"Texas Company, Alone in U.S., Cashes In on Nuclear Waste"

"ANDREWS, Tex. — Standing at the lip of what might be America’s most valuable hole in the ground, Rodney A. Baltzer cataloged the features that he said would isolate the radioactive waste to be buried here for thousands of years."

"First, Mr. Baltzer said, there is a base layer of nearly waterproof clay, then a layer of concrete reinforced with steel and then three layers of plastic. When the waste, loaded into concrete containers, fills the pit, he said, it will be topped by a 40-foot-thick covering cap that includes more concrete, then more clay and finally a “bio-intrusion cap” to keep out burrowing prairie dogs.

All of which helps to make the hole, and others to be built adjacent to it over the next few years, a “money pit” in a very different sense of the term.

Space inside goes for $10,000 a cubic foot in some cases. Three-quarters of the money goes to Mr. Baltzer’s company, Waste Control Specialists, and the rest to the surrounding Andrews County and the state of Texas. WCS, as the company is known, has a monopoly: As aging nuclear reactors retire, their most radioactive steel, concrete and other components must be shipped for burial somewhere."

Matthew L. Wald reports for the New York Times January 20, 2014.

Source: NY Times, 01/21/2014