Date: June 15, 2011
Source: News Room
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved a license that allows EnergySolutions (Salt Lake City, UT) to import up to 1,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste from Germany for incineration in Oak Ridge, TN. The plan makes some environmental groups anxious and they worry that it may open the door to future, possibly more toxic imports. Don Safer, chairman of the Tennessee Environmental Council, told The Chattanooga Times Free Press that the Czech government turned away the waste and Utah did everything in its power to avoid receiving the ash left behind after incineration at Oak Ridge, forcing most of it to be shipped back to Germany. EnergySolutions says that it has an excellent record treating low-level radioactive waste, such as X-ray equipment, medical waste or contaminated clothing and mops from nuclear plants, for American businesses and the government at Oak Ridge since the facility opened more than 20 years ago. Tennessee, which is the only state that allows the commercial incineration of radioactive waste, already receives 75 percent of the nation's low-level radioactive waste, equal to about 41 million pounds per year, according to state records.