NEW YORK, July 11 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Energy Department on Wednesday suspended shipments of low-level radioactive waste from Tennessee to Nevada in a statement.
Shaylyn Hynes, a spokesperson of the department, said in the statement that none of the materials shipped as early as 2013 from the Y-12 facility in Tennessee posed any health or safety threats to workers or the general public.
However, Hynes said the shipments slated for disposal at the Nevada National Security Site were not in compliance with the site's acceptance criteria, and were "potentially mischaracterized" as the wrong category of low-level waste for years.
She also said the National Nuclear Security Administration of the department has investigated whether the materials were being mislabeled or shipped out of compliance with state or federal regulations "to determine how this went undetected" for up to six years.
The low-level waste material is unrelated to weapons-grade plutonium that the department secretly shipped to the same site last year and is currently at the center of a legal battle with the state of Nevada in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, according to local media.