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DER RECEIVES SECOND REPORT ON LOW-LEVEL WASTE SITING

 HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The Department of Environmental Resources (DER) today received from Chem-Nuclear Systems Inc. a report that eliminates 46 percent of the state -- more than 13-million acres -- from consideration as potential sites for a federally mandated, low-level radioactive waste disposal facility.
 The report is the second of three comprehensive disqualification studies conducted by Chem-Nuclear to comply with state laws that strictly regulate the siting, development, operation and long-term care of a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility.
 "Pennsylvania's low-level radioactive waste program is the most stringent and thorough of any program in the country to protect public health and safety and the environment," said William P. Dornsife, Director of DER's Bureau of Radiation Protection.
 DER oversees the work of Chem-Nuclear Systems Inc. of Columbia, S.C., chosen by the agency in 1990 to site, build and operate an above- ground disposal facility as required by state law.
 Chem-Nuclear has developed a three-stage screening process using state laws and regulations that specify "disqualifying" criteria which automatically eliminate areas as potential sites.
 During stage two of this process, the company screened regional and county information across the state, eliminating as potential disposal sites all areas with active faults; limestone areas; coastal flood plains; wildlife areas such as national forests, wildlife refuges and scenic river systems; state forests and gamelands; exceptional value watersheds; oil and gas well fields and storage areas; coal mines; and protected areas such as all national, state and county parks, historic sites and national landmarks.
 The stage-two report also represents a refinement of area boundaries eliminated in the stage-one screening process. The first report, issued in November 1991, eliminated 23 percent of the state from consideration as potential sites. The stage-three report will be compiled from local information, further refining data collected from national, state and regional sources.
 "At this point, there is no specific location that can be considered as a potential site for the facility," said Dr. Walter E. Newcomb, Chem- Nuclear vice president and project manager. "Now that the second report is complete, Chem-Nuclear will continue with a site selection process required by law that is technically sound, fair and open."
 As it did after the first report, Chem-Nuclear has scheduled a series of public meetings across the state to give all Pennsylvanians the opportunity to view maps and obtain project information. The meetings also will include workshops at which citizens can offer their own suggestions and information about the siting process.
 The meetings are scheduled for Harrisburg, Feb. 16; Wilkes-Barre, Feb. 23; Williamsport, Feb. 25; King of Prussia, March 2; Greensburg, March 11; Altoona, March 15; and Meadville, March 23.
 Chem-Nuclear will hold additional public meetings after the emaining disqualification stage is completed. Following evaluation of remaining areas, the firm then will submit three potentially suitable sites to the state Environmental Quality Board (EQB) for review.
 The EQB will hold a series of public meetings and hearings and review the sites' qualifications before approving the three sties for more detailed analysis by the firm.
 Once a final site is identified by the firm, Chem-Nuclear will submit an application to DER for approval to construct and operate the facility.
 The disposal facility, to be located on a 500-acre site, will accept glassware, filters, paper and other solid wastes that have been contaminated with low levels of radioactive materials. The waste is commonly generated by nuclear power plants, hospitals, medical and university research institutions and industry.
 Pennsylvania's low-level radioactive waste disposal facility will not accept fuel rods from nuclear power plants or highly radioactive wastes from weapons production.
 The federal Low-Level Radioactive Waste Act of 1980 mandated states to take responsibility for ensuring the safe disposal of waste generated within their borders and encouraged the formation of regional compacts to develop shared facilities.
 Pennsylvania selected the regional approach and joined Delaware, Maryland and West Virginia to form the Appalachian States Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact. The construction of the shared facility will allow the compact to exclude waste from outside the four-state region.
 Pennsylvania agreed to host the disposal facility because it generates more than 75 percent of the waste in the region.
 /delval/
 -0- 2/4/93
 /CONTACT: Pam DiSalvo of the DER, 717-787-1323/


CO: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources; Chem-Nuclear
 Systems Inc. ST: Pennsylvania, South Carolina IN: SU:


MJ -- PH017 -- 2949 02/04/93 11:52 EST
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Date:Feb 4, 1993
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