As America’s nuclear industry dies, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is handing the largest environmental cleanup in American history to two small companies with shadowy finances + no experience.
In a rare bipartisan move, Texas lawmakers voted to prohibit the storage of high-level radioactive waste in an almost unanimous vote. The Texas Senate approved House Bill 7 (HB 7), which cleared the House by a margin of 119-3 marking a rare moment of bipartisan agreement at the state Capitol.
“These strong bipartisan votes are a clear message from the Texas Legislature to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that when it comes to storage of deadly radioactive waste in Texas, we don’t want it,” said SEED Coalition Director Karen Hadden. “We hope the bill will provide the safety protections Texans need and prevent unnecessary transportation risks nationwide.”
“The U.S. Nuclear regulatory Commission is likely to issue in the next few days a license to store up to 40,000 metric tons of the nation’s most dangerous nuclear reactor waste in Andrews County,” said Adrian Shelley, Director of Public Citizen’s Texas Office. “With the passage of this bill, the state can deny the permits necessary to dump new waste at the site.”
The Biden administration’s U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is poised to issue a license to compel the storage of high-level radioactive waste at a new facility in Andrews County as early as September 13, 2021.
If the license is issued, high-level radioactive waste from decommissioned nuclear reactors from all over the country could be stored in West Texas for 40-years.
“There are other facilities for (low level radioactive waste) disposal around the country – and all are subject to the same laws and regulations that ensure consistency and safety – but none of them have the unique advantage that we do that makes WCS the safest facility in the country: our geology and geography,” said Elicia Sanchez, senior vice president at Waste Control Specialists in Andrews. Texas. “This clay rock is virtually impermeable, so much so that it takes 1,000 years for water to travel through just four feet of it.”
“This feature is our greatest environmental ally. We also have independent verification from the Texas Water Development Board that there is no drinking water anywhere under or around the site, so no contamination is possible,” said Sanchez, who claims rainfall is the only source of standing water on the site, where a slope prevents any runoff contamination.