Magazine article Earth Island Journal

DOE Drops Plutonium Transport Plan

Magazine article Earth Island Journal

DOE Drops Plutonium Transport Plan

Article excerpt

Livermore, CA -- Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment (CAREs) announced a significant victory May 17 in its efforts to keep plutonium in uncertified DT-22 canisters off US highways.

The DT-22 is a 45-gallon container that cannot be certified for plutonium shipments because it fails the government's "crush test," and could rupture in a highway accident.

In a memo from Department of Energy (DOE) headquarters, Jessie Roberson, the DOE Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management, informed Barbara Mazurowski, head of the DOE Rocky Flats field office, that the Department would no longer seek to ship plutonium from Rocky Flats, Colorado in the controversial canisters.

The DOE had given itself a "national security" exemption to allow it to ship surplus plutonium from Rocky Flats in uncertified DT-22s to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The Roberson memo halts that process.

"The DOE's reversal is good news and represents an important win for public health and the environment," declared Marylia Kelley, Executive Director of Tri-Valley CAREs. "A major goal in filing the lawsuit was to prevent the Energy Department from hauling deadly plutonium across the country in unsafe, substandard containers. It looks like we have succeeded in that objective," Kelley continued.

Roberson said that her agency wants "to move forward, rather than engage in unnecessary and costly litigation from environmental groups. …

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