Radioactive Waste Decision Helps One Company, Riles Congress

Saturday, March 21, 2009

On Wednesday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) voted 3-1 to classify depleted uranium a low-level Class A waste, meaning that it is only hazardous for up to 100 years. Depleted uranium is a byproduct of uranium enrichment for nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons. It is unusual in the world of radioactive waste in that it actually increases in radioactivity the longer it sits. According to the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, depleted uranium has ten times the concentration allowed by the NRC’s definition of Class A waste. The decision was deemed “unsupportable” by Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), chairman of the House Environment and Energy Subcommittee. One big winner in the decision is expected to be Salt Lake City-based EnergySolutions, which is licensed to dispose of Class-A waste, but nothing higher.

NRC Decision on Depleted Uranium Draws Rebuke on Hill (by Katherine Ling, New York Times)
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Ignores Depleted Uranium Risks (Institute for Energy and Environmental Research)


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