A new group of state and federal workers that wasÂ 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.
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 3019â€”the oldest continuously operating nuclear facility in the Department of Energy complexâ€”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…]