Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the federal government for failing to move forward with plans for a national nuclear waste site. Among the lawsuit’s targets are the Energy Department and its new secretary – former Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Used nuclear fuel has been piling up at power plants across the country for decades now, and the government still doesn’t know where to put it all.
The Obama Administration pulled the plug on a planned waste dump in Nevada a few years ago, but regulators never formally decided on it. The lawsuit claims the federal government is violating the Nuclear Waste Policy Act by not approving that site, and the state wants a vote on it by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The lack of an answer to the nuclear waste problem frustrated Perry as governor.
“Hopefully, this is the beginning of seeing real movement, real management of an issue that I think no longer can sit,” Perry said.
“It’s time we quit continuing to pile nuclear waste in temporary casks above ground,” says Austin Nimocks, Associate Deputy Attorney General for Paxton and lead counsel for the lawsuit.
“We need to start moving this waste to a permanent repository and that’s what this lawsuit is about.”
As the state calls for an end to temporary waste storage, a company called Waste Control Specialists (WCS) is asking for permission to do just that in West Texas. The company says it’s still reviewing the lawsuit, and it’s not sure how it would affect their plans.
“WCS has always been supportive of a permanent repository and we believe a consolidated interim storage facility is needed as part of an integrated waste management system in the U.S.,” company spokesperson Chuck McDonald said in a statement.