SRS not chosen as DOE facility

A Texas site was formally recommended this week as the permanent home for thousands of tons of unwanted mercury that could have ended up at Savannah River Site, according to a final Environmental Impact Statement issued by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The Waste Control Specialists LLC property near Andrews, Texas, was among six potential sites for the mercury-storage repository.

Other sites evaluated, in addition to SRS, were in Colorado, Washington, Nevada and Missouri.

The storage facility, which is scheduled to open by Jan. 1, 2013, is being created to comply with a 2008 law known as the Mercury Export Ban.

It is designed to prevent the toxic material from being sent overseas, where it could be reused through industrial processes that contaminate the environment.

The facility would eventually store 7,500 to 10,000 metric tons of mercury from nongovernmental sources over a 40-year period, along with large amounts of mercury already stored in government facilities.

Much of the mercury in the U.S. comes from chlorine manufacturing. Mercury is also reclaimed through waste recycling and as a byproduct of gold mining.

The Energy Department expects to issue a final record of decision later this year.

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