Nuclear Licensing Board Wise to Block Nuclear
Waste Storage Plan in Utah
11 - Public Citizen applauds the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s
(NRC) Atomic Safety Licensing Board for refusing to approve an
application by a private consortium to build a high-level nuclear
waste storage facility in Utah. We hope that when the consortium
appeals, as it most certainly will, the NRC carefully reads the
board’s opinion and heeds its concerns.
Storage, LLC, a consortium of nuclear utilities led by Xcel Energy,
is seeking a license to build and operate an aboveground nuclear
waste storage facility on the Skull Valley Goshute Indian Reservation
near Salt Lake City. The facility would store up to 44,000 tons
of waste from commercial nuclear reactors across the country in
as many as 4,000 dry storage "casks." The company wants to build
the facility directly under the airway used by the military to
fly single-engine military jets (F-16s) from Hill Air Force Base
to the Utah Test and Training Range. NRC staff had argued that
the probability of a plane crashing into the facility was negligible,
but the licensing board decided the risk of a military aircraft
crashing into the facility was too great to let the companies
The state of
Utah and the licensing board are to be commended for their excellent
work in defense of public health and safety, which prevailed in
Monday’s almost unprecedented ruling against a nuclear industry
board has requested additional information about the consequences
of a potential airplane crash on the proposed facility. In the
meantime, NRC commissioners will review – and could overturn –
the board’s ruling. We urge them not to. An accident at the Utah
site or as waste is shipped there could have deadly consequences.
This project should not be allowed to proceed.
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