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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) voted today to declare that depleted uranium (DU) from enrichment plants is a Class A low-level radioactive waste – the least dangerous kind that supposedly consists mainly of short-lived radionuclides. In 2005, the NRC had concluded that large amounts of DU were not covered by its existing low-level waste rule and directed its staff to develop recommendations regarding DU classification. The Commission’s action also opens the door to classification of other dangerous radioactive wastes in the least hazardous category – Class A. Commissioner Jaczko dissented and voted in favor of a rulemaking process to determine the classification of DU within the existing low-level waste framework. “With the exception of Commissioner Jaczko’s vote, the NRC today bypassed scientific integrity, its own prior analysis in a draft low-level waste environmental impact statement, and the simple facts about the characteristics of depleted uranium,” said Dr. Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER), who has studied the issue of depleted uranium disposal and testified in NRC enrichment plant licensing proceedings. “This will make DU disposal cheap for the enrichment companies. The NRC seems eager to please the burgeoning uranium enrichment industry, but it has compromised sound science and public health protection of future generations.” “The Commission has done a real disservice to the public with this decision,” said Dr. Makhijani. “President Obama has said his administration would respect good science. With the exception of the courageous vote of Commissioner Jaczko, who voted for a process that would respect the scientific and regulatory processes, the NRC majority flouted that commitment.”