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Unique problem in managing depleted uranium wastes

At issue is the unique composition of depleted uraniumm — a byproduct of the process that enriches uranium, in this case from weapons production — that results in the material becoming more radioactive over time.

Weather slows unloading of depleted uranium at EnergySolution By Arthur RaymondDeseret News , Dec. 22, 2009

CLIVE, Tooele County — Blustery weather in Utah’s west desert Tuesday slowed the initial unloading of more than 5,400 barrels of depleted uranium slated for at least temporary storage at EnergySolution’s disposal facility.

The long-term fate of 3,500 tons of radioactive material that rolled into Utah Sunday night from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River nuclear materials processing center in South Carolina is in limbo, pending a safety survey of the waste disposal company’s site 75 miles west of Salt Lake City…………

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert forged a compromise with the Energy Department last week, following a letter to the agency protesting the shipment of the waste before a technical study of proper disposal of depleted uranium was completed. The compromise allows for the material to be stored above ground while EnergySolutions adds long-term safety measures.

At issue is the unique composition of depleted uraniumm — a byproduct of the process that enriches uranium, in this case from weapons production — that results in the material becoming more radioactive over time. Storage solutions need to account for a markedly different state of the material in 10,000 years’ time.

Deseret News | Weather slows unloading of depleted uranium at EnergySolution

December 23, 2009 - Posted by | USA, wastes | , , , , , , ,

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