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Officials from our nation's nuclear power industry have devised a magical mathematical formula that miraculously transforms dangerous Class B and Class C nuclear waste into less-ominous Class A waste. Anxious to dispose of their radioactive garbage, they pitched the proposal to the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission last week.

Now, all it will take is a few foolish strokes of the rule-writing pen at the NRC, and the industry will be allowed to mix waste from each category to achieve a blend that qualifies as Class A. That, in turn, would open the door for disposal of hotter waste at EnergySolutions' radioactive waste landfill in Tooele County, circumventing a Utah law that prohibits the more dangerous waste classifications.

The trouble is, the formula defies the associative property of mathematics, the laws of science and the canons of common sense. The only way to make A + B + C = A is to remove B and C from the equation.

Simply put, dilution is not the solution to pollution. No matter how you mix it, or how long you stir, the nature of the materials won't change. The Class B waste in the mix will still be hazardous for 300 years, and the Class C waste will still be hazardous for 500 years. Only time, and we're talking centuries, can render nuclear waste benign.

Federal regulators need to see through the facade. The industry's proposal, an act born of desperation, is nothing more than a way to foist hotter waste on Utah, a state where the Legislature has wisely banned all but Class A waste, which is considered safe after 100 years.

Obviously, after South Carolina this week closed the last remaining Class B and C waste depository available for 36 states, the nuclear power industry needs another place to toss its trash. And once again, the radioactive waste facility within our bounds, and the profit-driven private company that operates it, have proven to be attractive nuisances.

Congress needs to move quickly to solve the problem and establish a national disposal site for all radioactive waste. Until that happens, nuclear power plant operators can store their poison at the plants that produce them.

Utah lawmakers and Gov. Jon Huntsman need to monitor this situation very closely, and let their opinions be known. And should the NRC opt to rewrite the rules to allow blending, the state Legislature should quickly rewrite the law to ban blended waste from the state.