Midland Co. commissioners speak with residents on high-level nuclear waste

Midland Co. commissioners speak with residents on high-level nuclear waste

MIDLAND COUNTY, TX (KWES) - Midland County Commissioners met for a third time regarding high-level nuclear waste moving through Midland County to Andrews County where their waste site is but they haven't voted on a resolution yet.

Waste Control Specialists said moving high-level radioactive waste by rail is more convenient and cheaper.

"There's no highway concerns," said WCS Senior Vice President and GM Elicia Sanchez. "The reality is nuclear waste is transported across this country for years and years and all over the world."

But there's still the wait on federal approval.

"Having worked in Washington before, it's very important you address it in a manner that goes in the file and not in the trash," said Midland County Judge Mike Bradford.

One after the other, residents addressed to county commissioners on what they think of Waste Control Specialists transporting high-level nuclear waste through their county.

"There is human error, there's accidents," said SEED Coalition Director Karen Hadden. She said she doesn't support the project since an accident on lead to serious health risks.  Many residents fell in the same boat and said there's just no telling when an accident can occur.

"If there was a leak or an accident, there could be extreme exposure and people could actually have cancer as a result or genetic defects in children," said Hadden. "A lot of it has not been full scale tests, a lot of it has not been done with casks that go down the road. A lot of it is computer modeling."

Most who were in favor worked for the company except Lauren MeLear. Favoring the project, she said it's all about educating the public.

"They have an impeccable safety record," said McLear. "The more I learned about it, the less worried I became. Nuclear energy is vital to our community, to our country."

"I have extremely highly technical people that work for me," said Sanchez. "That's their job is to make sure we're doing everything we're supposed to do to make sure that not only my family is safe, but everybody else."

Residents against the project hope the county will act on a resolution opposing it. However, because it is a federal issue, federal officials can move on with the project if they decide to or not.

"We have nothing to do with this," said Bradford. "This is just put in on record, the voice of what we've heard in our courtroom. Does it have any material effect? Probably not. We have no authority. We have no standing. But we are indeed wanting to express what people in our community say."

County commissioners have not acted on a resolution yet but hope they may take it to a vote in their next county commissioner meeting. The county is working to formulate a statement to send to Washington which will represent the community.

WCS said they encourage everyone, especially those who oppose the project,  to take a visit to their disposal site to see how their work is done.

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