I was disappointed in Linda Thomas’s response to Sen. Al Melvin’s comment about the nation’s nuclear waste in Arizona. Her information was outdated. For example this waste is used to make Medical Radioisotopes, which is used in patient care. Medical Radioisotopes are in short supply. After using the original nuclear product we can now reuse and recycle it again and only 4 percent is left So 96 percent of the waste is reused. These companies outside of the U.S. have had a long and successful history. The French have had a recycling complex for more than 40 years. Environmentally it makes good sense to recycle it.
Carlsbad, New Mexico has a partnership with the US Department of Energy. The partnership resulted in a storage facility 2,150 feet below ground. The site employs more than 1,000 people and brings $250 million annually to Carlsbad.
Arizona has the opportunity to build a recycling and storage facility that will bring the host community $500 million annually over 50 years, create 18,000 jobs, 5,000 other jobs and 30,000 indirect jobs. Part of the revenue stream could be provided to K-12 and Universities.
The use of medical radioisotopes is an important part of modern medical practices. Each year, more than 40 million people around the world benefit from nuclear medicine testing. Medical radioisotopes are used in non-invasive nuclear diagnostic imaging techniques to help identify common illnesses such as heart disease and cancer at an early stage. They are used to track disease progression and provide predictive information about the likely success of alternative therapy. This information helps health care professionals make informed medical decisions on treatment options such as surgical intervention.
These isotopes must be produced continually and used efficiently in order to meet demand. Until recently, five multipurpose research reactors, all over 45 years old, have been producing over 95 percent of the world’s supply. These aging facilities face challenges in maintaining a consistent supply to the health community and will likely be retired from service within the next 15 years. We need new facilities.