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WASHINGTON (AP) -- A federal appeals court declined to act on a challenge to a license that was granted for nuclear-waste storage in Utah's west desert.
Writing for a three-judge panel, Judge Merrick Garland said it would be inappropriate to act because it's uncertain whether the facility could ever be built.
The Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians and a consortium of utilities last year won a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to store 40,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel on the tribe's reservation, about 50 miles southwest of Salt Lake City.
The state and Utah's congressional delegation oppose the project. The Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have effectively blocked it by denying access to the site.
The utility consortium, Private Fuel Storage LLC, has said it would take those federal agencies to court but hasn't so far, Garland said Tuesday.
As a result, it is "too speculative" whether the appeals court would ever need to determine whether the NRC license is valid, he said.
The case was filed by some Goshute tribe members at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)