Lawmaker criticizes Utah radioactive waste oversight

Sep 11 2012 - 5:04pm

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FILE - This Feb. 8, 2007, file photo, shows a caution sign hanging on a fence at the EnergySolutions facility, in Clive, Utah. State regulators should stop relying solely on the honor system in its monitoring of companies bringing low-level radioactive waste into the state, according to a legislative audit. The auditors say that without independent oversight, it's impossible to know whether the privately owned EnergySolutions disposal site in Tooele County is burying illegal waste, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The company says its processes are safe and claims it was "targeted" by auditors, noting the findings were based on "fundamentally flawed assumptions." (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac, File)
File - This Feb. 8, 2007, file photo, shows a warning sign attached to rail cars containing low-level radioactive waste ready for processing at the EnergySolutions facility, in Clive, Utah. State regulators should stop relying solely on the honor system in its monitoring of companies bringing low-level radioactive waste into the state, according to a legislative audit. The auditors say that without independent oversight, it's impossible to know whether the privately owned EnergySolutions disposal site in Tooele County is burying illegal waste, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The company says its processes are safe and claims it was "targeted" by auditors, noting the findings were based on "fundamentally flawed assumptions." (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac, File)
FILE - This Feb. 8, 2007, file photo, shows a caution sign hanging on a fence at the EnergySolutions facility, in Clive, Utah. State regulators should stop relying solely on the honor system in its monitoring of companies bringing low-level radioactive waste into the state, according to a legislative audit. The auditors say that without independent oversight, it's impossible to know whether the privately owned EnergySolutions disposal site in Tooele County is burying illegal waste, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The company says its processes are safe and claims it was "targeted" by auditors, noting the findings were based on "fundamentally flawed assumptions." (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac, File)
File - This Feb. 8, 2007, file photo, shows a warning sign attached to rail cars containing low-level radioactive waste ready for processing at the EnergySolutions facility, in Clive, Utah. State regulators should stop relying solely on the honor system in its monitoring of companies bringing low-level radioactive waste into the state, according to a legislative audit. The auditors say that without independent oversight, it's impossible to know whether the privately owned EnergySolutions disposal site in Tooele County is burying illegal waste, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The company says its processes are safe and claims it was "targeted" by auditors, noting the findings were based on "fundamentally flawed assumptions." (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac, File)

SALT LAKE CITY -- A Senate leader is asking whether Utah's Department of Environmental Quality should be dissolved and the top radiation-control official ousted amid an audit critical of the state's oversight of low-level radioactive waste.

Republican Senate President Mike Waddoups of Taylorsville attacked the agency Tuesday after reviewing two audits by the Legislative Auditor General's Office. The reports suggest the state relies too heavily on regulated companies and federal agencies to ensure Utah's waste control laws are being followed.

Auditors found that 37 containers of highly hazardous waste came to the state improperly. Utah bans the class C waste, which federal agencies say remains hazardous for about 500 years.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports DEQ Director Amanda Smith called the reports "misleading" and says auditors misunderstand the radioactive waste industry.

 

 

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