West Texas is on track to get even more nuclear waste — thanks to the federal government

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Waste Control Specialists has been disposing of the nation’s low-level nuclear waste — including tools, building materials and protective clothing exposed to radioactivity — for a decade at a hazardous waste facility in Andrews County, on the New Mexico border. Credit: Eli Hartman for The Texas Tribune

To get rid of eight gallons of water, the U.S. Department of Energy spent $100,000.

It’s little more than half a tank of gasoline in a midsize car, but the radioactive shipment from South Carolina to a West Texas company last fall marked one change that could lead to more nuclear waste traveling to Texas — waste that, until recently, was considered too dangerous to be disposed of.

Much of the public debate surrounding Waste Control Specialists’ hazardous waste facility in Andrews County, on the New Mexico border, has focused on the company’s plans, with a partner, to store the riskiest type of nuclear waste: the spent fuel rods from nuclear power plants, which can remain dangerously radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years.