Due to pressure from the state governments of Washington, South Carolina, and Nevada – which were, until 1980, accepting all of the nation’s low-level radioactive waste – US Congress passed the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act to ease the burden being placed on these states. The Act gave each US state the responsibility of developing a method of disposing of their own waste by 1986, leaving it to the state’s discretion whether such methods consisted of establishing a site within their own territory or joining an interstate compact.
By 1985, Congress found the 1986 deadline unattainable as Washington, South Carolina, and Nevada continued to accept all of the nation’s low-level radioactive waste. Thus, Congress passed an amendment extending the deadline to 1993 at which point the three states had the right to refuse incoming low-level radioactive waste not produced within their borders. The amendment also set a series of penalties for states that failed to attain a set level of progress in their development of waste disposal methods. By 1993, Nevada had completely closed its waste disposal site, Washington was only accepting waste from the Northwest and Rocky Mountain Compacts, and by 1994, South Carolina was accepting waste soley from the Southeast Compact. The Act also applied to low-level radioactive waste produced by the federal government, making agencies under federal authority responsible for the disposal of their own waste.
- The Library of Congress. Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Consent Act.