Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, is accusing the Obama administration of playing politics by rushing three rail shipments of depleted uranium from Cold War weapons manufacturing in South Carolina to a storage facility in his state.
In a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu Tuesday, Herbert urged the Department of Energy to hold off on the shipments – set to occur over the next couple of weeks – until the state can complete rule-making to put better public regulatory safeguards in place, according to the Desert News in Salt Lake City.
“As a scientist yourself,” Herbert’s letter to Chu reads, “I know you can appreciate that good public policy requires good science, and I am concerned that DOE’s decision to ship this waste to Utah now is based more on politics than on science.”
According to the Associated Press, cleanup efforts in South Carolina are being funded by stimulus dollars meant to create jobs. Critics of congressional efforts to revive the nation’s nuclear industry as a virtually carbon-free alternative power source have pointed to waste storage as one of the biggest hurdles.