Interior Department blocks interim nuke-waste site in Utah

The Interior Department has blocked an interim nuclear-waste storage plant on a Native reservation in appropriately named Skull Valley, Utah. The department denied a lease and transportation plan for the site, which was to hold 44,000 tons of nuclear waste in above-ground casks about an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City. The department’s main concern was just how interim the interim site would be, as the planned permanent waste dump in Yucca Mountain, Nev., has been plagued with delays and may not be completed for decades, if ever. The rejection was cheered by Utah’s governor, congressional delegation, and thousands of letter-writing citizens, as well as some members of the Goshute tribe, which owns the land. Others in the 125-member tribe lamented the loss of a profit-making venture. The decision may be appealed by Private Fuel Storage, the eight-utility consortium backing the waste site.