Menendez, Lautenberg Urge Public Meetings On Radioactive Dump

Menendez, Lautenberg Urge Public Meetings On Radioactive Dump

Lawmakers stress importance of listening to New Jersey families

Washington - In a letter to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) urged the NRC to hold a public meeting to discuss the decommissioning of the Shieldalloy Metallurgical Corporation site in Newfield. The South Jersey specialty metal manufacturer, which is moving to Brazil, accumulated a large pile of low-level radioactive waste during its operations at Newfield, and is seeking NRC permission to cover that pile with soil and fence it off for one thousand years.

The citizens of New Jersey deserve to be well-informed and have a say about whats happening in their backyard, said Menendez. Many have spoken up about their apprehensions, and it is our responsibility to give them a forum to further voice these concerns. New Jersey families should not be kept in the dark about an issue so vitally important to our communities.

The people of Newfield and surrounding towns have the right to enjoy their communities without being worried about exposure to radioactive waste, Lautenberg said. I dont know anyone that would want to live near New Jerseys first radioactive dump and we shouldnt expect the people of Gloucester County to.

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The full text of the letter to Chairman Klein follows:

The Honorable Dale E. Klein
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

Dear Chairman Klein,

We are writing to ask you to hold a public meeting on the decommissioning of the Shieldalloy Metallurgical Corporation (SMC) site in Newfield, New Jersey. In the past year, we have been contacted by a number of our constituents, including state and local officials, with concerns about the proposed decommissioning plan, and recent stories in the press have highlighted those concerns. In light of this, we believe the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) should host a public meeting to hear these concerns in advance of the acceptance of any decommissioning plan.

The health and safety of New Jerseys residents are our top priorities, and it is our expectation that the NRC will share those priorities when addressing the closure of the SMC site. The recent news reports indicate that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection does not believe that the proposed plan, to cap the existing slag pile and monitor it for 1,000 years, is appropriately protective of the health of local residents and the well-being of the state of New Jersey. The stories also report on the opposition of Newfield Borough, Franklin and Vineland Townships, and Gloucester County to the plan. We believe it is in the best interests of all involved for the NRC to convene a forum where the plan can be explained and objections can be heard, and that this should happen prior to the start of the official NEPA review process.

We look forward to working with you on this important issue.

U.S. Senators