BOISE • A group tasked with studying Idaho’s nuclear future has released its initial recommendations to the governor. Now it’s the public’s turn to comment.
The Leadership in Nuclear Energy (LINE) Commission put out its findings Monday after holding a series of public meetings throughout the state. The commission and is now asking for public input before putting out a final report early next year.
The report gives preliminary recommendations in areas of education, work force, infrastructure, technology, safety and the environment. The recommendations will be compared with suggestions from the public, pared down and submitted to the governor in a report due in January 2013.
Among the dozens of recommendations: Starting a used fuel storage demonstration facility, increasing INL’s research capabilities, and improving infrastructure around INL.
The commission, assembled by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, was charged with exploring Idaho’s future in the nuclear industry, including potential research programs and creating storage facilities.
The first part of the 52-page report gives an overview of Idaho’s nuclear history, including Idaho National Laboratory and the 1995 agreement between the federal government and then-Gov. Phil Batt that stopped additional nuclear waste from being stored at INL and started the nuclear waste clean-up. In the agreement, the Department of Energy was required to remove all spent nuclear fuel from Idaho by 2035.
A lot has changed since that 1995 agreement, said LINE Commission chairman Jeff Sayer, director of the Idaho Department of Commerce. While the commission is still concerned about the environment, nuclear technology has evolved and improved, he said, and Yucca Mountain is no longer available as a waste storage site.
“We know (the waste) is not going to go anywhere,” Sayer said. “We might as well have the conversation.”
Ultimately, the commission wants to stay true to the agreement’s principles of holding the federal government accountable and protecting Idaho’s environment, Sayer said.
“You’re going to see us stay very true to the founding principles that started that document,” he said.