passes legislation allowing out-of-state radioactive waste
Waste Control Specialists (WCS), a wholly-owned
subsidiary of Valhi, Inc. located in Texas, is pleased with the
Texas Legislature for passing legislation that allows the company
to receive out-of-state low-level radioactive wastes.
Noting the significant efforts and investments made by all three
partners in developing a disposal facility, William J. Lindquist,
chief executive officer of WCS, said the legislature put the
final piece in place by recognizing waste from outside the state
was necessary to make the facility affordable and cost-effective
for Texas generators, paving the way for disposal operations
to begin later this year at the WCS site in Andrews County.
“The Texas Legislature put the best interests of Texas consumers
and ratepayers first by devising a way to keep disposal costs
low for Texas generators while providing tens of millions of
dollars annually for the state budget through a voluntary access
surcharge paid by generators outside the Texas Compact states
of Texas and Vermont,” Lindquist said.
This legislation was sponsored by Senator Kel Seliger of Amarillo
and Representative Tryon Lewis of Odessa, both of whom represent
Andrews. The legislation received overwhelming support in the
legislature; near unanimous approval in the Senate and three-quarters
approval in the House of Representatives.
This legislation protects Texas’ interests by setting annual
volume limits on the amount of waste that can be received from
outside the compact states and instructs the Texas Commission
on Environmental Quality to conduct an updated facility capacity
study in 2012. The legislation mandates that 70 percent of disposal
capacity at the state facility be reserved for the compact states.
With low-level radioactive waste temporarily stored at 1,500
locations across Texas, mostly in urban areas, the need for a
sound, cost-effective solution was clear. Much of the waste comes
from the operations of nuclear power plants that provide base
load electrical supplies for Texas businesses and residents.
Some of the waste comes from medical research and treatments
of cancer, diabetes and other critical illnesses.
The WCS facility in western Andrews County is the only commercial
facility in the United States licensed to dispose of Class A,
B and C low-level radioactive waste. It is also licensed for
the treatment and storage of low-level radioactive waste – and
has safely and successfully served as a temporary storage facility
for past United States Department of Energy projects.
Situated in an arid and isolated location, the WCS facility sits
atop a formation of 500 feet of impermeable red-bed clay which
makes it an ideal setting for the storage and disposal of low-level
radioactive waste. The state of Texas has determined the WCS
facility does not sit above or adjacent to any underground drinking