Meeting set Tuesday on NFS mixed-waste permit

By Kathy Helms-Hughes

   A public meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Large Courtroom of the Unicoi County Courthouse, 100 N. Main, Erwin, to receive comments on a proposal by Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to reissue a mixed waste storage and treatment permit to Nuclear Fuel Services Inc. of Erwin.
   The Mixed Hazardous Waste Container Storage and Tank Storage and Treatment permit also includes conditions for corrective action of Solid Waste Management Units and Area of Concerns at the facility.
   TDEC's Division of Solid Waste Management officials will explain the proposal after which NFS officials will describe the proposed scope of the permit renewal, followed by oral comments from the public. The public also will have the opportunity to tape or write their comments from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
   According to TDEC, NFS first was issued a mixed hazardous waste storage and treatment permit in March 1991. The permit was due to expire March 28, 2001, however, NFS submitted a permit renewal application six months prior to expiration.
   Mixed waste -- a combination of radioactive waste and hazardous waste -- is jointly regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or Agreement States and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Commercial generators such as NFS have no option but to store those wastes for which treatment technology is not available. Certain types of mixed wastes, however, are sent to Envirocare in Clive, Utah, for disposal.
   According to the NFS application, the company will not store or treat any types of mixed wastes different from those already generated or stored at the facility. The company also is not seeking any increase in capacity, according to TDEC.
   NFS is permitted to store a maximum of 28,276 gallons of mixed waste in the Building 310 Warehouse and 5,453 gallons in the Building 304 West End storage area. NFS is allowed to shred mercury contaminated material and treat up to 3,675 gallons per day of mercury mixed waste in Building 304.
   The draft permit also includes conditions for continuing cleanup of portions of the facility no longer in use. Operations include removal of contaminated soils, sediments, debris, and disassembly of equipment and buildings as well as management of contaminated groundwater.
   A copy of the draft permit and fact sheet is available for review at the Johnson City Environmental Assistance Center, 2305 Silverdale Road; the Unicoi County Public Library, 201 Nolichucky Ave., Erwin; and at the Johnson City Public Library, 100 West Millard St.
   Written comments may be submitted to: Ms. Dilraj Mokha, Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Section; Division of Solid Waste Management; Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation; 5th Floor, L&C Tower; 401 Church Street; Nashville, TN 37243-1535; or e-mail to: Comments must be received by 4:30 p.m. Sept. 16.