US Gov’t: EPA specifically allows radioactive waste to be dumped in salt caverns — Exempted from hazardous waste requirements

Published: August 13th, 2012 at 12:19 pm ET
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Title: Giant Sinkhole May Be Radioactive
Source: Courthouse News Service
Author: SABRINA CANFIELD
Date: August 13, 2012

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A U.S. Department of Energy document on storage of naturally occurring radioactive material in salt caverns states that oil field wastes – but not other industrial wastes – are exempted from the hazardous waste requirements of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

According to that document, “Disposal of NORM [naturally occurring radioactive material]-Contaminated Oil Field Wastes in Salt Caverns”: “On July 6, 1988, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a regulatory determination that exempted any wastes arising from the exploration, development, and production of crude oil, natural gas, and geothermal energy from regulation as hazardous wastes under RCRA Subtitle C (53 FR 25477). … Given the federal exemption from RCRA for oil field wastes, the waste management requirements faced by most operators will be state requirements.”

The document, which was released in 1998, states that Louisiana law prohibited storage of naturally occurring radioactive waste in salt caverns, and that the law would have to be amended before storage would be possible.

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Published: August 13th, 2012 at 12:19 pm ET
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