Could West Texas be a site for high-level radioactive waste? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Could West Texas be a site for high-level radioactive waste?

Gov. Rick Perry talks about locations for high-level radioactive waste Gov. Rick Perry talks about locations for high-level radioactive waste
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

Governor Rick Perry is asking top lawmakers to create storage in Texas for the state's high-level radioactive waste.

This news comes as Texas received its first shipment of nuclear waste Wednesday morning from New Mexico. Three nuclear waste containers arrived at Waste Control Specialists in Andrews County Wednesday morning. The site is about two hours south of Lubbock.

The waste was originally supposed to go to a plant in Carlsbad but regulators closed that facility due to a radiation leak reported in February. The Andrews site is scheduled to be a temporary holding site, but could it soon be more?

Right now, a long term storage site for high level radioactive waste does not exist in the United States.

"I think to stick our heads in the sand and say, 'Oh you know, we don't like nuclear waste therefore if we just don't pay attention to it will go away,' it's not going to go away," Perry explained to KCBD while in Lubbock on Wednesday.

Currently, Texas waste is stored on site by the utilities that operate the reactors, but Governor Perry wants to change that.

"I want to address the issue of where it is, how we are going to handle it and I think it is a good conversation to have. I think it is a thoughtful, common sense approach to this issue," Perry said.

He said he believes there is a "legitimate site in West Texas" and said New Mexico is another option.

West Texas is no stranger to low-level radioactive waste, with the disposal site in Andrews County opening back in 2011. But, could it eventually serve as the location for the high-level waste?

"Sure. I think there are a couple of sites in the State of Texas that the local communities actively are pursuing that possibility," Perry said.

Meanwhile, the investigation continues into the radiation leak at the nuclear waste plant in New Mexico.

On Wednesday, workers returned to the underground facility for the first time since the February incident.

Authorities said crews are traveling farther into the mine to identify the source of the leak.

Officials said the waste will remain in Andrews County until the Carlsbad plant resumes operations.

Copyright 2014 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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