Elko Daily Free Press

Company wants to store nuclear waste east of Wendover

By RUDY HERNDON, Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 25, 2003

ELKO -- More nuclear waste could be coming to Utah's West Desert under a proposal submitted by former Envirocare CEO Charles Judd.

On Jan. 30, Judd submitted a "business confidential" siting application for a commercial low-level radioactive waste dump about 40 miles east of West Wendover.

The application, made on behalf of an undisclosed partnership called Cedar Mountain Environmental, calls for a new facility on 315 acres just north of Envirocare's existing low-level nuclear waste dump.

A portion of the proposed site is currently occupied by Envirocare contractor Broken Arrow.

As allowed under Utah's government record access law, Judd requested that the Cedar Mountain application remain undisclosed to the public. But that request was subsequently denied by Bill Sinclair, executive secretary of Utah's Division of Radiation Control.

The neighboring Envirocare facility, which opened in 1988, is licensed to dispose of naturally occurring radioactive materials and low-level radioactive waste less than Class A.

However, the company wants to store "hotter" and longer-lived Class B and C nuclear waste on the site.

Currently, 11 states send their Class B and C waste to a facility in Richland, Wash., while waste from the remaining 39 states is sent to Barnwell, S.C.

But future restrictions at the South Carolina facility will likely leave the Envirocare dump as the most attractive option for 36 states, The Salt Lake Tribune reported last week.

The Cedar Mountain and Envirocare proposals are only the latest in a series of plans to store nuclear waste in the West Desert and Utah.

The Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians wants to build a high-level radioactive waste dump on its reservation southwest of Grantsville.

In response to those plans, State Rep. Steve Uruquhart, R-St. George, has proposed an alternate location on state land in southeastern Utah.