ANDREWS COUNTY, TX -- The U.S. Department of Energy confirmed Wednesday that the first radioactive waste shipment arrived in Andrews County from the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Andrews is home to Waste Control Specialists, and WCS agreed to temporarily store the waste because it cannot currently go to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico.
A government statement said, “WIPP is currently in recovery from two unrelated events that occurred in February, an underground vehicle fire and a small radioactive release.”
That same statement said, “[The] one-year contract with Waste Control Specialists is valued at $8.8 million.”
The Department of Energy described the waste as “transuranic” – meaning it comes from “clothing, tools, rags, debris, soil, and other items contaminated with small amounts of radioactive elements.”
DOE said the waste will be moved with highly trained specialists.
“Up to 100 shipments from LANL may be required and, after an initial ramp up period, as many as 10 shipments per week will be scheduled,” the DOE statement said.
DOE also said only waste that qualifies for storage at Andrews County be stored by WCS. The waste will be permanently stored at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant once it can be moved.