Dear Governor Herbert
We represent the Utah Democratic Health Care Caucus. While our caucus was formed under the umbrella of the Utah Democratic Party our membership includes conservative and unaffiliated voters who have a concern about health matters that effect Utahns and the nation. We have approximately 575 members who follow our Facebook page and caucus meetings.
We urgently request that you veto H.B. 220 Radioactive Waste Amendments.
In 2005 Utah banned the importation of class B and class C wastes and in 2010, out of concern for safety, you suspended shipments to the state.
What has changed the equation? In 2005 we had 2.5 million residents. By 2020 we will likely have 3.5 million. Is it the $150,000 in political contributions in 2018 that Energy Solutions made to Utah officeholders?
The International Nuclear Workers (INWORKS) studied deaths due to leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma in French, British and American nuclear workers who were exposed to ionizing radiation at work. There was significant evidence of a positive association between ionizing radiation exposure and death from leukemia among more than 300,000 nuclear workers.
Leukemia is generally treated with a bone marrow transplant. The average cost of an allogeneic bone marrow transplant in the United States is around $800,000, while an autologous transplant will cost around $350,000. These patients, if they survive, are still left with challenging side effects from the treatment.
In a Deseret News article in October 2018, Don Verbica, with the radiation control division, said he didn't believe previous assessments done at the Clive facility addressed the risks posed by depleted uranium metal. He was quoted, “They have to demonstrate that (disposal of the material) will not result in an undue hazard to public health, safety and the environment.” Verbica added that depleted uranium metal is chemically unstable, relatively mobile and pyrophoric, or able to ignite spontaneously. The staff's presentation showed a corroded depleted uranium munition after three years to underscore what they assert is the specific unsafe nature of the radioactive material.
In addition, geologist Stephen T. Nelson and climatologist Summer B. Rupper, both of Brigham Young University, and Kansas State University geologist Charles G. Oviatt, say it is "absurd" for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to deem depleted uranium safe for surface disposal. All three scientists are experts in the geological history of Lake Bonneville, that has periodically covered parts of three states in the past 30,000 years.
“The uranium enrichment waste gets increasingly hazardous for a million years, and that's too long to reasonably ensure the safety of any shallow landfills, especially one like the Tooele County site that is underwater a few hundred of every several thousand years. Those wet cycles could spread long-lived radioactive material throughout the Great Salt Lake basin, the scientists say.” (The Salt Lake Tribune Nov. 7, 2009)
Please do the right thing for current and future residents of our state and veto this bill.
Utah Democratic Health Care Caucus Board
Chairman Ryan Jensen, small business owner
Secretary Karina Andelin Brown, BS, MS (former legislative candidate)
Whitney Duhaime, small business owner
June H. Taylor, PhD, retired
Christine Helfrich, BS, CCRP, retired
Joni Bycroft, BS, MS, retired
Joe Bycroft, IBEW president, retired