Proposed nuclear waste shipments worry Reid, Sandoval
June 22, 2013
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Gov. Brian Sandoval have raised serious concerns about the plans to ship what federal officials say is low-level nuclear waste to Nevada.
In a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Sandoval said that while the Consolidated Edison Uranium Solidification Project canisters don't technically qualify as high-level nuclear waste, his advisers say they are definitely aren't "commonplace" low-level waste, or LLW.
"Even if these canisters meet a legalistic definition of LLW, they are not suitable for shallow land burial at the (Nevada National Security Site)," he said.
He charged that the Department of Energy "is attempting to exploit a gap in current regulations." He said the waste should be handled the same way high-level waste is handled because it contains a high concentration of uranium isotopes that are very dangerous to workers and a potential source of "dirty bomb" manufacture material. Classifying that waste as low-level sets a dangerous precedent, he said.
Reid issued a statement saying he is very concerned about the plan.
"Nevada must receive assurances that the canisters are safe to ship, will not release dangerous levels of radiation into the environment, and waste acceptance standards … are not being modified solely to accommodate this waste," the statement said.
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"With the information I have today, I will not support the transportation of these canisters," Reid added.