April 24, 2017
Midland County Commissioners Join Bexar and Dallas Counties to Tell the NRC: We Don’t Want Your Nuclear Waste
MIDLAND, Texas — Today’s rejection by the Midland County Commissioners’ Court of a plan to ship highly radioactive nuclear waste through their county highlights the danger of a plan to expand a waste dump in West Texas, Public Citizen said today.
The Commissioners Court today unanimously passed a resolution stating that their constituents “do not want any nuclear waste transported through Midland County.” Similar resolutions have passed unanimously in other Texas counties, including Bexar and Dallas, as well as the city of San Antonio.
Waste Control Specialists (WCS) is seeking to expand its existing low-level waste site in Andrews County to take high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants across the country. If approved, 40,000 tons of spent fuel rods from nuclear reactors around the country would be transported to Texas and stored for 40 years or longer, risking the creation of an unsafe de facto permanent disposal facility.
“The plan is all risk and no reward,” said Adrian Shelley, director of Public Citizen’s Texas office.
Radioactive waste moving through highly populated cities across the country could be targeted for sabotage by terrorists or could cause catastrophe in the event of an accident.
What’s more, the casks have not been subjected to full-scale testing. Cancers or birth defects can result from radiation exposures, and even short-term exposure to unshielded spent fuel rods can be lethal.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, even a minor radiation release could contaminate 42 square miles of land, and cleanup in a downtown area could cost up to $9 billion.
“We are delighted that the Midland County Commissioners Court has acted to protect its citizens by passing this resolution,” said David Rosen, a concerned local citizen and advocate for a resolution opposing the transport of high-level radioactive waste through Midland County.
“Now is the time to raise these concerns about risks to our community’s health and safety, since the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is asking for public comment,” added Rosen. The comment period ends April 28.