National Resources Defense Council Emailed to me had a link to the Energy Bill
now undergoing debate. The Administration had Republicans sneak in a provision to reclassify high level nuclear waste and to allow the "grouting" of high level waste in storage tanks in SC and WA. Concrete, grout and sand have been proven to fail and allow ground waters to be contaminated. Once a site is treated with grout and concrete then it is irreversible. That contaminated concrete and grout can not be then processed into a safe and secure glass form.
This is a disreputable technique that Republicans use to sneak in the most heinous provisions in the small print of a huge and essential bill just before a holiday recess, hoping that it will not be discovered. We need to make sure that they are not allowed to bypass and short-cut the clean up at Hanford and elsewhere in the country. Our Columbia River could be contaminated forever if we allow this rules change.
An excerpt from National Resources Defense Council is below:
The Senate version of the Defense Authorization bill includes a provision supported by the Department of Energy and Sen. Graham (R-SC) to amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act to allow the agency to reclassify high-level radioactive nuclear waste left in underground storage tanks in South Carolina. If the change is approved, the Energy Department could abandon potentially one million gallons of this highly toxic waste in leaking underground tanks at South Carolina facilities. The proposal is an attempt to overturn a July 2003 federal court ruling (won by NRDC) that the Department of Energy's attempts to reclassify high-level nuclear waste violated the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. The Defense bill also contains a provision that would withhold funding for cleanup activities at similar sites in Idaho and Washington unless these states agree to the DOE's proposed reclassification. The Senate began debating the bill on 5/14, and amendments to strike the reclassification language and restore cleanup funds are expected before the Senate recesses for the Memorial Day break. The House version of the Defense Authorization bill (H.R. 4200) does not include a similar reclassification provision, although it does include funding for a study to explore the DOE's proposal.