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Group Planning ‘Train Watch’ For Spent Nuclear Reactor Fuel

Sun., May 25, 1997

A train hauling six casks of spent nuclear fuel is expected to arrive at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory on Memorial Day, the Snake River Alliance says.

The group said two trains left the East Coast last week carrying spent reactor fuel from Navy bases at New Hampshire and Virginia. They were to merge at Omaha before crossing Wyoming on the way to Idaho.

Margaret McDonald of Ketchum said the Snake River Alliance is planning a “train watch” to make sure the nuclear shipments do not go unnoticed.

The shipment is under the nuclear waste storage agreement negotiated by Gov. Phil Batt with the Department of Energy in 1995. It allows 1,133 shipments of spent fuel to be brought into Idaho over 40 years and stored at INEEL.

Brad Bugger, spokesman for the research facility, said because of security reasons, no information will be released on the shipments. So far this year, his office said, five containers of waste have been delivered to INEEL. Last year, there were 36 and in 1995, 24 shipments came to Idaho between the effective date of the shipment and the end of the year.

The agreement allows 20 shipments per year between 1997 and 2000. Last November, voters rejected an initiative seeking to void the agreement and to put future agreements before the voters and Legislature.


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