Nuclear Regulatory Commission Ignores Depleted Uranium Risks

Votes to Ignore Sound Science, Its Own Prior Analysis, and Radiological Safety

Decision an Apparent Bow to Burgeoning Nuclear Fuel Enrichment Industry

TAKOMA PARK, MD, MARCH 18, 2009: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) voted today to declare that depleted uranium (DU) from enrichment plants is a Class A low-level radioactive waste – the least dangerous kind that supposedly consists mainly of short-lived radionuclides. In 2005, the NRC had concluded that large amounts of DU were not covered by its existing low-level waste rule and directed its staff to develop recommendations regarding DU classification. The Commission’s action also opens the door to classification of other dangerous radioactive wastes in the least hazardous category – Class A. Commissioner Jaczko dissented and voted in favor of a rulemaking process to determine the classification of DU within the existing low-level waste framework.

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