Toxic Dump In Your Backyard
What could be worse for a community than to have a toxic dump site within its vicinity?
The answer? Nothing. Especially when it’s a radioactive toxic dump. A proposed radioactive waste import/export rule would open Texas up to becoming the nation’s radioactive waste dumping ground. The dumping site will allow waste from around the US to go to Waste Control Specialists’ site in Andrews County in West Texas.
“More radioactive waste would mean increased financial, health and environmental risks,” said Karen Hadden, Director of SEED Coalition. “Analysis by nuclear expert Dr. Arjun Makhijani found that if the license was expanded and non-Compact states were allowed in, there could be nineteen times more radioactive waste than originally planned for.”
Toxic Dump License Prompts Resignations
Three staff members of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) resigned when the license was issued for the site. In 2007, TCEQ staff recommended denying the radioactive waste license. They fear that water contamination would be inevitable and would pose a threat to public safety and health.
“[The] groundwater is likely to intrude into the proposed disposal units and contact the waste from either or both of two water tables near the proposed facility,” they said.
Over the years, it has been proven that radioactive materials can cause cancer, birth defects; reduce a person’s immunity and even death. These all depend on the level of exposure to different types of radioactive material.
Nuclear reactor vessels, “poison curtains” that absorb reactor core radioactivity, and radioactive sludges and resins could all be sent to the site. There is not a single radionuclide that can’t go to a so-called “low-level” radioactive waste dump.
Leaky Toxic Dump Sites
“Six commercial radioactive waste dumps have leaked and cleanup will cost billions of dollars,” said Diane D’Arrigo of Nuclear Information and Resource Service.
Environmental activists and advocates criticized this licensing approval saying that greed is the mother of all sins and that it holds no regard for a community’s well-being.
“Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, owner of Waste Control Specialists (WCS), would reap the profits, while citizens bear all the risks,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith of Public Citizen. “Federal agencies and legislators should examine the increased risks of rail and highway accidents if radioactive waste was shipped from around the country as well as whether emergency responders are equipped to deal with accidents involving radioactive spills.”
Texas communities may have a fight on their hands to stop a toxic dump being created in their neighborhood.