Convicted businessman takes nuclear waste from BNFL

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The Independent Online

BNFL is shipping over a million pounds of low-level nuclear waste every week to a site in Utah run by an Iranian émigré who was fined for his role in a corruption scandal involving a local regulator.

The Government-owned nuclear fuels group is shipping the waste to Envirocare in Utah from its site in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which it is cleaning up under a contract from the US Department of Energy.

Each week, about two million pounds of low-level waste is shipped from Oak Ridge. Some goes to the DoE repository in the Nevada desert and the rest goes to Envirocare.

The Utah company was founded by Khosrow Semnani, who was forced to stand down as chairman of Envirocare in 1997 after becoming the target of an FBI investigation into bribing state officials.

Envirocare admitted it had paid Larry Anderson, director of the Utah Bureau of Rad-iation Control, $600,000 (£350,000) in cash, gold coins and real estate. He had signed 11 regulator's exemptions in favour of the firm.

Mr Anderson was found guilty of tax evasion, though acquitted of soliciting bribes, and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

Mr Semnani, who gave evidence against Mr Anderson, pleaded guilty to not reporting the gifts and paid a $100,000 fine.

The DoE also banned him from running Envirocare for three years. However, he remained the controlling shareholder and returned as chairman last year.

BNFL has another link with Envirocare. Its general counsel in the US, Jonathan Carter, joined from the Utah group last year.

BNFL said it had little choice but to shift waste to Envirocare. The only other commercial nuclear waste re- pository in the US, at Barnwell in South Carolina, is at capacity with the state not allowing any further shipments.