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Don’t miss your chance to buy a poster of the Texas Observer’s 30th Anniversary cover. Artist Tom Ballenger’s Texas landscape highlights the outrageous aspects of Texas culture. From crippled nuclear plants to clear-cutting to pesticides pouring into the Gulf, it is the concerned citizens’ guide to forces that are shaping this state. Show your out-of-state friends what Texas politicking is all about. Or add a touch of satire to your den. The 17 by 22 inch poster for postage and handling. Also on sale are copies of the 30th Anniversary issue for $2 each. \(If you plan to order more than 10 copies, contact the Observer for discount rates Send me Anniversary Anniversary name address city state zip The Texas Observer 600 West 7th Street Austin, 78701 fatalities.” Furthermore, the “universal casks” that will serve for both transportation and storage have yet to be designed. “Right now it’s just a black box,” said Millar. “The DOE has not told us what they’ll use.” According to Millar, the DOE admits that there will be accidents, but insists that there won’t be releases. Their focus is on designing a crash-proof cask. But, he cautions, they are receiving pressure “Economic pressures and safety pressures go in opposite directions, as usual.” from the industry to approve lighter and cheaper casks. Each of the current transportation casks which, unlike the proposed universal cask, is not intended for storage use costs $5 million. Consequently, there are only 17 casks in existence, and several of these have been recalled because of defects, indicating, in Millar’s opinion, that design analysis has been faulty in the past. “Economic pressures and safety pressures go in opposite directions, as usual,” Millar said. Panhandle residents are afraid that the effects of the dump on the land and water will be sweeping and irreversible. The nine square miles of farmland now being considered for the site sit atop the largest fresh water aquifer in the country, the Ogallala. This giant reservoir runs under six states, stretching up to Nebraska. It is the life blood of the Panhandle. The DOE in a draft environmental assessment has implied that the Ogallala is not an important consideration because the southern portion will dry up shortly. “They played down the 100 feet of saturated thickness at the proposed site,” said Wayne Wyatt, General Manager of the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District, “saying that it isn’t going to last very long anyway. I think they’ve missed the boat. They totally ignored recharge from the surface that is, they didn’t consider rainfall.” The DOE also stated in its report that the southern part of the Ogallala is disconnected from the northern part, according to Wyatt. Wyatt says the aquifer is connected. “I don’t know how radiation spreads through water, and I don’t think anyone knows. But if it spreads from water molecule to water molecule, it could go all the way to South Dakota,” he said. Wyatt has other reservations about whether a mine shaft in the aquifer could remain water-tight. The operation would be as difficult as going out into the Gulf of Mexico where the water is 100 feet deep and trying to dig a hole while Akeeping the water out, he said. A borehole this size that is water-tight has never even been attempted, said Delbert Devon, head of Serious Texans Against dle activist group. Even if the DOE could engineer a water-tight shaft to the salt bed, the bed itself is saturated, said Wyatt. The wetness of the salt indicates that the bed is not sealed off from the aquifer. “You don’t have to be too dad-gum bright in this business to see that, if there’s saturation, there’s a leak,” he said. Now suppose that the shaft goes through the water and the salt is excavated what does the DOE plan to do with the salt? “They say they’re going to sell it. But in the meantime, they will ‘contain’ it in a barrier open at both ends and the top,” said Wyatt. “With our prevailing winds, that salt is going to blow all over the place, and, after the first good rain, we’ll find it in the aquifer.” Don Hicks, who owns land on the proposed dump site, is worried the salt will destroy farmland: “If they go through with this, you’re going to see a mountain of salt that will blow clear to Dallas.You know that salt sterilizes the soil so that nothing will grow.” WHEN WHITE DID arrive in ‘ Hereford on that Saturday before Christmas, he gave a speech addressing these concerns. Looking out over a wall of TV cameras and bright lights, he spoke to the heart of the crowd. “I’m here to tell you today that sparks are going to fly. . . . And I’m also here today to tell you you are not alone.” Flanked by Attorney General Jim Mattox, State Senator Bill Sarpalius, State Representative John Smithee, and members of the state water commission, White launched his attack on the DOE. White told the crowd that Mattox has filed a suit with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans contending that the DOE did not adhere to the Nuclear Waste Policy Act guidelines when it selected Deaf Smith County. Tonia Kleuskens, president of People Opposed to Waste Energy Repositories organization, said she was appalled at 12 JANUARY 25, 1985