The University of Maryland plans to build a facility on its College Park campus to store chemical and nuclear waste generated at the school's 1,100 laboratories.
John A. Bielec, assistant vice chancelor for administration, said the facility, which would replace a storage area about a mile from the school, would pose no danger to students.
"We are moving our facility from university land about a mile from campus onto a 450-acre area, which will be fenced off," Bielec said. "There will be less travel of the waste involved, and no safety problems involved in constructing the facility."
The project, with a cost of $525,000, will be completed next January if the university gets approval from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the state, he said.
The university decided to move the facility after a land exchange deal was struck with Litton Industries, which wants to expand its operations to school property adjacent to the present storage facility.
The new facility will store waste generated at the school's physics, botany, biology and other science labs, Bielec said.
Bill Lindsley, spokesman for the Maryland Public Interest Research Group and a Maryland student, said he is concerned about the proposal because students were not informed of the plans.
"There was no publicity on campus about this at all," Lindsley said. "We students were not informed and it relates to us very closely, as we wander around campus and don't know if this facility would be safe or not."
Bielec said the facility would be sealed off on the north end of the campus and would pose no hazard.
"We will have to bring the facility up to code and it will be closely monitored," he said. "The waste will be moved to area landfills, as it is now, for disposal. There will be no changes that affect safety."
The university's current facility on Calvert Road stores chemicals and radioactive materials generated in its laboratories. Other hazardous chemicals are stored in a physics building.
The new facility would combine these two storage sites.