Governor Huntsman Questions Nuke Waste Transportation Plan
Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., is shocked and dismayed by a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to allocate federal funding to address anticipated "legal challenges" that may be brought by the State of Utah "regarding shipments of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste to Skull Valley, Utah."
"The federal government should not be funding the litigation expenses of a privately owned, for-profit enterprise in its efforts to force spent nuclear fuel on a State that doesn't want it," Governor Huntsman said. "This is public policy at its worst, and represents a dramatic departure from previous statements made by congressional leaders."
Huntsman also commented that "our nation's nuclear waste policy should be focused on reprocessing, coupled with onsite storage options, and should not hinge on a plan to send the waste to a tiny reservation immediately upwind from Utah's major population center." "The best solutions will be based on science and concern for public safety, and cannot be made on the basis of absolute deference to the short-term interests of a few politically powerful members of the nuclear power industry." "In any event," Huntsman added, "I vigorously oppose any plan to store nuclear waste in Utah."
Governor Huntsman is pleased with the reaction from Utah's congressional delegation, which is rallying in opposition to the proposal. Senator Bennett immediately began plans to address the issue in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Meanwhile, Senator Hatch has been in contact with the White House, hoping to confirm that President Bush does not support the measure. Huntsman said that he "will work with our congressional delegation to determine the appropriate steps to take from here."
Private Fuel Storage has applied for a license to store nuclear waste in above-ground containers on the Skull Valley Goshute Reservation in the desert west of the populated Wasatch Front. A decision on the application could be made by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission later this summer.