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Dept. of Energy mulls radiological scrap release

Keywords: Tags  Department of Energy, programmatic environmental assessment, radiological scrap, recycling, Samuel Frizell


NEW YORK — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has requested feedback on a draft environmental assessment that could potentially lead it to release accumulated stockpiles of uncontaminated scrap metals from radiological areas.

The draft study, called a programmatic environmental assessment, will help the department decide whether scrap originating from DOE radiological areas should be released for recycling, disposed of in an alternative manner or continue to be stored for the time being.

Scrap material has not been released from radiological areas at DOE facilities for the purpose of recycling since a departmentwide suspension of the practice was put in place in July 2000 amid public concerns regarding dangerous scrap disposal, according to a notice posted in the Federal Register. The department said in 2001 it would conduct a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on the policy alternatives for disposing of the metal in question, but that was never completed, according to the notice.

If adopted, the proposed action would allow the DOE to modify its existing policies to allow undersecretaries “to manage the radiological clearance process for uncontaminated scrap metals originating in DOE radiological areas for sites demonstrated to have robust monitoring and release practices in place,” the notice said.

The draft assessment is available for public review and comment until Feb. 11.

The DOE did not return calls for further comment.

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