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Idaho officials seek end run on nuclear waste regulation.

Federal and state officials are doing an end run around voters' desire to keep Idaho from becoming a nuclear waste dump.

Forced by a popular initiative petition, former Gov. Phil Batt signed an agreement with the federal government in 1995 to remove radioactive waste from the Idaho National Laboratory and to restrict importation of spent nuclear fuel from commercial facilities. Voters approved that agreement by 62.5 percent.

In other words, voters didn't want to enlarge the state's stores of nuclear waste and wanted to get rid of what it had.

Yet last week, Idahoans found that our state is a likely backup site for 200,000 gallons of low-level radioactive waste to be stored at U.S. Ecology's private site near Grand View in Owyhee County, courtesy of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the state of Idaho.

The site doesn't have a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to store such waste, so the commission said the site would need an exemption.

An environmental assessment found that no risk would be posed to the environment or to the surrounding community. The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality approved the plan and overrode voters' clear wishes.

The shuttered Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power station has 890,000 gallons of water used for cooling and cleaning reactors that it wants to ship out. It would be combined with clay. It sent earlier shipments to a facility in Tennessee.

Idaho has plenty of problems with the nuclear waste already within its borders, not the least of which is that the INL lies in an active earthquake zone and above the huge Snake River Aquifer, whose waters are used for food production.

Idahoans should resist this end run around their wishes by calling, writing and texting the governor, state and federal elected representatives. It's time to remind them that voters still oppose importation of any nuclear waste into our beautiful state, no matter where it's stored.

Source: Idaho Mountain Express

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Publication:Nuclear Waste News
Date:Apr 21, 2017
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