Idaho LINE Commission 2.0 Meeting – September 26, 2013
The second meeting of the governor’s commission on Leadership in Nuclear Energy 2.0 took place September 26, 2013. Despite the commission’s stated position that it is premature for Idaho or other any state to consider “interim” spent fuel storage, representatives from Battelle cannot stop pushing the plan. The presentations in this meeting should worry us all.
July 19, 2013 – The LINE Commission 2.0 has released the agenda for their meeting on July 24. You can view the agenda (.pdf) by using the following link: http://snakeriveralliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/7-24-13-Agenda-FINAL-2-copy.pdf
Shipments of radioactive commercial nuclear waste have been banned from Idaho since 1995. The ban came after years of negotiations with the federal government and decades of broken promises that nuclear waste would not remain a threat to Idaho’s drinking water. But as we first described in the December 2011 Above Ground, some in Idaho have been trying to reverse the ban on commercial spent fuel – before the rest of us even know it. Those efforts must stop.
On February 1, Governor Butch Otter established the Leadership in Nuclear Energy (LINE) Commission “to provide recommendations to the governor on how the INL can continue playing an important role in economic growth and energy security.” Mr. Otter has since clarified that that means “MORE JOBS.”
Some commission members have mused that the ban on commercial waste coming to Idaho might have to be renegotiated. Battelle is the private corporation hired to run the non-cleanup part of INL. Its CEO reportedly said the same thing at the commission’s first meeting. According to its own records, Battelle approached Mr. Otter in 2010 with a whole list of “opportunities” the state might gain if it agreed to take 3,000 metric tons of power reactor waste and delay crucial cleanup projects. A challenge from former Governor Cecil Andrus, who initiated Idaho’s ban on commercial nuclear waste, has now led Mr. Otter and former Governor Phil Batt to strongly – and publicly – affirm their support of the 1995 agreement.
At the Commission’s first public meeting in Boise on June 29, 2012, Liz Woodruff, Executive Director of the Snake River Alliance, gave a presentation to the Commission titled “Idaho: A Non-Consent State.”
1969 – Robert Erkins, Buhl trout farmer, forwards concerns to Governor Don Samuelson about nuclear waste above the aquifer. Mr. Samuelson tries to get answers; Senator Frank Church musters federal resources.
1973 – Governor Cecil Andrus and Mr. Church ask the Atomic Energy Commission for assurances that Idaho was not being considered as an interim storage site for high-level waste. AEC promises to remove plutonium-contaminated waste from above the Snake River Aquifer by end of decade.
1974 – Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission declines to endorse commercial spent fuel storage in Idaho. Senator James McClure demands investigation of current storage.
1988 – State of Idaho bans plutonium-contaminated waste shipments from Rocky Flats Plant, Colorado.
1991 – State of Idaho sues and unsuccessfully seeks injunction against Ft. St. Vrain commercial spent fuel shipment. Protesters meet truck and Stop the Shipments movement begins to bear witness to any shipment coming in.
1992 – State of Idaho tries to stop Ft. St. Vrain commercial spent fuel shipments in federal Court of Appeals and US Supreme Court. Idaho State Legislature passes bill to ensure INL must obey Clean Air Act for spent fuel storage.
1993 – Federal District Court grants State of Idaho’s request for an injunction stopping spent fuel shipments.
1995 – State of Idaho, US Department of Energy, and US Navy sign agreement that reaffirms cleanup commitments and regulates what waste can and cannot come to Idaho (and under what circumstances) and what waste must leave (most by dates certain).
1996 – Statewide referendum pitted “Stop the Shipments,” which opposed the agreement as being too weak, against “Get the Waste Out,” which supported it. Forty percent voted to stop the shipments. The other 60 percent voted to get the waste out. Every Idaho voter expressed concern about nuclear waste in our state.