The first shipment of nuclear waste from New Mexico arrived at Waste Control Specialists in Andrews County Wednesday morning.
The facility is located about two hours southwest of Lubbock.
The transuranic waste was supposed to be held at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, NM. But, regulators closed the plant following a radiation leak in February.
The waste includes clothing, tools, dirt, and other items contaminated with what regulators describe as small amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP) says in a joint statement that all shipments to Waste Control Specialists will be made in accordance with current WIPP shipping requirements, using WIPP shipping containers, trucks, trailers and highly skilled personnel. DOE and NWP will continue working closely with New Mexico and Texas to ensure that only waste meeting the facility's waste acceptance criteria is shipped to the facility.
The Department will permanently dispose of the containers at WIPP when waste disposal activities resume.
Just as this shipment arrives, Texas State Representative Lon Burnam of Fort Worth is speaking out. He tells the Texas Tribune that he may seek an injunction to stop the waste transfers. But, Burnam says his decision will have to come quickly.
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