Texas fighting nuclear waste storage

Texas’ Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton is looking to extend the implications of the Supreme Court’s landmark climate ruling in West Virginia v. EPA to the federal government’s jurisdiction over nuclear waste storage.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission had not acquired consent from the state for the storage and had relied on the 1954 Atomic Energy Act to license the storage of the waste near the border between Texas and New Mexico, Paxton’s office said.

Texas officials, who filed their challenge last September, had previously warned in court filings that the proposal would result in the transport of spent nuclear fuel from around the country into an above-ground storage site far from the reactor sites where the waste was generated.

The opposition from Texas officials comes as the federal government has struggled to find a viable location for nuclear waste storage after the Yucca Mountain project in Nevada was abandoned a decade ago, in the face of bipartisan objections to new locations to store the waste.

Rep. Henry Cueller (D-Texas) recently withdrew an amendment to the $56.3 billion fiscal 2023 Energy-Water spending bill that would have stopped NRC or the Department of Energy from siting an interim storage facility for nuclear waste unless there was a plan for a permanent facility underway.



The best solution to the nuclear waste problem is to reprocess the spent fuel to recover useable materials and use them to make new fuel.

Years ago Allied Chemical (now part of Honeywell) built a plant to do this but Congress decided not to authorize the processing. I think that wss a bad decision.


WIPPis one solution for some nuclear waste… We visited the site’s topside office display years ago, but it’s not meant for fuel rods… But there e is so much other waste, it’s tough to consider additional space… Deep salt deposits, containment…

It is too expensive to reprocess according to many studies performed by DOE.



It is too expensive to reprocess according to many studies performed by DOE.

Cost is what I have always suspected. iirc it was in the late 70s that the US banned reprocessing, supposedly as an “anti-proliferation” measure. Seems just about everyone else reprocesses, so the “anti-proliferation” narrative doesn’t sound that reasonable. That implied another reason, like the US utility companies would refuse to use reprocessed fuel, because fuel from newly produced U was cheaper.

I also remember the Clinch River fast breeder project. I worked for a company that made pump seals then. The company had the contract to make the seals for the primary circ pumps that Bingham-Willamette was to provide for the plant. Clinch River was cancelled for cost. Would fuel produced by the fast breeder be more expensive than fuel from newly mined U?

So, because the US utility industry wants the cheapest possible fuel, we have an intractable disposal problem? Of course, doing nothing is always cheaper, as long as we don’t price in the consequences of doing nothing.


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