article A Blackstone natural-gas well in eastern Pennsylvania was recently used to process uranium to fuel nuclear power plants in Japan, according to a new report from the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).
The well, drilled in 2008, is located near the town of Westmoreland, about a mile east of New Albany.
The well is the largest of its kind in the United States, according the institute, which is a division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
“The well itself is a well with a capacity of 1.3 million cubic feet per day,” said ISIS researcher Kevin Clements.
“It contains two large natural gas wells, each approximately 50 feet in diameter.
Each well has about 40,000 to 60,000 gallons of natural gas.
The natural gas is transported through the pipeline from the nearby city of New Bedford to the Westmorelands.”
The well is operated by the Blackstone Group, which has a total of 11 companies in the U.S. and overseas.
The group, which includes energy companies, also has a uranium production operation in Pennsylvania.ISIS, which describes itself as “a global security, intelligence and information company,” also noted that the wells have been used in various nuclear power reactors in Japan and in the production of natural-hydrogen.
“Although the wells are not known to be the source of uranium from which nuclear weapons are derived, they could potentially serve as a target for the use of nuclear weapons in the event of an attack,” ISIS wrote in its report.
“While the wells themselves have not been the target of an active nuclear attack, a recent incident suggests that the company could conceivably be targeted for sabotage.”
While the well is still in the planning stage, the group believes that the use could be imminent, according with the report.
“It’s an extremely dangerous situation,” said Clements, who is also a security analyst for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“If the well goes offline, there could be some very catastrophic consequences for the nuclear industry.
So, we have to be prepared.”
Follow Michael Smerconish on Twitter: @MSmerconishes