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Walker to Testify Against Nuclear Waste for Utah

Walker to Testify Against Nuclear Waste for Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Governor Olene Walker will testify about the dangers of shipping nuclear waste to a storage depot proposed on the Skull Valley Indian reservation.

Walker is scheduled to appear tomorrow before the U-S Nuclear Waste Technical Review board at the Sheraton hotel in downtown Salt Lake City.

The board kicks off two days of hearings this morning with testimony from energy officials and a scientist.

State officials are fighting a plan by nuclear-powered utilities to store spent nuclear fuel rods on the Goshute reservation -- 45 miles west of Salt Lake City.

The storage is billed as a temporary measure -- until a permanent burial ground can be opened at Nevada's Yucca Mountain.

Walker says high-level nuclear waste should not be dumped in Utah, which has no nuclear power plants. Other Utah politicians are dead-set against the plan, too.

The Skull Valley Band of Goshutes signed an agreement in 1997 allowing a consortium of utilities to store up to 44,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel in upright steel-and-concrete casks.

The NRC's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board is expected to decide early next year whether Skull Valley can safely keep nuclear fuel.

This week's hearings are part of the decision-making process.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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