Radiation panel awaits more members
The state's new Radiation Control Board on Tuesday had to skip over its key action item the election of officers because it still needs two more members.
Gov. Gary Herbert's office has not given the Senate the name of a waste-industry representative who can fill a designated spot on the nine-member panel. And the nomination of Sarah Fields, nominated to represent a non-governmental organization, expires in a few days because the Senate has failed to act on her confirmation within 90 days.
Fields and EnergySolutions Regulatory Vice President Dan Shrum were slated to appear before a Senate confirmation committee in August. But Shrum withdrew his nomination because of public uproar over the propriety of having a company executive help set state policy on radioactive waste, which EnergySolutions handles.
No representative from the nuclear-waste company has served on the board for more than a decade, following a bribery/extortion scandal and the discovery that the company's founder had loaned another board member $15,000.
Although Herbert's office has received applications from at least two businessmen in the radioactive waste industry, the governor has not sent the names of any new nominees, said a Senate spokesman.
Shrum appeared before the radiation board on Wednesday to describe his company. So did Fields, who told about her Moab-based advocacy group, Uranium Watch.
Also addressing the panel was Blaine Howard, who presented signed copies of his new book, Understanding Radiation: A Common-Sense Approach.
"Adequate knowledge is very important," he told board members, "especially for people who are making decisions that affects the health and safety of others."
Howard began worked in the industry in 1953, with stints in the state radiation office and at the radioactive waste site.
The Division of Radiation Control is expected to appear before lawmakers Wednesday to address a critical performance review that was issued in September by the Legislative Auditor General's Office. Director of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality Amanda Smith and Radiation Control Division Director Rusty Lundberg are slated to tell how they have responded to the audit report.