uclear plant to reopen

Wednesday, September 4, 1991

Nuclear plant to reopen

Greenpeace and other environmentalists are staging protests in the US state of Colorado against plans to reopen the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons factory. The plant has been closed since November 1989 because of numerous leaks of radioactive waste.

The Department of Energy wants to restart weapons production even though the plant is not in compliance with 21 of its own safety, environmental and other regulations, and plutonium remains in the plant's air ducts.

In a recent suit brought by the Sierra Club, the state opposed an injunction to prevent the restart until Rocky Flats obtains required waste storage permits. The state took the position that Rocky Flats could come into compliance after the plant reopens.

The Sierra Club won a partial victory when the judge ruled that Rocky Flats was indeed in violation of the law. But instead of the immediate injunction sought by the Sierra Club, he gave the plant two years to obtain the required permits or face closure.

Meanwhile, at another nuclear facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, frogs hatched in a radioactive pond were reported to have escaped a containment area. Radioactive frogs were found up to a kilometre from the facility.

The Oak Ridge lab coordinator said the frogs were not radioactive on their skin, only within their bones. Therefore there was no danger from the frogs unless people ate them.

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