Check out our new channel!

Home News Articles News Releases Classified Ads Techpapers Links Contact US Media Kit

Company wants to bring nuke waste
through South Carolina Port

November 26, 2007

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 since 1971.