Dallas, Texas (August 28, 2014) – Rodney A. Baltzer, President of Waste Control Specialists LLC (“WCS”) announced today that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (“TCEQ”) has given final approval for a major amendment to WCS’ radioactive waste disposal license that will provide long-term assurances to Texas Compact generators and significantly enhance disposal operations at the Andrews County site.
The amendment expands the licensed disposal capacity at the WCS facility to nine million cubic feet (from 2.39 million) and will authorize the disposal of depleted uranium (“DU”) in both the Federal and Compact Waste Facilities.
This amendment updates WCS’ low-level radioactive waste (“LLRW”) disposal license to reflect actual site conditions and recognize the protectiveness of the landfill features,” Baltzer said. “Both WCS and TCEQ better understand the nature and the actual performance of the site than we did ten years ago when this license application was originally filed.”
“This amendment gives Texas Compact generators an additional guarantee that there will be more than enough capacity to handle the decommissioning needs of Texas and Vermont nuclear power plants whenever that takes place – even if that is 50 or 60 years down the road.”
DU is Class A LLRW (Class A is the most benign of any LLRW), but it can increase in radioactivity over time. For that reason, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Agency (“NRC”) recommends that DU should be disposed of in a facility like WCS. The amendment to WCS’ license was unanimously approved because at WCS, DU will be disposed in the safest fashion available in the U.S. — -in encased in concrete at a depth of more than 100 feet with a cover system that is 30 feet thick. No other commercial disposal facility in the U.S. is able to match these exacting standards established by WCS.
“This amendment will also provide the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) with a much-needed option as it looks for safe, secure disposal of orphaned waste that it has been storing for decades.”
WCS was previously restricted from disposing of large quantities of DU as a condition of its radioactive material license issued by TCEQ. WCS updated its performance assessment related to DU and other radionuclides which demonstrated that the geological characteristics of WCS’ LLRW disposal facilities are extraordinarily protective and isolate long-lived radionuclides, such as DU, from the biosphere for a period of at least one million years, which was the maximum measurement term of the performance assessment.