A Dallas-based company that handles low-level radioactive waste is taking the first step toward making a West Texas facility the first interim storage site for high-level nuclear waste from around the country. Waste Control Specialists notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of the company’s plan to seek a license to build a facility in rural Andrews County that would store spent fuel rods from power plants for as long as 100 years. The location is about 350 miles west of Dallas and 120 miles south of Lubbock, along Texas’ border with New Mexico…The waste would be stored above ground.
In January 2015, Andrews County commissioners unanimously passed a resolution in support of the company’s latest efforts, County Judge Richard Dolgener said. “The community is embracing having the high level interim storage here,” he said. Andrews resident Humberto Acosta said he is one of “very few” in town who are opposed to the plan. Many around town, he said, aren’t informed about the dangers of the waste, which remains radioactive for thousands of years.
Two other efforts are underway in the region to build a similar storage facility. Officials with the Lea-Eddy Energy Alliance in southeastern New Mexico are interested, as is Austin-based AFCI Texas. The latter is looking at two possible sites in Texas, but AFCI’s Monty Humble said it’s “premature to discuss them publicly.”
There is currently no disposal site in the United States for spent rods from the more than 100 operating commercial nuclear reactors across the country…A presidential commission in 2012 recommended the U.S. look for an alternative to Yucca Mountain, preferably in a community that was interested in hosting a nuclear waste facility. For now, spent fuel is stored next to reactors in pools or in dry casks. The federal government has collected tens of billions of dollars from utilities over the years to fund disposal at Yucca Mountain. Whichever entity builds the site stands to make billions to store the spent fuel rods.
Waste Control Specialists currently disposes of low-level radioactive waste from more than three dozen states and depleted uranium from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Excerpts from Dallas company seeks to store nation’s spent nuclear fuel at West Texas site, Associated Press, Feb. 6, 2015