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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Feds cancel research shipment of spent nuclear fuel to Idaho

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Federal authorities have canceled a proposed research shipment of spent nuclear fuel to eastern Idaho. Idaho National Laboratory Director Mark Peters in a letter to employees Friday afternoon says the U.S. Department of Energy won't send 25 fuel rods weighing about 100 pounds to the facility. The move comes after federal and state officials couldn't come to terms on a waiver to a 1995 agreement that ties such shipments to nuclear waste cleanup at the 890-square-mile site. The federal agency is currently in violation of the agreement because of its failure to convert 900,000 gallons of liquid waste into solid form due to malfunctions at a $571 million plant. Two former Idaho governors blasted the proposed shipments when they became known in January. But state officials say they're worth $20 million a year to Idaho.

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said he’s disappointed. “Yet, I remain hopeful that DOE will recognize the necessity of curing its contractual breach of the 1995 Settlement Agreement,” Wasden said. “I encourage DOE to work with me, not only to ensure the agency’s commitments to the citizens of this state are honored, but in the belief that together, we can clear a pathway forward to future research and prosperity for the lab and the region.” He added, “Partnerships can only thrive if the players agree not just to enjoy the benefits, but to also share in its obligations.” You can read his full statement here.

AP reporter Keith Ridler has a full report here.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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