The NFRC was established in 2002 to promote the construction and operation of nuclear reprocessing facilities. NFRC promotes reprocessing commercial spent nuclear fuel that is generated by commercial nuclear power plants.

Reprocessing dramatically reduces the amount of high-level radioactive waste that would have to be stored in a geologic repository. We also support reprocessing plutonium and highly enriched uranium from nuclear warheads into fuel for use in commercial nuclear power plants.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Texas To Import Low-Level Nuclear Waste From 36 States

The Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission, which manages the state's radioactive-waste dump, voted 5-2 to approve rules governing the process for accepting importation of low-level radioactive-waste from 36 other states.

The waste will be stored at the 1,338-acre site in concrete-reinforced underground units. The site will permanently store low-level radioactive waste—contaminated materials and equipment from nuclear plants, research laboratories and hospitals. The material includes everything from parts from dismantled nuclear-energy plants to booties worn by scientists working in labs where radioactive materials are present. More highly contaminated waste, such as spent fuel from power plants, wouldn't be stored at the site. Waste Control Specialists LLC is the site owner.  In the Oct. 14, 2009 photo at left, canisters filled with uranium byproduct waste are placed into a burial pit at at Waste Control Specialists near Andrews, Texas. The 1,340-acre site is the nation’s only dump licensed to take all three categories of low-level waste, which come from nuclear power plants, hospitals, universities and research labs, but not nuclear fuel or weapons material. (AP)

States are responsible for handling low-level radioactive waste produced within their own borders, but space for it is limited. And the three disposal sites for it in the U.S. don't take all kinds of materials within the low-level category or can only take waste from certain states. That leaves 36 states without a permanent storage place.

Controversy had surrounded the proposal in part because the dump, set to open by year's end, was conceived and built to take waste from only two states—Texas and Vermont. Opponents also note that the site is near the Ogallala aquifer that provides drinking water to several states. Texas regulators already deemed the site safe, and thus granted a license for the project. The state will receive a cut of disposal fees as well as a $136 million fund to help pay for any future liabilities, he added.

The commissioners agreed to reserve 20% of the space for Vermont. (WSJ, 1/5/2010)

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