State opens office to
to store high level nuclear waste here
Gov. Mike Leavitt has deployed
emergency funds to fight the storage of high-level nuclear waste
in Utah, signed an executive order to create The Office of High
Level Nuclear Waste Opposition, and requested ongoing funds from
the Legislature to continue the fight.
In support of the plan, NO! The
Coalition Opposed to High-Level Nuclear Waste presented the Governor
with its White Paper opposing storage in Utah. The governor was
also joined by Goshute Indians who oppose the plan to store waste
on the Skull Valley Indian Reservation.
"I will deploy every tool
I can to fight the storage of high-level nuclear waste in our
state," Leavitt said. "We don't produce this waste;
we shouldn't store it. We are engaging in serious legal warfare
to keep this lethally hot waste out of Utah."
The Office of High-Level Nuclear
Opposition will formulate strategies and legal options to stop
the storage of high-level nuclear waste in Utah. The governor
deployed $50,000 of emergency funds for office start up. He is
proposing $600,000 in supplemental funds and $1 million in on-going
funds. The funds will be used to hire senior legal counsel and
additional attorneys and educate the public about the potential
impacts to the state if high-level nuclear waste is stored here.
The office will also explore meaningful alternative economic
The Governor is also working on
a legislative agenda, including a combination of taxing, regulation
and possibly even criminal measures to regulate the transportation
and storage of nuclear waste to the full extent under state law.
Private Fuel Storage, LLC, (PFS)
a consortium of 8 nuclear utility companies, has proposed to
store 40,000 metric tons of uranium in spent nuclear fuel rods,
above-ground on concrete pads on the Skull Valley Band of Goshutes
Reservation. Federal law requires an underground, permanent storage
repository for high-level nuclear waste. While PFS has a purported
lease with the Band, numerous General Council members are opposing
Also released was the White Paper
prepared by NO! The Coalition Opposed to High-Level Nuclear Waste.
The coalition, co-chaired by prominent Salt Lake attorneys Dan
Berman and Frank Suitter, was charged by the Governor in September
to coordinate and energize opposition to spent nuclear fuel storage
The report says that state legislation,
vigorous litigation, Congressional initiatives and broad and
determined public participation are needed to oppose the plan.
"When PFS ships the high-level nuclear waste, it shifts
the risk, from the communities that realized the benefits, to
Utahns who once again, not of their own choice, find themselves
downwind, showered with promises of nuclear safety."