HEAL UTAH UNVEILS MASSIVE PUBLIC RESPONSE TO STATE’S BLENDED WASTE DECISION

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HEAL UTAH UNVEILS MASSIVE PUBLIC RESPONSE TO STATE’S BLENDED WASTE DECISION

 

CALLS UPON GOV HERBERT TO STAND UP TO ENERGYSOLUTIONS AND PROTECT UTAH

 

More than two thousand Utahns have filed comments with state regulators urging them to reject EnergySolutions’ bid to dump hotter “blended” nuclear power plant waste in the West Desert.

 

HEAL Utah announced the massive public outcry of blended waste at a press conference Thursday morning. Approximately 1,900 people had filled out a postcard imploring officials at the Division of Radiation Control to “protect Utah from blended nuclear wastes.” Another 400-plus filed comments online. In total, at least 2,300 people have filed comments, a virtually unprecedented response to a state regulatory action.

 

“Our regulators and Gov. Herbert must listen the pleas of thousand of Utahns,” says Christopher Thomas, executive director of HEAL Utah. “We demand that our officials stand up to EnergySolutions and protect our state from this dangerous material.”

 

EnergySolutions has been prevented from dumping hotter class B&C nuclear power plant wastes at its Utah facility since 2005, when then Gov. Jon Huntsman and the State Legislature enacted a historic ban. Since then, EnergySolutions has repeatedly sought to begin “blending” nuclear waste – mixing the banned hotter wastes with permittable Class A waste at a facility in Tennessee, such that the resulting mixture slides beneath Utah’s limits.

 

The company’s facility in Clive already takes about 97 percent of the nation’s low-level radioactive nuclear power plant waste, but Utah has been protected from the hottest kind of that waste because of the B&C ban. But if state officials allow blending, it will quadruple the total radioactivity that comes to the state and cement Utah as the dumping ground for the nation’s nuclear power plant waste problem.

 

Federal authorities have been looking for a place where hotter B&C wastes from most of the nation’s nuclear reactors can be dumped since South Carolina officials banned them from an EnergySolutions site in that state in 2007. Now, apparently, the company and the feds have figured out how to get around Utah’s safeguards.

 

“The Herbert Administration is sitting idly by while the federal government undoes our nuclear waste protections,” says Thomas. “It’s troubling inaction from a Governor facing a re-election bid in a state where Utahns overwhelmingly oppose dumping hotter wastes.”

 

Polls in recent years have shown repeatedly that between 75 and 85 percent of Utahns – including significant majorities of Republicans – oppose hotter nuclear wastes. For example:

·      From the 2/1/10 Salt Lake Tribune. 76 percent of Utahns “oppose disposal” of depleted uranium in Urtah.

·      From 10/20/2004 Salt Lake Tribune. "A Tribune poll in January showed 86 percent of Utahns oppose higher levels of waste coming into the state."

·      From 3/3/2005 Deseret News. "An astounding 86 percent of Utahns surveyed between Jan. 31 and Feb. 3 opposed disposing of B and C waste in Utah, according to Deseret Morning News-KSL-TV poll.

 

In addition to the 2,300 individual comments filed by Utahns, HEAL itself has filed a nine-page dissection of state regulators’ decision to allow blended waste to be dumped in Utah. That letter is available upon request.

 

For more information, or to schedule an interview, call Matt Pacenza of HEAL at 801-864-0264 (cell) or 801-355-5055 (office.)