High-level nuclear waste storage in Andrews sparks concern

High-level nuclear waste storage in Andrews sparks concern
Waste Control Specialists (Source: KWES)

ANDREWS, TX (KWES) - The Waste Control Specialists in Andrews have applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a license to store high-level nuclear waste.

Right now, WCS is licensed to store low-level radioactive waste and if they are licensed for high level fuel, they will be consolidating the storage facility for spent nuclear fuel.

Even though this is happening in Andrews, one Odessa mother is concerned about the risks.

"I may not live in Andrews, but this is my home," said Dililah Cantu. "I would really appreciate it if everybody could be involved, no matter if you're barely getting in to it or if you've been into it for awhile. This is something we all should be concerned about."

On Thursday afternoon, the Midland Texas Democratic Party held a press conference with Dililah to express their concerns about this issue.

"A high-level nuclear waste dump about 50 miles from Midland, Texas, is not a good idea," said David Rosen with the Democratic Party.

WCS said it is safe to bring the waste to Andrews.

"It is safe. This is something the nuclear industry has been dealing with for probably the last 50 or 60 years," said Tom Jones with the Waste Control Specialists.

The waste will be transported by rail, which is sparking a concern for some in the area.

"For the people in Midland/Odessa the most perhaps dangerous for you folks is that this is going on the trains that are going right through town," said Tom Smith with Public Citizens.

Although, the WCS says transporting the fuel by rail is the safest and most convenient way to do so

"Rail has proven to be the safest but the containers weigh so much, you can't move them with trucks very conveniently," said Jones.

The WCS says they are about a year in to the licensing process and have about two or three more years to go.

The next step in the process is public hearings with the NRC.

The Andrews hearing will be held on February 15 at 7 p.m. at the James Roberts Center. Both sides are asking for the public to come to this hearing to learn more about this situation and voice your concerns.

There will also be a hearing in Hobbs, New Mexico on February 13 at 7 p.m. at the Lea County Event Center.

You can learn more about WCS on their website and more about what Midland Texas Democratic Party and concerned citizens are talking about here.

Copyright 2017 KWES. All rights reserved.