This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The Utah Division of Radiation Control began to take comments Tuesday on blended radioactive waste.
The comment period gives members of the public an opportunity to weigh in on the division's decision that EnergySolutions Inc. can bury up to 40,000 cubic feet of blended waste each year in its Tooele County landfill while regulators review the long-term safety of even larger quantities of blended waste. Comments will be accepted through Feb.17.
State and company officials say the blended waste can have a radioactive concentration no higher than the waste that is currently allowed: Class A waste. But critics have said allowing blended waste violates state policy, which bans any waste more concentrated than Class A.
Before its shipment to Utah, radioactive resins from nuclear power plants are processed so that higher concentration wastes the kind that are barred from disposal in Utah are mixed with lower hazard waste and the end product is low-hazard enough to disposed of in Utah.
EnergySolutions has been taking around 4,000 cubic feet of this waste a year under its current license. Regulators and the company have said that while the site's overall radioactivity will increase with blended waste the added hazard will still be well below permissible levels site regardless of how much blended waste comes.
Both the state and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission are studying blended waste disposal with an eye on making sure that above-ground disposal sites can contain the hazards posed by large quantities for 10,000 years or more. The analysis is not expected to be completed for years.
To learn more about the proposal, view the DRC documents at: http://www.deq.utah.gov/Issues/energysolutions/index.htm.
The address for written comments is: Utah Division of Radiation Control, 195 N. 1950 West, P.O. Box 144850, Salt Lake City, UT 84114-4850, or by email to email@example.com.