One of the selling points when Waste Control Specialists made its case to the Texas Legislature for permission to build a low-level radioactive waste dump in West Texas was that most low-level waste is innocuous, consisting largely of what it characterized as “gloves and booties,” paper garments with small amounts of radiation exposure, posing, they said, minimal risks.
One recent example of low-level radioactive waste that was not just “gloves and booties” appeared in this report Sunday from the Los Angeles CBS affiliate:
Food, gas, furniture, clothing … you name it, it moves along the freeway.
But starting Sunday evening, something not rarely seen on our — or any — freeway for that matter, will begin traveling on Southland freeways.
That “thing”? Toxic waste from the San Onofre nuclear power plant.
The exact route is not being revealed but officials say the waste — actually parts of a former generator – is going to travel through San Diego, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties on its way to a disposal site in Utah.
And if you are keeping score at home, this isn’t some small, insignificant, tiny bit of waste. The haul in question is a 797,000-pound piece of “slightly radioactive” steel. It will move rather glacially taking about three weeks to reach its destination. The piece of steel is along as a football field and 17-feet high.
An important distinction need to be made between what is headed to Andrews County and this load that is headed to Clive, Utah:
The material being shipped to Andrews County will be much hotter than what is being sent to Utah. The Energy Solutions facility is only licensed to accept Class A waste, the least active of what is considered low-level waste. The Waste Control Specialists dump in Andrews County is authorized to accept Class B and C wastes. While Energy Solutions is getting steam generators, Waste Control Specialists will soon be receiving cut-up reactor components from decommissioned plants in Humboldt Bay, California, and Illinois. Look for them on a freeway near you soon.
Here’s a link to the article: http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2012/11/04/socal-edison-crews-hauling-toxic-waste-from-nuclear-power-plant-on-freeways/