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Andrews' City Manager Glen Hackler on High-Level Nuclear Waste

Waste Control Specialists' Federal Waste Facility in Andrews County (Courtesy of Waste Control Specialists)

Earlier this month, the House of Congress passed a bill to move forward on plans for building out the Yucca Mountain facility in Nevada. Some legislators hope this will be the final home for the country’s nuclear waste — a problem the federal government has struggled with for several decades. The overdue decision hangs in a political balance, with Senate approval uncertain. 

The Department of Energy is also tasked with finding "interim" homes for the high-level nuclear waste. In this case, "interim" means anywhere from sixty to a hundred years. 

One of those potential sites is in Andrews County, Texas, where the company Waste Control Specialists already operates a low-level nuclear waste site. In 2016, WCS submitted an application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to store high-level nuclear waste. The recently bought-out company halted the review after financial concerns, but is now planning on resuming the licensing process once again*. Although some Andrews' County officials have expressed support of the project, not everyone is convinced. 

Andrews City Manager Glen Hackler says there simply isn't enough information about the project. "It needs to have the right geology, the right science, and the proper regulatory oversight," Hackler says. "That's the official position of the city of Andrews as the governing entity."

Editors note: A previous version of this story stated Waste Control Specialists has resumed the licensing process for a high-level nuclear waste facility. The company has publicly stated they plan on re-starting the process, but has not yet. We regret the error. 

Diana Nguyen is a reporter for Marfa Public Radio.