Utah Not Protecting Its Citizens | CitizenSpeak | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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News » CitizenSpeak

Utah Not Protecting Its Citizens

Allowing depleted uranium at EnergySolutions puts people at risk.



Editor's Note: The following is a statement given by Bob Henline to the Utah Radiation Control Board on Jan. 26, 2009.

“The Utah Division of Radiation Control (DRC) protects Utah citizens and the environment from sources of radiation that constitute a significant health hazard.” These words were taken from the Utah Division of Radiation Control website, in Director Finerfrock’s welcome message. I think it unfortunate that I need to come before this Board to remind you of your obligation to Utah’s people and her environment, but your recent refusal to act in any interests but those of corporate greed does, in fact, necessitate such a reminder.

There is no doubt that depleted uranium poses a significant health and safety risk. There is not a credible scientific expert that will contest this simple fact. It is a substance that is not only toxic for billions of years, it also becomes increasingly toxic over time. This we know. What we don’t know is if the EnergySolutions Clive facility is capable of storing this waste safely. Let me repeat that: we don’t know if that facility is capable of safely storing depleted uranium.

In a letter dated Sept. 21, 2009, EnergySolutions President Val Christensen stated: “EnergySolutions has contracted with Neptune and Company, the industry recognized experts in the field of performance assessments, to provide an updated performance assessment for depleted uranium disposal….We anticipate that the performance assessment will be provided to your staff by December 2010.”

What this tells us is that the facility at Clive has not been properly evaluated for the safe long-term disposal of depleted uranium, by EnergySolutions own admission. Yet they still demand the right to import this deadly substance and to dispose of it on our lands, in our back yards.

It is now time for the people of Utah to make a demand of their own, a demand that this body live up to its obligations and act in the best interest of the people and environment of Utah, not a corporation that has repeatedly demonstrated its disdain for the rules and regulations meant to protect us. What that means, ladies and gentlemen, is that as you evaluate the regulations regarding the disposal of depleted uranium you err on the side of caution, on the side of protection, on the side of doing the job that you’ve accepted. Unless and until it can be proven that this toxic waste can be safely and permanently stored at this facility, your jobs and your integrity demand that you refuse to allow it to come to Utah.