Carol Smith's picture

Utah clears way for more depleted uranium waste

So how's this for a conundrum? Utah state officials have refused to stop EnergySolutions from accepting more radioactive waste, despite environmentalists' pleas for a moratorium on such shipments until the safety of depleted uranium is decided. This week, the Utah Radiation Control Board voted that the shipments can continue until the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission finishes deciding how to classify depleted uranium on the nation's radiation danger scale, reports Patty Henetz of the Salt Lake Tribune.

The officials said they didn't think the waste posed an immediate danger, but if the feds decide it does, well, then, they'll have EnergySolutions remove it.

Opponents argue that logic is a little scrambled, as in it's tough to unscramble an egg.

The decision to allow the waste to continue going to the Tooele County site could mean the Tooele County site, which has already accepted 49,000 metric tons of depleted uranium, will get an additional 14,000 more from South Carolina.

Carol Smith's picture

Nuclear waste for dollars deal blasted

The battle over where to put foreign radioactive waste is getting hotter in Utah, where Rep. Jim Matheson has sent a letter to Gov. Gary Herbert calling  Energy Solutions Inc.'s offer to share its profits with the state nothing short of "influence peddling," according to a report by Matt Canham and Thomas Burr of the Salt Lake Tribune.

The  Salt Lake City-based nuclear services company has proposed a deal that could net the state $3 billion over a decade, and Senate Majority Leader Sheldon Killpack, mindful the state's budget is $700 million short, said the offer should be reconsidered.

"It's a horrible idea to consider opening up Utah to the entire world's radioactive garbage in exchange for a share of what the company says are the profits," Matheson said in the Tribune story. "No other country on Earth takes another country's nuclear waste and I am determined that the U.S. won't be the exception."

The latest salvo against the proposal follows a federal court ruling earlier this month that limits states' rights to restrict radioactive waste going to their disposal facilities.