Gore uranium facility facing four options

NewsOK: Gore uranium facility facing four options

Gore uranium facility facing four options 
Additional information about Gore, OK from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  

By The Associated Press
GORE — U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials have detailed four options for reclamation of the site of a now-closed uranium conversion facility.

Officials met Tuesday with residents of Gore, where the Sequoyah Fuels plant is located. The plant, which opened in 1970, closed in 1993 after numerous environmental violations, including a 1986 case of air contamination that resulted in an employee’s death.

The four options are part of the commission’s draft environmental impact statement.

The options
•The first option, proposed by Sequoyah Fuels, would result in the disposal of all contaminated materials on the site and, according to the commission, would cost the company $31.9 million. Under the proposal, debris and contaminated materials would be placed inside a disposal cell that would remain at the industrial area where the processing operations took place. The commission said its preliminary recommendation would be to approve the proposal “unless safety issues mandate otherwise.”

•The second option — the most expensive — would be to dispose of all contaminated materials offsite, at a cost estimated at $189.9 million to $253.7 million.

•A third option would be a combination of the first two plans, with some hazardous waste disposed of at an alternate site, and would cost an estimated $38.5 million to $44.4 million.

•Continuing current operations is the final option. That would require the company to continue to perform surveillance and maintenance of the site indefinitely and continue cleaning up the groundwater contamination. The estimated cost of that option is $19.3 million, and it also would have the greatest environmental impact on the area. The U.S. Army recently removed about 55,000 gallons of depleted uranium from the facility, and it’s not clear how much hazardous materials remains at the plant site.

•Ed Henshaw, who lives near the plant, said the environmental impact statement “is not based on good science” and that mismanagement of the site by the government and Sequoyah Fuels had made it impossible for total reclamation to occur. “At a site such as this, a bronze plaque should be erected and the names of the culprits responsible inscribed permanently for generations to come to know who perpetrated such a ruse,” Henshaw said.

•Nadine Barton, a member of a group known as Citizen Action for a Safe Environment, agreed with Henshaw. “This is not right,” Barton said. “But you know what? It’s too late, because they’ve come this far and they’re going to go the rest of the way.”

What’s next
•A public comment period on the statement will end Nov. 5.

•A final report will be issued by the commission around April 2008. 

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