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California doesn’t want radioactive dirt

Dispute over radioactive dirt going to Calif site Mercury News By NOAKI SCHWARTZ Associated Press Writer  12/11/2009 LOS ANGELES—Boeing Co. and NASA have applied to the state to haul tainted soil from a partial nuclear meltdown at a former rocket test lab to a San Joaquin Valley dump that’s not licensed to accept radioactive waste. The proposal before the California Department of Toxic Substances Control has been assailed by activists and residents who live near the cleanup site and the town near the hazardous waste site.If radioactive waste is allowed to go to Kettleman facility it could create “a defacto unlicensed radioactive dump at a place not designed for it,” said Dan Hirsch, who heads the Committee to Bridge the Gap, a nuclear policy group focused on the cleanup at the former nuclear testing site………………….

Over the years, the site has been home to 10 nuclear reactors, low-power reactors, plutonium and uranium carbide fabrication plants. It also housed a lab for remotely cutting up irradiated nuclear fuel shipped in from other federal nuclear plants.

In 1959, one reactor’s coolant channels became blocked, causing fuel rods to overheat and partially melt. Operators shut down the reactor for inspection, then started it up again for two more weeks.

Thirteen of 43 fuel rods were destroyed. The reactor had no containment dome to prevent radiation from leaking into the surrounding environment.

Former workers and residents of surrounding communities have blamed the meltdown for a variety of health problems, including cancer, and are anxious to get the contaminants out of the area. Residents in Kettleman City, who similarly blame the hazardous waste facility for recent birth defects in their community do not want to see the contaminated dirt anywhere near their community.

“Get the cesium out of there,” Marie Mason, who lives near the Santa Susana site, said during a recent presentation on the cleanup. “I don’t care if it has to go to the moon. Take it to Utah

Dispute over radioactive dirt going to Calif site – San Jose Mercury News

December 11, 2009 - Posted by | USA, wastes | , , , ,

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