February 5, 1998
Christine Todd Whitman
Governor of the State of New Jersey
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 Jerseys 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
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 Jerseys 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.
Paul E. Wyszkowski, P.E.