Smoldering Garbage Seen Edging Closer to Dumped Nuclear Waste

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Global Security Newswire Staff
July 25, 2014, 9:50 a.m.

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.

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