.
    Focus hard now, focus real hard and read carefully. 8 words, sir, I beg of you to apply the focus of a first grader:

    There will be no nuclear waste near Philip.

  17. jerry 2017-02-05 21:00

    Mr. grudznick, I hope you are correct. NO NUKES, no storage, not ever. Whoa, look what I did Mr. grudznick, I did it in 6 words just like you did! Can you believe that stuff man, wow.

  18. grudznick 2017-02-05 21:08

    There, that all being said now in 4 words, “No nukes in Philip”, let us commence with digging The Borehole, eh?

  19. Donald Pay 2017-02-05 21:54

    I would think that SDCL 34A-6 could actually prevent the borehole drilling if any of the cuttings have those radionuclides. If you can’t dispose of those cuttings because of the radionuclides then you can’t drill.

  20. Robert McTaggart 2017-02-06 09:43

    The only caveat in that is if SDCL 34A-6 is interpreted as being specifically for oil and gas drilling.

    Certainly I think they would monitor whatever cuttings they produce. Not sure if water is enough to extract anything…oil and gas drilling fluids have a different chemistry don’t they?

  21. Robert McTaggart 2017-02-06 10:43


    The question is really how much radiation is coming from Fukushima into the Pacific, and how does it stack up with the naturally-occurring radiation that already exists in the Pacific.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the radioactivity from phosphate-based fertilizer (that is mined and contains things like potassium, thorium, uranium, and their radioactive progeny) from agriculture is actually a bigger contributor to the Pacific’s radioactivity. Detectors are powerful enough to tell which isotopes are producing which particles and energies, even if said energies are low. Prior to Fukushima, nobody seemed to complain about that.

  22. Robert McTaggart 2017-02-06 10:50

    “Has Fukushima been responsible for the deaths of marine animals in the Pacific?

    To date, there have been no reliable links made between radiation in the Pacific and mass die-offs of marine mammals, birds, fish, or invertebrates. Some of these die-offs have been attributed to viruses, warming water, and other changes to the marine environment that need to be addressed. If there were effects from radioactive contamination, we would expect to see the largest effects off Japan, not the West Coast of North America, and this has not been seen.”

  23. Donald Pay 2017-02-06 10:57

    The comma before “…and which…” separates the two, so there are two separate things being regulated. The first is solid waste containing the radionuclides; the second is drill cuttings from oil and gas.

  24. Robert McTaggart 2017-02-06 11:03

    Then the question is whether this kind of drilling will re-concentrate the radionuclides found underground into higher amounts in the cuttings, or whether the cuttings themselves just have more radionuclides to begin with.

    I don’t think they are injecting anything with the intent of fracturing the surrounding rock…they should want to prevent that from happening in this case…why produce potential new pathways into the biosphere?

    If there is no re-concentration, then they likely will be able to dispose of the cuttings normally.

  25. Porter Lansing 2017-02-06 11:12

    What is offered for free is dangerous. It usually involves either a trick or a hidden obligation. What has worth is worth paying for. By paying your own way you stay clear of gratitude, guilt and deceit. It is also often wise to pay the full price. There is no cutting corners with excellence. Be lavish with your own money and keep it circulating. Generosity is a sign and a magnet.

  26. Robert McTaggart 2017-02-06 11:52

    Nothing is really free Porter. I get free dental floss at the dentist, but somehow I suspect that I am still paying for it.

    But if clean energy is really worth it (i.e. full price), then it is worth either disposing of our waste properly, recycling it as much as we can, and producing less of it in the first place.

    And no, I don’t want to put used dental floss down the borehole….

  27. Porter Lansing 2017-02-06 12:05

    We used to put millions of dollars in shredded paper currency into the oil well hole when the wall cracked and all the lubricant fluid would escape into the formation. The linen quality would eventually seal the crack or if it didn’t the job was canceled.
    As I’ve said, the borehole and the opportunity for SoDak to be a nat’l nuclear waste depository are too valuable to pass up. Once a waste site is online nuclear experimentation can proceed much faster. What else is going on in that part of the state with this much potential?

  28. Robert McTaggart 2017-02-06 13:47

    It would be a lot easier to make the case for an actual borehole facility here if a first one were successful elsewhere…but nobody wants to be first.

  29. Donald Pay 2017-02-06 17:23

    The one thing I don’t want regarding radioactive waste is any Legislative oversight. The only purpose served by the legislative approval would be as a pass through to a referral vote. I have no doubt at all that the SD Legislature would love to approve radioactive waste dumping. That has, after all, been their history, whether it was radioactive waste or garbage from New Jersey.

    Also, the Legislature is incompetent for the purpose of “oversight.” If you want real oversight, you have to spend money on independent experts, such as hydrogeologists, etc. The Governor can’t even find a few million for his Spearfish Canyon boondoggle, so he ain’t gonna spend any state tax dollars to vastly increase the ability for actual “oversight.” I don’t see that in this year’s budget, but I haven’t spent much time looking. If there is any oversight the money, it will have to come from the federal government, which is also paying for disposal. Yeah, that’s really “independent” oversight. Yucca Mountain oversight, though, was done with federal money flowing through the state. But there was nearly unanimous bi-partisan opposition there. In SD you have Daugaard with his hands out for the money and his buttocks already spread. Besides that, I do agree that some of the corruption in SD does come from how the state mishandles federal money. They really are corrupt and incompetent in many areas.

  30. Robert McTaggart 2017-02-06 17:46

    Interim storage will be easier to do than trying to get a Yucca Mountain approved or to build one from scratch. Plus it will be easier to retrieve the fuel to extract more energy from the waste.

    “If the Interim Consolidated Storage Act legislation passes, the government could begin collecting and centralizing nuclear waste in the next five years. This bill is an easy one since spent fuel can be stored in dry casks for over 160 years and has been approved by NRC. Such a facility is not much more than a high-end cement pad with guards and gates. So the cost is about $500 million to build and about $300 million a year to operate.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.