In addition, the bill would require the radiation division to allow waste only if the company that wants to use the EnergySolutions disposal site agrees to allow state regulators to see and test the Utah-bound shipments. It also would require radioactive waste fees to be used for radioactive waste oversight.
The bill grew out of a pair of audits highly critical of the state's management over the waste and the taxes associated with EnergySolutions' operations. Former Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, angrily raised the possibility of disbanding the Department of Environmental Quality and firing Utah's top radiation-control official over the audit findings.
Of particular concern: 37 containers of too-hot radioactive waste had come to Utah for disposal. Fourteen were returned, but 23 were buried at EnergySolutions in violation of state law, and the biggest fine paid by an offending shipper was $4,875.
Christopher Thomas, executive director of the Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah, called the Legislature's response to the audit "underwhelming."
"While Dee's bill appears to take a few steps in the right direction, we will certainly watch closely to make sure EnergySolutions doesn't use it as an opportunity to slip in provisions that degrade Utah's nuclear-waste protections," he said. "That's certainly been the company's MO before."