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A little nuclear waste in your stocking

There’s a reason why stories like this tend to appear just before a big holiday weekend.

Potentially sidestepping political obstacles, a commission overseeing radioactive waste disposal could decide in early January to open a radioactive waste dump in West Texas to 36 other states.

The Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission will meet to decide whether Texas can import radioactive waste from outside Texas and Vermont. In a political and geographical peculiarity, the two states are the sole members of the compact, which grew out of federal laws encouraging agreements between states to dispose of the low-level waste.

The commission consists of six Texans — all named by Gov. Rick Perry — and two Vermonters.

The waste, which will be buried in concrete canisters, does not include spent nuclear fuel or waste from nuclear weapons. Most of it is material or hardware from nuclear power plants or syringes, protective clothing, glassware and rags from hospitals and academic labs. The vast majority of it, if sealed in a drum, would be safe enough to sit atop and will lose its radioactivity within a century.

Disposal of the waste could be worth billions of dollars, and the decision would benefit a single company, Waste Control Specialists , which is owned by one of Perry’s chief donors and is the sole company licensed by the Texas environmental agency to accept the low-level waste, at its facility in Andrews County.

The commission will meet Jan. 4, two days before Vermont’s governor-elect, who has expressed reservations about expanding the site to other states, takes office. The inauguration “was a consideration, but not the sole basis for choosing that date,” said commission Chairman Michael Ford.

The Perry sugar daddy in question is Harold Simmons, who’s graced him with over a million bucks in total. You just knew there’d be a sugar daddy prominently featured in this story, right? Putting aside all of the questions and concerns about this action, when was the last time our state government did something that didn’t directly benefit one or more of Perry’s bug supporters? Anyway, the Chron story is here, and it includes an email address – rule.coments@tilwrdcc.org – to which you may address any input you may have regarding this. Texas Vox has more.

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