Zach Koppang | Shale Plays Media
In response to radioactive waste found illegally dumped in isolated areas of North Dakota, two environmental groups are requesting the immediate release of a preliminary draft of a study regarding the safety and handling of radioactive waste, according to a recent report by the Forum News Service.
The groups, Dakota Resource Council and the North Dakota Energy Industry Waste Coalition, have requested the public release of a study recently conducted by Argonne National Laboratories. The non-profit research laboratory is operated by the University of Chicago for the Department of Energy. The study was commissioned by the North Dakota Department of Health, an organization which the environmental groups accuse of acting with secrecy.
Athleen J. Bryan reports:
“Because there has been a continuous pattern of the fox guarding the hen house in the relationship between the state Health Department and the oil industry, it is critically important that state officials do not hide the findings of Argonne National Laboratories about acceptable levels of cancer causing radioactive waste,” waste coalition spokesman Darrell Dorgan said in a statement.
Dave Glatt, chief of the Environmental Health Section, said Thursday what Argonne had completed is a preliminary draft that has since undergone an internal review by health officials and will not be released to the public until changes are made.
While the environmental groups are urging the unpolished preliminary drafts of the study to be released immediately, Glatt assures that they will receive the final document as well as the working draft when they are complete. Last year the state health department had planned for a study of radioactive waste to be paid for by the North Dakota Petroleum Council, which was considered to be a conflict of interests. Instead, the health department contracted the study to be completed by Argonne.
Currently, North Dakota doesn’t allow filter socks, which are commonly found to have low levels of radiation, to be disposed of within the state. However, illegal dumping has caused state officials to come up with rules that will track the use of the filter socks used in the fracturing process.