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FSU to remove low-level radioactive waste from Apalachicola National Forest

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Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 11:10 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Florida State University officials say they will begin removing small amounts of low-level radioactive lab waste from storage sites in the Apalachicola National Forest and Innovation Park.

Between 1958 and 1979, FSU stored waste from university laboratories conducting research with the United States Atomic Energy Commission at those sites, according to the press release.

“Small amounts of radioactive-contaminated solids and contained liquids have been safely stored at these sites for more than four decades and have posed no danger to local residents or plant and animal species,” the release says.

FSU says state and federal agencies were aware of the waste at both sites, and the proper licenses and permits were issued in compliance with legal and safety standards.

“The university is working with environmental experts and regulatory agencies to address two historical waste management sites,” Vice President for Research Gary K. Ostrander says. “Based on investigations and monitoring performed over the years, there has been no human exposure or elevated risks to human or ecosystem health associated with site conditions. However, in an abundance of caution and to eliminate any future concerns, FSU will remove the waste.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Florida Department of Health and Florida Department of Environmental Protection will help FSU develop and execute the removal plans.

FSU says it will relocate the waste to a modern, regulated facility in another state.

The site in what is now Innovation Park operated from 1958 to 1964, the release says. It is 8 feet underground and measures 25 feet by 25 feet, FSU says.

The site in the Apalachicola Forest is about 20 miles southwest of Tallahassee in a remote area. The USDA granted a special permit to FSU in 1966, allowing the university to get rid of the waste from labs in the Apalachicola Forest, the release says. The site was closed in 1979.

For more information on the removal process, follow this link.

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