Italy's nuclear waste too hot for Utah

May 1, 2008 at 12:19 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, May 1 (UPI) -- The plan to bury Italian nuclear waste in Utah hit a snag.

EnergySolutions planned to import 20,000 tons of radioactive waste from nuclear reactors in Italy but now state and federal regulators said they need more information, the Salt Lake Tribune reported, after it was found the waste might be too hot.

Company spokesman John Ward said EnergySolutions will screen the waste from Italy's defunct nuclear program four times: once before sending it across the Atlantic, again before recycling it at the company's Tennessee treatment plant, again after usable metal is melted and recast as shielding and once more before 1,600 tons of waste is buried in Tooele County, about 80 miles west of Salt Lake City.

They said that anything too radioactive will be returned to Italy, under an export license that the company also has applied for.

But Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, said the company's import application before the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission suggests the material is too hot to be permitted under state law.

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