Liquid nuclear waste containing bomb-grade highly enriched uranium would be trucked from Canada for disposal at Savannah River Site under a first-of-its-kind proposal under development by the National Nuclear Security Administration and other agencies.
The Augusta Chronicle
February 12, 2013 8:20 PM EST
The material from Atomic Energy Canada Limited’s Chalk River Laboratory is part of a nonproliferation effort aimed at recovering U.S. origin highly enriched uranium distributed to research facilities in other countries. SRS confirmed at a recent citizens advisory board meeting that planning for such a shipment is underway.
The Canadian lab has used this uranium for decades to produce molybdenum-99, a source of technetium used medical diagnostic procedures. The process involves dissolving targets in acid, which yields a highly radioactive waste that contains residual highly enriched uranium.
Transporting highly radioactive liquid waste has never been attempted, according to environmental groups who are seeking an environmental impact study before the material can be moved.
“This proposed shipment of liquid high-level waste appears to be unprecedented,” said Tom Clements, the southeastern nuclear campaign coordinator for Friends of the Earth.