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Happiness Is Newspapers Magazines Political Specialists Printing Signs and Placards Bumperstrips Office Supplies By 1? 100% Union Shop FUTURA PRESS Phone 512/442-7836 1714 SOUTH CONGRESS P.O. BOX 3485 AUSTIN, TEXAS L 1 TALK WRR 1310 . . . STANDING FIRM FOR ALL POINTS OF VIEW. DALLAS’ ONLY FULL-TIME NEWS/TALK RADIO STATION. EAM HEA. By Si Dunn Dallas If you hollowed out a Texas salt dome, filled the hole with one million tons of water, and blew up the whole mess twice a day with a hydrogen bomb, theoretically you could generate 2,000 megawatts of electricity with the resulting steam. That’s enough, one spokesman for the Energy Research and Development Agency city.” The scheme called “mad” by one of its most vocal critics, U.S. Rep. Fred Plan. Pacer is under ERDA consideration for possible inclusion in a plan for long-range energy development that will be presented to Congress before the end of June. The Pacer Plan envisions exploding thousands of hydrogen bombs in the 10-to-50 kiloton range deep in salt domes under Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi and beneath the Gulf of Mexico. The superheated steam would be piped to the surface to power electric generators, and the cooled water would be returned to the salt domes to await the next blasts. A “typical” salt dome is a complex geological structure. Basically, it’s a big pillar of salt, more or less cylindrical, about two miles across and three to six miles deep. The salt is covered by a big caprock about a thousand feet underground. Three things currently can be done with a salt dome: the salt can be mined; oil can sometimes be pumped up from around the pillar of salt; and sulphur can occasionally be mined from the upper part of the caprock. About 350 salt domes have been found in a belt stretching from Mississippi to Texas. A significant amount of the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast’s oil production comes from around salt dome structures. To date, nearly a million dollars has been spent by R&D Associates of Santa Monica, Calif., and the National Science Laboratory at Los Alamos, N.M., on Pacer feasibility studies. Sources at ERDA recently told Congressman Richmond that “the proposed ‘Pacer’ budget would come to $1.4 billion over the next ten years with an allocation for a comprehensive study of `Pacer’ to cost $40 million during the next three fiscal years,” Richmond noted in a letter to Robert J. Seamons, Jr., ERDA a d m inistrator. Richmond expressed “strong opposition” to the Pacer Plan, saying “while I recognize the necessity for our nation to exhaust energy alterriatives, Si Dunn is a writer for the Dallas Morning News’ Sunday magazine and a frequent contributor to the Observer. the almost certain catastrophic environmental effects, geological disturbances, and health hazards presented by the ‘Pacer Plan’ far outweigh any need for further discussion. . .” Richmond also noted that “the ‘Pacer’ concept includes the breeding of uranium 233 and plutonium in the salt cavities. These substances, whose extreme toxicity has been well documented, would then be recycled for uses as nuclear weapons or fuel for nuclear reactors. The salt cavities would become the repository for high-level nuclear waste and must be kept leakproof until the plutonium decays in 250,000 years,” Richmond wrote. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Russell E. Train told the Associated Press recently that the EPA had not yet been asked to examine the perils of exploding two H-bombs a day in Gulf Coast salt domes. The Pacer plan, Train added, “sounds pretty far-fetched to me.” The EPA would have to approve Pacer before it could be implemented. If Pacer is approved by Congress, 12 years of tests would follow before the explosion of the first large thermonuclear devices inside a salt dome. Conventional explosives would be used during the first three years, then “very small” nuclear devices to see if the hollowed out salt domes could withstand the shock ,without collapsing or leaking radioactivity. Dr. Thomas Cochran, a member of the National Resources Defense Council in New York, also has written ERDA protesting Pacer. “The concept is so ridiculous and risky,” he said, “that I am shocked that the federal government has already wasted close to one million dollars on it.” I May 23, 19 75 11 r g. .1eeeeee.O.aveai.e.wornIto,.,-,