PRESS RELEASE: Radioactive Fire Averted…This Time


Grace Olscamp

Radioactive Fire Averted…This Time

Fire on truck carrying radioactive dirt shows the risk of current proposals to transport all of the nation’s nuclear power plant waste and depleted uranium through Utah.   


Grantsville, Utah, July 12, 2018 — Today, on Westbound I-80 in Tooele County, a long-haul truck carrying radioactive dirt caught fire and closed parts of the highway for a portion of the morning. While reports claim that the containers holding the radioactive dirt are unharmed, this accident shows the danger of transporting radioactive waste — an issue that Utah is facing on national and local fronts right now.


Nationally, Congress is deciding whether to allow Yucca Mountain, Nevada to become the country’s high-level nuclear waste repository. If it does,10,000 truck and train shipments of the world’s most toxic substance would come through Ogden, Salt Lake, Provo, and St. George on their way to Yucca Mountain.


Locally, Utah is facing a decision of whether or not to allow EnergySolutions to bring 700,000 metric tons of depleted uranium, a byproduct of making nuclear fuel that gets more radioactive over time, to be transported through the Wasatch Front and stored in shallow pits at their Clive facility.


“Luckily, the radioactive material container held up in this instance, but there are many examples of truck and train accidents involving toxic substances that have spilled,” said HEAL Utah’s Executive Director Scott Williams. “Transporting radioactive waste, in any form, poses serious, irreversible health hazards should there be an accident. Utahns already have a long, painful history with radioactivity and bringing waste to Yucca Mountain or depleted uranium to be dumped in our state just adds one more chapter to this story of Utahns, who have never benefited from nuclear power, being asked to bear the burden of the nation’s nuclear industry.”


HEAL Utah is working to make sure Utah has a comprehensive radioactive waste management policy before allowing the nation’s depleted uranium and radioactive nuclear power plant waste to be shipped through and stored in the state. Learn more about Utah’s emerging radioactive waste threats here.


More information on the accident this morning is still coming in, including the cause of the fire.


About HEAL Utah

HEAL Utah has been an environmental advocate, watchdog, and strategic influencer in Utah for nearly 20 years. By empowering grassroots advocates, using science-based solutions, and pursuing common-sense policy, HEAL has a track record of tackling some of the biggest threats to Utah’s environment and public health — and succeeding. HEAL focuses on improving air quality, promoting renewable energy, combating climate change, and protecting Utah from radioactive and toxic wastes.