Saturday, September 27, 2008

S.C. Closes Low-Level Nuclear Waste Storage Site

A South Carolina state law closed the Barnwell, South Carolina low-level nuclear waste site. Now nuclear waste is piling up at locations for hospitals to research institutions around the country. The law that ended nearly all disposal of radioactive material at the site took effect on July 1, 2008 and now 36 states have no place to ship their low-level waste.

This sort of situation is why the Center created and cochairs the Nuclear Fuels Reprocessing Coalition (NFRC) to amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 to establish the U.S. Nuclear Waste Management Agency (NWMA) to manage all Federal and civilian spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste management programs currently under the control of the U.S. Department of Energy. NWMA would also establish and operate low-level radioactive waste receipt, supplementary segregation, treatment and burial or monitored/retrievable storage facilities on a fee basis.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) carries out the responsibilities of managing the storage of low-level nuclear waste as delegated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission as an Agreement State. DHEC:

Regulates the Barnwell low-level radioactive waste disposal facility.
Regulates the transportation of radioactive waste into and within South Carolina
Licenses facilities that process and transport radioactive waste
Provides technical assistance to other areas of DHEC, industry, and government agencies, such as oversight of the Savannah River Site
Provides technical assistance in regulating air emissions of radionuclides at federal facilities
Conducts engineering reviews of waste processes and containment systems
Provides oversight of radiological decommissioning at state and federal facilities
Regulates facilities that manufacture products containing radioactive material

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