Radioactive Debtor Enters Bankruptcy

May 25, 2012

The bankruptcy debtor is required to disclose a great deal of information concerning financial and business affairs. Many of the questions in the bankruptcy forms are not applicable to the ordinary consumer debtor. One such question deals with material that is hazardous to the environment. Located in the Statement of Financial Affairs under the heading "Environmental Information," the question is meant to put the bankruptcy trustee and federal government on notice if the debtor has hazardous material that may pose a danger to the environment or to the public.

Recently, a radioactive waste treatment center filed bankruptcy and completed the “Environmental Information” questions – and then some! According to the Wall Street Journal, Impact Services, Inc of Oak Ridge, Tennessee filed a Chapter 7 liquidation and shut down operations. In its disclosures to the bankruptcy court, Impact says that it has as much as a million pounds of low-level radioactive waste onsite and awaiting processing. Some of it may include waste from Department of Energy contractors.

Impact representatives told the court that it doesn’t believe the waste “currently poses a threat of imminent and identifiable harm to public health or safety.” However, without careful attention, it could pose a threat. The Tennessee Division of Radiological Health is monitoring the situation closely.

The Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee will liquidate the assets of the company to pay Impact’s creditors, listed at between $10 and $50 million. The Knoxville News Sentinel quotes a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation as saying that Impact’s operating license may be transferable to another "otherwise qualified candidate."

Bankruptcy cases can be unusual, but rarely are they radioactive! Whatever your debt situation, the federal bankruptcy laws can help. Speak with a qualified bankruptcy attorney and turn your bottom line from red to black (or to a nice green glow, as the case may be).

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