Environment News Service

AmeriScan: April 25, 2000

BLUE RIBBON PANEL CHECKS ALTERNATIVES TO BURNING RADIOACTIVE WASTE

WASHINGTON, DC, April 25, 2000 (ENS) - A panel of top level scientists has been named to evaluate and recommend new tecnology initiatives to establish alternatives to radioactive mixed waste incineration. The panel is a critical component of Energy Secretary Bill Richardson's decision earlier this year not to proceed with the construction of an incinerator at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL). The task force will assess technologies that could treat low-level, alpha low-level and transuranic wastes contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other hazardous materials. This includes up to 14,000 cubic meters of wastes that the DOE was going to burn at INEEL.

The seven member panel includes Nobel Prize winning chemist Dr. Mario Molina, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The panel will be chaired by Ralph Cavanagh, senior staff attorney at the San Francisco office of the conservation organization the Natural Resources Defense Council. Other panel members are: Dr. Carl Anderson, manager of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality's hazardous waste permitting and corrective action program; Andrew Athy, Jr. a Washington, DC attorney; Gretchen Long-Glickman, chair of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of Ecosystem Studies based in Millbrook, New York; Paul Bardacke, a New Mexico attorney; Robert Budnitz, president of Future Resources Associates, an expert in the field of nuclear materials hazards who served on the National Research Council Committee on Technical Bases for Yucca Mountain Standards.

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