(KCPW News) Congressman Jim Matheson says his opponent's views on nuclear waste are now crystal clear after a debate on Tuesday. But Bill Dew's Campaign says he wasn't given enough time to clarify his remarks. Matheson says it was the first time he heard his opponent say he's in favor of bringing foreign nuclear waste to Utah.
"My opponent seems to think it's OK to bring radioactive waste in from foreign countries and have it here in Utah. I completely disagree," Matheson says. "It's the first time I've really heard him take that position. And so this is just a, to me, a defining issue that shows that we're very different on something, where I'm pretty sure that most people in Utah agree with me that we shouldn't be bringing that waste here."
In fact, the Governor, an eight-state regional oversight compact and a record number of Utahns came out against importing foreign nuclear waste. But in the KSL-TV debate, Dew said the foreign waste is so low level, he has no problem with a proposal to store it at the Energy Solutions facility in Tooele County.
Dew's General Consultant, Alan Crooks says the Republican candidate didn't get a chance to clarify his statements. Crooks says the candidate thinks importing foreign waste is a states' rights issue and the federal government shouldn't get involved.
"We need to rework the system and we need to respect the state's rights in doing it, and we need to use the proven technology of recycling nuclear waste, which is used other places in the world and proven to be safe here in the United States," Crooks says. "We're behind on that. And that's from a lack of leadership in Congress."
Meanwhile, Matheson has sponsored a bill in Congress to ban the importation of foreign waste. Energy Solutions application for a license to store 1,600 tons of Italian nuclear waste is on hold until a lawsuit filed by the company is settled.