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4Tho Daily Tar HedFriday, September 9, 1938
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Dy ERIC GRIBD1N
Two companies have submitted
bids to build a controversial low-level .
radioactive waste disposal facility in
North Carolina, although a site has
not been chosen fpr a facility, officials
Chem-Nuclear of Columbia, S.C.,
and Westinghouse Electric Corpora
tion of Pittsburgh submitted their
bids last week for the facility to serve
the eight-state Southeast Compact
Commission, and one of them will
be chosen in January 1989, said
Chrystal Stowe, director of public
information for the N.C. Low-level
Radioactive Waste Authority.
The estimated cost for the facility
is between $41 and $44 million, but
the final cost cannot be determined
until a contractor is chosen, Stowe
"No site for the plant has been
selected yet," she said. "We're in the
first phase right now. This is the first
screening of the state to eliminate sites
for geological reasons. Every area of
the state will be screened by
Following this initial screening, the
authority will take a closer look at
the remaining sites in a one-year
process to be completed by August
1990, Stowe said.
The N.C. site will open in 1993,
replacing Chem-Nuclear's Barnwell,
S.C., site, which closes in 1992, Stowe
The new facility will not be a
landfill like the Barnwell facility,
Stowe said. "Landfills have had
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problems with leakage. There will be
additional barriers to leaking. One of
the greatest dangers with any kind
of disposal is water, which can take
the waste from the site and carry it
away from the site.
"Low-level radioactive waste
includes everything from rubber
boots and gloves worn by technicians
who work with radioactive materials,
'it could be paper, clothing or used
parts from nuclear plants," she said.
Chem-Nuclear proposed to build
the facility according to the
engineered-barrier (design, said Jan
Dargan, the company's public infor
The waste will be disposed in
concrete," he said. "All low-level
waste is dry. It will go into a concrete
canister, which will be placed into an
above-ground concrete vault. A
layered cap of earth will be placed
on top of each vault.
"We are currently operating a
disposal site at Barnwell, and we want
to continue to serve the customers of
the Southeast," Dargan said. "We
take about 60 percent of the country's
low-level waste. Barnwell is a
I T a 1
WERE FIGHTING FOR
shallow-land disposal site. The waste.;
is put into clay. It takes about 900,000
cubic feet, of waste per year. The
North Carolina site will take about
half of that. The amount of overall
waste has reduced in recent years."
Chem-Nuclear proposed to finance
the site by imposing an additional
charge per cubic foot of waste on its
Southeast Compact- customers
between 1989 and 1992, Dargan said.
Westinghouse also would use an
engineered-barrier site, said Tom
Zidow, the company's manager of.
low level compacts.
"The type of site they have at .
Barnwell is not permitted in North
Carolina," he said. "Basically, the law
does not permit the waste form to
contact the earth. There must be a
barrier between the waste and the
"There are a lot of approaches to
barriers. We have proposed a system
that would fit with the geology of the
The facility type; either above
ground, partly above, or below, will
be selected by the authority, Zidow
"Westinghouse has been in the
nuclear business for 50 years," Zidow
said. "We want to be able to be sure
that waste disposal is done safely in
the future. We are the most expe
rienced company with low-level
radioactive waste in the country."
It doesn't matter to Westinghouse
how the facility is paid for, Zidow
said. "It is assumed that the authority
will pay for the first part. The most
economical way would be for the
generators (of the waste) themselves
to assist in the payment," he said.
MARK HARMON . inniP FOcjtpr
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