Burial Ceremony At US Ecology's Richland Site Marks the Safe End of Life for Trojan Reactor Vessel; Permanent Disposal of Full-Scale Commercial Reactor Vessel Under Way.
The mothballed reactor vessel from Portland General Electric's Trojan Nuclear Power Station was given a proper burial today at a ceremony sponsored by the US Ecology unit of American Ecology Corp. (Nasdaq:ECOL).
"Innovation and can-do spirit made this project a success for Portland General Electric, American Ecology and the people of Washington," said Joe Nagel, president and chief operating officer of Boise, Idaho-based American Ecology.
Congressman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), who presided over the event, demonstrated his can-do spirit by waving a flag, signalling the start of final disposal operations for the Trojan reactor vessel.
American Ecology operates a 100-acre disposal facility for low-level radioactive material on state-leased land at the Hanford Reservation. The company serves private industry and numerous government agencies in 11 western states under the Low-Level Waste Policy Act.
The site is also eligible to receive Department of Energy waste, which is not governed by the Low-Level Waste Policy Act. Disposal of Energy Department material could generate future revenues of $180 million for the Hanford Area Economic Investment Fund, and $80 million to Benton County over the site's lifetime.
At current low-utilization rates, the facility is expected to have more than 40 million cubic feet of unused disposal capacity when the state's lease expires in 2063 -- enough to dispose of all the commercial low-level radioactive material generated in America from now until then.
Washington state and local communities receive approximately $2 million a year in fees from US Ecology's operations. In addition, the state collects funds to regulate US Ecology's site and to monitor it for a century after it is closed. In contrast, there are no state or local taxes paid on waste disposed at the federal facility, nor are any funds collected to close the site or manage it afterward.
The 1,000-ton Trojan reactor vessel is being disposed under a strict set of procedures and license conditions set by the Washington Department of Health.
The reactor vessel has been positioned in a disposal saddle within a special trench measuring 850 feet long by 150 feet wide by 45 feet deep. The vessel will be capped with desert soils and six inches of river rock over the next several weeks.
Though US Ecology's Richland disposal site for low-level radioactive material generators is located on the U.S. Department of Energy's Hanford Reservation, there is no connection between US Ecology's privately owned facility and the federal government's operations. Unlike the federal facilities, US Ecology's private facility is licensed and regulated by the state of Washington.
"The states of the Pacific Northwest have taken the lead in walking a responsible path of environmental management for commercial low-level radioactive material, and they're showing the way," Nagel said. "We invite Energy Department managers of the region to take advantage of our site, whose systems and environmental record are the best in the nation."
US Ecology's parent company, Boise-based American Ecology, provides processing, packaging, transportation, remediation and disposal services for generators of hazardous, non-hazardous and low-level radioactive waste at licensed facilities throughout the United States. The company has been delivering environmental solutions since 1952.