AVERLY, Ohio — The Pike County Health Department is calling on the US Department of Energy to suspend all activities related to the construction of a nuclear waste disposal facility. That comes after they found traces of “a known carcinogen” at an air monitoring station on the grounds of Zahn’s Corner Middle School.
The health district is holding a forum Saturday to address information recently found concerning the Gaseous Diffusion Plant near Piketon.
Matt Brewster, Health Commissioner, said the DOE found traces of Neptunium, a radioactive isotope. It is a known carcinogen. It is only found in plutonium production involved in the enrichment of uranium,” said Brewster. “Whenever we get concerned parents calling, we have got to figure out what is going on.They’re concerned. You hear a transuranic , a carcinogen in a radioactive substance. People aren’t sure what to think.”
He wants them to stop moving dirt and suspend any activities currently underway at the disposal facility until they can figure it out.
“DOE has been dozing for the on site waste disposal cell for two years. Moving tons and tons of dirt. What happens when you move dirt, you have got dust, so you have Neptunium already there, dust contaminated with Neptunium is now leaving the site and it reaches the air monitor at the school,” Brewster said. “Until the contamination is understood, and the potential impacts to health and environment, stop what you are doing and let’s figure it out and then get a plan going forward.”
The Department of Energy is continuing cleanup work on the 3,000-acre Gaseous Diffusion Plant campus. It closed in 2001. Now the Feds want to make it a nuclear waste storage facility and are facing opposition.
“When you talk nuclear, when you think of radioactivity, right away the fear escalates,” said Hedden.”The biggest concern is the future generations.”
The health department has scheduled a forum for 1:00 p.m. on Saturday at 116 South Market Street in Waverly.
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