Employees rally in support of RACE - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Employees rally in support of RACE

Monday afternoon, nearly 50 employees of Radiological Assistance Consulting and Engineering, or RACE, rallied in front of Memphis City Hall, saying the truth about what they do is not reaching the public.

RACE is a Memphis based company that would like to burn radioactive waste. After much debate, the Memphis City Council will consider a special permit that will allow RACE to do so at Tuesday's council meeting.

The materials RACE would like to dispose of by burning at its Memphis facility include radioactive wastes from hospitals and nuclear reactors, mostly materials like exposed plastic and sheets. Employees at the rally said their company is the victim of a campaign of mistruths, and claimed what the facility will do is not unsafe.

"We're safe," one employee said, "I'm 100% confident."

Still, Memphis City Council member Carol Chumney said she has concerns about growing evidence that children downstream from the Oak Ridge Nuclear Reservation are having health problems.

"We really don't need this here," she said. "Most cities have moved away from it, and if we have an opportunity to limit it or stop it, we should take it."

RACE Co-Chair Bob Applebaum said the issue has been confused. He claims City Council members are not approving the incinerator, even though it has already been approved by the state. The council will be voting on a special use permit that allows the company to store radioactive waste, as other Memphis companies do.

"The safety questions are answered by licenses and permits given to us by other agencies which have experts in safety," Applebaum said. "The city council has no expertise in safety. They should not even be considering it."

Chumney said she is disturbed that RACE is trying to line up clients with radioactive waste that would head to Memphis from all over the world.

"I don't think that we need to be the dumping ground for the world," she said.

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