State: cost matters in waste decisions

K-25 demo 2 SeptI did a piece recently about the Department of Energy’s proposed new Superfund landfill in Oak Ridge, which would cost an estimated $817 million (that’s the total project cost, including design, construction and operations over 20 years or so). That figure is big, but it’s a lot, lot less — according to DOE’s analysis — than the cost of shipping the radioactive and hazardous waste off-site and sending it to the Nevada National Security Site for disposal.

Before a decision is made on how to deal with DOE’s future generation of cleanup wastes in Oak Ridge, the various alternatives must be explored by EPA and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, as well as DOE. The choices also include the no-action scenario, which would involve storing the cleanup-generated wastes on site.

Asked if the cost of disposing would be one of the factors considered by environmental regulators, TDEC provided this response:

“TDEC will consider cost in the selection of a preferred alternative for the disposal of waste generated during the CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act) cleanup of the Oak Ridge Reservation National Priority Listed Site. Cost is one of the nine CERCLA criteria used to select a preferred alternative in the CERCLA ROD (Record of Decision) process.”

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About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.