Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Sequoyah Deemed Capable by NRC of Restarting Plant

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Sequoyah Deemed Capable by NRC of Restarting Plant

Article excerpt

GORE, Okla. _ Sequoyah Fuels Corp. is capable of meeting Nuclear Regulatory Commission requirements to restart operations at its uranium processing plant, the chairman of the federal agency said Monday.

Ivan Selin, appointed head of the NRC in July, toured the plant Monday and met with managers, who he said seemed interested and committed to running a "first-rate" plant.

Sequoyah Fuels has been shut down since an Oct. 3 order from the NRC dealing with safety concerns.

"There is no reason the plant should not be reopened," Selin said.

"Nothing the staff has called on the licensee to do is outside the capability of the licensee to deliver if they put the resources and management into doing it."

But he said it was unlikely he would recommend anything. Selin said the NRC staff issued the Oct. 3 "work-stop" order and it will be responsible for deciding the plant's immediate fate. The NRC staff is scheduled to make a recommendation March 17 at NRC headquarters in Rockville, Md.

Selin also revealed that the NRC is investigating recent allegations, reportedly involving management, but declined to elaborate.

"We want to have a good look at the investigation to see if there are any show-stoppers, any critical issues that have to be addressed," Selin said.

He said the allegations would be disclosed only if they are found to have merit.

Sequoyah Fuels is also in the midst of renewing its NRC license, but Selin said that process would begin well after a decision on whether operation under the current license can restart.

Selin declined to answer some questions from a few people who complained about health problems caused by the plant and how soon Sequoyah Fuels must clear contaminated soil and ground water from the 18-acre complex.

At one point the questions dealt with nuclear power plants in upstate New York and whether taxpayers would have to pay for the cleanup. …

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