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Idaho Task Force Considers Nuclear Waste

Aaron Kunz

A task force in Idaho issued a first draft Monday of recommendations that could include the shipment of spent nuclear waste into the state.

Idaho’s Leadership in Nuclear Energy Commission offered 60 preliminary recommendations. The goal is to strengthen the role of nuclear energy in Idaho and establish a future for one of the state’s largest employers, the Idaho National Lab.

At least one of those recommendations is likely to generate controversy calls for small-scale storage of spent nuclear waste from commercial facilities. The Northwest’s only such nuclear reactor is the Columbia Nuclear Power Plant in southeast Washington.

That would require state leaders to revise a 1995 agreement with the federal government that caps the amount of nuclear waste in Idaho.

The Snake River Alliance is the state’s leading nuclear watchdog group. It declined comment on the draft recommendations. A spokeswoman said the group wants more time to study the proposal.

Idaho Governor Butch Otter says he encourages the public to read the report and comment before January 4. After that the commission will make its final recommendations to the governor.

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