Utilities sign up to use Texas repository

17 October 2011

A cooperative of 15 utilities from across the USA has entered into an agreement to dispose of low level radioactive waste (LLW) in a soon-to-be-opened repository in Texas.

WCS - Andrews County
Grand opening planned: WCS' Andrews County site (Image: WCS)

Dallas-based Waste Control Specialists (WCS) has announced that it has entered into an agreement with Utilities Service Alliance to dispose of LLW, subject to regulatory approvals. According to WCS CEO William Lindqvist, five of the 17 nuclear power plants represented by United Service Alliance have already committed to ship their LLW to WCS's Texas repository.
LLW generally comprises lightly contaminated operational wastes - paper, rags, tools, clothing, filters, resins and the like - which contain small amounts of mostly short-lived radioactivity. It is generated from hospitals and industry as well as the nuclear fuel cycle, and is suitable for shallow land burial. In the USA, LLW is categorized into three classes, depending on the concentrations of radionuclides and their half-lives. Class A LLW must be contained for up to 100 years, Class B waste for up to 300 years and Class C waste for up to 500 years. Various US states have in the past banded together into compacts for LLW management at shared facilities, and several repositories are in operation, although most are limited to accepting wastes only from those states in their own compacts.
The Texas Compact repository, being built by WCS in western Andrews County, Texas, is licensed to dispose of all three classes of waste. The facility itself is nearing completion, with a grand opening event scheduled for 11 November and waste disposal due to begin the following month. WCS has been processing and storing waste at the site since 1998.
Earlier this year, the Texas House of Representatives voted to allow WCS to dispose of waste from states outside the Texas Compact of Texas, Vermont and Maine. Any utilities wishing to send their waste to the Texas facility will need the necessary permits and approvals from regulatory bodies including the Texas Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Utilities Service Alliance is a cooperative of 15 US utilities, all operating either at one or two sites, with some 27 nuclear reactors between them. The alliance was established in 1994 to enable single-site stations to work together to make the most of synergies by sharing resources, consolidating selected support functions, and strategic sourcing of products and services.

Researched and written

by World Nuclear News


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