TDEC hides data on low-level radioactive waste from public

Excerpt from a Tennessean report:

Ten years ago, when Murfreesboro residents learned the state had approved the dumping of low-level radioactive waste at a local landfill, a fierce community backlash swiftly put an end to the practice.

Today, Tennessee citizens have no way to find out how much low-level radioactive waste is going into other landfills.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, or TDEC, has wiped that data from its website and said it is confidential.

Asked why, TDEC spokesman Eric Ward cited a ten-year-old state law the agency has just begun referencing to deny information.

TDEC’s withholding of information which has, for years, been open to the public comes at the same time that companies in Tennessee have filed notice they plan to import up to 10,000 metric tons – or more than 22 million pounds – of low-level nuclear waste from Canada for processing.

… The 2007 state law TDEC now relies on to deny information about low-level radioactive waste cites the Atomic Energy Act and an agreement with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on what information to keep confidential.

However, NRC spokesman David McIntyre said he knows of no law or rule that makes confidential the location and quantity of waste and said: “I don’t know why it would be.”

The NRC provides similar data concerning activities at the four federal low-level radioactive waste landfills it regulates to the public.

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