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PNS Daily Newscast - July 18, 2019 


The U.S. House voted Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt for defying congressional subpoenas related to the U.S. census.

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Nuclear Watchdogs Suspicious of Dept. of Energy

The Snake River Alliance is asking the U.S. Department of Energy to clarify the limits on  spent nuclear fuel being shipped to Idaho from a commercial nuclear power plant in Virginia. Credit: U.S. Dept. of Energy.
The Snake River Alliance is asking the U.S. Department of Energy to clarify the limits on spent nuclear fuel being shipped to Idaho from a commercial nuclear power plant in Virginia. Credit: U.S. Dept. of Energy.
June 4, 2015

BOISE, Idaho – Nuclear waste has long been a hot potato between Idaho and the federal government, and the Snake River Alliance wants the Department of Energy to clarify long-term plans.

Twenty-five spent fuel rods from a commercial plant in Virginia may be shipped to the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) for research purposes within a year.

The governor and attorney general have approved the plan with some conditions.

But Beatrice Brailsford, nuclear waste program director for the Snake River Alliance, says INL has indicated those small shipments could multiply and become up to 20 metric tons in the years to follow.

"Idaho has seen that for decades,” she stresses. “A little bit of waste, then a little bit more waste and then a little bit more waste comes in, and pretty soon we have a serious problem."

The Energy Department is preparing environmental analysis for the shipments, and Brailsford says it will be interesting to see if the documents reflect plans for additional shipments.

She adds that Idaho does not have safe long-term storage, and the legacy of promises of temporary storage doesn’t ring true.

"Spent nuclear fuel has been coming to Idaho since the mid 1950s and none has left,” she points out. “We should not accept any more."

Brailsford says the Alliance doesn't oppose research at the INL, but the facility cannot become a storage site for the commercial nuclear waste industry.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID