Dallas company: We want nation's radioactive waste

> Associated Press) - Apr 17 - By BROCK VERGAKIS Associated Press Writer
> A company that recently received approval to dispose of low-level
> radioactive waste from two states in rural West Texas wants permission
> to dump such material from across the country.
> Dallas-based Waste Control Specialists LLC received a license
> this year from state regulators to accept commercial waste from Texas
> and Vermont and from U.S. Department of Energy sites.
> But it wrote in an April 6 letter to the Nuclear Regulatory
> Commission that it also wants to dispose of commercial waste from
> other states at the site in Andrews County, Texas, near the New Mexico
> line. The letter was sent in advance of an NRC public hearing on
> low-level radioactive waste being held Friday.
> South Carolina shut its doors to nearly all the nation's low-
> level radioactive waste in July, leaving 36 states with no place to
> dispose of some types of waste from nuclear power plants, hospitals,
> universities and research labs.
> "We believe flexible import provisions would go very far toward
> resolving the nation's challenges ... now that the Barnwell (S.C.)
> facility no longer allows nationwide access for disposal of these
> wastes,"
> wrote
> William Dornsife, the company's executive vice president for licensing
> and regulatory affairs.
> To accept waste from outside its compact of Texas and Vermont,
> the company would need to win the approval of compact commissioners -
> six from Texas and two from Vermont - who are appointed by the
> governors of each state.
> Waste Control spokesman Chuck McDonald said accepting waste from
> outside the compact would make operating the compact more affordable
> for Texas and Vermont and make the rest of the country safer.
> "The material is there. It needs to be moved to a secure,
> licensed facility and we believe that our site can provide that need,"
> he said.
> Since the 1980s, the federal government has urged states to build
> low-level nuclear waste landfills, either on their own or in
> cooperation with other states in compact systems. But only one
> low-level landfill, in Utah, has opened in the past 30 years, and it
> accepts only Class A waste, considered the least hazardous.
> That has left the more dangerous Class B and C waste in dozens of
> states stored on site, leading to fears that some of the material will
> be lost, or worse, stolen by terrorists and turned into dirty bombs.
> The NRC is considering allowing Class B and C waste to be diluted
> so it could be labeled Class A waste and disposed of at the Utah
> facility, which is owned by EnergySolutions Inc. and is about 70 miles
> west of Salt Lake City. Waste Control Specialists, which is licensed
> to accept Class A, B and C waste, objects to that proposal.
> Waste Control Specialists is a subsidiary of Delaware-based Valhi
> Inc.
> Valhi's primary stockholder, Harold Simmons, is a top donor to
> Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
> Fears that Waste Control Specialists would eventually dump in
> waste from outside its compact in Texas have already led a Democratic
> lawmaker from Fort Worth to sponsor a bill requiring legislative
> approval to import out-of-compact waste. Texas Rep. Lon Burnam said he
> doesn't want Texas to become the nation's dumping ground.
> "If you look at every nuclear power plant proposal that's out
> there, everybody seems to be assuming that they can send their waste
> to Texas because Texas is not going to protect itself," Burnam said.
> "I think they're trying to undermine the intent of the national
> compacts. They want to fill it up as fast as they can, make as much
> money as they can and then walk away from it."
> McDonald said Waste Control Specialists objects to Burnam's bill.
> "We think the appropriate thing is for this brand-new compact
> commission to be allowed to establish rules and do the job the
> Legislature created it to do," he said.
> ___
> On the Net: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
> Waste Control Specialists LLC