The Richest Little County
Photographs for TIME by Robert Nickelsberg
18 June 2014
Stealthily loading West Texas up with radioactive waste
Waste Control Specialists is in talks to start receiving depleted uranium, and it wants to triple its West Texas site’s size.
The nuclear waste disposal site operated by Waste Control Specialists in West Texas is steadily morphing away from its original mission as a depository for very limited quantities of low-level radioactive items from Texas and Vermont. Today, the site is taking on much greater quantities and higher levels of radioactive waste from multiple states, and its owner wants permission to dramatically expand operations.
May 17, 2013
Bad Radioactive Waste Bill Increases Threats to Texas While Rewarding a Major Perry Donor
- House Committee Substitute – SB 791 and bill analysis
- Draft Amendments to SB791
- 5/17/13 Press Release Download
- Donations by Simmons/ WCS in the Lobby Watch report
Recent Monitoring Well Data
- Final Monthly Water Level Measurements for Six New Upper Dockum Wells in Support of LC 70.D in RML No. R04100, Waste Control Specialists LLC, Andrews County, Texas 5/4/12
- Monthly OAG Water Level Report Submitted in Support of LC 44 in RML No. R05807 and LC 72 in RML No. R04100, Waste Control Specialists LLC, Andrews County 5/10/12
- Monthly Report of Water Level Measurements from OW-1, OW-2, OAG-21, OAG-22, and TP-173 06/08/12
- Monthly OAG Water Level Report Submitted in Support of LC 44 in RML No. R05807 and LC 72 in RML No. R04100, Waste Control Specialists LLC, Andrews County 6/11/12
- Monthly OAG Water Level Report Submitted in Support of LC 44 in RML No. R05807 and LC 72 in RML No. R04100, Waste Control Specialists LLC, Andrews County 7/09/12
- REVISED Monthly Water Level Measurements for Six New Upper Dockum Wells in Support of LC 70.D No. R04100, Waste Control Specialists LLC, Andrews County, Texas 8/2/12
- Monthly OAG Water Level Report Submitted in Support of LC 44 in RML No. R05807 and LC 72 in RML No. R04100, Waste Control Specialists LLC, Andrews County 8/7/12
- Monthly Report of Water Level Measurements from OW-1, OW-2, OAG-21, OAG-22, and TP-173 9/7/12
- Monthly Report of Water Level Measurements from FWF-1A, FWF-6A, FWF-27A, OW-3, OW-4, and OW-5 9/7/12
- Monthly OAG Water Level Report Submitted in Support of LC 44 in RML No. R05807 and LC 72 in RML No. R04100, Waste Control Specialists LLC, Andrews County 9/10/12
- Notification to Remove Monitor Well GW-1 9/14/12
- Monthly Report of Water Level Measurements from OW-1, OW-2, OAG-21, OAG-22, and TP-173 10/02/12
August 2, 2012
Compact Commission letter – Aug. 2, 2012 and highlighted Hazardous Materials Route Registry
We are concerned that shipments radioactive waste to Texas are being allowed to move forward when there is still water in monitoring wells in the area of the WCS Compact Facility site. Concerns about water contamination are very real, serious enough that three TCEQ employees resigned over the issue. We also are concerned that no routes have been designated for low-level radioactive waste in Texas, although there is a legal requirement to do so. At least 12 other states have designated routes for radioactive waste.
The Registry attached to our letter shows that there are no designated routes or restricted routes for radioactive waste in Texas.
June 26, 2012
- The Import Rule which contains language describing the types of things the Compact Commission is supposed to consider in determining whether to approve import applications. You’ll find this on pages 3-4. Check out section (h) – starting on page 3. This list might help guide your comments.
- SEED Comments to Compact Commission 6/26/12
- SEED Coalition Addendum #1– Regarding the Studsvik Application
- SEED Coalition Addendum #2– Regarding the ZionSolutions Import Application
- SEED Coalition Addendum #3 – Regarding the Thomas Gray & Associates/Environmental Management & Controls Import Application
- SEED Coalition Addendum #4– Regarding the Trust Agreement
- Comments on Bionomics, Inc. Application for Importation of Nonparty Low-Level Radioactive Waste by
The Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition, Rep. Lon Burnam, Public Citizen, Environment Texas, the South Texas Association for Responsible Energy, CODA and Tex/New Mex Radiation Rangers. 6/10/12
- Sierra Club’s Legal Challenge to the Compact License
- Capacity of the Radioactive Waste Compact Site
- Compact Waste Facility Disposal Capacity Supplemental Report 12/22/10
May 7, 2012
A District Court ruled today that Texas’ environmental agency should have allowed a contested case hearing prior to licensing WCS low level radioactive waste dump in West Texas
Waste Control Specialists – Radioactive Waste Dump
April 16, 2012
Burnam Requests AG Ruling on Disclosure of TCEQ Documents Related to Possible Radioactive Contamination
TCEQ preparing to allow site to open despite massive water presence underground at site in violation of license terms
(Austin, Texas) Today, Rep. Burnam called on the Executive Director of the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to protect public health and safety by not allowing the low-level radioactive waste disposal site in West Texas to open until key questions are answered about the presence of groundwater inside the 100 feet buffer zone around the facility.
The private company licensed to operate the facility, Waste Control Specialists (WCS), which stands to reap millions in profits in disposal fees once the site is operational, is pressing for the agency to allow the site to open even though documents show significant groundwater present at the site, confirming the worst fears of TCEQ scientists that objected to issuance of the license five years ago due to the likelihood of groundwater intrusion at the site in future years.
Published on Apr 8, 2012
Harold Simmons has given Millions of dollars to GOP candidates so that he can continue to dump nuclear waste into an aquifer that supplies 1/3 of the water that irrigates land in America.
Issues with Radioactive Waste Legislation
- Why we oppose SB 1504
Testimony of Tom “Smitty” Smith, April 4, 2011
Stop Texas from Becoming the Nation’s Radioactive Waste Dump!
- Nuclear Waste From as Many as 36 States May Rumble Down Texas Highways if Texas Nuclear Waste Importation Plan Is Approved 12/23/10
- Texans Say No to Importing Radioactive Waste From Around the Country; Comments Accepted Until Dec. 26th 12/10/10
- Read the proposed radioactive import rule here.
- Transportation of Radioactive Material
NRC Reactor Training Center Manual
- Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission Action Letter
- Governor Ann Richards says the Compact would limit waste coming to Texas April 19, 1993
Texas is at risk of becoming the nation’s radioactive dumping ground. Governor Perry knew that Texans don’t want to be dumped on, and kept this issue out of the spotlight during election season. Now that the elections are over and the winter holiday season is underway, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission is rushing to approve rules that would open Andrews County in West Texas up to radioactive waste from around the country.
Loopholes abound when it comes to laws regarding radioactive waste. While excluding radioactive waste from international sources, the proposed rule doesn’t require processors to document the origin of waste that they handle. International radioactive waste could get re-labeled as Tennessee waste if it was processed there. Texas could become the international radioactive waste dumping ground as well.
Andrews County is poised to become the nation’s largest and perhaps one of the most deadly radioactive and hazardous waste dumps, mainly for nuclear power and weapons waste.
Factsheets & Reports:
- The Repository and the Risk – Andrews County Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal
Public Citizen report, April 2011, by Ali Rawaf
- Chart of Anticipated Radioactive Waste Volume and Curies
- Comments Made Before Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission
- SEED Coalition Comments 4/13/10
- IEER Memo to SEED Coalition on LLRW 4/13/10
- Fairewinds Associates Inc. Comments 4/13/10
- Sierra Club – Lone Star Chapter Comments 3/16/10
- Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) Comments 4/13/10
- NIRS U.S. Commercial "Low-Level" Radioactive Waste Disposal Sites Fact Sheet April, 2009
- What’s Wrong with the Texas Compact Commission Import Rule? Factsheet
- Transportation of Radioactive Material
NRC Reactor Training Center Manual
- Questions Rep. Lon Burnam asked of the Texas Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission
- SEED Comments on Import-Export Rule 1/21/10
- Dr. Arjun Makhijani – Nuclear Expert Memo 1/15/10
- NIRS: US Low-Level Radioactive Waste Sites 4/29/09
- Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission Stakeholders Draft Rule 12/10/09
- "Low-Level" Radioactive Waste Is Not Low Risk April 2009
- United States Commercial "Low-Level" Radioactive Waste Disposal Sites Fact Sheet April 2009
- Radioactive Waste Compacts Map