Radioactive regulators criticised
Updated: 9/11/2012 5:39 pm | Published: 9/11/2012 5:34 pm
Reported by: Marcos Ortiz
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – An angry legislative committee is seeking the elimination of a state agency which oversees low-level radioactive waste.
And at least one lawmaker is suggesting the head of Radiation Control be fired from his job.
All this case as legislative auditors released findings of a year long probe into the dumping of nuclear waste in Utah.
Auditors determined that illegal highly contaminated waste was buried in Utah's west desert.
The report claims the waste banned by state law was buried at the Energy Solutions disposal site in Tooele County.
And legislative auditors also found that the Department of Environmental Quality relies on the honor system.
They learned state regulators rely on company reports outlining the waste they bring in.
“A lot of it is getting buried before we ever know what's going on,” Senate President Michael Waddoups says. “If Energy Solutions doesn't find it no one is going to find it.”
Waddoups who sits on the legislative committee that received the audit says it was Energy Solutions that discovered the illegal waste. But auditors say it was too late. 23-illegal containers of nuclear waste were buried.
Waddoups expressed anger at DEQ’s Director telling her that they’ve “got some big problems.”
But Director Amanda Smith defended the agency telling lawmakers that auditors don’t have full details about how the radioactive-waste industry works and how it’s regulated.
“The report is a little misleading,” Smith told the committee.
Energy Solutions responded to the audit by saying: "the findings were based on fundamentally flawed assumptions.
(Energy Solutions) ... is committed to not disposing of (type) B or C waste in Utah."
Only Class A type waste is allowed to be buried in Utah.
Auditors recommended that changes be made to assure that compliance to rules and laws be followed.
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