Fernald Radioactive Cleanup

Contractor begins critical step in Fernald site cleanup

The company handling a four billion-dollar cleanup of radioactive wastes at the former Fernald uranium processing plant has begun a critical step in the process. Fluor Fernald yesterday began pumping waste from a 50-year-old concrete silo into steel holding tanks. Company and union officials at the one-thousand-50-acre site near Cincinnati say it's an important step toward trying to complete the cleanup of Fernald site by 2006. The cleanup is costing taxpayers 320 million dollars a year.

Officials said there were some initial problems last week with hose connections and valves, but that the waste transfer is proceeding now. They said it could take four months to remove a total of nine-thousand cubic yards of the radioactive wastes from two concrete silos. If federal officials can resolve a dispute with Nevada, the wastes are to be encased in concrete to be trucked to the Nevada desert for permanent disposal.