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Envirocare cited for failure to follow disposal standards

The federal government has cited low-level nuclear waste-dump operator Envirocare of Utah for failing to comply with disposal standards, but company managers say a resolution is imminent.

"We're solving the problem," said Charles Judd, president of Envirocare, which has taken a barrage of criticism since it was revealed that its owner paid the state's chief nuclear-waste regulator $600,000 for "consulting" services even as he was supposed to be policing Envirocare.In an Oct. 15 letter to Envirocare, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said managers of the company's Tooele County dump had stored mixed hazardous waste at the site for more than one year without indicating whether the material would be treated.

Regulations require such waste to be disposed of within 12 months.

Judd said Envirocare administrators met with EPA officials this week to discuss the matter and to appeal the government's Oct. 15 assertion that shipment of all "mixed waste" to the site stop within 60 days.

Such material is an important component of Envirocare's business and is perhaps vital to its survival. The company has already been buffeted by scandal associated with owner Khosrow B. Semnani's payments during the early 1990s to Larry Anderson, the state's former top radiation-control officer.

The FBI is conducting an investigation into that relationship after it came to light in a civil suit Anderson filed against Semnani, in which Anderson alleges Semnani had not paid him enough. Anderson has said he was merely acting as an above-board consultant to Envirocare; Semnani said he was coerced into paying Anderson what he considered a bribe.

Anderson is no longer a state regulator, and Semnani has formally stepped down from of Envirocare, though he still owns the company.