Environmental Groups Protesting Radioactive Waste Storage in Andrews

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA--They're taking a stand to protect the little people from the nuclear industry.

The Waste Control Specialists disposal site is the first site of its kind built in the U.S. in over 30 years. These groups are taking it upon themselves to warn the public on the hazards of nuclear waste.

"I have brought the basic information on the definition of the waste and the history of the failed dumps to the communities and encouraged them to look seriously whether or not they wanted to have such a facility in their community," Diane D'Arrigo, with Nuclear Information and Resource Services,said

D'Arrigo has been researching radioactive waste sites since the mid 1980's. She says she has grave concerns over Waste Control Specialists being granted it's license, "We don't know what to do with the nuclear waste from the past 50 years of the nuclear industry. It's leaking from the existing dumps."

With proposed nuclear reactor sites set to open across the country, it's not hard to determine where the waste would end up. "They have contracts, already signed, to send their waste, from a reactor that hasn't even been licensed yet, but they're saying we can go ahead and make more waste because we have a contract to send it, via a company in Tennessee to Texas," D'Arrigo explained.

The Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition is joining the fight.

"The nuclear reactors that are proposed, are counting on this site to be there to take their waste. More and more of this waste could come into this community, risking the health of people here," Executive Director Karen Hadden, said.

Hadden says there is no need for West Texas to use what she calls outdated forms of energy, when there are other viable and federally funded alternatives out there, "The types of energy that could be produced here are clean and are renewable. This community and others can jump on that opportunity, have all the jobs that are needed and not have to be accepting the risky, hazardous radio active waste."

Rodney Baltzer, President of Waste Control Specialists, strongly defends their operation, "Our facility is incredibly safe. We've got a robust design. We've got trained, excellent people who work there. We're highly regulated."

Hadden says, something has to be done, before it's too late, "This community could be dumped on, in a very huge way and it's time to look, right now, for the protection of this community."

According to D'Arrigo, Waste Control Specialists is just the next in line, of a number of sites in Texas being targeted by the nuclear industry for waste disposal.

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