Feds approve nuclear-waste dump on Utah tribe’s land

On Friday, the Bush administration approved a controversial $3.1 billion plan for a massive temporary radioactive-waste dump on a Utah Indian reservation — a win for nuclear-power interests. A private firm and the sovereign Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians struck up the agreement for the repository, so the plan has evaded the kind of public review and political debate that’s kept the proposed nuclear-waste dump at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain in stasis. The Utah facility could come online by 2007, and might ultimately hold about 40,000 tons of spent reactor fuel. The poverty-stricken Goshutes are themselves divided over the plan: some see it as a great moneymaker, but at least one faction says it will dishonor sacred sites and obliterate the tribe’s culture. Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. (R) says the state will sue to stop the dump from being built, and environmental groups stand firmly behind him.