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Chapter 7 bankruptcy leaves business with radioactive waste

Recently, a radioactive waste-treatment center filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Fortunately, the plant isn't in Alabama because according to the Chapter 7 petition that was filed, in addition to between $10 million and $50 million in debt, the company also has one million pounds of waste that needs to be handled.

The company claimed in its petition that they don't believe the waste "currently poses a threat of imminent and identifiable harm to public health or safety." The company did warn that the radioactive waste could pose a future threat if not properly stored and/or processed.

The company shut down several days ago and is no longer collecting waste. It sounds like they've got plenty to deal with already, and the center is down to approximately 50 employees left to deal with the waste that's already there.

The waste-treatment center is home to a massive U.S. Department of Energy laboratory where thousands of employees are busy researching alternative fuels and working to ensure the U.S. Navy and commercial power industry get the enriched uranium they need.

Chapter 7 is an option for businesses that are badly in debt and are unable to pay creditors. Under a Chapter 7, the business ceases operations while a trustee is appointed to examine the financial affairs of the business. The trustee will generally sell any remaining assets the company has and distribute proceeds to creditors. Employees may or may not lose their jobs, depending on whether or not divisions of the company are sold during the liquidation.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "This Bankruptcy is Radioactive," May 24, 2012

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