[ RadSafe ] Fw: [du-list] (Fwd) Nuclear Regulatory Commission Deals Blow to Depleted Uranium Disposal Plans

Roger Helbig rhelbig at california.com
Wed Oct 26 05:02:03 CDT 2005

Not really that much of a blow, just insisted that this person's testimony be heard .. wonder if he is like some people with all the answers who haunt this list?

Roger Helbig

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Laka Foundation" <laka at antenna.nl>
To: <du-list at yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2005 12:51 AM
Subject: [du-list] (Fwd) Nuclear Regulatory Commission Deals Blow to Depleted Uranium Disposal Plans

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent:      Mon, 24 Oct 2005 13:00:36 -0500
To:             ieer at ieer.org
From:           Lisa Ledwidge/IEER <ieer at ieer.org>
Subject:        Nuclear Regulatory Commission Deals Blow to Depleted Uranium
  Disposal Plans, IEER press release


For further information: Dr. Arjun Makhijani (301) 270-5500; cell (301) 
For immediate release Monday, October 24, 2005

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Deals Blow to Depleted Uranium (DU) 
Disposal Plans

Shallow Burial in Low-Level Waste Dumps Would Far Exceed Radiation 
Dose Limits, Independent Research Shows DU Poses Long-Term Risks 
Comparable to Plutonium-Contaminated Wastes

Takoma Park, Maryland: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has 
handed a stinging reversal to advocates of a New Mexico uranium 
enrichment facility by requiring licensers to hear testimony from Dr. Arjun 
Makhijani, an independent expert, on the environmental impacts of 
disposing of depleted uranium (DU), a waste material that will be generated 
by the plant. The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB), the NRC 
staff, and LES, the corporate consortium that is seeking the plant license, 
had sought to exclude Dr. Makhijani's testimony.

Last week the NRC ruled that the ASLB had improperly excluded the 
testimony and that it should be considered in license hearings scheduled to 
begin at the NRC headquarters near Washington D.C. today, Monday, 
October 24.

"The NRC ruling that environmental impacts need to be explicitly taken into
account in the licensing process completely undermines the premise on 
which the NRC staff prepared its Environmental Impact Statement for the 
LES plant," Dr. Makhijani explained. "The staff's position and that of LES 
had been that an environmental impact calculation was unnecessary since 
DU was Class A waste, the least radioactive and risky low-level category, 
which could be disposed of in shallow burial facilities, such as the one run 
by Envirocare near Clive, Utah." Dr. Makhijani is principal author of two 
reports on DU prepared for interveners in the NRC license hearings and 
president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER), in 
Takoma Park, Maryland. The interveners are the Nuclear Information and 
Resource Service and Public Citizen.

The NRC ruled that its staff and ASLB had been wrong in concluding that the
present low-level waste regulations allowed DU to be classified as Class A
low-level waste without an explicit environmental impact analysis. An IEER
analysis showed that peak radiation doses from burying LES wastes in 
shallow trenches would produce peak radiation doses at least a hundred 
times higher than the legal limit of 25 millirem per year. IEER also 
concluded that proposed DU disposal sites Utah and in Andrews County, 
Texas are unsuitable and should not be used for wastes the LES plant 
would generate.

"Land near Clive, Utah, and near the other proposed waste disposal facility 
in Andrews County, Texas, has been used for grazing in the past," added 
Dr. Brice Smith, Senior Scientist at IEER and co-author of the DU reports. 
"Use of the either site for food crops or ranching in the future could result in 
radiation doses that are thousands of times larger than the allowable limits."

The NRC also ordered its staff to examine whether existing low-level waste
classification regulations need to be amended in order to take into account 
the impact of disposing of large amounts of depleted uranium as a generic 
matter separate from any particular licensing process.

"This NRC decision not only throws the LES plant into question, it also 
raises the same issue about wastes from a plant proposed by the U.S. 
Enrichment Corporation for Ohio," Dr. Makhijani said. "It creates a large new
uncertainty about DU disposal methods and costs. The industry will have to 
go back to the drawing board on costs and methods of DU disposal."

IEER's analysis shows that DU waste disposal would very likely not comply 
with radiation protection rules at any shallow land burial facility. It also found
that Waste Control Specialists, the company seeking a license for low-level
waste disposal in Texas, is not qualified to receive or handle uranium waste
because its application shows no understanding of some of the basic
radiological characteristics of uranium.

Putting DU in a proper chemical form, uranium dioxide, treating and 
encapsulating it for durability, and disposing it of in deep geologic 
repository would cost $2.5 billion or more for the DU projected to be 
generated by the proposed LES plant. IEER's reports on depleted uranium 
disposal risks and costs are available on its web site at 
http://www.ieer.org/reports/du/LESrptfeb05.pdf and 

  - - 3 0 - -

This press release is also available at IEER's web site http://www.ieer.org

Lisa Ledwidge
Outreach Director, United States, and Editor of Science for Democratic 
Action Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) PO Box 
6674  | Minneapolis, MN 55406  USA tel. 1-612-722-9700  | fax: please call 
first  | ieer at ieer.org  |  http://www.ieer.org

IEER's main office:   6935 Laurel Ave. Suite 201 |  Takoma Park, 
MD  20912  USA  |  tel. 1-301-270-5500  |  fax 1-301-270-3029  
------- End of forwarded message -------

stichting Laka                                         Laka foundation
documentatie en onderzoeks-                 documentation and research
centrum kernenergie                           centre on nuclear energy
Ketelhuisplein 43                                    Ketelhuisplein 43
1054 RD Amsterdam                                 NL-1054 RD Amsterdam 
tel: 020-6168294                                           Netherlands
fax: 020-6892179                                   tel: +31-20-6168294
                                                   fax: +31-20-6892179

                        laka at antenna.nl

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