Where Will the Nuke Waste Go?

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A game of nuclear chess is being played out involving the Idaho National Laboratory, the Yucca Mountain Repository in Nevada, and the White House.

The Obama administration and, in particular, the U.S. Department of Energy, is petitioning to halt its plans for a proposed national nuclear waste dump at Yucca, which could delay removal of nuclear waste from Idaho.

But this week, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission denied the White House request, saying there is no evidence the proposed site is unsafe and that Congress—not the Department of Energy—has the authority to pull the application.

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo tells Citydesk that the DOE has a binding agreement with Idaho to remove all spent nuclear fuel from the state by January 2035. And while Idaho generates some fuel at the INL, it also accepts and stores some waste from other states. According to the 1995 agreement, the DOE can store up to 55 metric tons in Idaho at any one time. According the Department of Environmental Quality, Idaho is about half way to the limit.

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