Clintonville quake may end threat to Wisconsin as nuclear waste dump | WisCommunity

Clintonville quake may end threat to Wisconsin as nuclear waste dump

So it was a 1.5 magnitude not an alien invasion or giant gophers, that's been making those mysterious noises in Clintonville, we're told.

Well and good. Let's hope those microquakes stop.

And let's hope this also means that Wisconsin's Wolf River Batholith (the purple area on the map) will come off the list of potential radioactive waste sites once and for all.

The granite formations in central and northeastern Wisconsin were considered by the federal government as a possible location for a high-level nuclear waste repopsitory, and is still on a list of potential locations.

One of the attractions of the area, supposedly, was that it was seismecally inactive. So much for that theory. A 2003 Clean Wisconsin "Nuclear Waste and Wisconsin," summarized:

Wisconsin previously faced the threat of a nuclear repository in the Wolf River Batholith in the 1980s, when the site passed the DOE’s screening criteria for acceptable sites. However, Clean Wisconsin’s report uncovers that the Batholith contains many of the screening factors that should have disqualified the site. These factors include:

• Proximity to populated areas in Shawano, Clintonville,and Waupaca;

• Rivers, streams and wetlands within site boundaries; and

• Contains protected lands such as the Nicolet National Forest and the Wolf National Wild and Scenic River. When first proposed in the 1980s, public opposition was so great that an investigation into a Wisconsin repository was postponed until 2007 at which time the decision whether to build a second repository will be made.

"Nuclear Waste and Wisconsin" details the threats Wisconsin could face from a nuclear repository. In particular, the report examines the importance of the Wolf River Batholith, which includes land in Langlade, Shawano, Waupaca, Menomonee, Portage, Marathon, and Oconto Counties. The geological formation acts as a groundwater source under certain circumstances and, the report shows, has potential for radioactive leaks into groundwater. The groundwater in the Batholith discharges into the Wolf River. From the Wolf River, contaminated water could continue into the Fox River, and ultimately contaminate Green Bay and Lake Michigan.

When Wisconsin citizens had a chance to vote in an advisory referendum in 1983 on whether their state should be a site for a high-level radioactive waste repository, 89% said no. That doesn't bind the federal government, but for whatever reason it began looking elsewhere. Maybe now we can close the door permanently.


March 23, 2012 - 2:42pm