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Nuclear Waste, Go Back to Italy

The nuclear waste disposal company EnergySolutions wants to import 20,000 tons of nuclear waste from Italy for disposal in Utah. The proposal has sparked opposition from residents, Gov. John M. Huntsman (R-Utah) and some members of Congress. Today, a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee held a hearing on nuclear waste imports, where CEO of EnergySolutions testified.

"I’ve spent my whole life cleaning up the environment," EnergySolutions CEO Steve Creamer testified today. He says that’s why the company wants to help Italy out. Italy does not have a disposal site for low-level radioactive waste, although it has plans to build such a site, according to testimony today by the Government Accountability Office’s Gene Aloise.

Last week, Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) introduced a bill that would ban importing nuclear waste. The bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah), is designed to quash EnergySolutions’s Italy plan and any prospects for future plans to take in outside waste.

But Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), a ranking member of the subcommittee, said that the proposed bill is a "NIMBY — ‘not in my backyard’ — issue that could serve as a distraction from the coming nuclear renaissance many of us are fighting for."

Stay tuned for more on that "nuclear renaissance" — and the EnergySolutions proposal — in a forthcoming piece this week.

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