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shieN allI mel ueo Nukes . . . from page 7 issue in the legislature is a hand-medown from Washington in the nearly 30 years nuclear waste has been accumulating, the federal government has not come up with a comprehensive plan for its processing, transportation and permanent storage. Management of what is broadly called low-level radioactive waste \(basically, a half-life of under 100 state agencies, local officials and private companies. Without adequate regulations defining and governing radioactive waste, and without adequate enforcement of existing regulations, the question of where and how to control nuclear waste in Texas has grown increasingly complex. Texas is currently one of 26 states authorized by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to regulate low-level radioactive materials. Acting as the state radiation control agency, the health department now licenses more than 1,500 users of radioactive materials who collectively generate an annual 4,000 to. 7,000 barrels of low-level waste from medical, research and industrial sources. Current procedures entail temporary storage of the waste in-state and permanent burial in other states , Nevada, South Carolina and Washington. Of the three major in-state temporary storage facilities, Todd Shipyards in Galveston is going out of business after repeated violations of state radiation control regulations; La Salle County’s Iso-Tex facility is well over its 3,000 barrel limit and the attorney general has filed an action against the company because of its failure to comply with a. health department order to reduce its overflowing inventory; and Nuclear Houston is still accepting out-of-state waste. As of Jan. 2, NSSI had an–:inventory of 1,318 barrels out of its possible 4,000 barrel capacity. One of the variables in the question of Texas’ need for a permanent low-level waste burial facility is the future of the state’s commercial nuclear industry. If the four nuclear power plants currently being constructed in Texas go on line, low-level nuclear waste generation will increase dramatically by 3,000 barrels per reactor per year according to the health department’s radiation control division administrator, Ed Bailey. Of more immediate concern to the health department is the diminishing availability of permaneht waste facilities willing to accept Texas’ waste now. South Carolina’s Barnwell facility has cut in half the amount of out-of-state ra dioactive wastes it receives. Nuclear waste shippers have been “avoiding Beatty, Nevada like the plague,” according to Bailey, because so many recent shipments have been banned from the site. And both the Hanford, Washington and the Nevada sites have been closed and re-opened within the last year, creating back-ups of radioactive materials around the country and spurring the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to push for the creation of more low-level waste burial sites. The establishment of such a site in Texas is not possible under current state law, but it may be in the near future. Led by Gov. Bill Clements, TENRAC adopted recommendations in September which will be the basis of forthcoming legislation seeking to authorize health department licensing of a low-level nuclear waste burial, operation in Texas which would accept only Texasgenerated wastes. In the regulatory area, almost any change in the Texas Radiation Control Act would be an improvement. The act currently allows for a maximum fine of $200 for violation of state radiation control regulations, no matter how grievous the offense. Public hearings on license applications for temporary waste sites are not mandatory. And the state’s pathetically underfunded and under Anti-nuclear waste demonstration at Centerville, 1980 10 JANUARY 30, 1981