Utah agrees to be defendant in N-waste lawsuit | SummitDaily.com

Utah agrees to be defendant in N-waste lawsuit

SALT LAKE CITY ” Utah has agreed to become a defendant in a federal lawsuit over whether EnergySolutions Inc. can import foreign radioactive waste for disposal here.

The Salt Lake City-based nuclear waste disposal firm wants to import 20,000 tons of low-level waste from Italy’s shuttered nuclear program for processing in Tennessee and disposal in Utah. After processing, about 1,600 tons would be disposed at its Clive, Utah site.

The company’s application is currently pending before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which asked for input from the Northwest Interstate Compact on Low-level Radioactive Waste, of which Utah is a member.

Utah joined the Northwest compact in 1982 under a plan by Congress to promote regional solutions for low-level waste. When EnergySolutions, then called Envirocare of Utah, sought to accept low-level waste in 1991, the state backed the company before the compact.

At Utah’s urging, the eight-state compact ruled earlier this year that EnergySolutions can’t use its dump for foreign waste.

However, EnergySolutions contends the compact has no authority over operations at its landfill in Tooele County and has filed a federal lawsuit asking for a judge’s ruling on the issue. Utah has agreed to become a defendant in that lawsuit.

“The state being involved in this case makes a lot of sense,” said Lisa Roskelley, Gov. Jon Huntsman’s spokeswoman.

EnergySolutions general counsel Val Christensen said that the company has no objection to Utah joining in as a defendant.

U.S. District Court Judge Ted Stewart must sign off on the request to add Utah to the case.

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