(Picture courtesy of Curtis Gregory Perry (coincidentally) at flickr.com.)
Today, another nuclear waste facility, in France, is adding to the reminders that there are hazards beyond what we can see in dealing with nuclear energy. Telling us again that Texas should not be a nuclear waste repository are a growing number of accidents.
Japan saw meltdown of stored waste during its earthquake/tsunami earlier this year. That should have brought it home to anyone with an ounce of judgment that the last thing you want happening in our world is nuclear storage handled by political party players with no background safety record.
Fukushima did involve three reactors and seven spent fuel pools, containing thousands of highly radioactive rods. Hydrogen explosions rocked the plant in the first week after an earthquake and tsunami crippled the reactors.
In Texas, though, pay to play has brought about just the hazard that is beyond regulatory control. A big donor to the Goodhaired Governor’s political slush fund has bought himself a permit to dump nuclear waste in the state. This dump could become one of the largest known, and will accept wastes from other states in addition to those within.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry tried to remove a state commissioner who opposed expanding a West Texas nuclear waste dump run by one of his largest political donors, Reuters reports today. When it became clear that Bobby Gregory of the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission might be able to block the dump from accepting out-of-state nuclear waste, Perry’s office offered him an alternative job—a prestigious post on the board of regents of a state university.
The news is certain to fuel the longstanding political scandal over the dump, which was licensed in 2008 by Perry’s top environmental regulator, Glenn Shankle, over the objections of his staff, three of whom resigned rather than sign off the on the deal (Shankle later left to become a lobbyist for the dump’s parent company, Waste Control Solutions). WCS is owned by Harold Simmons, a billionaire corporate raider who has given Perry’s campaigns at least $1.2 million.
There’s not much good to be said about the way regulations are regarded in Perry’s Texas. The governor makes no secret of wanting the government to let business go its own way, whatever the costs to the environment. There have already been problems.
The nuclear disposal site has earned six violations since 2004. Just last year the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued a Notice of Violation to Waste Control Specialists for storage of a concrete canister filled with the hottest low-level radioactivity material beyond the 365 days allowed under a waste processing license.
We are begging for meltdown out here in secession’s favorite stomping ground, where EPA is reviled as a hazard, instead of any damage business can profit from. This state has no business handling nuclear waste, and I’ve written about that before, here. This travesty of recklessness should be stopped before we endanger the world’s air any more than already has been done.