If you build it, radioactive waste will come

With the Texas Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (TLLRWDCC) approving rules that open up of the WCS dump site to out of compact waste, we may soon see low level radioactive waste from Nebraska Public Power District’s nuclear facility heading to Texas.

The deal between WCS and Nebraska’s Cooper Nuclear Station still must be finalized, but the waste they are looking to send would include radioactive resins, filters and other equipment.  Currently, low-level waste from Cooper Nuclear Station is stored in on-site pools that also hold used nuclear fuel rods because no other disposal site took either out of compact waste, or did not take the “hotter” C level waste.

With the opening up of the Texas waste site, you can bet other nuclear power plants around the country are looking to free up space in their spent fuel pools as these aging plants near the end of their planned life.  Many of these plants are at a point where they are looking to get relicensed, and with the lack of a national respository for the spent fuel rods, will need to show that they have adequate on site storage for another 20 years of spent fuel.  Removing “low-level” radioactive waste from on site is going to be important to that process, and Texas is looking good to them as an option to making that happen.

While there was concern about there being enough room at the WCS site for Texas and Vermont (the two states in our Compact), the commission set aside space for our two states, however you can be sure other states will be clamoring for what’s left.  Then what – an expansion of the site?

Oh, just another thing to ponder over.  The San Antonio Current reported in their Que Que blog that in 1992, an earthquake measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale struck Lea County, New Mexico, just across the Texas-New Mexico border from the radioactive waste dump operated by Waste Control Specialists in western Andrews County.