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John Daley ReportingHigh-level nuclear waste is one giant step closer to coming to Utah. Utah has no nuclear power plants, but nuclear power companies around the country want to store their waste here, and today a federal commission gave the green light to a plan to do just that.
Today the Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted three to one to authorize a license to Private Fuel Storage for a spent fuel storage facility in Skull Valley. Governor Jon Huntsman said in a statement that he was "deeply disappointed" and would continue fighting the project. Conservationists say transporting and storing the waste here is too big a risk, but PFS says it's safe.
Sue Martin, Spokesperson, Private Fuel Storage: "We've looked at earthquakes, we've looked at tornados, fires, water. We've looked at F-16 crashes. The state has brought in their experts to argue why they think it wouldn't be safe. We've had to prove why it would be."
Jason Groenewold, Healthy Alliance Utah: "We should all be extremely concerned when we have a federal government agency telling us don't worry about what happens if a plane crashes into a nuclear waste cask. If they're not even willing to recognize the problem how are they possibly going to prepare for the emergency that may ensue if something does go wrong?"
Under the plan the waste would be transported by rail and kept above ground in 4,000 steel casks, which can hold up to 10 tons of spent fuel each. The casks would be shielded in two steel shells encasing a wall of concrete more than two feet thick.
There are still more regulatory hurdles before construction can begin. The earliest the 3 billion dollar project is expected to open is 2008