February 5, 1998

Christine Todd Whitman
Governor of the State of New Jersey
State House
P. O. Box 001
Trenton, New Jersey 08625

Dear Governor Whitman:

The Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility Siting Board voted today to suspend the current siting process.

The Siting Board continues to believe that a disposal facility for low-level radioactive waste would provide a safe, light industrial addition to New Jersey’s economic base. The Board also believes that the voluntary siting process it adopted in 1995 has made progress and would eventually lead one or more municipalities in the state to choose to host the facility. However, the continued, though unpredictable, availability of out-of-state disposal combined with the admirable and dramatic reductions in volume of low-level radioactive waste that New Jersey generators have accomplished have created a situation in which a disposal facility in New Jersey does not appear needed at this time. In addition, the development of a disposal facility in New Jersey may not be economically feasible in light of current out-of-state disposal options.

The Board believes that its remaining responsibilities for waste management and monitoring, and education, can best be carried out if it continues to operate as a quasi-independent agency with a reduced staff. The Board will now plan the steps necessary to ensure that these functions are maintained. This will require reconsideration of the budget already adopted for FY 1999 and attention to the unspent funds paid by waste generators to finance the siting process. In addition, the Board plans to prepare a detailed record of its experience working to site a disposal facility so that the State can be prepared to quickly restart a siting process if one is needed at some point in the future.

As we proceed to effect this major change, we will seek input from representatives of institutions generating low-level radioactive waste and from the general public. We would also welcome suggestions and assistance from members of your staff.

In closing, we want to stress that the problem the Board was created to address has not been solved; New Jersey’s utilities, industries, hospitals, research labs and universities do not have a secure long-term disposal option for the low-level radioactive waste they generate. While this is not a current crisis, it does require continued attention and vigilance.

 

Sincerely,

Paul E. Wyszkowski, P.E.


department: njdep home | about dep | index by topic | programs/units | dep online
statewide: njhome | my new jersey | people | business | government | departments | search

Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2004
Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402