2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 18 Jul 2003 15:01:08 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Report critical of waste cleanup plan
North Carolina
Report critical of waste cleanup plan
By Faith Brenmer
Posted Thursday, July 17, 2003 - 11:04 pm

WASHINGTON  The Department of Energy's plan to clean up radioactive
waste in Washington, Idaho and South Carolina faster and cheaper is
based on shaky assumptions and unproven technologies, a government
report released Thursday says.

In a hearing on the report before a House Energy Committee panel, an
Energy Department official said her agency is preparing to ask Congress
to shore up the plan's biggest assumption, which a federal district
judge in Idaho shot down earlier this month.

The department is counting on being able to treat and then reclassify as
low-level waste 90 percent of the 94 million gallons of highly
radioactive waste generated by the military during the Cold War. The
waste is being stored in leaky underground tanks at the Hanford
Reservation in Washington, the Savannah River Site in South Carolina and
the Idaho National Laboratory.

By reclassifying the waste  and then immobilizing it in concrete or
glass and leaving it in place  the department hopes to save $29 billion
and 20 to 30 years. Originally the cleanup was estimated to cost $105
billion and take 70 years.

But in a lawsuit filed by environmental groups and joined by the states
of Washington and South Carolina, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill
ruled July 2 that the Energy Department doesn't have the authority to
reclassify the material.

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