Utah residents fight to stop nuclear waste truck route

| 5/22/2006

Residents of Tooele County, UT, are up in arms over a plan that would send massive trucks with radioactive payloads through their area.

On Wednesday, May 18, Utah Assistant Attorney General Denise Chancellor announced a plan to build the Private Fuel Storage facility, a warehouse for spent nuclear fuel, in the Skull Valley Indian Reservation. The facility would be supplied by an intermodal facility 26 miles to the north, via State Route 196.

Chancellor made the announcement to the state legislature’s Agriculture and Environment Interim Committee. The plan would have to be approved by the legislature, because it would require the use of trucks that far exceed the road’s current weight limits.

The specially built vehicles would be 150 to 180 feet long, 12 feet wide, weigh approximately 225 tons and have hundreds of tires, according to the Deseret Morning News newspaper. In her meeting with the legislature, Chancellor said the trucks would make more than 300 trips per year, making it one of the largest nuclear waste storage facilities in the country.

The idea has been hotly debated by people living near the potential route. According to the Morning News, planning officials have received more than 4,000 comments from people concerned about environmental disasters, as well as the impact of such large trucks on such a small road.

Almost 700,000 residents live within five miles of the trucks’ route, the Morning News reported.