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UNA's Government Relations Committee (GRC) alerts all UTAH nurses to immediately:

Urge Governor Herbert to VETO HB220S4 (Radioactive Waste Amendments)

Send to the Governor. TODAY if at all possible, because we do not know when he might sign the bill.  Governor Herbert’s email is garyherbert@utah.gov and his office phone is:  (801) 538-1000 or (800) 705 2464. 

TAKE ACTION NOW!!!!!!

HB 220S4 Albrecht/Sandall  Radioactive Waste Amendments  This bill: provides that certain waste classifications are determined at the time of acceptance; allows the director of the Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control to authorize alternate requirements for waste classification and characteristics that would allow an entity to accept certain waste at a specific site.  (passed both the House and the Senate) UNA OPPOSES

Discussion: This bill replaces the 15-year ban on admitting depleted uranium and possibly blended Class B and Class C radioactive materials into Utah disposal sites. In effect, the bill allows any class to be accepted, trucked in, and stored as long as one person, the director of DWMRC, is convinced that the radioactive material is safe. This opens the door to more highly radioactive materials such as depleted uranium that degrades to even higher radioactive products to be stored in some as yet unapproved manner in Utah as long as one person agrees. No panel of experts is involved in this decision. And this person may determine the danger of radiation based on the level present at the point of acquiring the waste. When first acquired, depleted uranium has the same level of radiation as does Class A, the lowest level of radioactive material formerly allowed to be stored in Utah. Over time, depleted uranium INCREASES in radioactivity to at least Class C radioactive materials, and remains high for thousands of years.

This bill also bypasses the findings of a long-term state assessment of the site and proposed processes as well as an evaluation of the impact that this depleted uranium waste will have on Utah. This study is due to be finished in Spring of 2019.  Why not wait and see what the results are before passing a law to allow a wide variety of waste to be dumped in Utah? Senator Kitchens moved that this bill be moved to Interim discussion for more deliberative consideration, as has been done with issues such as medical marijuana or Medicaid expansion. This motion was defeated in the Senate Committee.

This recalls the decision to store chemical warfare weapons at the Tooele Depot until they started to leak. Then the Army built a major disposal site to rid us of the danger. This type of site does not exist for very radioactive materials. We do not need to be allowing a major corporation to be able to pressure our state agencies to accept waste like this. Let other states store their own waste. Let Energy Solutions build facilities in California. Utah has a high cancer load and we have paid as downwinders enough already. UNA OPPOSES

Energy Solutions proposes to bury the DU in their site at Clive, UT. They will bury the DU 10 ft down on an old alkaline lake bed. Most states that accept DU bury them deeply in old salt caverns, away from any water source that might dissolve the DU.

Talking points:

Why oppose HB220?

  • HB220 effectively overrides the longstanding ban on class B and C radioactive waste, which was passed in 2005 with widespread support in the legislator and by the company now known as Energy Solutions.
  • HB220 gives one person, a political appointee (the Director of the Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control) the sole authority to decide to bring the country's most harmful radioactive material to Utah.
  • HB220 allows the single point classification of radioactive waste at the time of its disposal, meaning the state would not have to determine any long-term effects of waste storage, including any increases in toxicity over time.
  • HB220 has implications for issues like depleted uranium, a type of waste that gets more radioactive over time, eventually becoming more radioactive than class B and C waste. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality has been assessing depleted uranium for seven years and this assessment is expected in May 2019. HB220 bypasses this regulatory process.
  • What happens if the DEQ assessment is not favorable to long-term DU storage in the shallow West Desert area? Will Energy Solutions merely change a process or two and continue?
  • With the substitute, HB220S4 may also impact the way radioactive waste is modeled during technical assessments, which may affect the current depleted uranium assessment. Scientific modeling, the generation of a physical, conceptual, or mathematical representation of a real phenomenon that is difficult to observe directly.  (Kara Rogers, Science, retrieved 3-2-19) This modeling considers many attributes of the location and process such as hydrologic information of the site, seismic activity, alkaline water at the site, and types of containers to be used  over 10,000 years …Requirements of  this analysis is muddied by unclear language in the bill.

See HB220 here.

HB220 should have more than a brief presentation, this bill needs to go to interim for such long term, comprehensive decisions.

 


 

UNA's Nurses Day at the Legislature 2019
was a huge success with over 200 attendees!!
Good to see everyone there!

 


Utah's 2019 Legislative Session is nearing March 14th end!
 
Utah Nurses Association's Government Relations Committee (GRC) urges you to join us for the remainder of the 2019 session and in preparation for next year! 
 
 
Text UTNURSE to 52886 and enter your information to sign up for our Policy Alerts; we will send out text alerts to your phone as each campaign is posted. Please share this keyword with your colleagues to sign up and receive alerts during our 2019 session!
 
 
Sincerely, 
UNA's GRC
email: advocacy@utnurse.org
 



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