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State moves to close radioactive waste plant near W’burg school

The Brooklyn Paper

A controversial radioactive waste plant three blocks from a Williamsburg school will be forced to close under a bill passed by both houses in Albany late last week.

Radiac Research and Environmental Sciences, a hazardous waste facility on Kent Avenue since 1969, could finally be compelled to relocate after the state Senate and Assembly made it illegal to operate such a facility within 1,500 feet of a school.

Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D-Williamsburg), who sponsored the legislation, called the bill “a real victory for the North Brooklyn community and the safety of our children,” particularly students at PS 84 on Berry Street and S. First Street, just steps from the waste-processing site.

“No one wants to live next to a dump, let alone one that contains radioactive waste,” said Lentol. “It is appalling that the students in this community are going to school next to radioactive waste.”

The bill marks the coda of a 20-year campaign against Radiac, which processes medical waste from medical research centers, university hospitals, and city environmental agencies.

Students at Williamsburg’s El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice School helped Lentol draft the bill and even wrote a play last year, “Toxic Avengers,” inspired by the environmental campaign.

“We are poised to take a major step in reclaiming the safety and environment of our communities, especially, our school young,” said El Puente founder Luis Garden Acosta. “Our schools can, now, teach another ‘R’ — the right of North Brooklyn and all communities to peace and environmental justice.”

The company has not had any leaks or accidents that endangered the safety of its neighbors, but it has been recently named a terrorist target by the Department of Justice.

Calls to Radiac were not returned in time for our glowing hot deadline.

Reader Feedback

markleak from CALIFORNIA says:


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July 5, 2010, 5:39 am
Eric from 11206 says:
This is a crazy example of activists trying to extinguish all jobs and businesses. Environmental and social justice call for the good and bad to be spread around equitably and rationally, not for them to be obliterated entirely.

Radiac is one of few industrial businesses remaining in what was until recently an industrial neighborhood. They seem to be a good neighbor even - not noisy or stinky, and their trucks appear to run clean - not belching soot, and obey traffic laws (rare on the Southside!)

In fact, Radiac has been operating there for more than 40 years - longer than most residents (including Mr Acosta) have been around, and certainly longer than any of the kids at PS 84 have been alive. This phantom menace appears not to have impacted the waves of gentrification up and down Grand Street and the side streets in the area. The thousands of rich, middle and poor people who are hoping to move into Domino across the street seem not to be put-off too much.

Where does Mr. Lentol plan to relocate this business, and the vital function of processing the low-grade radioactive material that has allowed so many health and scientific advances?
July 20, 2010, 8:59 pm

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