In a little noticed release in December, the Department of Energy revealed they are considering releasing tons of scrap metal to the public. Not a very big thing, unless you read the whole release, as the metal is going to come from nuclear waste sites!
Environmentalists began to howl the second they were able to get their hands on the report. How could the DOE even think about selling extra steel to unsuspecting buyers? What about the risk to consumers when those stockpiles reached the general public?
The DOE countered that it was only considering selling about 14,000 tons into a supply of millions of tons recycled each year. The department maintained the sale would generate between $10 and $40 million dollars each year that would go towards replacing structures in need of repair.
The DOE said that studies of the radioactive metal showed the amount of radiation was “insignificant” and the chance of the radiation harming anyone was very slim at best. They pointed out the amount of radiation an individual might get from contact with the metal was less than one would absorb on a cross country airline flight.
Some steel industry officials and activist groups aren’t buying it. They are worried that any radiation in American products couldn’t possible help the sales and competitors overseas would have a field day with the bad publicity. They believe the fallout would cost American Industry quite a bit more than the DOE could ever make putting the radioactive scrap metal into the nations steel inventory.
As usual the debate on this matter will probably be along party lines. The democrats will claim this type of sale could be harmful to women, children the elderly and anyone who might need some type of replacement surgery. The Republicans will take the position that if it is not used in the environment it is just another case of overreaction from the liberals and the lack of using the metal will cause the cost of government to go higher again!
Keep those stops tight.
Todd “Bubba” Horwitz