Judge halts radioactive waste disposal in Gore

Posted at 12:20 PM, Feb 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-10 20:24:28-05

GORE -- A Sequoyah County district judge has granted the Cherokee Nation and the state of Oklahoma an emergency restraining order against Sequoyah Fuels Corporation to stop disposal of radioactive waste into the Arkansas and Illinois Rivers near Gore.

The two government agencies jointly filed for the order.

Friday, Cherokee Nation Natural Resources Secretary Sara Hill said the sovereign nation's priority was to protect the citizens of Gore from possible long-term effects of the waste.

Sequoyah Fuels Corporation opened its Gore plant in the 1970s and created fuel for nuclear reactors until 1993 when the plant was closed.

Since then, the decommissioning process has been underway, where the company is working to dispose of 11,000 tons of uranium-contaminated sludge.

Hill said the Cherokee Nation entered into a settlement with the corporation to dispose of the sludge at an off-site location.

Last week, the Sequoyah Fuels announced it was unable to find an off-site location and would begin disposing of the waste on-site.

Now the Cherokee Nation hopes with the restraining order, more options for off-site disposal and impact to surrounding communities can be further examined.

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