Federal regulators who conducted a nine-month study of Envirocare of Utah found several possible violations, but none severe enough to prevent the facility from continuing to receive low-level nuclear waste shipments.
The Environmental Protection Agency found eight issues, mostly related to record-keeping and testing, that could technically be considered non-compliance, and 10 other "areas of concern" that regulators will address further in the future."These are things the facility would want to correct, but they pose no immediate threat to public health or the environment," said Carl Daly, EPA project manager in a prepared statement Monday.
The EPA will forward the findings to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, which could follow up on the possible violations, including issuing notices, depending on what the company has done to remedy the problems since they were first brought to light, Daly said.
Investigators found five monitoring and inspection problems, five water testing problems, three records management mistakes, three waste treatment flaws and two miscellaneous problems.
Daly said regulators determined the operating records were complete and the permits issued by UDEQ appeared adequate. He said the investigation began last June and included hundreds of hours of research.
UDEQ also announced Monday that on Tuesday it will begin accepting public comment on the proposed renewal of Envirocare's license. The comment period will last 60 days, with meetings held in Salt Lake City and Tooele on June 4.
UDEQ reviewed over 5,000 pages compiled by Envirocare over a two-year period, that Envirocare said included some 20,000 work hours with six outside firms offering consulting on the document. The state requires low-level nuclear waste storage licenses to be renewed every five years.
"This has been a very long and complex task," said Charles Judd, president of Envirocare in a statement, Monday.
The draft proposal includes a provision that would allow En-vi-ro-care to accept all waste below a maximum radioactive concentration. Now, the average concentration of waste at the facility is kept at a specified level, meaning when higher concentrations are accepted, lower concentrations must be accepted to maintain a balance.
Envirocare has been under close scrutiny from the EPA and UDEQ, as well as under investigation by the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office because of alleged dealings between Envirocare owner Khosrow Semnani and Larry F. Anderson, the former director of the state Division of Radiation Control.