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Underground wall ordered by EPA to prevent fire reaching nuclear waste landfill in Bridgestone

Flag-USAEPA orders barrier for nuclear waste landfill in Bridgestone Big News Network.comThursday 31st December, 2015 LENEXA, Kansas – The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered the installation of a physical isolation barrier separating the radioactively contaminated West Lake Landfill Superfund Site from the smoldering Bridgeton Landfill to make sure that the underground fire does not reach the buried nuclear waste.

landfill West Lake St Louis

The barrier will consist of an underground wall. The decision also calls for the installation of additional engineering controls, such as cooling loops, to prevent potential impacts that could result if the subsurface smoldering were to come into contact with the radioactive materialscontained in the West Lake Landfill, Mark Hague, EPA regional administrator, said Thursday.

For years landfill owner Republic Services and state and federal regulators have considered a subterranean firebreak separating the smoldering Bridgeton Landfill from the adjacent West Lake Landfill, just a few hundred feet away.

But uncertainty over the location and extent of West Lake’s radioactive contamination has prompted more studies of West Lake, contaminated in 1973 with nuclear weapons processing waste from the Manhattan Project .

Now, EPA says those assessments, conducted with assistance from the US Army Corps of Engineers, are nearly complete. “We now have a better understanding of where those materials are located,” EPA spokeswoman Angela Brees said. “We’re at a point now where we had enough data where we needed to make a decision about a wall.”

The latest report on the radioactive contamination’s location is under final review and will be released soon, she said.

The worrying part is that the underground fire is now within 1,200 feet from the West Lake landfill.

“Finding a solution to mitigate the potential impacts of a subsurface smoldering event is a top priority for the community, and a top priority for EPA,” said Hague. “Today’s announcement is the first step in moving forward with the installation of a physical barrier and other engineering controls to address this issue.”

“We are now working through the highly complex details of implementing our decision and the associated legal steps. Once the plan is finalized, we are committed to providing this information to the public.”

The work of creating an underground barrier will be paid for by Republic Services, owner of both landfills. A spokesman for Republic Services said the company is ready to proceed with the barrier installation work. The company insists there is no risk of the fire reaching the nuclear material, but environmentalists disagree.

Ed Smith of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment said the barrier is not enough. “The only way to ensure a smoldering or surface fire doesn’t impact the radioactive wastes is to remove them,” Smith said, reported abc News.

West Lake was declared a Superfund site in 1990. In 2008, the EPA announced a remediation plan to cap the nuclear waste with rock, clay and soil. Opposition from the environmentalists however forced that the EPA to reconsider its decision.

No new plan has been worked out despite criticism from some lawmakers and residents who feel the agency is moving too slowly.

January 1, 2016 - Posted by | safety, USA, wastes

1 Comment »

  1. […] Source: Underground wall ordered by EPA to prevent fire reaching nuclear waste landfill in Bridgestone […]

    Pingback by Underground wall ordered by EPA to prevent fire reaching nuclear waste landfill in Bridgestone | Head Space | January 1, 2016 | Reply

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