Texas Billionaire to Cash in on Nuclear Waste

A Texas billionaire who has been called "Dallas’ most evil genius" (by D Magazine), has hatched a plan to create the nation’s largest nuclear waste dump on land he owns in the state.

Harold Simmons is the 55th richest person in America with a net worth valued at $5.7 billion according to Forbes, and is a huge contributor to conservative politicians. 

Mother Jones reports that his six years of lobbying efforts in Texas finally led the state to authorize private companies to receive licenses to handle radioactive waste.

Simmons’ company, Waste Control Specialists, applied for two licenses that allow it to accept 60 million cubic feet of low-level radioactive waste–enough to fill half of Cowboys Stadium.

State engineers and geologists strongly objected to licensing the the dump. Concerned that radioactive material could contaminate groundwater, three staffers at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality resigned rather than sign off on the licenses.

Simmons, who also has been called the "King of Superfund Sites," knows a massive business opportunity when he sees one. The US has no long-term system in place for storing nuclear waste, and it is building up at reactor sites in 36 states. 

With his license to operate in hand, Simmons began an audacious campaign to expand the dump site from a mostly local operation into one that could eventually become the largest of its kind in the country.

Not having storage space for spent fuel has long been an obstacle for building new nuclear power plants; some have had their permits held up over the issue. Only Vermont had a deal to dispose of its nuclear waste in Texas, so Simmons began lobbying to amend the nearly 20-year-old compact with the Green Mountain State to allow other states to also send their radioactive waste to his site. 

The decision to alter the compact rested with the seven members of the obscure Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission, six of whom had been appointed by Gov. Perry, one of the largest recipients of Simmons’ campaign cash.

From Mother Jones:

"There’s another big reason why this was a huge win for Simmons: The compact allows him to get paid for burying other states’ nuclear trash while outsourcing much of the risk to Texas taxpayers.

Though the state will receive a cut of disposal fees and $36 million to cover ‘corrective action’ and ‘post-closure’ expenses, it will have to bear any other cleanup costs on its own.

According to a report by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission: ‘Potential future contamination [from the waste] could not only have a severe impact to the environment and human health, but to the State, which bears the ultimate financial responsibility for compact waste disposal facility site.’"

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Comments on “Texas Billionaire to Cash in on Nuclear Waste”

  1. john1

    this my friends is the end of america. private companies now dealing with nuclear waste that last thousands of years. Name one private company that has lasted 10,000 years. What happens to the waste when the company goes bankrupt? With nuclear waste, we have no idea what we are dealing with. Our descendants, who are really our continuation, will pay the price. Unbelievable. We have unleashed a monster in nuclear power and technology. Lets pray that all human, plants, animals and other beings are protected from this pollution (and really all the other pollution out there). Peace

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