[Date Prev][Date Next]
[cdn-nucl-l] FW: Nuclear Fears Kill U.S. Plan to Sell Nickel
> From: Michael C. Baker[SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Reply To: Ans-pie
> Sent: Wednesday, 2000 January 12, 11:10 AM
> To: Multiple recipients of list ans-pie
> Subject: Nuclear Fears Kill U.S. Plan to Sell Nickel
> The New York Times
> January 12, 2000
> Nuclear Fears Kill U.S. Plan to Sell Nickel
> By MATTHEW L. WALD
> WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 -- The Energy Department is
> backing away from a plan to sell its huge stock of
> surplus nickel, a metal used in stainless steel and other alloys,
> because the material, left over from nuclear weapons
> manufacture, may be too radioactive to sell on the open market,
> officials said today.
> The department had announced a plan in August 1997 to sell
> 6,000 tons of nickel later this year, for $41 million, in a program
> to sell materials left over from manufacturing weapons. Another
> 10,000 tons would be sold later. The material was radioactive,
> but there was no standard measure of how much radioactivity in
> such material is unsafe, so the plan did not violate any rules.
> But the idea horrified scrap dealers and steel industry leaders,
> who feared having to explain to their customers that their
> product was even mildly radioactive.
> "It would hurt our workers and our facilities, if it isn't in fact safe,
> and the people won't ever believe it's safe," said Thomas
> Sneeringer, senior vice president of the American Iron and
> Steel Institute, a trade group here.
> The Energy Department has been seeking a ruling from the
> Nuclear Regulatory Commission, an independent agency that
> has jurisdiction over most uses of radioactive materials. But the
> commission recently had a setback, concluding three weeks
> ago that a contractor it had hired to research the issue had a
> conflict of interest, because the contractor was also in the
> radioactive waste recycling business.
> And Congressional critics said the radioactive metal could end
> up in things like stainless steel tableware and braces for
> children's teeth. Three Democrats on the House Commerce
> Committee, Representatives John D. Dingell of Michigan, Ron
> Klink of Pennsylvania and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts,
> have been hammering the commission for failing to develop a
> standard of radioactivity for materials like the nickel in which the
> radioactivity permeates the material, as opposed to sitting on
> its surface. The question is becoming more pressing as the
> energy agency and electric companies take apart old nuclear
> plants. The 6,000 tons are at the former K-25 plant near Oak
> Ridge, Tenn.
> Materials that are surface-contaminated can be cleaned, but it
> is unclear whether those in which the radioactivity permeates
> can be.
> The regulatory commission regulates consumer products to
> which radiation has been intentionally added. But the
> commission has maintained, until recently, if the metal includes
> radioactive material that was not added for "beneficial effect,"
> the decision was up to the state, in this case Tennessee.
> And in Nashville, the director of the state's Division of
> Radiological Health approved the release of the nickel.