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Nuclear Updates

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The Leadership in Nuclear Energy (LINE) Commission will meet Tuesday, January 17, from 8 am to 3 pm in the Lincoln Auditorium of the State Capitol. Here’s the agenda for the meeting, which looks as if it might be more informative than some other LINE meetings. Idaho Public TV often streams meetings in the Lincoln Auditorium. Tuesday morning go to http://idahoptv.org/insession/leg.cfm and click on Lincoln Auditorium.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is a deep geologic repository for plutonium-contaminated US nuclear weapons waste in New Mexico. A barrel of waste exploded in February 2014 and contaminated the underground facility. On January 4, 2016, workers again put barrels in the underground. It will be slow going. WIPP’s ventilation system has been compromised, and from now on, workers will be weighed down with heavy protective gear. Waste shipments from other Department of Energy sites, including the Idaho National Laboratory, will not begin for months.

On January 12, 2016, NuScale will submit its application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to certify the design of its small modular reactor (SMR). If the NRC determines the application is complete, it will take about 3 years to review the design. NuScale wants to build an array of 12 of its SMRs underground and underwater at the Idaho National Laboratory. The reactors would be owned by the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS). Idaho Falls Power is the only Idaho electric utility that’s a member of UAMPS. No Idaho residents downstream from the proposed reactors would receive power from them.

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