Utah Fights to Keep Out Foreign Radioactive Waste

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The state of Utah wants nothing to do with 1,600 tons of low-level nuclear waste from Italy that a local U.S. corporation is trying to bury in a landfill. EnergySolutions Inc. has been trying for two years to import the radioactive waste, but Utah officials are fighting the planned disposal in Tooele County.

 
The state government is barred under the U.S. Constitution from blocking the importation, leaving permission in the hands of the Northwest Interstate Compact on Low-level Radioactive Waste (NWIC), to which Utah and seven other states belong. The NWIC gave permission to EnergySolutions’ predecessor, Envirocare of Utah, almost 20 years ago to dispose of low-level waste, but Utah officials now have told the NWIC that they no longer want such materials buried in their state.
 
A Utah district judge ruled last May that EnergySolutions was within its rights to import the Italian radioactive waste. State officials then appealed to 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is currently hearing the case.
 
While the court battle continues, two members of Utah’s congressional delegation, Representatives Jim Matheson (D) and Jason Chaffetz (R), are co-sponsoring legislation to ban most imports of low-level radioactive waste.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
 
Utah Argues Case to Ban Foreign Nuke Waste (by Judy Fahys, Salt Lake Tribune)

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