clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Plans call for second Utah radioactive waste site

SALT LAKE CITY — A would-be competitor to EnergySolutions wants to open a second radioactive waste facility in Tooele County, asserting EnergySolutions' Clive facility is running out of room and that another facility will store the material more efficiently, safely and with more financial benefit to the state.

Charles Judd, president of Cedar Mountain Environmental, made a presentation on his proposal Tuesday before members of the state's Radiation Control Board.

Cedar Mountain has been working with officials from the Utah State Institutional Trust Lands to develop a site north of I-80 in Tooele County. Judd says such a partnership would generate millions of dollars for the fund, which could then be funneled to Utah schools.

Additionally, because the facility would use twice as much radon barrier to cover the site, it would be safer than the EnergySolutions' facility and tap into more efficient technology, he said.

"The site will be operated in a much cleaner approach where waste is covered sooner, and the site itself will not create large amounts of new waste," Judd wrote in a letter to the board. "The design is for one cell instead of many cells, which is more cost effective and better for site drainage."

Judd also proposes doubling state oversight fees to bring more dollars to Utah and calls for a 50 percent increase in state taxes on radioactive waste.

EnergySolutions President Val Christensen disputed Judd's assertion that the Clive facility is nearing capacity.

"There is ample capacity, more than 30 years, at Clive to manage the existing Class A waste in the United States," Christensen said.

Following Judd's presentation, Christopher Thomas with HEAL Utah urged the board to reject the proposal for another radioactive waste site in Utah.

"This may sound like a kinder and gentler nuclear waste dump notion (than EnergySolutions)," Thomas said, "(but) it is a nuclear waste facility."

Cedar Mountain has been working for more than five years to open such a site and already has $10 million invested in support of the facility.

Judd, the former president of Envirocare, the forerunner to EnergySolutions, also made clear the facility would have no intention of accepting foreign waste, blended wastes or depleted uranium, all of which have pitted EnergySolutions against the state in lively and contentious debates.

Last year, Cedar Mountain was successful in its appeal of a Tooele County land-use decision that will give it the legal avenue to argue the right to build the facility.

Judd said he plans to work with the governor's office, public officials and state regulators to obtain the necessary permits.

e-mail: amyjoi@desnews.com