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Bill aims to stop DOE plan to lift ban on radioactive scrap

Keywords: Tags  scrap, radioactive, Energy Department, DOE, Ed Markey, Thomas Gibson, AISI, Sean Davidson

NEW YORK — A congressman has introduced a bill that would block a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) proposal to lift a ban on recycling radioactive metal.

Rep. Ed Markey (D., Mass.) introduced the legislation May 16 to block the DOE’s proposed radioactive recycling program, which would allow up to 14,000 tonnes of its radioactive scrap metal to be recycled into consumer products.

The DOE has proposed selling off the radioactive metal as scrap, which could be recycled into jewelry, cutlery or other consumer products, according to Markey’s office.

"Putting radioactive metal into the supply chain could place workers, consumers and others at risk," said Markey, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "Instead of recycling radioactive metal for consumer use, we should put this idea where it belongs—in the trash bin."

Markey’s bill has received support from some trade associations, including the American Iron and Steel Institute.

"By prohibiting the sale, trade, barter or transfer of any metal that has been used or stored in a radiological area, this legislation will help ensure an uncontaminated scrap metal supply that is vital to the prosperity of the U.S. and North American steelmaking industry," AISI president Thomas Gibson said in a statement.

The lawmaker posted on his website a list of the legislation’s supporters, which includes the Metals Industry Recycling Coalition, the National Recycling Coalition, and several environmental and citizen groups.

The department announced in December 2012 its proposal to lift the ban on radioactive recycling (, Dec. 31).

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