Federal government discloses it already shipped plutonium to Nevada, without state’s knowledge or consent
January 30th, 2019
Federal officials have disclosed that they shipped radioactive plutonium to Nevada in spite of the state’s vehement opposition to the idea and concerns that doing so would be a slippery slope to opening the state up to further nuclear waste dumping.
In a federal court filing on Wednesday, National Nuclear Security Administration General Counsel Bruce Diamond stated that the agency sent about half a metric ton of the substance sometime before November 2018, prior to Nevada suing over the proposed move. The transfer was done after a U.S. District Court in South Carolina ordered the material be removed from that state.
Gov. Steve Sisolak accused the government of lying to the state and said he was irate over the move, which was first reported by national defense reporter Dan Leone.
The Most Dangerous and Deadly Radioactive Waste Could Come Through Major Texas Cities and Be Dumped on West Texas
The Public Can Speak Out Until November 19th Against Plan to Dump the Most Dangerous of All Radioactive Waste in West Texas; Public Involvement Has Stopped Risky Waste Dumps Before
November 16, 2018
Austin – The most dangerous radioactive waste in the nation may be dumped in West Texas if a license is granted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). This waste could be coming from more than 100 nuclear reactors around the country. The NRC is accepting public comments on this license until November 19th Members of the public can send an editable letter here.
Waste Control Specialists (WCS) seeks to store 40,000 tons of irradiated reactor fuel rods at their existing low-level radioactive waste site for 40 years, although their application says that the waste could remain “until a permanent repository is found.” In other words, we could get stuck with it forever, at inadequate site that isn’t designed for the long-term. A de facto permanent disposal facility could be created for deadly waste that must remain isolated from people and the environment for literally a million years. Exposure to radiation can cause cancer, genetic damage and birth defects. Exposure to unshielded high-level radioactive waste is lethal.
On Tuesday, November 12, the conservative Midland City Council approved a resolution (6-0) opposing consolidated interim storage or permanent disposal of high-level radioactive waste in West Texas and New Mexico or the transportation of this radioactive waste through or around the corporate limits of the City of Midland. Read the Press Release….
- Read the Press Release 11/16/18
- Federal Radioactive Sites With Leaks – Can You Trust the Federal Government to Protect Your Community Against Contamination from Radioactive Waste? (Fact Sheet)
- Summary of Petition to Invervene
Protect Texas from Radioactive Waste Tour – Thanks to all who participated! Sept. 24th – Oct. 1st
The Protect Texas from Radioactive Waste Tour visited major cities across the state with an inflatable full-scale mock radioactive waste transport cask. We held press conferences at railroad crossings where the radioactive waste could travel and hosted community meetings. The tour kicked off in Houston on Sept. 24, and then traveled to San Antonio, Dallas, El Paso, Midland and Andrews, wrapping up on Oct. 1st. We were joined by friends and allies across the state. Many people are now in motion, organizing locally to halt high-level radioactive waste plans that endangers their community.
The tour was sponsored by SEED Coalition, Public Citizen, Beyond Nuclear and NIRS – Nuclear Information and Resource Services. Sierra Club members and local organizations joined in. Special guest, Kerstin Rudek, shared the successful experiences of her community’s fight against radioactive waste in Gorleben Germany.
A Texas waste storage plan is back. So is the opposition
September 11, 2018 Edward Klump, E&E News reporter
A proposal to send used nuclear fuel to West Texas didn’t end last year, but it did stall during a trip to corporate purgatory.
Now a joint venture called Interim Storage Partners LLC has the plan moving forward again. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently restarted its review of a consolidated interim storage application for a site in Andrews County, Texas. And the NRC staff’s safety, security and environmental reviews could be finished in summer 2020.
Critics are worried about what’s brewing. They’re asking questions and hoping for more public meetings. Some would like to halt the project. One of the chief opponents knows the proposal won’t be easy to stop, but she’s working to rally Texans and others against the plan.
Nuclear waste could be headed to West Texas under house bill
“The whole nation could be at risk from an unprecedented mass movement of high-level radioactive waste across the nation, with 10,000 rail cars of deadly waste being transported over a period of 20 or more years,” said Karen Hadden, director of the Austin-based advocacy group Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition.
HR 3053 passed in the US House – May 10, 2018
Thanks to Texas Representatives Joaquin Castro, Lloyd Doggett, Al Green, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Beto O’Rourke and New Mexico Representatives Michelle Lujan Grisham and Ben Ray Lujan for voting against HR 3053, a bill that removes barriers to storing radioactive waste in Texas and New Mexico. The bill still has to go to the Senate, where opposition is expected to be stronger than in the House of Representatives.
Friday, March 23, 2018
Edison Reveals Design Flaws In New Canisters Storing Nuclear Waste At San Onofre
Southern California Edison stopped loading spent nuclear fuel rods into canisters at San Onofre for about a week, after discovering a design flaw in the new containers built for the nuclear waste.
Edison’s Chief Nuclear Officer Tom Palmisano revealed the problem Thursday night at Edison’s Community Engagement Panel meeting in Laguna Hills. The panel meets quarterly in public to review the decommissioning process.
March 14, 2018
Orano, WCS Aim to Revive Spent Fuel Storage Project
Nearly a year after putting it on ice, Waste Control Specialists aims to revive its application for a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission license to build and operate a facility for consolidated interim storage of used fuel from commercial nuclear power reactors. It is doing so in a joint venture planned with Orano USA.
Establishment of the joint venture and a formal request to restart the NRC review are expected in the second quarter of this year, said Jeffery Isakson, vice president of business operations at Orano subsidiary TN Americas, who is working on the spent fuel storage project.
The plan remains to build a facility on Waste Control Specialists’ property in Andrews County, Texas, to temporarily hold up to 40,000 metric tons of spent fuel until the Department of Energy finds a permanent home for the radioactive waste.
March 4, 2018
ELEA moves one step closer
“I do not consent to it,” said Hobbs resident Byron Marshall. “After doing my due diligence, it has come to my attention that it is too much of a risk to the families and the community of Hobbs. The possibilities of a radiation leak, of an accident, of transporting … high-level nuclear waste … coming here via rail thousands of miles away, the transport route alone is a hazard that is unfathomable. But to bring it here and to call it a interim facility and saying that it is only going to be used temporarily until we find a final resolution for it is kind of bogus. Once it gets here, it’s not going anywhere else because no else wants it.”
The idea of bringing high-level radiative waste to southeast New Mexico is a “game-changer” Marshall said.
“If once it does get finalized and it does get built here, I have to think about moving somewhere else,” Marshal said. “I don’t want this place to be another Fukushima.”
February 1, 2018
New ownership could revive Texas waste plan
Waste Control Specialists LLC, after months in corporate limbo, may look at restarting its push to store high-level radioactive waste in West Texas.
That’s because an investment affiliate of J.F. Lehman & Co. recently acquired WCS, ending the company’s hazy status under Valhi Inc.
WCS asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission last year to suspend — temporarily — the review of its high-level waste proposal, citing the cost and its limited financial resources. The company was waiting to see if a deal to sell WCS to EnergySolutions, a well-known industry player, would close. The transaction fizzled after a judge blocked it
Instead, WCS is joining J.F. Lehman’s portfolio. In a statement last week, Glenn Shor, managing director at J.F. Lehman, said the partnership “with WCS will ensure that the business has the resources required to support its long-term growth strategy across the government and commercial marketplace.” The deal also gives WCS closer ties to NorthStar Group Services Inc., which is involved in the nuclear decommissioning business.
January 26, 2018
WCS is bought by private equity firm
Waste Control Specialists, which operates a low-level radioactive waste storage facility in Andrews, has been sold, according to a company press release.
WCS was sold by Valhi Inc. to J.F. Lehman & Co., a middle-market private equity firm focused on the government, defense, aerospace and maritime sectors.
WCS lost an antitrust lawsuit in June after the U.S. District Court of Delaware ruled in favor of the Justice Department against a merger with EnergySolutions, a Utah-based company that specializes in decommissioning nuclear power plants.
October 11, 2017
Radioactive Waste Bill Threatens Texas and New Mexico; Poses Nationwide Risks from Dangerous Unnecessary Transport
Citizens Oppose HR 3053 – Nuclear Waste Policy Act Amendments of 2017
AUSTIN, TX, — Texas and New Mexico are targeted as ground zero for the nation’s high-level radioactive waste, the most deadly of all radioactive materials. Dallas, Bexar, Midland and Nueces County Commissions in Texas and the cities of San Antonio and Lake Arthur, New Mexico studied the issue and passed resolutions opposing transport of high-level radioactive waste through their communities. But Congress will soon debate a bill that would smooth the path for consolidated interim storage by removing an existing hurdle in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act.
Related Media Items:
August 30, 2017
As Historic Flooding Grips Texas, Groups Demand Nuclear Plant Be Shut Down
As record-breaking rainfall and unprecedented flooding continue to batter the greater Houston area and along the Gulf coast on Tuesday, energy watchdogs groups are warning of “a credible threat of a severe accident” at two nuclear reactors still operating at full capacity in nearby Bay City, Texas.
Three groups—Beyond Nuclear, South Texas Association for Responsible Energy, and the SEED Coalition—are calling for the immediate shutdown of the South Texas Project (STP) which sits behind an embankment they say could be overwhelmed by the raging flood waters and torrential rains caused by Hurricane Harvey.
Feb 17, 2017
We Don’t Want It!
We Do NOT Consent – Public Scoping Meetings
Waste Control Specialists (WCS) wants to dump 40,000 tons of deadly high-level radioactive waste, parking lot style, and store it for 40 to 100 years in the desert, where climate extremes and fracking abound. What could go wrong?
There were two NRC scoping meetings on the WCS’ radioactive waste storage license, one in Hobbs, NM (Feb. 13th) and one in Andrews, TX, (Feb. 15th).
The message came through loud and clear from local and regional folks – WE DON’T WANT IT! Last year The DOE tried to tell the rest of the country that Andrews wants this waste – but the people in targeted communities never got to vote and 90% of the people we’ve talked to are opposed.
Andrews County Commissioners passed a resolution in 2015 in favor of the ill-conceived plan that hardly anyone knew about until recently, which is hardly “informed consent.”
February 28, 2017
Activists call for city to oppose waste deliveries through city limits
A Midland geologist told the Midland City Council that public hearings are needed for Midlanders to decide on having high-level nuclear waste travel through the city.
David Rosen, who is also the chairman for the Midland County Democratic Party, told the council Tuesday it should pass a resolution similar to the one passed last month by Bexar County Commissioners. The resolution, according to the San Antonio Express-News, opposes shipments of thousands of pounds of spent nuclear fuel rods from more than 62 sites across the U.S. to a waste site in Andrews County.
February 24, 2017
In West Texas, spent fuel storage seeks a foothold
ANDREWS, Texas — Tucked inside a Mexican restaurant, surrounded by newfound allies and a sizable buffet, Elizabeth Padilla appeared eager for an evening of activism.
Just days earlier, she heard details of Waste Control Specialists LLC’s plan to welcome high-level radioactive waste to West Texas. Padilla was alarmed and decided to speak out, even if Andrews County — where she lives — could see a financial boost that might delight residents.
February 22, 2017
Bexar County commissioners say no to nuclear waste shipments
On Tuesday, Bexar County became the first county in Texas to officially oppose having high-level nuclear waste pass through the county on its way to a West Texas waste site.
The commissioners unanimously approved a resolution opposing shipments of nuclear fuel rods from more than 62 sites across the U.S., most of them operating or closed reactors used to produce power.
Feb 16, 2017
Residents get vocal about a proposed radioactive waste disposal plant
ANDREWS — Do you want a high-level radioactive waste storage site in your backyard?
That was the question posed in Andrews on Wednesday night during the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s public input meeting.
“I believe we really need to rethink about this and know that this is going to have its risks,” lifelong resident of Andrews, Elizabeth Padilla, said.
February 16, 2017
Speakers encourage NRC to rethink waste storage plan
ANDREWS — It was nearly a full house at the James Roberts Center on Wednesday night as more than two dozen people gave comments both for and against the proposed high-level nuclear waste storage site at the site of Waste Control Specialists’ low-level radioactive site.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission conducted its second of three public comment meetings as part of the scoping process for a federally required environmental impact study. The first was Monday in Hobbs, New Mexico.
February 15, 2017
Andrews community speak up about possible high level nuclear waste site
ANDREWS, TX (KWES) – The process for a possible high level nuclear storage facility in Andrews continued with a public hearing for the community on Wednesday. Many voiced their opinion against the facility including Silvia Ramos a resident of Andrews who is worried about the health and safety of the children if the waste is stored in her city.
“It’s not good for them. It’s a high level radiation that they want to put here. I just don’t want it for my kids,” said Ramos.
Waste Control Specialists, the organization who recently applied for the high-level storage facility, believed the facility would help employment and help the economy, but residents aren’t buying it.
Feb 15, 2017
Public Forum Split Over Nuclear Facility
ANDREWS, Texas Opposition to WCS front and center at a public forum. “Everyone of the canisters carries as much plutonium as the bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki and terrorist can easily figure out how to detonate that stuff,” says activist Tom Smith.
Safety hazards like this have Andrews resident Elizabeth Padilla worried as she even has her kids in on the fight. “We do not want to risk the life of our children. We do not want to risk future generations. We want to keep Andrews free of radioactive waste.”
January 26, 2017
Statements on Radioactive Waste risks and NRC docketing the WCS application
The NRC announced today that they’ve docketed the application from Waste Control Specialists for a consolidated radioactive waste storage in Andrews, TX. The NRC will accept public comments on the scope of its Environmental Impact Statement for the application through March 13th.
SEED Coalition and Public Citizen will hold organizing meetings to help citizens prepare for the upcoming Feb. 13th and Feb. 15th NRC hearings to be held in Hobbs, New Mexico and Andrews, TX. Details are being finalized. An additional NRC hearing will be held the following week in Rockville, MD.
Karen Hadden, Director, Sustainable Energy & Economic Development (SEED) Coalition 512-797-8481, karendhadden(at)gmail.com:
“WCS” plan to import the most dangerous of all radioactive waste and dump it on poor communities on the Texas/New Mexico border represents environmental injustice and poses risks of accidents and terrorism and potential contamination along the transport routes throughout the country. The WCS location is close to the Ogallala Aquifer, the nation’s largest aquifer, that lies beneath eight states. A single train car load with dry casks of radioactive waste would contain as much plutonium as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The waste should remain secured in place until a scientfically viable isolation system for permanent disposal can be designed and built.
- NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
[Docket No. 72-1050; NRC-2016-0231]Waste Control Specialists LLC’s Consolidated Interim Spent Fuel Storage Facility Project
Other Related Information Flyers:
- HR 474 opens up Texas to Becoming the Nation’s High Level Radioactive Waste Dump and fleeces taxpayers
January 26, 2017
Nuclear Regulatory Commission – Press Release
No: 17-004 January 26, 2017
Contact: Maureen Conley, 301-415-8200
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has docketed and accepted for formal review an application from Waste Control Specialists to build and operate a spent nuclear fuel consolidated interim storage facility in Andrews, Texas. The NRC’s decision follows an acceptance review to determine whether the application contains sufficient information for the agency to begin its formal review.
WCS is seeking to store 5,000 metric tons uranium of spent fuel received from commercial nuclear power reactors across the United States.
June 30, 2016
For Immediate Release
Federal Government Says License Application Is Incomplete, Highlighting Folly of West Texas Radioactive Waste Dump Proposal
WCS Application Lacks Needed Storage Cask Safety and Site Security Information
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The federal government’s conclusion that Waste Control Specialists’ (WCS) omitted key safety and security information from its license application for a high-level radioactive waste dump at its Andrews County site in Texas highlights the dangers of the proposal, Public Citizen and SEED Coalition said today.
WCS seeks to expand its existing low-level waste site to take high-level radioactive waste from across the country. If approved, spent fuel rods from nuclear reactors around the country would be transported to Texas and stored for 40 years or longer, risking the possibility of creating a de-facto permanent disposal facility.
Read full press release…
Related Content: WCS Application for CISF License
- NRC’s Review Letter to WCS Advising of Insufficient Technical Information on Application
NRC Letter Screenshot – 6/22/16
- Non-Proprietary Request For Supplemental Information And Observations
WCS CISF Docket No. 72-1050
- Analysis of NRC’s Requests for Supplemental Information and Observations Regarding the WCS Application for a CISF License – Consolidated Interim Storage Facility – for High-Level Radioactive Waste Storage
Key points summarized by SEED Coalition
- Halting High-Level Radioactive Waste Threats
July 2016 Powerpoint Presentation
by SEED Coalition – Karen Hadden, karendhadden(at)gmail.com
Public Citizen – Tom “Smitty” Smith, smitty(at)citizen.org
Former State Representative Lon Burnam, lonburnam(at)gmail.com
We DO NOT CONSENT! Sign-up for updates here:
What if these trains had been high-level dangerous radioactive waste?
- License application for Andrews nuclear waste site missing key safety, security details
KXXV News 6/30/16
- Two Train Crew Members Found Dead After Texas Crash
Amarillo Globe-News /Associated Press 6/29/16
April 28, 2016
For immediate Release
April 28, 2016
Karen Hadden, SEED Coalition, 512-797-8481
Tom “Smitty” Smith, Public Citizen, 512-797-8468
High-Level Radioactive Waste is High-Risk
Radioactive Waste Risks include Accidents and Sabotage
(Austin) A high-level consolidated radioactive waste storage site has been proposed for Andrews County, Texas, by Waste Control Specialists (WCS). The company expects to submit a license application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) this week and to have licensing and construction completed by the end of 2020.
“This plan is all risk, not only for the states of Texas and New Mexico, but for the whole country and it should be halted immediately,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of Public Citizen’s Texas Office. “Why is our region being targeted to become the nation’s dumping ground for high-risk high-level radioactive waste? Putting this waste on our highways and railways invites disaster. Radioactive waste moving through highly populated cities across the country could be targeted for sabotage by terrorists.” A state report, the Assessment of Texas’ High-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Options, says that “spent nuclear fuel is more vulnerable to sabotage or accidents during transport than in storage because there are fewer security guards and engineered barriers, and that the consequences could be higher since the waste could travel through large cities.” Read the full press release….
WHAT COULD GO WRONG?
People who care about the land, air and water of West Texas and New Mexico, and the health and safety of people here and along
radioactive waste transport routes
“We do not consent to radioactive waste being dumped on our land or to transporting nuclear waste across the country.”
Two Companies, WCS and AFCI, seek to bring HIGH-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE from the nation’s nuclear reactors to TEXAS
High-level radioactive waste is the most dangerous of all radioactive materials. Contamination resulting from Fukushima meltdown disaster came from this same source – irradiated fuel from nuclear reactors.
High-level radioactive waste is mainly irradiated fuel rods from nuclear reactors that contain uranium and plutonium, which known to result in cancer if inhaled.
The fuel rods are still radioactively “hot,” even after being in the reactor fuel pool for 5 – 10 years. An unshielded person 3 feet away from spent fuel rods would be immediately incapacitated and die within a week – according the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Radiation exposure can damage a person’s DNA, leading to birth defects, and cause many kinds of cancers, radiation sickness and death.
Nevada fought burial of high-level radioactive waste at the Yucca Mountain site for decades. Other states have fought as well. Even Texas. Deaf Smith County in the Texas Panhandle was considered as a permanent repository site before Yucca Mountain was chosen, but ranchers and farmers fought hard due to concerns about radioactive water contamination.
What to Do About High-Level Radioactive Waste?
Centralized (Consolidated) Storage is unwise and is NOT needed. The least risky option is to remove irradiated fuel from reactor fuel pools and let it continue to cool in dry casks at the site where it was generated. Reactors are being licensed to store waste for 60 years past decommissioning, and the sites will remain guarded anyway.
Shipping this dangerous waste by rail or truck introduces risks of terrorism, as well as accidents. No permanent repository is available to dispose of wastes. Why ship it at all?
- Two West Texas counties, Andrews and Culberson, are proposed as potential sites for the centralized storage of dangerous high-level radioactive waste from nuclear reactors around the country, by Waste Control Specialists (WCS) and Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (AFCI) could later be considered for permanent disposal as well.
- Importing high-level radioactive waste imperils our health and lives with risks of accidents, radiation releases, leaks or terrorist actions.
- High-level radioactive waste is so dangerous that it must remain isolated from living things for thousands of years. It is mainly irradiated (spent) fuel rods from nuclear reactors, which still contain most of their original uranium, as well as with radioactive strontium, cesium and plutonium, which are created during the reactor fission process. Some of these materials have long half-lives, and remain dangerous for long periods of time. For example, plutonium remains dangerous for over a quarter of a million years. Inhaling it is a sure way to get cancer.
- There will be about 100,000 metric tons of irradiated fuel generated by existing U.S. reactors by the time they cease operating, with roughly 1000 metric tons of plutonium. If separated, there would be enough plutonium for 120,000 nuclear bombs. If diluted uniformly, the strontium-90 in would be enough the contaminate the entire fresh water supply of the world to about 60 times the U.S. drinking water standard.
- TCEQ acknowledges the vulnerability of radioactive waste to sabotage during transport, and that ” consequences due to sabotage or accidents are also higher during transport since the waste may be near population centers.”
- Centralized (consolidated) Interim Storage of the nation’s high-level waste at a single location would increase risks by creating an additional site that must be secured.
- DOE calculated an accident rate of 1 in 1000. If radioactive waste is shipped to a storage site, and then to a final repository, there would be more truck shipments and the number of likely accidents would also increase. Transport could be by rail as well, although tracks might have to be improved.
- A DOE contractor reported that a severe accident involving one radioactive waste cask that released only a small amount of waste would contaminate a 42 square mile area, with cleanup costs exceeding $620 million in a rural area. Clean up in an urban area would be more time consuming and it could cost up to $9.5 billion to raze and rebuild the most heavily contaminated square mile.
- Importing high-level radioactive waste might benefit a few corporations, but millions of Texans and others along transport routes in other states would bear the financial and health risks of accidents or sabotage.
- Managing Spent Fuel and High-Level Waste: Strategic Considerations, Oct. 4, 2014, Presentation at Earth, Wind and Fire Summit, Dallas, Texas. Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President of Institute for Energy and Environmental Research
- TCEQ’s Assessment of Texas’s High Level Radioactive Waste Storage Options, March 2014, Page 30. http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1100389-tceq-assessment-of-texas-high-level-radioactive.html
- Managing Spent Fuel and High-Level Waste: Strategic Considerations, Oct. 4, 2014, Presentation at Earth, Wind and Fire Summit, Dallas, Texas. Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President of Institute for Energy and Environmental Research
- Fact sheet. Transportation of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste to a Repository, Section 4. http://www.state.nv.us/nucwaste/yucca/trfact01.htm