If you had a choice to purchase eyeglasses or a stainless steel water bottle that was either radioactive, albeit only slightly, or not, which would you choose? You would almost certainly choose the non-radioactive product, as it is well- known that no amount of radiation exposure is “safe.”
Yet the U.S. government – specifically the Department of Energy (DOE) – has released a proposal that would allow nearly 14,000 tons of radioactive waste to be recycled for use in consumer goods.
There is currently a suspension in place that restricts the release of scrap metal originating from radiological areas at U.S. DOE facilities (such as research laboratories or nuclear weapons facilities) for the purpose of recycling.
This suspension, which has been in place since 2000, is there for obvious reasons – it was imposed because of public concerns about the potential health and environmental effects of radioactive metals coming from these sites.
Now the DOE has issued a proposal to modify the suspension to allow scrap metals to be released to private industry to be used for any purpose, including recycling.