September 15, 2021
A private company got federal approval to store nuclear waste in Texas. The state is fighting back.
A private company has won federal approval to build an expansive nuclear waste site in Texas, even as residents, state lawmakers, environmentalists and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) rail against it.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on Monday issued a license for Andrews, Tex.-based Interim Storage Partners to store as much as 5,000 metric tons of radioactive waste. It’s one of two proposed storage sites — the other is in southeastern New Mexico — that has been under agency review for several years.
“Our concern is that the waste will sit there, the cement around it will crack, leaks will develop, and radioactive contamination will result,” said Karen Hadden, the executive director of the SEED Coalition, an Austin-based advocacy group.
September 15, 2021
Nuclear waste in the oil patch? Feds spark clash with Texas
A site in West Texas now has a federal license to store spent nuclear fuel, setting up a potential showdown with state leaders who oppose the prospect of attracting high-level radioactive waste from across the country.
In a statement before the NRC’s announcement this week, Hadden said opponents would “keep fighting” even if the new license were issued. She said legal challenges remain, and she expressed hope that Texas’ attorney general would fight to protect people. A county commissioners’ body in Andrews County, Texas, also backed a resolution against high-level nuclear waste storage this year, local CBS affiliate KOSA reported.
September 13, 2021
NRC Issues License to Interim Storage Partners for
Consolidated Spent Nuclear Fuel Interim Storage Facility in Texas
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a license to Interim Storage Partners LLC to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel in Andrews, Texas.
The license, issued Sept. 13, authorizes the company to receive, possess, transfer and store up to 5,000 metric tons of spent fuel and 231.3 metric tons of Greater-Than-Class C low-level radioactive waste for 40 years. The company has said it plans to expand the facility in seven additional phases, up to a total capacity of 40,000 metric tons of fuel. Each expansion would require a license amendment with additional NRC safety and environmental reviews.
Interim Storage Partners is a joint venture of Waste Control Specialists LLC and Orano USA. It intends to construct the storage facility on property adjacent to the WCS low-level radioactive waste disposal site already operating under a Texas license. Information about the license application and the NRC staff’s reviews is available on the NRC website. The licensing documents will be available on this page as well.
September 13, 2021
Protestors to Nuclear Regulator Commission: Keep Nuke Waste out of Texas
Contacts: Karen Hadden, Karendhadden@gmail.com, 512-797-8481,
Hon. Lon Burnam, firstname.lastname@example.org, 817-721-5846
Susybelle Goslee, email@example.com, 214-732-8610
Protestors to Nuclear Regulator Commission: Keep Nuke Waste out of Texas
Arlington, Texas – Protesters gathered outside of the Regional Headquarters of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in Arlington, Texas today to oppose the agency’s expected approval of a license to store dangerous nuclear reactor waste in West Texas.
Overwhelming opposition to the plan has been demonstrated over and over again, most recently with the passage of HB 7 unanimously in the Texas Senate and by a 119-3 vote in the House. Such a strong bipartisan vote is rare these days in Texas. The Governor signed the bill on September 9 and it went into effect immediately.
“The NRC should listen to the voices of our governor, legislators and millions of Texans and halt licensing of a facility that would put our health and safety at risk. Strong bipartisan votes are a clear message from the Texas Legislature to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. When it comes to importing deadly radioactive waste to Texas: We Don’t Want It!,” said SEED Coalition Director Karen Hadden. “We will keep fighting even if the license is issued. We have legal challenges in the courts and will continue organizing. We hope the Texas Attorney General fights to protect us as well.”
“The U.S. Nuclear regulatory Commission is likely to issue a license today to store up to 40,000 metric tons of the nation’s most dangerous nuclear reactor waste in Andrews County, Texas. With the passage of HB 7, the state can deny the permits necessary to dump new waste at the site. We hope the feds have heard the message: We don’t want it!” said Tom “Smitty” Smith, former director of Public Citizen’s Texas Office.
NO CONSENT! Texans reject high-level radioactive waste
There is opposition to the plan to bring high-level radioactive waste to Texas at all levels – from the local level in Andrews County Texas, to cities and counties, school districts, state legislators, Governor Abbott and Congressional Representatives including Reps. Henry Cuellar, Kay Granger, Lloyd Doggett and Louie Gohmert. Resolutions passed by cities and counties represent the voices of over 5.4 million Texans. The Midland Chamber of Commerce passed a resolution as well. The Permian Basin Coalition of Land & Royalty Owners and Operators is actively fighting high-level radioactive waste in the West Texas region where they live and work. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission needs to hear our voices!
When it comes to having the nation’s radioactive waste dumped on our state…
We DO NOT CONSENT!
Resolutions, and Letters in Opposition:
- >>Governor Greg Abbott’s letter to NRC 9/10/21
- >>Congressman August Pfluger Objects to License 9/13/21
- >>Texas Governor Greg Abbott to Dept. of Energy Secretary Rick Perry
- >>Representatives Pfluger, Doggett, Gohmert, Nehls, Herrell & Cuellar, Texas and New Mexico Congressional Delegation In Opposition Letter.
- >>Texas Legislator’s Letter
- >>Andrews County Resolution
- >>Dallas Resolution
- >>Fort Worth and Keller ISD Letter to NRC
- >>SEED Coalition and Public Citizen Press Release 8/25/21
August 24, 2021
Debate over radioactive waste storage in West Texas revived by Greg Abbott’s special session agenda
Much of the high-level nuclear waste from around the country that would be headed for a proposed facility in Andrews County could be transported through North Texas.
WASHINGTON — The debate over plans for a new facility in West Texas that would store spent nuclear fuel from around the country has been rekindled after Gov. Greg Abbott included efforts to limit high-level radioactive waste in the state on his special session agenda.
Rep. Brooks Landgraf, R-Odessa, represents Andrews County, where a company called Interim Storage Solutions has applied to build a facility to store spent nuclear fuel, which qualifies as high-level waste, until the federal government can establish an ultimate long-term site — though it’s unclear when that would be, and could take years.
With heavily used interstate highways and railways running through the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including the Interstate 20 corridor, environmental groups have warned for years that high-level waste could flow through D-FW on the way to Andrews County if the facility is approved.
August 23, 2021
State lawmakers again try to ban most dangerous nuclear waste as feds consider allowing it at West Texas site
After failing this spring, Texas lawmakers are again trying to ban the most dangerous type of radioactive waste from entering the state — at the same time as a nuclear waste disposal company in West Texas pursues a federal application to store the highly radioactive materials.
Environmental and consumer advocates for years have decried a proposal to build a 332-acre site in West Texas near the New Mexico border to store the riskiest type of nuclear waste: spent fuel rods from nuclear power plants, which can remain radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years. Strong political interests in Texas, from Gov. Greg Abbott to some oil and gas companies operating in the Permian Basin, have opposed the company’s application.
But a bill that sought to ban the highly radioactive material failed during the regular legislative session that ended in May. That bill, filed by State Rep. Brooks Landgraf, R-Odessa, whose district includes Andrews County where the existing nuclear waste company Waste Control Specialists operates, included a big break on fees for the company. Some lawmakers also thought the previous bill’s language wasn’t strong enough to actually ban the materials.
July 23, 2021
Texas Legislators oppose the applications of Interim Storage Partners (ISP) and Holtec International for Consolidated Interim Storage projects
Sixty-three Texas State Legislators wrote to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission asking them not to license high-level radioactive waste storage. Seven Democratic Senators and fifty-six Democratic State Representatives signed onto this letter. A letter raising similar concerns is being circulated among Republican State Legislators. Some legislators will send individual letters. Texas Democrats and Republicans solidly oppose the applications of Interim Storage Partners (ISP) and Holtec International for Consolidated Interim Storage projects, which would be sited in Texas and New Mexico respectively. We all want our state’s health, safety and economy protected! Read the Texas Legislator’s letter .
When it comes to dumping radioactive waste in the Southwest: We DO NOT CONSENT! Read more…
- >> Media Advisory 7/28/21
- >> NRC letter to ISP – with revised schedule for license application review Oct. 2020
July 27, 2021
NRC expected to release reports for Andrews site this month
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is expected to release a Safety Analysis and final version of the Environmental Impact Statement for a proposed nuclear waste site in Andrews County by the end of this month, according to activism group Beyond Nuclear.
Kevin Kamps with Beyond Nuclear told the Reporter-Telegram the NRC has told the group those reports will be released in July. After those reports are made public, the NRC will decide whether to approve Waste Control Specialists’ application to store high-level nuclear waste.
May 05, 2021
Radioactive waste storage bill derailed in the Texas House on a technicality
Karen Hadden director of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition, called the bill “a nuclear Trojan Horse.”
AUSTIN — Contentious legislation that would have given financial breaks to the company that operates the storage site for low-level radioactive waste in remote West Texas was derailed Wednesday on a procedural technicality in the state House.
The maneuver to knock down House Bill 2692 short-circuited what had been expected to be a freewheeling floor debate over whether the bill would have provided a backdoor to bringing the most dangerous waste from decommissioned nuclear power plants to Texas.
April 16, 2021
Oppose Bad Bills in the Texas Legislature
A bad radioactive waste bill in the Texas Legislature must be stopped. The Senate version is SB 1046 (by Senators Birdwell and Seliger) and the identical House bill (by Rep. Landgraf) is HB 2692.
Due to loopholes, the bill fails to stop deadly high-level radioactive waste from coming to Texas. And Waste Control Specialists (WCS) is unwilling to withdraw their federal application for high-level radioactive waste storage.
Governor Abbott vetoed these massive financial giveaways to WCS last session, but the company is back, wanting this and more. Texas would lose hundreds of millions of dollars, or more, from low-level radioactive waste surcharges if this bill passes. Our state won’t be able to afford contamination cleanup without this funding.
Safety regulations would be loosened and an antitrust requirement would be removed.
Two companies seek licenses to import thousands of tons of deadly nuclear reactor waste and store it for decades at sites in Texas and New Mexico.
Help halt these dangerous plans by writing to your Congressional Representative today!
To send a letter to your Congressional Representative – click here!
April 8, 2021
Texas radioactive waste disposal company seeking break from state fees and surcharges
Depending on who is interpreting it, legislation moving closer to a vote in the Texas House and Senate would either shut the door to the state ever becoming home to high-level radioactive waste or carve a path to bring it in.
Two separate but similar bills — one in the House and the other in the Senate — seek to lower state fees and surcharges imposed on Waste Control Specialists that operates a storage and disposal site in Andrews County, near the border with New Mexico.
April 2, 2021
Nuclear waste project in southeast New Mexico delayed as feds demand answers
A project to store high-level nuclear waste in southeast New Mexico was delayed as the federal government sought more answers from the company proposing to build and operate the facility as to its potential risk to human life.
Holtec International proposed to build the consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) to temporarily hold spent nuclear fuel rods from generator sites across the country as a permanent repository was developed.
Feb 18, 2021
Semis hauling millions of radioactive loads across the country
Each year, millions of radioactive loads are shipped across the country, many on trucks that travel right beside you on our highways.
The federal government says the shipments are safe, but some of those who handle and haul the toxic material disagree.
In this exclusive Local 12 Investigation, Chief Investigative Reporter Duane Pohlman interviews two of those workers.
January 9, 2021
In Memory of Noel Marquez:
Friends pay tribute to local artist, environmentalist
Noel V. Marquez of Lake Arthur, 67, an honored New Mexico painter and a leader of environmental protection efforts, passed away Dec. 23 after a long illness, according to family members.
Marquez was the 2008 recipient of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. He was known for his large murals in New Mexico communities, including Carlsbad, Hobbs and Artesia, where he was born on June 4, 1953.
Sept 24, 2020
Nuclear waste could travel through Dallas-Fort Worth if West Texas plan is approved
By Haley Samsel
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
If approved by federal regulators, at least 5,000 tons of high-level nuclear waste from across the U.S. could travel through the Metroplex on its way to a West Texas storage facility that already stores low-level radioactive materials.
High-level nuclear waste refers to spent, or used, reactor fuel and waste materials that exist after the used fuel is reprocessed for disposal. The radioactive waste poses potentially harmful effects to humans and only decreases in radioactivity through decay, which can take hundreds of thousands of years, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the federal agency that regulates nuclear power plants and the storage and disposal of waste.
Activists who oppose the West Texas plan say the impact will not be limited to residents of Andrews County, where the toxic waste site owned by Waste Control Specialists already sits near the Texas-New Mexico border. The commission is considering a similar plan for a high-level waste storage facility in southeastern New Mexico, brought forward by the nuclear company Holtec.
September 21, 2019
Plan to transport nuclear waste to West Texas draws concern
SEED Coalition is a party in the legal case opposing high-level radioactive waste storage at WCS’ site in Andrews County, Texas and we just filed a new contention regarding significant risks of transportation of this deadly nuclear material. Hopefully, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board will pay attention to this critical issue and the technical hurdles that have now been documented by the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board in a report to Congress and the DOE.
Here is the study the contention was based on, the contention we filed and the expert witness testimony that backs it up.
- Report to Congress and DOE on transport of high-level radioactive waste details serious technical hurdles.
Sept. 2019 study by Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board
- Contention that SEED Coalition filed on Oct. 23, 2019 with the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board.
- Expert testimony of Bob Alvarez in support of the contention.
A proposal to send high-level nuclear waste to West Texas may seem like something Houstonians shouldn’t worry about. But if approved, some of the state’s largest metro areas could be in the path of thousands of shipments of radioactive materials as they make their way from plants across the country.
Interim Storage Partners, formed by Orano USA and Waste Control Specialists LLC, is applying for an initial 40-year license to eventually store 40,000 metric tons of used nuclear fuel in an existing facility in Andrews County.
Those in favor say it will save taxpayers money and provide a temporary solution to the decades-old impasse over finding a permanent storage solution for the country’s nuclear waste. But critics, made up of an unlikely coalition of environmentalists, ranchers and some in the oil industry, say the plan is not worth the risk of exposure en route to, or at, the storage site
So far, the plan appears to be moving forward.
The least risky path is leaving it close to where it is until a permanent repository is available, said Karen Hadden, executive director of the Texas-based Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition. “It makes no sense to ship it to consolidated interim storage sites. Why transport for this purpose alone and then transport again to a permanent repository? There is also the risk of creating a dangerous de facto permanent site, that should never happen because it could lead to disaster.”
They also call on Texas’ congressional delegation to fight the proposal. They have the power to stop the proposal from moving forward, said Tom “Smitty” Smith, with Public Citizen, the nonprofit consumer advocacy group.