More information needed before regulators can green-light Andrew - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

More information needed before regulators can green-light Andrews nuclear waste site

Waste Control Specialists has an existing facility for low-level nuclear waste in western Andrews County. (Source: KWES) Waste Control Specialists has an existing facility for low-level nuclear waste in western Andrews County. (Source: KWES)
Submission deadlines for select application items were moved to August 31 due to pending calculations. (Source: KWES) Submission deadlines for select application items were moved to August 31 due to pending calculations. (Source: KWES)
Chuck McDonald, a spokesperson for WCS, said the company aims to create an open dialogue with Andrews and Lea County residents. (Source: KWES) Chuck McDonald, a spokesperson for WCS, said the company aims to create an open dialogue with Andrews and Lea County residents. (Source: KWES)
ANDREWS COUNTY, TX (KWES) -

The company pushing to store high-level nuclear waste in Andrews County submitted additional information Wednesday to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to supplement a license application previously deemed incomplete, records revealed.

Waste Control Specialists (WCS), a Dallas-based company, filed the application in April with plans to expand its existing low-level radioactive waste site in western Andrews County.

Federal regulators determined the application lacked "sufficient technical information" - including appropriate emergency plans, adequate information about how accidents involving radioactive waste storage casks could be prevented and other safety- and security-related details - according to a letter dated June 22 from the commission to WCS.

"They're always going to ask for more information... and we've now gone ahead and submitted more detailed analysis," Chuck McDonald, a spokesperson for WCS, said Wednesday.

However, a copy of the company's latest NRC submission obtained by NewsWest 9 revealed WCS only responded to 54 - approximately half - of the items listed in the commission's 30-page "Request for Supplemental Information and Observations." 

"Some of that analysis will take a little bit more time," explained McDonald. "[It could take] another month or two. It will probably be about October before they have everything they need."

Wednesday's submission included clarification of which waste storage containers the company planned to use, new environmental data and a revised Safety Analysis Report.

Safety advocates voiced concerns following the NRC's initial response to the company's incomplete license application and reiterated their fears Wednesday upon learning about the newly submitted information.

"It takes more than a halfway job to safeguard the nation from cancer-causing, high-level radioactive waste," said Tom Smith, regional director for Public Citizen, a non-profit safety advocacy group. "We think regulators ought to think twice about issuing a license to this company."

McDonald maintained WCS is moving ahead with facility plans and "remains confident" the license application will ultimately be completed and approved.

"We're sure [this isn't] the last request we'll get for [additional] information from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission," he said. "We'll be continuing to develop this whole nuclear corridor that we've got here in West Texas."

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