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Stewardship

Transportation Safety

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Radioactive waste has been arriving at the WCS site for over a decade without a single safety or environmental issue. Aside from the legal and regulatory protections in place, WCS continues to support efforts to ensure that employees and the public are safe from even a small chance of exposure to radioactive materials during transit.

The transportation of Low Level Radioactive Waste (LLRW) is regulated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) as well as the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT). Federal Regulations require transporters to carry $1 million of liability insurance per incident. WCS is additionally required to put into escrow $500,000 for transportation-related cleanup costs.

From 2001 – 2010, U.S. Department of Transportation reported 75 transportation-related radioactive waste incidents or seven to eight per year. Financial damages for those 75 incidents totaled $2.4 million or about $30,000 per incident (including property damage). All costs were covered by transporter insurance, with nothing paid by any municipality or state. No transportation incident resulted in radiation exposure.

As an advocate and steward of safe and secure transportation of LLRW through the State of Texas, WCS has continuously supported legislation that has:

  • increased the notice to the Department of Public Safety of planned and active LLRW transports in Texas;
  • repurposed fees generated from disposal operations at WCS to help train local first responders how to handle potential LLRW incidents;
  • strengthened existing statutes concerning the transportation of LLRW and Hazardous Waste in the State of Texas.

WCS makes these efforts at providing safe transportation of LLRW headed to its Andrews facility because the solution for permanent disposal of LLRW may end at WCS’s facility, but it starts by being safely transported across the state. WCS has made a commitment to the people of Texas to provide the safest, most secure and permanent disposal operations possible, and aiding the State in protecting Texans from exposure during transportation goes hand in hand with safe disposal operations.

The Facts on Transportation of Waste to WCS:

  • The entire disposal process is tightly regulated, beginning with the transportation of the waste which is overseen by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • Strict controls, special containers, rigorous oversight, extensive training and specified routes have made the shipment of low-level radioactive waste a safe, routine part of U.S. commerce for more than 50 years.
  • Trucks carrying Class B and C radioactive waste are required by law to follow Hazardous Cargo routes throughout the state
  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will not allow anyone to transport this material without a minimum of $10 million in liability insurance.
  • Casks containing radioactive materials must be designed to withstand impact, exposure to heat, and puncture
  • There has never been a case of citizens being exposed to radioactive material while in transit to our state owned facility. Furthermore, there has never been a case of any citizens being exposed to radioactive material while in transit to any disposal facility in the U.S.

Video

WCS President Rod Baltzer updates customers and the public on the opening of WCS’ Federal Waste Facility and recent events on the state-wide level.