Key concerns addressed and rebutted
- By Mark McFadden -
EnergySolutions, Inc. has issued the following statement in response to Congressmen Matheson and Gordon's reintroduction of their waste import ban legislation.
At a recent press conference held by Congressmen Matheson, Gordon and Terry, several inaccurate statements were made that need to be addressed:
-- Statement: It was stated that our company was trying to import "20 million tons of Class A, B and C low-level waste from Italy." Response: We have a pending import license application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to import up to 20,000 tons of material from Italy. Waste is not classified until it is packaged for disposal. Therefore it is inaccurate to say that Class A, B and C waste would be imported. Only waste that meets the acceptance criteria of Bear Creek or Clive will be imported. We do not take, nor would we take, Class B or C waste at Clive.
-- Statement: Anything that has to be stored at a site with a "big fence and lots of dogs" is not where you want your kids to play. Response: Our disposal facility at Clive is a highly regulated facility that does not pose a threat to human health and the environment. This type of facility is not guarded by dogs or a fence. Tours are given each day to Utah citizens, school children, professors and others. -- Statement: "This bill affects Tennessee directly... One can only wonder what the effects would be if there was an environmental spill like the recent TVA disaster, but this time involving radioactive materials." Response: The ash spill accident in Tennessee, and the recycling, processing, transportation and disposal of low-level waste, whether it be domestic or international, are not related. The attempt to tie the two together is to play on the fears and emotions of the public. The dangerous rhetoric that was thrown about in the press conference could have a negative impact on the progress of the nuclear renaissance. The nuclear industry is one of the highest regulated and safest industries in the country.
-- Statement: "We are dealing with materials that people imagine are glowing, but may have just been worn by a technician doing radiation treatments... The perception about it is far greater than reality, but we're in politics and perception is reality." Response: It is troubling that attacks are made on a company that operates in a safe and compliant manner pursuant to State issued licenses based on perception, rather than fact and reality. Our company employs over 5,500 dedicated professionals in the United States and abroad and provides a vital service to the nuclear industry.
As stated by the Nuclear Regulator Commission and the States of Tennessee and Utah, there is no health or safety impact to any Utahan, Tennessean, or any other citizen or the environment from the recycling, processing, transportation or disposing of this material. This material is the same type of material that is processed in Tennessee and disposed at Clive from the domestic nuclear industry.
EnergySolutions, a world leader in the safe recycling, processing and disposal of low-level radioactive waste, recycles and processes material at its state-of-the-art facilities in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and disposes of the residual Class A waste at its disposal site in Clive, Utah. Over 56,000 tons of metals have been recycled at the company's metal melt facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The facility, which is regulated by the State of Tennessee, produces shield blocks from the recycled metals for reuse at nuclear and accelerator facilities throughout the world.
The company's low-level waste landfill, which has been in operation since 1988 and is regulated by the State of Utah, has enough capacity to dispose of all of the Class A waste from the 104 nuclear plants in the United States, from both on-going operations and the ultimate decommissioning of these plants, and still have approximately 50 million cubic feet of capacity remaining. The facility has enough disposal capacity for the existing U.S. nuclear plants, new plants as well as a small amount of internationally generated material.
EnergySolutions has committed to only using at most 5 percent of Clive's remaining capacity for international waste. The use of this space creates opportunities for EnergySolutions and other American companies to play a role in the resurgence of nuclear power around the globe. These opportunities could create an atmosphere where additional jobs were created in the United States.
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