A surprise recommendation is included in a feasibility study about constructing a facility in Tooele County to store the country's radioactive waste - it says the world's industrial base should be transferred to outer space.
That conclusion comes under the heading "recommendations" in a feasibility study concerning construction of the Monitored Retrievable Storage facility, which has been proposed by the U.S. Department of Energy. The study was carried out by the Goshute Indian Tribe's Skull Valley Band.The Goshutes were among 18 applicants nationwide seeking $100,000 grants on the MRS facility. Also winning a grant was San Juan County.
An MRS facility is supposed to be an above-ground storage facility in which highly radioactive fuel rods from nuclear power plants would be kept. The rods would be shipped in by train or truck and kept in heavy storage casks. The MRS facility would cover about 450 acres and resemble a low-rise industrial park.
U.S. Department of Energy officials hope to use the MRS facility to store waste until a permanent disposal facility is available at Yucca Mountain on the Nevada Test Site.
At the time of application, a spokesman for the tribe said the Goshutes only want to study the idea, and that the tribe has not decided whether it wants the facility.
The 85-page report, illustrated with color drawings, discusses a wide range of issues, from Japan's handling of nuclear waste to energy consumption in America to renewable energy resources.
According to the recommendations of the report, "The industrial nations of the world need to begin work to embark on a new course . . .
"The goal of this international space program will be to transfer the industrial base from the planet to lower earth orbit and the moon. The transformation will take approximately 100 years. The raw materials can be shipped from earth to the industrial bases on the moon and in lower earth orbit.
"The finished products can be shipped back to earth in a similar manner that cars and trucks are shipped from Japan and Europe and Detroit to Salt Lake City and elsewhere."
An international space program would foster international harmony and further integrate the world's economies, the report says.
"What will be required to transfer the industrial base from the planet to lower earth orbit and the moon is a trait which was possessed by Genghis Khan, Christopher Columbus, Hernando Cortes, Crazy Horse, Brigham Young, Yuri Gagarin and Neil Armstrong and others," the report says.
"It is a trait called courage. And that trait, as well as imagination, is clearly lacking among American politicians today."
However, the report has nothing to say about the environmental or social effects of building an MRS project on Goshute land.
Danny Quintana, lawyer for the Goshutes, said of the study, "This has to be looked at as an overview" about nuclear development.
"It's written from a Native American standpoint," he said. He added that America didn't have environmental problems before industrialization and the development of big urban centers.
"The issues that need to be further explained are the transportation issues and the storage issues associated with this project," he said.
A second-phase study would involve transportation and storage issues, while a "phase 2-B" study would assess the actual environmental and social effects of the project on the tribe and nearby communities.