Look also within, Utah

  Dear HCN,

Grateful thanks to Rep. Kelly Atkinson, D-West Jordan (Utah), for his expression of concern regarding Umetco Minerals' plan to bury radioactive waste in Uravan, Colo., on the San Miguel River and a short 20 miles from the Utah-Colorado border (HCN, 11/29/93).

While it's true we all live downstream, I would suggest that Utah legislators pay careful attention to the environmental threats within their own borders. To name but two: Umetco's recently requested authorization from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to receive and dispose, in its currently existing mill tailings impoundment at White Mesa Mill in Blanding, 11e.(2) byproduct material, i.e., radioactively contaminated soil, resins, concrete, sludge, plumbing, etc., wastes which have been generated in Texas and will require either railcar or truck shipments across Texas, New Mexico and Utah.

Also, there is Envirocare of Utah Inc., at Clive, in Utah's West Desert - licensed to accept radioactively contaminated wastes from cleanups of closed facilities owned by Cintichem in New York; atomic reactor wastes from GPU Nuclear in Pennsylvania; NORM and Mixed Wastes from federal agencies such as the EPA's Montclair-West Orange and Glen Ridge radium Superfund sites in New Jersey; thorium tailings from West Chicago, Ill.; radioactive rubble from Weldon Spring, Mo.; radioactive wastes from Superfund sites in Denver (44 of them); radium waste from Queens, N.Y.; and a building from West End in Cincinnati, Ohio, which was contaminated when a radium capsule exploded - all this, coming soon to a dump near you.

By the way, Envirocare is currently in negotiations with the NRC to discuss possible changes to operations from those presented in its current license application. These changes are to allow more operational flexibility due to customer considerations.

Utah is just one of several Western states being looked to with increasing frequency, interest, and high desperation - by our government and Eastern industries, including the commercial nuclear power industry. They have targeted the Southwest as the nation's dumping ground for their colossal stockpile of wastes. If Utah officials want something to focus on, and I hope they do, they don't have to look very far.

Carol Oldershaw

Takoma Park, Maryland