Environmental Protection

Company Gets Draft LLRW Disposal License

Valhi, Inc. announced on Aug. 12 that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Waste Control Specialists L.L.C. has been notified that the Executive Director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has issued a draft license for the near-surface disposal of Class A, B, and C low-level radioactive waste at the company's site in Andrews County, Texas.

"This is an important milestone for WCS, the people of Andrews and Lea counties, and the states of Texas and Vermont, as members of the Texas Compact," said William J. Lindquist, chief executive officer of WCS.

"In addition to providing more than 75 new jobs at our Andrews County facility, this license will ensure that Texas and Vermont hospitals, universities, power plants, and other enterprises will be able to continue operating with the knowledge that there is an assured solution for the permanent disposal of their LLRW. With the closure of the Barnwell facility in South Carolina last month, Texas hospital and university administrators have expressed concern regarding the need for a commercial facility that can properly dispose of Class A, B, and C LLRW so that the diagnosis, treatment and research of cancer and other life threatening diseases, which generate such wastes, can continue," Lindquist said.

"The only U.S. commercial facility currently authorized to accept LLRW is limited to disposal of Class A waste. The barriers to entry in this industry are enormous. It is very unlikely another LLRW disposal facility will be opened in the foreseeable future, as more than $1 billion has been invested since 1980 by the state of Texas and others in unsuccessful attempts to license and open such a facility," he said.

The TCEQ recently issued a byproduct material disposal license to WCS. When the LLRW disposal license is finalized, Lindquist said, "We believe WCS will have the broadest range of capabilities of any commercial enterprise in the U.S. for the storage, treatment, and disposal of hazardous, toxic, low-level and mixed-low level radioactive waste and radioactive byproduct material."

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