No, the decision to allow EnergySolutions to receive as much as 40,000 cubic feet of blended waste before it files the necessary safety assessment plans is based on the incontrovertible and meaningless argument that the higher-level wastes going into the process were never labeled at all.
The reassuring cooing sounds that agency leaders made the other day at a public hearing did not and should not convince the many concerned citizens who were there to challenge the plan.
Because waste that will have had no classification goes into the transmogrification process in EnergySolutions' Tennessee blending facility, the DRC says, it does not technically change the waste stream from the allowed Class A into the forbidden Class B and C.
But that doesn't mean the stuff that comes out is safer than Class B and C.
Maybe the process is safe. Maybe it is no more dangerous than any of the waste already stored, as legal as dish soap, in the facility. But the argument that such safety can be assumed based on the logic that a component of the waste didn't have a label on it when it went into the factory, and thus won't change the characteristics of the mixture that comes out the other end, is far from reassuring.
This stuff is complicated. It's not or, at least, not necessarily the equivalent of mixing just the right quantities of gin and vermouth to conjure up the perfect martini.
These substances interact with each other and their surroundings. Whether the resulting mix is really scary, or barely worth getting worked up about, has not been firmly established in any appropriate forum.
Until we have a much firmer grasp of the subject, the state should make EnergySolutions do the full safety work-up before receiving any blended waste.