Peggy Vlerebome / Madison Courier – 2005-02-12 09:31:03
(February 3, 2005) — Radioactive depleted uranium that the Army left behind at Jefferson Proving Ground won’t be discussed anymore by the JPG Restoration Advisory Board (RAB).
The reason is that DU never should have been a topic for the board because it doesn’t fit into the federal government’s definition of what can be addressed by restoration advisory boards at closed military bases, board co-chairman Paul Cloud told board members last night.
“The RAB should not become a sounding board for non-restoration environmental issues or other community concerns,” Cloud read from the guidelines for restoration advisory boards.
Depleted uranium has been a major topic at the JPG board’s quarterly meetings. The area at the former munitions testing site that is contaminated with DU is fenced off, and the Army says it can never remove the depleted uranium because the same area contains tons of unexploded ordnance, making removal too dangerous.
Cloud is the Army’s environmental coordinator at JPG and represents the Army at the restoration advisory board meetings. Co-chairman Richard Hill, who represents the community, said he had begun coming to the same conclusion after reading proposed updated rules published in the Federal Register.
The new rules are largely unchanged from when the RAB was set up more than a decade ago, Hill said, but he didn’t realize until recently that DU was beyond the authority of the advisory board.
Depleted uranium at JPG and how to deal with it is an issue between the Army and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Cloud said. The Army has a license from the NRC and is proposing to amend it.
The regulatory commission has said it intends to have local public meetings as part of its review of the Army’s license amendment.
Information and documents at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are available online at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.htm.