Matheson Supports Audit's Call for Greater Oversight of Nuke Waste Disposal in Utah

Press Release

By:  Jim Matheson
Date: Sept. 11, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Jim Matheson said he welcomes the release of a legislative audit of radioactive waste activity in Utah and supports the call for more independent oversight to ensure public safety and full payment of taxes owed the state. Matheson was reacting to the findings of state legislative auditors who took a critical look at EnergySolution's disposal practices and state regulatory oversight.

"From my fight to prevent foreign radioactive waste from being dumped in Utah, to my suspicions about back-door efforts to dispose of "hotter" radioactive waste, I've had concerns that the "honor system" is insufficient to protect public health and safety," said Matheson. "I'm gratified to see that independent auditors have now concluded that additional quality controls are needed to verify that banned levels of radioactive waste are not coming in to Utah."

Matheson noted that the audit concludes "that the Division of Radiation Control is not providing adequate independent oversight of incoming waste because of the self-policing model." It further states "we believe the division should adjust its regulatory model to address Utah's special considerations and provide independent verification that the Clive site is in compliance with all rules and laws governing it."

Matheson said based on his past efforts, including fights to ban foreign waste, and stop depleted uranium and blended waste from coming to the site, it's clear that Utahns overwhelmingly support Utah law prohibiting anything greater that Class A low-level radioactive waste from entering the state. The disposal site at Clive is only engineered for 100-year storage of Class A waste.

"Radioactive waste is hazardous and remains so for a very long time. Science should govern its disposal and regulators should enforce the appropriate rules. It's a red flag for me when the audit shows that while less waste came to Utah during the past four years, the radiation content of that waste has more than doubled. I commend the auditors for their work and I urge Governor Herbert and the Division of Radiation Control to adopt these recommendations," said Matheson.