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Nevada, feds agree to discuss landfill concerns, including ORNL radioactive waste

ORNL CEUSP Waste Shipping

Workers train to remove a type of shipping cask that would be used to transport 403 canisters of uranium-tainted waste from Oak Ridge National Laboratory to Nevada National Security Site northwest of Las Vegas. (Photos courtesy U.S. Department of Energy/Office of Environmental Management)

  A new group of state and federal workers that was announced Tuesday could discuss contentious waste-related issues that include concerns over shipping low-level radioactive waste from a World War II-era building in Oak Ridge to a federal landfill in Nevada. The new group, which will include senior-level state and federal employees, was announced in a six-page agreement, a memorandum of understanding signed last week by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. The talks started more than a year ago, after Sandoval sent a letter to Moniz expressing concerns over the proposed disposal of the radioactive waste at the Nevada National Security Site, a former nuclear weapons proving ground about 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
CEUSP Canister

At left is an actual 24-inch steel canister. At right is a representation of the canister interior.

The waste contains radioisotopes of uranium from the Consolidated Edison Uranium Solidification Project. It originated from a 1960s research and development test of thorium and uranium reactor fuel in New York. It is stored at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Building 3019—the oldest continuously operating nuclear facility in the Department of Energy complex—in 403 ceramic-like uranium oxide monoliths. Each of the monoliths is bonded to the inside of a steel canister about 3.5 inches in diameter and about two feet long. [Read more…]