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AISI rejects radioactive scrap recycling plan

United States – Thomas J. Gibson, president and ceo of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), has slammed plans put forward recently by the US Department of Energy to allow the recycling of radioactive scrap metal. He insists: ‘Scrap metal that is potentially contaminated by radiation should not be released into the general stream of commerce – period.’He continues: ‘The Department of Energy has a long-standing policy against selling contaminated metal from nuclear facilities – a policy arrived at through a lengthy, collaborative, inter-agency and public process. Why would the Department risk radioactive contamination in our food cans, or building beams or car parts?’ Given the major safety and economic issues at stake, the current policy should ‘remain in place’, he argues.
According to Gibson, the North American steel industry recycles ‘almost every bit of scrap we produce’. Therefore, letting radioactive material into the marketplace ‘is not only dangerous, but economically unnecessary’. Noting that the overall steel recycling rate in the USA has reached an all-time high of 92%, he asserts that more steel is recycled each year than aluminium, copper, paper, glass and plastics combined.
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