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Energy Dept. Threatens No Nuclear Cleanup

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posted on Apr, 8 2004 @ 06:53 PM
This is an intersting article about how bureaucracies and red tape make everything more difficult. There's a lot of radioactive waste to dispose of, some leaking and left over from the Cold War.
A strange way to play politics, IMHO.

Energy Dept. Threatens No Nuclear Cleanup

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Energy Department is threatening to withhold $350 million that was to pay for disposal of some of the most dangerous radioactive waste from Cold War bomb-making. First, it says, Congress and state officials must accept a cleanup plan already rejected in court.

The issue has pitted a half dozen states against the Bush administration - raising concern that some of the millions of gallons of highly radioactive waste that are supposed to be solidified and buried by the government may, in fact, remain in place.

"I will not allow DOE to hold this work hostage, or to hold this budget hostage," Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, told the head of the Energy Department cleanup effort at a recent hearing.

On Capitol Hill and in the states facing the cleanup task, critics are accusing the department of trying to force states to accept less stringent cleanup standards to save money and finish the job more quickly. The department argues that some of the waste has a low enough level of radioactivity that it can be covered with cement ground and left in place.

Last year, a federal judge in Idaho said the Energy Department's plan to reclassify some of the waste in the tanks as "low level" and not remove it for burial violated the law. He said Congress specifically said all the waste, the byproduct of plutonium production during the Cold War, has to be treated as "high-level" waste and must be buried in a central facility, probably the planned site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada."

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