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West Texas site seeks to bury depleted uranium

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 14, 2014 at 7:11 pm •  Published: June 14, 2014

"But we'll certainly delve into it to get more information," Andrews city manager Glen Hackler said. "The city consistently says we need to be cautious and take pretty extraordinary care."

McDonald said the company wants to reduce its liability funding because the facility is smaller than the one included in its original application. If the site expands, more financial assurance will be added, he said.

He added that the company's proposal to expand one of its two sites from 2.3 million cubic feet to 9 million cubic feet would likely not ever be utilized. He said the proposal came from concerns about capacity from state legislators and a commission that oversees the low-level waste site.

The Andrews County site currently only stores as much as 60,000 cubic feet.

Environmental groups have long worried about the local geology and contamination of underground water sources near the site, which can accept low-level waste from compact members Texas and Vermont as well as 36 other states.

The site could soon be the resting place for hotter material that's being stored at Texas' four commercial nuclear reactors.

In March, Texas Gov. Rick Perry asked lawmakers to explore establishing a location in Texas to store the high-level radioactive waste from these reactors. Two months earlier, House Speaker Joe Straus directed lawmakers to examine the economic impact of permitting such a site.

McDonald said the company has had conversations with Andrews County officials about high-level waste storage. Officials in Loving County, the nation's least populous county, have interest in building a storage site there.