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Nuclear waste rival clears state’s first hurdle

SHARE Nuclear waste rival clears state’s first hurdle

A company seeking to compete with Envirocare of Utah has cleared its first hurdle with the state for a new low-level radioactive waste dump in Tooele County.

The Utah Division of Radiation Control has tentatively approved an application that allows Charles Judd, president of Cedar Mountain Environmental, to submit a formal application to the state to build a facility on nearly 500 acres next to Envirocare's landfill in remote Tooele County.

Judd must still win approval from a reluctant Tooele County Commission.

Creating a new facility for radioactive waste is a multistep process that requires not only approval from state environmental regulators, but the Legislature, governor and County Commission. In March, the three-member Tooele County Commission rejected Judd's request for a conditional-use permit to open a facility because commissioners don't believe there is enough market demand for a competing waste facility. And a competing facility could jeopardize the viability of both and threaten the flow of tax dollars to the county.

Judd, the former president of Envirocare, has been at odds with his former employer for years and has been trying for more than a year to break Envirocare's monopoly on radioactive waste disposal.

Judd isn't willing to give up. He plans to show Tooele County commissioners there's a need for a competing company by designing his facility to take radioactive waste that Envirocare isn't licensed to take. That kind of waste is the byproducts of decommissioned nuclear power plants, but not the so-called Class B and C wastes that have generated such controversy over the past year.

Meanwhile, Judd is pursuing his application with the state, even though the county has balked.

The public has until the end of June to submit written comments on the state's approval of the suitability of the site Judd hopes to develop. Judd's next step would be to submit a formal license application.

On June 28, state regulators will hold a public hearing at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality and another one June 29 at the Tooele County Health Department. Both hearings start at 7 p.m.

E-mail: donna@desnews.com