Oak Ridge Company Applying to Get Nuclear Waste From Italy

By: Stephen McLamb
By: Stephen McLamb

Oak Ridge (WVLT) - A nuclear recycling company near Oak Ridge is applying to get new waste material, not from the united states but from Italy.

As Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb learns, receiving overseas waste is new to city officials and residents are concerned about it.

Oak Ridge's Energy Solutions is applying to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to receive 20,000 tons of low grade radioactive material for processing.
Company spokesman Greg Hopkins says the material will come from Italy. Oak Ridge officials say this is news to them.

"I was not aware that they were taking waste other than from the U.S. We knew that they were handling waste here and from other Department of Energy facilities," Oak Ridge City Manager James O'Connor said.

For O'Connor, that is a concern.

"Waste products often times move from one community to another, and we understand that but when we start opening it up to international markets, volumes are the real concern," O'Connor said.

Hopkins says the material will be recycled and sold. What they cannot recycle will be incinerated with the remainder shipped out of Tennessee for disposal. None, he says, will be disposed of in Tennessee. In an area full of nuclear material, one resident is concerned more about it's transportation than the recycling process.

"In this area we've had a couple times where we've had spilt waste, you know where containers were not adequate," resident Ronald Stewart said.

Still another resident feels it only takes one big mistake.

"Like contaminating the water, supply, and everything, yeah. I've got three kids, and I wouldn't want them growing up with all this waste everywhere," resident Luke Phillips said.

Energy Solutions Vice President of Communications Greg Hopkins says there will be a public comment period, and they expect it will still be six months later before they begin importing any of the waste.


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