SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Federal regulators have issued a license for a nuclear waste dump on an American Indian reservation in Utah's western desert, but legal obstacles could keep the project tied up for months.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted the license Monday for Private Fuel Storage to stockpile 44,000 tons of spent uranium fuel rods at the Skull Valley Goshute Indian Reservation, about 45 miles southwest of Salt Lake City.

Utah has filed a federal appeal of the license, approved in September but not officially issued until Monday. But no court date has been set, and there was no sign of when the project would move forward.

``This is a Pyrrhic victory for PFS _ just a piece of paper,'' Denise Chancellor, an assistant state attorney general, said Tuesday.

Officials at PFS, a group of utilities that owns nuclear power plants, said they were confident.

``The license is the culmination of 8 1/2 years of a very vigorous licensing process during which the state of Utah has been a full participant,'' PFS spokeswoman Sue Martin said Tuesday. ``We had to win every single argument to show this facility could be safely operated, and we won all those arguments.''

PFS also still needs permission from agencies including the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Chancellor said.

She said PFS could have difficulty showing regulators that it has enough money to because several financiers have dropped out. PFS has said it can recruit other members.