Texas to US: Send Us Your Radioactive Waste

Commission OKs site, to be fourth such dump in country
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2011 9:55 AM CST
Canisters filled with uranium byproduct waste are placed into a burial pit at at Waste Control Specialists near Andrews, Texas.   (AP Photo/Betsy Blaney, File)
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(Newser) – In a move sure to delight the nuclear-energy industry and depress environmentalists, a Texas commission yesterday set the ball rolling on legislation that would make the state the final destination for 36 states' low-level radioactive-waste. The commission voted 5-2 to approve rules that govern the process of accepting such material. But the dump, which will be the fourth such storage site in the US, is mired in controversy, reports the Wall Street Journal. Among the complaints:

  • The 1,338-acre site is located near the Ogallala aquifer—the source of several states' drinking water.
  • The dump was originally pitched and designed as a site to store waste from just two states: Texas and Vermont.
  • Environmentalists say the creation of another dump gives the nuclear-energy industry plenty of incentive to expand ... but doesn't encourage them to look for better places to store its refuse.
  • Should the site (which will have concrete-reinforced underground units) leak, Texans worry their state will be liable for damages.
  • Critics are crying foul over the commission's make up: Most members were appointed by Gov. Rick Perry; the dump's owner is a Perry donor.

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