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Group: Eastern Idaho could be center of nuclear technology industry

Could eastern Idaho be the Silicon Valley for nuclear energy?

However America’s nuclear future looks like, it will likely affect the region.

On Tuesday, one nuclear energy advocacy group told the community about its hopes for the future.

The Partnership for Science and Technology, which lobbies for nuclear energy development, presented those hopes to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s Leadership in Nuclear Energy Commission.

On Tuesday, it brought the message to the Idaho National Laboratory campus ahead of a LINE Commission public comment session.

The partnership’s director, Lane Allgood, said eastern Idaho could be the Silicon Valley for nuclear energy.

“With our laboratory being designated as the No. 1 nuclear R & D (research and development) lab, that positions us — we believe — to be the No. 1 site for nuclear development,” Allgood said. He said the days of INL as a waste-management site may be numbered as research and development take priority.

It doesn’t mean the Idaho Cleanup Project won’t play into the future.

Cleanup Project spokesman Erik Simpson said, in a way, it is making it possible.

“We’re freeing up real estate,” he said. “We’re making more of the site available for new missions for the INL.”

Allgood said the key now is making our little “Silicon Valley” attractive for new tenants.

“What we have to do as a state first of all is reach out to these businesses and say we are very interested in you giving us an opportunity to present what we have for you,” he said.

The LINE Commission will be in Idaho Falls to hear the public weigh in on the region’s future Friday at the Hilton Garden Inn in Idaho Falls at 2:45 p.m.

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