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For months, EnergySolutions Inc. has been fighting for permission to bring foreign radioactive waste to its Tooele County landfill.
Turns out, the Salt Lake City-based nuclear-waste operation has been doing so for eight years, bypassing approval of regional regulators and running counter to past company promises.
EnergySolutions Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steve Creamer told a congressional subcommittee in May that waste shipments from Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada and Mexico have come to Tooele County.
Creamer explained that once this mildly contaminated waste goes through the company’s treatment facility in Tennessee, it no longer is considered foreign waste – thanks to a change in that state’s regulations two years ago.
EnergySolutions points to shipments of this waste ash to its Clive landfill as evidence that it safely can bury radioactive waste from Italy – something it is seeking federal approval to do.
Utah and the regional Northwest Interstate Compact on Low-level Radioactive Waste knew about and approved the past imports, maintains company spokeswoman Jill Sigal.
“What Steve and others have been saying all along,” she said, “is absolutely true.”
If so, regulators counter, those overseas shipments via Tennessee came without a nod from the Northwest Compact, which includes Utah and seven other states