Nuclear Waste

Every step in the nuclear fuel cycle has affected Utah. And when it comes to nuclear waste, Utah bears the unfortunate honor of being home to the nations largest low-level radioactive waste facility, operated by EnergySolutions.

A History of Waste

HEAL has fought to limit the waste that EnergySolutions (formerly Envirocare) has sought to bring to Utah for more than a decade now. And that’s not the only waste battles that HEAL and Utahns have waged. Let’s not forget the now defeated Private Fuel Storage facility, or even the proposed Yucca Mountain project in neighboring Nevada. Utahns have had their share of the nuclear waste experience.

Our EnergySolutions work, most recently, has zeroed in on stopping the company from bringing Depleted Uranium, waste the company wants to bring to our West Desert that would grow in hazard for more than two million years – long after the site can be safely controlled. Click the below video to find out more about the DU menace.

Prior to that, HEAL worked hard to stop the company from dumping foreign waste in Utah and from increasing the size of their site in Clive, Utah. We also succeeded in getting our State Legislature to pass a ban on hotter “B&C” wastes back in 2005 – a ban that EnergySolutions has repeatedly sought to circumvent, particularly in its bid in recent years to bring “blended” waste to Utah.

HEAL Utah remains dedicated to keeping Utah from being the dumping ground for all the world’s nuclear waste and to keeping a watchful eye on the corporate and government actors determined to continue to target our great state for all their messes.



Click above to hear a recent radio piece about our Depleted Uranium fight.

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stop depleted uranium

Safety and Evaluation Report: EnergySolutions and Depleted Uranium

Recent Updates on Nuclear Waste…

News: No fines for spilling radioactive sludge


Cheyenne, Wyo. • The agency that regulates the U.S. nuclear industry will not fine a Canadian uranium mining company for twice spilling low-level radioactive sludge outside a Utah waste disposal facility, giving the company credit for efforts to prevent the problem from recurring.

Saskatoon, Canada-based Cameco faced a $35,000 fine from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Commission officials told Cameco they won't seek a fine in part because the company plans in the future to store the barium sulfate sludge in bags within the trucks.

"However, significant violations in the future could result in a civil penalty," NRC Deputy Regional Administrator Scott Morris wrote the company June 29.

To read more, click here


Press Release: HEAL Utah Reacts to EnergySolutions' Big Legal Defeat



HEAL Utah Executive Director Matt Pacenza reacted today to the news that a federal court and the Department of Justice have blocked the EnergySolutions' bid to purchase its main rival, Texas-based Waste Control Specialists. (See stories from Reuters and the Dallas Morning News for more detail.)

“A federal judge saw the obvious: It’s not good when a big company buys its only rival. If Uber were to take over Lyft, consumers would pay the price. Thankfully, the Department of Justice saw fit to check EnergySolutions’ thirst for power and profit.”

“However, today’s ruling likely means that EnergySolutions will again push Gov. Herbert and state officials to approve its troubled bid to dump up to 700,000 tons of dangerous, long-lived Depleted Uranium in Utah’s West Desert. The other potential site for that material was the Texas facility that EnergySolutions was looking to buy.”

“We are confident that Gov. Herbert, who blocked EnergySolutions’ bid to sneak Depleted Uranium into Utah back in 2009, will again stand up to the company. The science is clear: A shallow ditch in the desert surrounded by chain-link fences is the wrong location for waste that remains dangerous for millions of years.”

Matt Pacenza can be reached for comment at or 801-864-0264.


Episode #83: Anne Mariah Tapp, Law & Policy Advisor for the Grand Canyon Trust

Anne Mariah chats with Matt about the economic and environmental impacts of uranium milling and nuclear waste storage near Blanding, Utah. Anne Mariah describes the White Mesa Mill, the last conventional uranium mill in North America. Its nuclear waste pits, nearby residents and advocates say, pose some serious concerns regarding groundwater contamination and public health. While acknowledging White Mesa is a significant employer in San Juan County, Anne Mariah emphasizes the long-term economic value of protecting public health and the local environment.  For more information, check out news coverage of a recent march by White Mesa Concerned Community, a native-led grassroots organization. You can also learn more by watching a short film about the mill and by checking out Grand Canyon Trust on the Web, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Please take a moment and fill out this action alert to encourage Utah officials to hold White Mesa Uranium Mill accountable. Comments are accepted until July 31st, but I urge you to comment today! You can also share this action with your networks using this link:


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