Todd and Erin are a husband and wife team of radio show hosts here in Utah. They were on one of the three radio stations that I preset into my car radio to pass the time during my morning commute to a remote part of Box Elder County.
Way back in 2006, Private Fuel Storage (PFS) was a going concern to store once through nuclear fuel on the Skull Valley Goshute Reservation out yonder past Toole, Utah. You can imagine the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth that the PFS proposal spawned. Todd and Erin contributed to that wailing on their morning show.
I recall a particular morning where most of the show was their plea for their listeners to send letters and call the director of the BLM for the Mountain Region. Somehow, the BLM was involved in the PFS proposal, but I can’t recall why. (Utah is a vast Federal Land nightmare were Uncle Sam owns 70% of the State.)
I remember Erin being the most insistent that listeners do something or else the arch evil nukler waste was going to come to Utah. Notice that the Native American Reservation where it was proposed is called “Skull Valley”. For those of you not familiar with Utah, the west desert of Utah is very desolate, ugly, forsaken, and pretty much worthless. The USAF uses a very large chunk of it for live fire target practice.
Utah Governor at the time, Michael “Hairspray” Leavitt was also rabidly opposed to PFS and even went so far as to “nationalize” the county road that would have been used to truck the once through nuclear fuel from the railhead to the Skull Valley Reservation and then made it illegal (with the help of the Utah State Legislature) to transport once through nuclear fuel over state roads. (I nicknamed Gov. Leavitt, “Hairspray” because it was reported on the local news during his first gubernatorial campaign that he kept a can of hairspray in his glove compartment to insure he was well coiffed.)
Anyway, back to Todd and Erin. Just a few days after their radiothon against radioactivity, they were talking about their twin sons and how they took them to preschool at ….. wait for it……. the University of Utah, the home of the TRIGA reactor!
Of course, they had no idea about any nuclear reactor, but I was gobsmacked (as my English friend Lorraine likes to say) at the irony. According to Todd and Erin, once through nuclear fuel in dry storage casks located 100 miles from Salt Lake City posed a significant risk to their safety, but taking their kids to the U, which operates a nuclear research reactor (which they apparently knew nothing about) was safe. I think both PFS and the TRIGA are so safe and the risks so small, that they shouldn’t be given another thought.
I wrote Todd and Erin a letter at the time and commended them for their concern for their children, but asked them why they so feared the nuclear waste. I didn’t get an answer. I also wrote that my wife and I have 5 children and we also care about them and their safety, but I think storing once through nuclear fuel would be completely safe if it were in my back yard.
The way back machine has returned me to the present. The whole PFS thing is long dead. Todd and Erin are on a new radio station, but the irony still runs strong. Governor Leavitt was promoted to the Fedgov and moved to Washington. (The only way to get rid of some politicians). The Delta Center, where the Utah Jazz play is now the Energy Solutions Arena and the steam generators from San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station are stored at the Energy Solutions site by Toole after a long road trip(s) on a 192 wheeled truck.