Texas is trying to take the federal government to task for failing to find a permanent disposal site for thousands of metric tons of radioactive waste piling up at nuclear reactor sites across the country.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday night, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton accuses U.S. agencies of violating federal law by failing to license a nuclear waste repository in Nevada — a plan delayed for decades amid a highly politicized fight.
Paxton’s petition asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to force the Nuclear Regulatory Committee to cast an up-or-down vote on the Yucca Mountain plan. It also seeks to prevent the federal Department of Energy from spending billions of dollars in fees collected from utilities to fund a permanent nuclear waste disposal site.
“For decades, the federal government has ignored our growing problem of nuclear waste,” Paxton said in a statement Wednesday. “The NRC’s inaction on licensing Yucca Mountain subjects the public and the environment to potential dangerous risks from radioactive waste. We do not intend to sit quietly anymore.”
Paxton filed the lawsuit just two weeks after former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was sworn in as the agency’s leader. And it comes as Texas’ only radioactive waste site — run by Waste Control Specialists in Andrews County — is asking the NRC to let it temporarily store the nation’s spent nuclear fuel.
This is a developing story. Check back for details.