Studsvik Inc., the U.S. affiliate of a Swedish waste company, wants to get around waste storage rules by blending nuclear waste with inert materials. The result would be technically within the limits for storage as low-level radioactive waste. The material would be processed in the Studsvik facility in Erwin, Tennessess, and shipped to EnergySolutions low-level waste facility in Clive, Utah. EnergySolutions has formed a partnership with Studsvik, a one-time rival, in the treatment and storage plan.
As the Deseret News reported yesterday:
The long-term storage of so-called blended waste has been a controversial issue in Utah, with critics claiming there are no guarantees that hotter radioactive material mixed with lower level concentrations won’t exceed state-imposed limits.
A lot of different analogies have been tossed about to describe blending waste. EnergySolutions said the mix of such resins results in a sugar cookie of sorts with a blend of isotopes that have reached the proper concentrations that do not exceed Class A levels. Critics, such as HEAL Utah, say such blending of resins doesn’t come without hot spots — sort of like a chocolate chip cookie — and those hot spots violate the company’s licensing agreement with the state.
There have been some acrobatic flip-flops in the tale of blended waste:
Last year, Studsvik argued before Utah regulators that EnergySolutions was not suited to process the higher-concentrated waste at its Bear Creek facility in Tennessee, asserting the blending was being done to “dilute” the materials.
It sought to land the contracts itself for processing and eventual disposal at the Waste Control Facility in Texas when it opens later this year.
To read the Deseret News article, go to: