From: "Russell D. Hoffman" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Nuke waste
Dec. 18th, 2001
To The Editor,
While I agree completely that Utah would be very foolish to take in the radioactive waste from the 103 operating nuclear power plants in America -- even "temporarily" -- I do wish you wouldn't think that the solution is to keep the waste where it is -- at the source, in the state that is manufacturing the waste.
The most important part of the solution is to stop creating more and more waste, first of all! I can assure you that EVERY NUCLEAR POWER PLANT is right now assuring its local citizens that the nuclear waste will be moved to a federally-approved repository some day soon. But it's a lie! Nevada is suing the federal government to stop Yucca Mountain, and Utah wisely doesn't want to let the Goshute Indians take it even if they are dumb enough to want it, and the piles just keep growing and growing and growing.
Spent fuel is stored outside the reactor containment domes, mostly in spent fuel pools, and some, in "dry casks". Both systems are extremely vulnerable to terrorism as well as natural disasters and human error. Some spent fuel pools are located directly above the reactors! Even a small Cessna single-engine airplane could destroy them -- accidentally.
Utah is not so far away from Palo Verde in Arizona, or San Onofre near where I live, or Diablo Cyn in Santa Barbara, California, to name a few nearby reactors. If any of these site's waste catches fire, your citizens will suffer too.
So please -- join the fight to stop nuclear power and switch to renewables. Don't stop half-way.
P.O. Box 1936
Carlsbad, CA 92018
List of every nuclear power plant in America:
Tuesday, December 18, 2001
N-waste fight both legal, moral
Deseret News editorial
The courts likely will play a significant role as to whether nuclear waste ever comes to Goshute tribal lands in Utah's West Desert. The latest legal salvo involves a consortium of private utilities, Private Fuel Storage, filing motions in an attempt to have a federal judge throw out Utah laws that could prohibit the shipment of up to 40,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel rods to the Goshute Indian Reservation.
The State Legislature, wholeheartedly supported by Gov. Mike Leavitt, has tried to put insurmountable legal hurdles in the way to prevent Eastern and Midwestern states from shipping their waste to Utah.
During the 2000 Legislature, lawmakers passed measures to prohibit the shipment of nuclear waste into the state. They included requiring Private Fuel Storage to pay $150 billion in up-front fees, barring Tooele County from providing municipal services, including police and fire, to the storage site and imposing a 75 percent tax on anyone providing services to the project.
While the courts have yet to decide which side has the superior position legally, Utah clearly has the moral edge. The state should not have to accept nuclear waste from other states against its will.
What to do with nuclear waste has become a political hot potato. While Yucca Mountain in Nevada has been designated as a permanent site, Nevada residents and their representatives don't want to be the repository for all of the country's nuclear waste. That is hardly surprising.
The Goshute Indian Reservation supposedly will be a "temporary" site where the millions of spent nuclear fuel rods will be stored in above-ground casks. But just transporting the nuclear waste from places like New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Minnesota will be a monumental task.
Theoretically, the waste would be eventually transferred to the nation's permanent site.
However, once the nuclear waste finds its way to Utah, the urgency to find a permanent site would lessen. Utah lawmakers rightly fear that Utah's temporary site will become the permanent site by default.
That's why we have repeatedly said that until a permanent site is constructed, the waste needs to stay where it's generated. Minnesota waste should stay in Minnesota. Ohio waste in Ohio, and so on.
Utah already is becoming known as a dumping ground for various forms of waste. Utah's lawmakers are doing the right thing by trying to prevent 40,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel rods being added to that total.