Global Scientific Core Drilling Company Working with DOE, Enercon, and NM Community to Drill to New Depths, Determine Viability of Deep Hole Waste Storage
January 23, 2017, Salt Lake City, UT.
DOSECC Exploration Services, a global drilling company and subsurface technology firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, announced today that they, as part of a team led by Enercon Federal Services, Inc., were awarded a contract by the US Department of Energy to evaluate the scientific and technical aspects of drilling deep, large diameter boreholes in crystalline rock for the safe and effective disposal of waste. Although holes of this type may eventually be used for the disposal of certain forms of nuclear waste, the purpose of this contract is to investigate the geological and geochemical properties of deep granite and evaluate techniques for drilling large diameter (8-3/4″) holes to a depth of 5,000 meters (16,405 feet) in this environment. No nuclear waste will be placed in the hole or be used in the project in any way. The project will be conducted near the town of Nara Visa, New Mexico. DOSECC will be partnering with Enercon Federal Services, Wastren Advantage and Fugro.
“This test is deeper and larger than what has typically been drilled in crystalline rock, yet our team is accustomed to these types of challenges, and is uniquely prepared to contribute to new solutions that will benefit society,” explained DOSECC President Dennis Nielson. “We have spent the past 23 years conducting scientific drilling projects worldwide, always while working closely with the communities where we work, so this project is right up our alley.”
Most of this year will be spent working with local communities and government entities to communicate the purposes and methods of the testing including: how the site will be responsibly managed during testing, how the land will be restored once the research is complete, as well as permitting the hole and developing the drilling and testing plan. Since previous efforts to test this method in North and South Dakota lacked community support, DOSECC’s strong track record of building trust with residents through transparency and communication was a factor in their selection.
Marc Eckels, DOSECC Program Director for this project explains, “This will be important to our society as a whole, yet we cannot succeed without the community’s support. We work with them to detail our commitment to a responsible scientific study. In addition, efforts are always made to hire and purchase services and supplies from the local area whenever possible.” Eckels explains further that the data gained from this uniquely deep geological research has potential for other local and societal benefits, such as providing new drilling and testing techniques for geothermal energy applications.
“We are pleased to work with Enercon and have been impressed by their team as we’ve worked together thus far,” reports Philippe Wyffels, DOSECC CFO, “We have a superior site and a superior team to carry out the project, and have had positive experiences thus far with the community, including the passage of a county resolution supporting our scientific work.”
The scientific drilling and data collection itself will not likely commence until the spring of 2018, once the DOE determines the most promising site where a successful community partnership has been established. When the drilling portion begins, the scientific drilling team will be tasked with drilling a 5000-meter deep borehole 8-3/4” in diameter. If successful, a second borehole, 17” in diameter, would be drilled to the same depth at the same site. The data gathered will allow scientists to study the type and temperature of the rock as well as the nature and chemistry of the fluids encountered.
For more information about this and other DOSECC core drilling projects around the world, please visit dbftscientificsolutions.com.