Smoldering garbage in a landfill could be creeping closer to an area where old nuclear weapons materials are buried, the Wall Street Journal reports.
A Missouri Natural Resources Department consultant warned in June that subterranean temperature data collected at the West Lake municipal dumping grounds in Bridgeton, Mo., indicated that slowly burning trash could be creeping closer to one section of the landfill where thousands of tons of uranium-contaminated waste is located, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
However, a spokesman for the owner of the landfill, Republic Services, said there are now signs that the smoldering is getting further away from the radioactive waste. In the event that the burning trash's high temperature did touch the nuclear material, scientific evidence "strongly indicates" that it would not represent a danger to public safety, the spokesman said.
An Environmental Protection Agency report issued in recent months said that were the radioactive waste heated enough, it could lead to the release of higher levels of radioactive radon in the air.
The radioactive waste was created by Mallinckrodt Chemical Works Uranium Division in St. Louis as part of the U.S. nuclear arms program. The waste was illegally dumped at the landfill in 1973, according to the Institute for Policy Studies.
This article was published in Global Security Newswire, which is produced independently by National Journal Group under contract with the Nuclear Threat Initiative. NTI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group working to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.