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Company wanting to store high level nuclear waste in Texas suspends application

The federal government is taking Waste Control Solutions to court in an attempt to stop the sale of their company.

The federal government is taking Waste Control Solutions to court in an attempt to stop the sale of their company.

As a result of that lawsuit, WCS has asked the Nuclear Regulatory Council to suspend its application to store the nation's radioactive waste in Texas, but they have also made it clear that it is a temporary suspension and that they have every intention of moving forward with this project when and if the sale goes through.

"If it gets approved, you'd have the potential for 70,000 pounds of nuclear waste; high level waste either on rails or on a highway through the City of San Antonio," said, State Senator Jose Menendez.

In recent months, opposition to Texas taking on the nation's problem has grown.

"We've had more people write that they were opposed to the waste coming through Bexar County than any issue since I've been on the court," said County Commissioner, Tommy Calvert.

"I don't know anything about rail routes," said WCS Spokesman, Chuck McDonald. "I still find it a bit of a stretch to think it's going through Bexar County, but that's neither here nor there; obviously it could."

Earlier this year the Bexar County Commissioners passed a resolution banning the transportation of high level radioactive waste through San Antonio.

San Antonio City Council quickly followed suit.

"We know that there have been numerous rail derailments in Bexar County over many years and there probably will be again," Calvert said.

"They could be an easy target for terrorists," said Moms Clean Air Force Consultant, Krystal Henagan.

Currently WCS operates a low level waste site in Andrews County.

McDonald said the type of casks that would be used to transport the high level waste have been tested.

"They have a nuclear cask system designed to withstand falling over, catching on fire, getting hit with missiles, run into by trains. They've done every imaginable test," said McDonald.

"If they're wrong then we lose a lot of people, we lose a way of life, we lose a lot," says Calvert.

The federal government failed to find a permanent waste site for all the nation's spent nuclear fuel rods from nuclear reactor sites around the country that have been shut down.

If the WCS permit is approved, waste from some of the nuclear reactors on both the East and West Coast would be transported hundreds of miles to get to West Texas and then it could all have to be moved again once a permanent site is approved.

"Right now you have 105 sites that need to be guarded for obvious reasons, so what the report recommended was let's get that down to three or four at the most," McDonald said.

"I think it's just bad policy to have all that nuclear waste travel thousands of miles just to go to a location where you only have a temporary solution," Menendez said.

Menendez disagrees with the plan he calls a 40 year Band-Aid.

"There's a tremendous cost but I think the biggest cost driver for us should be the concern of damaging or hurting someone," Menendez said.

In March, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the federal government for failing to license a permanent nuclear waste repository in Nevada.

Despite growing opposition, there is plenty of momentum in the other direction.

Congressman Mike Conaway who represents West Texas, introduced a bill that could help pave a path forward for storage of the nation's nuclear waste in Andrews County.

There are also Andrews County officials who say WCS has a good track record and the state stands to make money if this project gets the green light from the NRC.

"I'd say don't sell us out," Calvert said. "When it comes to our Earth, we have one mother Earth and we have to be good stewards of this Earth."

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