(Illustration courtesy of Google Maps)
Murfreesboro citizens finally get some answers and a chance to comment on the low-level radioactive waste dumped at Middle Point landfill in a Tuesday, July 17, public meeting.
Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation will attempt to assure the public to the safety of low-level radioactive waste and Middle Point landfill at this and several meetings held in Nashville.
The Murfreesboro meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Fleming Training Center located at 2022 Blanton Drive. A video presentation will be given at 5:30 and 6 o’clock, which will be followed by an open public comment period beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Oral comments will be recorded, written comments should be mailed to Joyce Dunlap at TN Department of Environment and Conservation 8th Floor, L&C Tower 401 Church Street Nashville, TN 37243 or e-mailed to Joyce.Dunlap@state.tn.us.
TDEC and the State Municipal Solid Waste Advisory Committee are charged with evaluating the Bulk Survey for Release program at Middle Point landfill by legislation passed last month that placed a moratorium on the program at Middle Point.
BSFR is a state-sanctioned program that allows dumping low-level radioactive waste in Class I commercial landfills.
After the revelation of the BSFR program, the General Assembly passed a 60-day moratorium.
The suspension allows for a study of the safety of the program and possible health and environmental impacts of low-level radioactive waste in Middle Point.
The July 5 meeting was held to introduce SWAC members to the program and effects of radiation on health and the environment.
At the committee meeting, TDEC officials told the audience the program is safe for the public and environment.
“It was an excellent presentation. A lot more information, detailed information, than I had gained through any other sources,” Tennessee State Representative Donna Rowland said.
Kathleen Ferris of Citizens to End Nuclear Dumping in Tennessee was not as convinced as Rowland.
“I think it’s a horse and pony show,” said Ferris, organizer of the grassroots group. “What they’re doing is simply giving the conclusion to these people who are going to make the decision. … They’re not giving objective, scientific expertise.”
TDEC representatives gave a far-reaching overview of the BSFR program, its history and the possible health and environmental effects of low-level radioactive waste.
Glen Pugh from Solid Waste Management described bulk survey waste as special waste and explained the special waste disposal process.
He also said special waste only constitutes 0.13 percent of the total waste in Middle Point, one of five landfills in the state authorized to accept such waste.
Eddie Nanney, director of the Division of Radiological Health (DRH), gave a brief history of the program, urged the public to use “common sense” when thinking of the BSFR and described the radiation level as “negligible.”
Roger Fenner then attempted to place radiation levels into perspective.
TDEC limits radiation exposure through this program to one millirem per year, as compared to 25 per year by the Nuclear Regulatory committee, Fenner explained.
One millirem is 10 times less radiation than a dental x-ray and has the cancer-causing effect equivalent to smoking 1.4 cigarettes, he explained.
He also said that an individual is exposed to one millirem of radiation in one year by watching television.
However, his efforts did not win over Pat Sanders of ENDIT.
Video of the July 5 meeting can be found at www.state.tn.us/environment/rad/bsfr/.