Judge opens way for nuclear waste site

SALT LAKE CITY, July 27 (UPI) -- A federal judge has ruled a nuclear waste storage project in Utah can go forward, throwing out U.S. Interior Department decisions that had killed the plan.

Judge David M. Ebel said the department's decision to stop plans for long-term storage of used nuclear reactor fuel on the Skull Valley Goshute Indian Reservation was "arbitrary and capricious," The Salt Lake Tribune reported Tuesday.


Ebel told Interior Department decision-makers to reconsider requests by project proponents, including a consortium of nuclear power companies called Private Fuel Storage LLC.

Opponents of the waste storage plan were disappointed by Ebel's decision, they said.

Margene Bullcreek, a Goshute who has led the opposition to the proposal for a decade, said Ebel's ruling would revive the heated controversy the plan has generated in the 18,000-acre reservation in Utah's Tooele County.

"We're still against it," she said. "It's just going to mean another round" of fighting.

Reactor operators continue to push for a place like Skull Valley to warehouse their used reactor fuel, a form of high-level nuclear waste that remains lethally radioactive forever, the Tribune said.

"There's no place to put this waste, and now we have this door opened" by the Ebel ruling, Bullcreek said.


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