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Good for Idaho!

We should all be proud of what Idaho created with the 1995 Nuclear Waste Settlement Agreement. It is a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment that involved the coming together of three governmental entities: the Department of Energy, the Department of the Navy and the state of Idaho. It prohibits new commercial nuclear waste from being shipped to the Idaho National Laboratory until the current mess of nuclear waste stored on top of our aquifer is cleaned up.

The Department of Energy has missed multiple deadlines for meeting that mandate. Unfortunately the magnitude of this accomplishment has been lost to institutional memory. Idaho is the envy of the surrounding states for having this agreement in place. Currently the Department of Energy is looking for other “rural” places for “temporary storage” — until the moth-balled Yucca Mountain repository, designated as the permanent repository for nuclear waste, can be revived.

Thirty years and millions of dollars have already been wasted on this project. It is not likely that the U.S. will have a permanent solution to the nuclear waste problem any time soon. In the meantime, in the name of “jobs,” our governor and others are seeking a waiver to the 1995 agreement to allow Idaho to take on new commercially generated “spent nuclear fuel.” Further, an effort is under way to build a “small modular reactor” to furnish power to Utah, using Idaho's water and leaving Idahoans with the nuclear waste. Because of the 1995 agreement, Lawrence Wasden, the state's attorney general, is able to refuse these shipments. It is imperative that we support Mr. Wasden in his efforts and let our legislators know that this is not good for the economy or for Idaho's well-being. There is no job that is worth the sullying of our water supply.

Melody Lenkner

Twin Falls

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