Radioactive Soil from Australia Destined for ID Facility
Monday, February 7, 2022
Radioactive soil in Australia is being excavated and shipped to a waste disposal facility in Idaho.
The soil was polluted from a carbolic acid plant and uranium refinery that operated a century ago and is located in a suburb of Sydney.
The low-level radioactive waste will go to US Ecology's Grand View site in southwest Idaho. The news has been a relief for Australian residents living on the soil, but has raised a concern among some in the Gem State.
Tami Thatcher is a nuclear safety consultant for Environmental Defense Institute and former nuclear safety analyst at Idaho National Laboratory.
"Whenever you become aware of how radioactive waste is shipped from around the country and from around the world to Idaho, it's kind of alarming," said Thatcher.
Excavation of the contaminated soil began in September and is expected to take 18 to 24 months. It totals about 1,900 tons.
A spokesperson for US Ecology says the soil and debris are contaminated with a very low level of naturally occurring radioactive material but fall well below the established criteria in the company's Idaho permit.
Thatcher said there have been concerns about US Ecology's Grand View operations. In 2018, an explosion at the site killed one person and injured three others.
"They've never admitted where the waste came from," said Thatcher. "What type of waste it was and why it is - when they mixed their magnesium oxide to neutralize the waste - it blew sky high."
An investigation into the explosion found there was "non-conforming waste" included in material that was not supposed to be part of the waste stream.
US Ecology is the only commercial hazardous waste landfill operating to Idaho. According to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, the facility received nearly 110,000 tons of waste in 2020, 96% of which came from outside the state or country.
get more stories like this via email
In the wake of historic summer floods in the Midwest and Appalachia, there are calls for a new national plan to reduce risks from disasters. The …
Small businesses that suffered damage or destruction from the recent historic flooding in Eastern Kentucky can get one-on-one assistance as they try t…
The Inflation Reduction Act, newly passed by the U.S. Senate, allocates $369 Billion to fight climate change, and appropriates funds specifically for …
Sweeping legislation approved by Congress is designed to address a range of issues, including climate change and deficit reductions. Other components …
By Linda Burstyn for Ms. Magazine Broadcast version by Roz Brown for New Mexico News Connection/Public News Service Bad Business: Anti-abortion …
Opening up Pennsylvania's primary elections to voters who aren't registered either as Democrats or Republicans is the topic of a State House of Repres…
August is National Black Business Month, and this year, for Black-owned companies in Pennsylvania that have managed to survive through the pandemic…
On August 27, members of the public will have a rare opportunity to visit the historic Padlock Ranch first developed for livestock in 1867, now …