Jim knows first hand that government deception during the era of nuclear weapons testing cost thousands of Utahns their health and their lives. He has made it a priority to ensure that the government will never be allowed to take us down that path again.
Jim agrees with an overwhelming majority of Utahns who say that Utah is not a dumping ground for foreign radioactive waste, and it is not the place for our country to store its most lethal nuclear waste. Jim has led the fight to hold the federal government accountable, whether it involves disclosing the risks of radioactive contamination or safely cleaning up the radioactive waste left behind that poses a threat to public health, safety or the environment.
No Foreign Radioactive Waste
Any country possessing the technology for nuclear power is capable of disposing of its own radioactive waste.
- Jim has stood against efforts to import thousands of tons of waste from Italy and other countries, to be dumped in Utah’s west desert.
Moratorium on Nuclear Waste Blending
Some state regulators have put the cart before the horse, and have recommended allowing blended nuclear waste to be disposed in Utah before developing rules and regulations for that type of waste.
- Jim has demanded that nuclear waste storage standards be kept as is until and unless national scientists prove that a change in standards is safe, wise, and in the best interest of Utah.
Clean Up Moab Tailings
A 16-million ton pile of radioactive waste sits next to the Colorado River in Moab, a toxic relic of a dismantled uranium mill.
- Jim has insisted that the federal government remove - not cap in place - the waste, in order to protect surrounding areas from contamination.
- Jim has set a deadline in law for completion of the cleanup, in order to ensure that groundwater pollution from the pile is halted and the river - a source of drinking water for Utahns and 25 million users downstream - is protected.
Fairness for ‘Downwinders’
For years, the federal government told citizens across the West that they were safe from nuclear weapons testing when, in fact, authorities knew differently. As a result, many citizens, commonly known as “downwinders,’ were exposed to high levels of radioactive fallout and suffered terribly- in particular from a variety of deadly cancers. Jim put Utah first and held the federal government accountable for their practices — which included scheduling bomb blasts when the prevailing winds blew the fallout in the least-populated direction—including many parts of our state.
After years of denial the government ultimately admitted its deceit and Utah downwinders, (including Jim’s father, Governor Scott Matheson), helped pass the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), which among other things paid financial awards to victims. Jim has fought for full funding for RECA and has helped lead the fight to expand it and to equalize the compensation provided to downwinders, uranium miners, millers and ore haulers.
Safety for Americans from Nuclear Weapons Testing Act
Jim has put forward legislation—the Safety for Americans from Nuclear Weapons Testing Act—to prevent a repeat of past injury. The legislation requires:
- A full Environmental Impact Statement prior to any resumption of nuclear weapons testing in Nevada.
- Congressional authorization for resumption of testing.
- Public notification prior to any test.
- Independent radiation monitoring with all data and reports available to the public.