Committee votes to halt restart of `N reactor'

The government's plutonium-producing N reactor will remain shut down, if a decision by the Senate Armed Services Committee is upheld by the whole Congress. The committee voted in closed session Wednesday to place the Hanford, Wash., reactor on ``standby'' and scrap plans to restart it July 1.

The reactor, the US facility most like the one involved in the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, produces nearly a third of the nation's plutonium for nuclear weapons. It has been shut down since Jan. 7, pending safety improvements.

If Congress approves the ``standby'' status, the reactor would remain shut down but would not be dismantled, says Mark Goodin, an aide to Sen. Strom Thurmond (R) of South Carolina.

Mr. Goodin says the standby proposal was intended as a compromise between a restart and a permanent shutdown should it be ``in the interests of national security'' to restart the reactor.

The Energy Department issued a safety plan for the reactor in March, calling for improved emergency planning, mandatory employee drug screening, and reduction of radioactive discharges into the soil.

After the Soviet Union's Chernobyl accident last year, the price tag for improvements of this sort was estimated at $50 million.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK