Saturday, June 24, 2006

Nuclear Waste Issue

Utah tribe divided over nuclear waste

Bear says it is the way to riches that will mean new homes, new jobs and better health care for the 118 members of his tribe. Only about two dozen _ including children _ still live on the 18,000-acre reservation, but this project will bring many of the others back, he predicts.

The Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs approved the lease in 1997. The deal is yet to be consummated amid lawsuits, regulatory hurdles and bitter opposition. It's close, though.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued a license for the dump in February. The agency rejected arguments that the dump's location is unsafe because hundreds of F-16 jet fighters fly over the reservation on the way to bombing runs over nearby government land. The chance of a crash that could result in the release of radiation is one in a million, an adequate risk, the NRC said.

Private Fuel Storage LLC of Wisconsin, the consortium that would build and run the dump, has begun looking for nuclear power plant owners to sign up for waste shipments.

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