Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. is attempting to stop a shipment of nuclear waste from Italian power plants from coming to Utah, his office announced today.

Huntsman is directing Bill Sinclair, who represents Utah on the Northwest Interstate Low-Level Waste Compact "to vote against any proposals for foreign nuclear waste to come in to Utah" at the organization's upcoming meeting on May 8.

"As I have always emphatically declared, Utah should not be the world's dumping ground," Huntsman said in a statement. "Our country has limited space to store even domestic waste and it would be most appropriate to have a federal policy against the importation of foreign nuclear waste. However, as the federal government is slow to adopt such a policy, Utah will lead the way."

EnergySolutions Inc. wants to import some 20,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste from Italian nuclear facilities for processing in Tennessee, then send the leftover waste to the EnergySolutions site in Tooele County for storage. After the waste is processed in Tennessee, less than 1,600 tons is expected to remain.

The governor's office said the Northwest Compact has the authority to approve or disapprove foreign nuclear waste facilities in the region, and that Utah has veto power over the shipment.

The shipment has already been opposed by Rep. Jim Matheson, D- Utah, who has sponsored legislation along with other congessmen, including one from Tennessee, that would ban the importation of nuclear waste unless it was originally produced in the U.S., except, for example, U.S. military waste generated abroad.


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