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Controversy surrounds nuclear waste shipment proposal

There are two stories surrounding the shipment of spent nuclear fuel rods into Idaho.

The U.S. Department of Energy plans to use the rods for efficiency research at the Idaho National Lab.

Former Idaho governors Cecil Andrus and Philip Batt say the DOE did not disclose all information regarding the shipment.

Idaho would need to waive a provision in the 1995 agreement to clean up nuclear waste at the INL.

The governors also say the followup plan calls for 20 tons of waste to be brought into the state.

The Snake River Alliance Nuclear Program Director doesn’t want the Gem State to become a nuclear waste dump.

“Nuclear waste is a very very long term problem but many of the steps that the government takes to address that problem are very short term. I don’t think that’s a good mixture and I think Idahoans should be cautious of participating in what looks like a short-term fix that might be turned into a very long-term burden,” said Beatrice Brailsford.

However, state lawmaker Jeff Thompson says he’s only been informed of the 200 pound agreement.

“With this confusion continually out there I’m not sure what the purpose of it is or what it’s about. But I encourage the confusion to stop. Let’s just move forward and focus on what we know the discussed about agreement is 200 pounds,” said Thompson.

Here’s what the department of energy told Local News 8/KIDK Eyewitness News:

“Today’s discussion centers around a proposal to bring two shipments of
commercial spent nuclear fuel amounting to 200 pounds to the Idaho national
Laboratory for testing and research. There is no proposal to bring larger
shipments of commercial spent nuclear fuel to the laboratory. If, at some
future point, DOE proposes such an effort, it will notify the state of Idaho
and comply with all applicable legal obligations.”

A letter from Attorney General Lawrence Wasden in February states that no waiver would be granted to the DOE until it first resolved the disposal of 900,000 gallons of liquid waste still at the site.

The letter also said the department is years away from coming up with a solution.

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