U.S. Nuclear Waste Disposal -- Only One Company Cashing In

Nuclear waste disposal is big business and this company is taking a large share of it.

Jan 22, 2014 at 1:09PM

This article was written by Oilprice.com -- the leading provider of energy news in the world

Each year the U.S. spends an estimated $30 billion on nuclear waste disposal, yet due to the incredibly high barriers to entry into the market there are almost no companies that offer disposal services. Many organizations over the years have tried to establish low-level waste disposal sites, but only one site has actually opened, giving the controlling company, Waste Control Specialists (WCS) a monopoly of the market and allowing it to earn a substantial portion of the $30 billion.

Rodney Baltzer, president of WCS, explained to The New York Times that the company has dug a huge pit in Andrews Country, Texas, with others planned to be dug over the next few years, into which a base layer of nearly waterproof clay has been set. Then a layer of concrete was poured on top, reinforced with steel, and then three layers of plastic. The low-level nuclear waste is loaded into large concrete containers and then placed in the pit, which once full will be covered by a 40-foot thick cap of concrete, clay, and finally a special cap to prevent prairie dogs from burrowing into the area.

All this allows the waste to be buried for thousands of years in a safe manner, and WCS benefits by being able to sell the space inside from anywhere from $1,000 up to $10,000 per cubic foot.

The pit where the waste is stored.
The pit where the waste is stored.

Low-level nuclear waste is a term that includes contaminated tools, protective clothing, used-up filters for radioactive water, hospital and laboratory wastes, and also all debris (radioactive steel and concrete) from demolished nuclear power plants. Demand is expected to start to grow as more nuclear reactors around the country approach the end of their lives and demolition crews move in.

In 2013 alone, utilities around the country announced the retirement of five reactors, a decision partially forced by the low electricity prices that. The Vermont Yankee reactor is 41 years old and will soon close down, whereupon it will send thousands of tons of debris to the Texas site for safe disposal.

Environmentalists have mixed views over WCS. Scott A. Kovac, the operations and research director at Nuclear Watch New Mexico, who has been critical of the disposal operations at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, said that he "was impressed with their (WCS') low-level waste cell," and noted that it was "a generation above anything at Los Alamos."

However Tom Smith, an environment specialist who leads Public Citizen Texas, noted his concern about the location of a local aquifer that had once been mapped to run under the site. A more recent map showed that the aquifer ended before the site began, but Smith called into the credentials of this map, based on the fact that the chancellor for the Texas Tech University System was once a lobbyist for WCS.

2014's top investment 
There's a huge difference between a good stock and a stock that can make you rich. The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for 2014, and it's one of those stocks that could make you rich. You can find out which stock it is in the special free report "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.


Related article: This Unpronounceable Name Could Unlock a Major Uranium Prize

Related article: U.S. Desire for Short Term Profit could Lead to Nuclear Power Implosion

Written by James Burgess at Oilprice.com

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information

Compare Brokers