Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Mound project transfer questioned

Union says group lacks experience

The Associated Press

        DAYTON — A union questions whether a community development group has the experience to take over the cleanup of the former Mound nuclear weapons plant.

        “Our No. 1 concern is the health and safety of our workers,” Mike Gibson, vice president of Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical & Energy Workers Local 5-4200, said Tuesday.

        The union represents workers who are cleaning up radioactive and hazardous waste at the plant in Miamisburg, about 10 miles south of Dayton. The plant formerly made triggers for nuclear weapons.

        The Miamisburg Mound Community Improvement Corp., which is turning the site into a business park, wants to take over cleanup from the U.S. Department of Energy. The DOE plans to finish the cleanup by 2006, but the development group fears that federal budget cuts could delay the work and slow development of the site.

        “My biggest concern about the proposal is what experience MMCIC can bring to the table to manage such a complicated nuclear cleanup,” Mr. Gibson said. ”

        Mr. Gibson also said the workers and environment must be monitored for exposure to radiation, and radioactive waste must be safely packaged and shipped.

        He acknowledged that one concern is the possible loss of jobs. Most of the 600 workers are involved in the cleanup.

        The development group's president, Michael Grauwelman, said the proposal is designed to accelerate the work by devoting more money to the actual cleanup. Although the funds still would come from the Energy Department budget, the development group could spend less money on administrative costs, he said.

        Mr. Grauwelman said the group would hire a private contractor. He said cleanup standards would remain the same and that the cleanup would be monitored by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Department of Health.


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