wants to bring nuke waste
through South Carolina Port
Charleston, SC- The Associated Press has reported that a company that
disposes of radioactive nuclear waste by burying it wants to ship 20,000
tons of the material from overseas through ports in Charleston and New
Orleans, raising fears because of the large amounts.
EnergySolutions Inc. wants to ship about 200,000 cubic feet of waste into
the United States, process it in Tennessee before burying it as a site
in Clive, Utah, where the company is based.
"That's a lot of waste," said Arjun Makhijani, executive director
of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, a nuclear watchdog
group. "As far as I know, it's unprecendented for such a large amount
to come to this county for disposal."
In a statement, EnergySolutions argued that licenses has been previously
granted to companies that import radioactive items from France and the
Czech Republic. The company also said it was a leader in safe handling
and disposal of radioactive materials.
However, two congressmen wrote in a letter to federal regulators who will
ultimately decide whether the material can be shipped to the U.S. that
EnergySolutions had not said exactly where the waste would come from,
other than "reactors, fuel cycle facilities, research facilities,
and material licenses or facilities equivalent to U.S. Superfund sites."
Reps. Joe Barton, R-Texas, and Ed Whitfield, R-Kentucky, also argued some
of the waste could exceed federal radiation limits, meaning it would not
be allowed to enter the country and would have to be shipped back to Italy.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman David McIntyre said the agency
will begin taking public comments on EnergySolutions' application soon.
The approval process typically takes six months.
EnergySolutions, which handles radioactive waste for hospitals, universities
and companies, has operated a nuclear waste landfill site in South Carolina