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…

COMMENTARY: Utah should take down its ‘Waste is Welcome’ sign

Scott Williams
Salt Lake Tribune
March 10th, 2018

This session, the Utah Legislature passed three bills to make EnergySolutions “more competitive” in the nuclear waste and nuclear power plant decommissioning business. In other words, Utah just hung out a sign that says “Your Waste is Welcome Here”.

HB169 would shift $1.7 million of EnergySolutions business costs to Utah taxpayers. This is the amount of regulatory fees previously paid by EnergySolutions, a company with a half-billion dollars in annual revenues. These fees cover the cost of state permitting and inspections required at the nuclear waste dump west of the Great Salt Lake. They claim that their half-billion dollar company needs Utah taxpayers to pick-up these costs in order to become “more competitive”.

SJR11 would authorize EnergySolutions to create a new landfill where they can dump non-nuclear waste. This allows them to be a ‘one-stop shop’ for dumping nuclear power plant waste and secure the entire decommissioning contract.


Read the full article here


Help Stop A Bad Bill: Urge Gov to Veto HB169


The legislative session is over, but there is still a fight to be had. And we at HEAL need YOUR help!

HB169: Commercial Waste Fee Amendments sailed through both the House and the Senate and now it's waiting on the Governors desk. Right now, we need you to ask him to VETO this horrible bill.

So, why is this bill so bad? HB169 aims to shift $1.7 million of EnergySolutions business costs to Utah taxpayers. TO YOU AND ME! These fees cover the cost of state permitting and inspections required at the nuclear waste dump west of the Great Salt Lake. EnergySolutions claims that their half-billion dollar company needs Utah taxpayers to pick-up these costs in order to become “more competitive.” Is this where you want your hard-earned tax dollars going? Not me. I refuse to accept that our elected officials see Utah as a dumping ground for nuclear waste that we don't even generate here. That's right, Laura, we don't even generate nuclear power (subsequently waste) in this state. Why should our taxpayer money help a private industry bring more toxic waste into Utah!?

Will you help me by signing this action alert and sharing it with your networks? We’ve it easy for you, just copy and paste it into your social media feeds asking your friends and family to sign it too. 

There isn’t much time, Gov. Herbert can sign this into law anytime between NOW and March 29th.Please don’t let this opportunity slip by. We need your support. Tell Gov. Herbert to Veto HB169.

Need More Info? Check out my recently published Op-Ed on the subject. Click Here »

Thank you for your time and energy.

In Community, 

Scott Williams | Executive Director


That's a Wrap! End of the 2018 Utah Legislative Session

It's Friday. We made it!

The 2018 legislative session ended precisely at midnight last night!Though the Utah Legislature passed some bills we weren't too happy with, they also did a lot of good - including passing the very first resolution recognizing climate change! See below and our Bill Tracker for a breakdown of the bills we've been following. For this year, the Utah State Legislative session is over. Now we can take a breath!

It's time to celebrate our GAINS and HARD WORK! Join us TONIGHT at 6pm at Kiitos Brewing: 608 W 700 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84104. We're alsocelebrating the Clear The Air Challenge! (If you participated on our team for the CTAC, your first beer is on us!) 

Bill Summaries:

HCR 007: Environmental and Economic Stewardship

House Sponsor: Rep. Becky Edwards, Senate Sponsor: Sen. Todd Weiler

HEAL Position: Support

Summary: House Concurrent Resolution 007 recognizes the existence of climate change and human's contribution. However, the language is much more tuned to a Utah audience by focusing on pathways for economic development and job creation. 

Final Status: Passed


HB 169: Commercial Waste Fee Amendments
House Sponsor: Rep. John Knotwell, Senate Sponsor: Sen. Daniel Hemmert

Summary: Reduces the annual permit and inspection fees for Energy Solutions by the amount of taxes they pay. Makes it cheaper for them to import more nuclear waste. Shifts $1.7 million of Energy Solution regulatory fees to the taxpayer.

Final status: Passed


HB101 (2nd Sub): Air Quality Emissions Testing Amendments

House Sponsor: Rep. Patrice Arent, Senate Sponsor: Sen. Curt Bramble



Summary: Whelp, it passed! After 2 years of working to get diesel emissions testing implemented in Utah County, we finally have succeeded. The final version of this bill implements a 3-year pilot program for diesel testing that exempts the 5 most-recent model years. While this is not quite as strong as we wanted, it does get the ball rolling on diesel emissions testing that will hopefully lead to a more robust program in the future.

Final Status: Passed


HB171 (1st Sub): Motor Vehicle Emissions Amendments

House Sponsor: Rep. Angela Romero, Senate Sponsor: Sen. Luz Escamilla



Summary: This bill would have helped to take diesel vehicles that have been illegally modified off the roads by increasing fines and creating a stronger enforcement mechanism. Unfortunately, this bill ran out of time at the end of the session, despite having strong bipartisan support in both houses.


Final Status: Did not receive final vote


HB373 (1st Sub): Waste Management Amendments
House Sponsor:  Rep. Lee Perry, Senate Floor Sponsor: Sen. Curt Bramble


Summary: This bill allows solid waste facilities to conduct self-inspections, after only 5 hours of training, and report their results annually to DEQ.  It also creates a Waste Management and Radiation Control Expendable Revenue Fund and requires DEQ to upgrade their permitting and compliance information technology.

Final Status: Passed 

SJR11: Joint Resolution Authorizing EnergySolutions to Create a Landfill for Non-Radioactive Waste
Senate Sponsor: Sen. Daniel Thatcher, House Sponsor: Rep. Douglas Sagers

Summary: Allows Energy Solutions to develop a Class VI landfill that, according to the bill itself, "will enhance efficiencies for EnergySolutions clients by allowing EnergySolutions to receive nonhazardous, nonradioactive solid waste from the decommissioning of nuclear power plants that currently utilize the EnergySolutions licensed low level radioactive waste disposal facility." 


Final Status: Passed


HB261: Renewable Energy Amendments

House Sponsor: Rep. John Knotwell, Senate Sponsor: Sen. Curt Bramble



Summary: The bill would allow for Rocky Mountain Power to directly take advantage of the Investment Tax Credit for utility-scale solar power. Currently, the utility has to go through a third party to fully apply for the credit. While it is positive that the utility is looking to invest more in solar, it is important for the private solar industry not to be left behind. The solar industry has invested billions of dollars into the state and should not be cut out of competing for projects. After much negotiation, all parties are either neutral or supporting the bill.  


Final Status: Passed


SB136 (6th Sub): Transportation Governance Amendments

Senate Sponsor: Sen. Wayne Harper, House Sponsor: Rep. Mike Schultz

HEAL Position: NEUTRAL, concerns with high EV and hybrid registration fees


Summary: The purpose of this bill was primarily to overhaul the governance structure of Utah Transit Authority (UTA) and get additional funding for transit infrastructure. Amendments to electric vehicle and hybrid registration fees ended up getting rolled in, which we didn’t believe was fair to the small percentage of people who own these vehicles. While these fees are being increased, the money raised will go back into building EV charging infrastructure. Transit funding is also increased in the form of a local option sales tax of 0.2% that municipalities can levy.


Final Status: Passed


HB234 (4th Sub): Utah Inland Port Authority

Senate Sponsor: Sen. Jerry Stevenson, House Sponsor: Rep. Francis Gibson

HEAL Position: NEUTRAL, concerns with air quality implications


Summary: This bill creates an authority to govern the development of the Northwest Quadrant in Salt Lake City. After months of negotiation, last-minute amendments in the House changed the makeup of the governing board, and threatens the ability for stakeholders to engage in the development process. We are particularly concerned with the potential air quality implications during development and future operations

Final Status: Passed


SB141 (3rd Sub): Electric Energy Amendments

Senate Sponsor: Sen. Curtis Bramble, House Sponsor: Rep. Francis Gibson 

HEAL Position: Support


Stemming from the rooftop solar settlement last fall, HB141 freezes the rooftop solar tax credit for two years at $1600. The freeze will allow the rooftop solar industry and Utah residents time to adjust to the new transition rate for solar customers. HEAL is supportive of this bill.


Final Status: Passed, but was not funded

Be sure to check our Bill Tracker to see the final outcome of all of our bills we followed this session!


SAVE THE DATE!! HEAL's Spring Breakfast 
Thursday May 17th
The Falls at Trolley Square
Doors open at 7a.m.
Breakfast and program from 7:30-8:30 a.m.


Intern for HEAL! Applications due April 16

We're looking for 2 interns for Outreach & Grassroots and Renewable Energy & Clean Air work. Apply today!

huge thank you to all who came up to the Capitol and lobbied during the 2018 legislative session. If you didn't get a chance to lobby, we're still grateful for the support! We'll see you TONIGHT at Kiitos Brewing. Stay tuned for the next phase of our work.


Scott | HEAL's Executive Director