Utne Blogs > Environment

Nuclear Power Plays

by Staff

Tags: environment, nuclear, energy, power, radioactive, waste, landfill, Texas, Texas Observer,

The nuclear energy industry isn’t just mounting a P.R. campaign about the great green hope of nuclear power. It’s also applying good old political pressure to get its way, the Texas Observer reports, strong-arming Texas environmental regulators in order to win approval for a huge nuclear waste landfill over scientists’ objections.

The Dallas-based firm Waste Control Specialists is close to securing approval for a low-level nuclear waste landfill in Andrews County, Texas, Forrest Wilder reports. If the company scores two more necessary licenses from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), “Waste Control could bury more than 60 million cubic feet of waste over the span of 30 years, more than half the volume of the new Dallas Cowboys stadium,” he writes. Which of course would be a radioactive dream come true for all the people who are talking about a nuclear renaissance but still unsure exactly where all that waste is going to go.

The licensing process has led to a clash at the TCEQ between the scientists and engineers who oppose Waste Control’s plans and agency managers bent on approving the licenses. Three employees have even quit because of frustration with the licensing process, Wilder reports. Chief among their reservations were indications that the dump might be dangerously close to the water table and that Waste Control had previous “radiation protection issues” with worker safety.

Keith Goetzman