NMED secretary re-elected to board

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By Special to the Monitor

SANTA FE —  The Rocky Mountain Low Level Radioactive Waste Board re-elected New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ron Curry as chairman of the board recently at a meeting in New Mexico.

The board, which is an interstate government agency, administers a compact that provides for the disposal of low level radioactive waste produced within the member states of New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado.

“I’m honored to continue serving as chairman of the board position considering important decisions regarding low level waste that the board will hear,” said New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ron Curry. “The board held a hearing in Los Alamos recently to determine whether it will regulate depleted uranium being shipped to the proposed International Isotopes facility from outside the region.”

The board heard a presentation at its meeting April 13 in Los Alamos, concerning International Isotopes Inc.’s proposed depleted uranium de-conversion and fluorine extraction processing facility near Hobbs in Lea County.

The company contends depleted uranium shipped to the facility from outside the region should not be treated as low-level waste that the board would regulate. International Isotopes has said the depleted uranium is not waste because the company will extract fluorine and manufacture several chemical products from it that the company will sell. International Isotopes expects to receive depleted uranium from other proposed enrichment  facilities, in addition to Louisiana Energy Services.

The board will issue a draft order concerning the matter that will be discussed at its next meeting. Depleted uranium received from International Isotopes by Louisiana Energy Services in Eunice, N.M. will not be treated as a regulated waste by the board because it will be generated from within the region.

The board is responsible for deciding if low-level waste from outside the three-state compact region can be

imported into the region for processing or disposal.

The board also has authority to require that any waste generated in the region that is not eligible for disposal in that area is properly exported. The board re-elected Secretary Curry as chairman at the Los Alamos meeting.

The compact, which was created by legislation passed by member states of Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, is authorized by federal and state laws. The compact is an independent regulatory organization that is not an agency of any of its member states.

The board consists of one member appointed by the governor of each member state. Gov.Richardson appointed

Curry to the board in 2003. Curry has been chairman since 2007.

The compact regulates certain aspects of low-level radioactive waste management. The compact has jurisdiction over Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) and Technologically-Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (TENORM). For more information, visit www. www.rmllwb.us.