Wanted: A Town Willing to Host a Dump for U.S. Nuclear Waste

The Biden administration is looking for communities willing to serve as temporary homes for tens of thousands of metric tons of nuclear waste currently stranded at power plants around the country. Bloomberg reports: The Energy Department filed (PDF) a public notice Tuesday that it is restarting the process for finding a voluntary host for spent nuclear fuel until a permanent location is identified. "Hearing from and then working with communities interested in hosting one of these facilities is the best way to finally solve the nation's spent nuclear fuel management issues," Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement. The agency, in its notice, requested input on how to proceed with a "consent-based" process for a federal nuclear storage facility, including what benefits could entice local and state governments and how to address potential impediments. Federal funding is also possible, the notice said. Approximately 89,000 metric tons of nuclear waste is being stored at dozens of nuclear power plants and other sites around the country. [...] One such interim storage site could be in Andrews, Texas. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission in September approved a license for a proposal by Orano CIS LLC and its joint venture partner, J.F. Lehman & Co.'s Waste Control Specialists LLC, to establish a repository in the heart of Texas' Permian Basin oil fields for as many as 40,000 metric tons of radioactive waste. The joint venture envisioned having nuclear waste shipped by rail from around the country and sealed in concrete casks where it would be stored above ground at a site about 30 miles (48.28 kilometers) from Andrews. But the plan has drawn opposition from Texas authorities and local officials who once embraced it as an economic benefit but have since had a change of heart. A similar nuclear waste storage project, proposed in New Mexico by Holtec International Corp., is awaiting approval by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The agency said it expects to make a decision on that proposal in January 2022.

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