The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will release the draft Environmental Impact Statement on the uranium enrichment plant Areva wants to build in eastern Idaho sometime in July. The NRC has already scheduled a hearing on the draft for August 12 in Idaho Falls. But it looks as if the NRC is going to ignore a request by many Idahoans, including the Mayor of Boise, that it hold an additional hearing on the draft EIS in Idaho’s capital city. You can help catch the NRC’s attention by contacting your Member of Congress right now.
Please call, email, or write Walt Minnick at www.minnick.house.gov/Contact or Mike Simpson at www.simpson.house.gov/Contact and ask him to urge the Chair of the NRC, Gregory Jaczko, to hold two hearings on Areva’s uranium enrichment plant, one in Idaho Falls and one in Boise. Areva’s proposal has significant statewide implications.
The Idaho State Legislature gave Areva substantial sales and property tax incentives to build its plant in Idaho, so every Idahoan has financial stake in the project. For decades, the Department of Energy has recognized that everyone in the state is concerned about nuclear development and its potential nuclear pollution. Far more often than not, DOE has held public meetings and hearings in Boise on initiatives at the Idaho National Laboratory. Furthermore, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality both consider the entire state to be the “affected community” when it comes to INL cleanup decisions.
And finally, Areva’s uranium factory will be built on the upstream end of the Snake River Aquifer, which is widely recognized to be Idaho’s lifeblood. Though Boise’s drinking water does not come from the aquifer, 1 in 4 other Idahoans’ does, and so it affects us all.
All of Idaho deserves a chance to comment on the proposed uranium enrichment plant.