The Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah (HEAL Utah) appreciates the efforts of Governor Herbert to include some safeguards in HB220 Radioactive Waste Amendments, but we are disappointed that this bill has become law. This law may make it easier for EnergySolutions to bring over 800,000 metric tons of the long-lived radioactive waste known as depleted uranium into Utah. HB220 also introduces ambiguity into Utah’s general radioactive waste policy, which was previously clear. While Governor Herbert did not sign or veto the bill, it automatically becomes law 10-days following the bill’s passage.
Almost 1,500 citizens contacted their Representatives, Senators, and the Governor in opposition to HB220 and 750 citizens signed postcards, which were turned into the Governor’s office at the end of February, asking him to keep depleted uranium out of the state. If this bill opens Utah’s doors to these more hazardous forms of radioactive waste, future generations of Utahns will bear the burden of this decision.
The issue of depleted uranium is not laid to rest yet. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality is finishing their multi-year performance assessment on the suitability of the proposed EnergySolutions site for the long term storage of depleted uranium. HEAL Utah will be ready to analyze and respond to this assessment and the decision that follows it, as will the citizens of Utah.
Finally, HEAL Utah will be working to ensure that no depleted uranium enters Utah unless the conditions that Governor Herbert added to HB220 are met. Most important is the requirement that, once EnergySolutions dissolves as a corporation, the federal government agrees to take responsibility for the costs and security of storing depleted uranium forever.