Scrap Recyclers' Recommendation Included in National Academy of Sciences' Radioactive Scrap Report

Washington, DC - The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released a report in March recommending that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) maintain its current approach to not releasing radioactive scrap until a meaningful dialogue with the appropriate relevant stakeholders is established to evaluate alternative approaches. The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) had submitted comments to NRC in 1999 and 2000, in which the association strongly advocated the creation of a task force comprising affected stakeholders to analyze the issue of radioactivity in scrap metal and, then, determine under what conditions, if any, the materials should be released.

The NAS report recommends that the NRC not change the current approach to clearance decisions. Instead, it recommended that the NRC, "undertake with deliberate speed a detailed and thorough analysis and evaluation decision process of various alternative approaches- with a broad range of stakeholder involvement."

In ISRI's comments to the NRC, the association described just such a task force, the goal of which would be "to report to the Commission on the criteria for the acceptable release, recycling, and reuse of solid material from licensed facilities. This would be achieved through clarification of the critical issues, a review of all of the facts, and a dialogue between stakeholders with the goal of achieving a consensus on acceptable release, recycling, and reuse criteria."

"ISRI is confident that such a process can succeed based on our participation in a similar effort," said Robin K. Wiener, ISRI president.

For the past two years, ISRI has been the U.S. representative to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe's Team of Specialists on Radioactive Contaminated Metal Scrap. ISRI joined expert stakeholders from other countries to produce the UNEC's recently completed work, "Report on the Improvement of the Management of Radiation Protection in the Recycling of Metal Scrap." The report presented recommendations to modify legislation and proposed codes of practice and conduct related to the release of recyclable material from regulated nuclear industries. These recommendations, when implemented, will allow the recycling industry to make informed decisions on the acceptance of such recyclable material with the goal of maintaining consumer confidence.

"We strongly encourage the NRC to implement the stakeholder advisory process outlined in the NAS report and we look forward to providing our experience and expertise in such a process," said Wiener.