Environment News Service

AmeriScan: February 10, 1999

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An antinuclear group, Standing for Truth Against Radiation (STAR), has received the green light from Energy Secretary Bill Richardson to conduct its own safety review into the possible restart of an idled research reactor at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, New York. STAR's spokesman, movie star Alec Baldwin, went on the Montel Williams talk show to describe how Brookhaven National Laboratory is poisoning the surrounding populace. But STAR's critics say the Department of Energy (DOE) appears to be going a long way to accommodate the group. David Kramer, editor of Science & Government Report complained, "While the question of whether DOE will pay for the review hasn't been decided yet, the agency has agreed to open its books on its own review and make its own experts available to STAR. Richardson has also agreed to hold a workshop with STAR to obtain their input. In return, STAR was asked to serve as a liaison between DOE and other local citizen's groups." One of two major U.S. reactors capable of producing highly intense neutron beams for research purposes, the High Flux Beam Reactor at Brookhaven National Laboratory has been shut down since late 1996, when it was discovered that tritium from its spent fuel basin had been seeping into the ground for a dozen years.

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