The company operating Texas’ only radioactive waste dump site is asking state regulators to allow disposal of depleted uranium and triple the capacity of a burial site that accepts waste from dozens of states. Although Waste Control Specialists says the uranium stored at its West Texas site would have only low-level radioactivity, opponents say the proposal would get the company another step closer to handling more dangerous material that wasn’t part of the original license. The company has already been in talks with county officials about high-level waste disposal.
Meanwhile, the Dallas-based business has also asked the state to reduce the money it’s required to have available to fund potential liability at the site — to about $86 million from $136 million.”The public should be paying attention, but they’re not,” said state Rep. Lon Burnam, a Fort Worth Democrat who has taken an active role in monitoring how the state handles radioactive waste. “We have less and less financial assurances and greater threat for more harm.”…
Environmental groups have long worried about the local geology and contamination of underground water sources near the site, which can accept low-level waste from compact members Texas and Vermont as well as 36 other states. The site could soon be the resting place for hotter material that’s being stored at Texas’ four commercial nuclear reactors.
In March, Texas Gov. Rick Perry asked lawmakers to explore establishing a location in Texas to store the high-level radioactive waste from these reactors. Two months earlier, House Speaker Joe Straus directed lawmakers to examine the economic impact of permitting such a site. McDonald said the company has had conversations with Andrews County officials about high-level waste storage. Officials in Loving County, the nation’s least populous county, have interest in building a storage site there
Excerpts from BETSY BLANEY, West Texas site seeks to bury depleted uranium, Associated Press, June 14, 2014
The chairman of the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission says the organization is going to honor a 20-year-old agreement that guarantees space for radioactive waste from Vermont in its Texas disposal facility, a deal that Gov. Peter Shumlin said is critical now that Vermont Yankee nuclear plant is shutting down. During a Wednesday meeting (October 3, 2012) at the Vermont Statehouse, Commission Chairman Robert Wilson said the commission recognizes Vermont is a partner in the compact. “This compact is going to be more important than ever,” Gov. Peter Shumlin told the commission. “My concern is we remember Vermont and Texas were there first.”
In 1993 Vermont and Texas formed the compact. Under the agreement, Texas would host a low-level radioactive waste facility and Vermont would have a place to send some of the waste from its nuclear power plant. Most of the materials after the plant is decommissioned would go to the Texas facility, except for the fuel rods and higher radioactive materials, said Public Service Department Commissioner Chris Recchia. Vermont officials are looking for assurance there will be space in Texas for the low-level radioactive waste from the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, which is due to be shut down next year.
Texas commission will honor radioactive waste deal with Vt. ahead of nuke plant shutdown, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, Oct. 3, 2013
Radioactive waste from dozens of states could soon be buried in a Texas dump near the New Mexico border after Texas officials gave final approval Friday (March 23, 2012) to rules allowing the shipments. Texas lawmakers in 2011 approved the rural Andrews County site to take the waste and the Friday’s unanimous vote by the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Compact Commission cleared a major hurdle to allow the waste burial. Texas already had a compact legal with Vermont to take its waste. Environmentalists have argued against expanding the program to 36 more states, warning it could result in radioactive material rumbling through the state on trucks with few safeguards in case of an accident. They also say a problem at the waste dump could lead to potential underground water contamination.