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State plans to write nuke-waste rules

SALT LAKE CITY | Federal regulators have put off a decision on whether blended radioactive waste can be buried in Utah.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s decided last week to develop a new set of rules assessing the dangers of blended waste based on the risks at individual disposal sites.

Utah regulators hailed the broader approach as smarter but are drafting their own standards in the meantime.

“It’s not stopping Utah from going ahead and doing what’s best for Utah,” Utah Radiation Control Board Chairman Peter Jenkins, a health physicist, told the Associated Press on Friday.

The state board has issued draft regulations that require an operator to prove that mixing hotter but less-concentrated wastes won’t create an accidental danger hundreds or thousands of years in the future if somebody stumbles across the waste or digs it up.

The NRC said its own review could take years to produce a new set of regulations.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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