Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt (R) created a special state office yesterday dedicated to blocking a proposal to store 44,000 tons of high-level nuclear waste on the Skull Valley Goshute Reservation, 45 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. The Goshute tribe says it has the sovereign right to accept the waste, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which will likely issue its final decision in 2002, has tentatively declared the site safe. Leavitt, however, questions the safety of the site, which would store 30 years worth of nuclear waste from a consortium of eight power companies. He created the Office of High Level Nuclear Waste Opposition to fight the plan and said he will ask the state legislature for $1 million a year to pay for attorney fees. Meanwhile, 10 workers cleaning the former U.S. Rocky Flats nuclear weapons factory in Colorado have tested positive for radiation, and officials are still searching for the radiation’s source.

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