10 September 2005

Nuclear Waste in Utah.

High level nuclear waste storage and Yucca Valley, Nevada are virtually synonymous in the mind of the educated layman. Few people are aware, however, that Utah's Skull Valley is also home to a proposed nuclear waste dump. Despite opposition from Utah's Governor, the proposed Skull Valley site is marching briskly along the path of receiving federal approval. An opening date as soon as 2008 is possible. The site is intended as a stop gap measure until Yucca Valley can open. But, in the nuclear waste world, the temporary status quo has a tendency to linger on longer than originally planned.

This takes some pressure off local high level nuclear waste sites all over the nation. An ultimate outcome is still unclear. When people are talking about 1,000,000 year safety thresholds at Yucca Valley, and equally unlikely scenarios at Skull Valley, it is hard to know what unlikely scenario could ultimately drive a decision. The fact that the Utah site is on an Indian Reservation also puts some teeth into arguments about environmental racism and the odd semi-sovereignty of American Indian tribes in American law.

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