Bill would ban import of nuclear waste

March 14, 2008 at 8:53 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 14 (UPI) -- A senior member of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee has introduced a bill that would prevent the importation of foreign-generated nuclear waste.

U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., is urging lawmakers to support a measure that would ban foreign-generated nuclear waste importation authorization by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Utah-based nuclear waste disposal company EnergySolutions recently applied to the NRC to import 20,000 tons of waste from decommissioned nuclear reactors in Italy.

Gordon and other critics of the EnergySolutions plan are calling for a ban on any nuclear waste importation unless the material originated within the United States. The bill includes president-approved exemptions if the importation serves a national or international policy goal.

"No other country in the world is accepting nuclear waste from other countries," Gordon said in a statement. "By doing so, the United States is putting itself in position to become the world's nuclear dumping ground."

The legislation was co-sponsored by fellow House Energy and Commerce Committee members Jim Matheson, D-Utah, and Ed Whitfield, R-Ky.

"The United States has only a finite amount of space available for disposal of nuclear waste," Gordon said. "Importing foreign waste for the purpose of disposal does not serve American interests; it serves a company's financial interest."

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