Radioactive Metal from Nuclear Weapons Facilities May End up in You...

If the Department of Energy gets its way you may up with eye glasses, pacemakers, zippers, braces and more made from our nuclear weapons complex.

How would you like radioactive metal from nuclear weapons facilities to be recycled for use in consumer goods like silverware, pots and pans, eye glasses, zippers, kid’s braces, and even pacemakers and artificial hip joints? If the U.S. Department of Energy gets its way (after a  public comment period ends Feb. 11), that is exactly what we can expect in our future.

DOE, the steward of the sprawling—and massively contaminated—American nuclear weapons complex, wants to lift a ban on recycling imposed in 2000. That action came in response to an earlier proposal to sell radioactive metal from DOE facilities to scrap metal recyclers. Once the contaminated metal is mixed into the scrap supply, it could be turned into virtually anything made with metal. [emphasis mine]

NIRS asks "Will the next zipper on your pants be radioactive?"

Image and description source Take action against DOE's radioactive metal "recycling" scheme!

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that doesn't sound like a good idea Ruth - Radioactive sunglasses - I think I'd pass on that

Anyway so far behind on the site - getting caught up has a petition to stop the scrap dump here.  Already signed it myself.  Avail yourself of it at your leisure.

Cool - will go to the petition site - thanks Loren.

No one questions that actual radioactive products are unacceptable, including the DOE. On the other hand it is absurd to permanently quarantine a big amount of recycled metal because a small (as in insignificant) amount of contaminated material may have gotten into it. The ultimate (and only meaningful) question is "what is the level in the final ingot"

Since radioactivity is quite easy to non destructively detect and quantify, even to levels far below legal and background values, testing at the ingot level provides better protection--since now inadvertent or criminal contamination would pass undetected (and actually DOES) into the final products.




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