Say It to the Department of Energy

In January the Governor and Attorney General indicated their willingness to open Idaho to shipments of commercial spent nuclear fuel despite the 1995 Settlement Agreement that banned those shipments. Former governors Batt and Andrus, who had led the litigation and negotiations for the Settlement Agreement threatened to sue under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Department of Energy (DOE) pondered the governors’ contentions until mid-April, and then agreed with them.

Here’s what’s happening: When the federal government contemplates a major action that might affect the environment, NEPA requires that it analyze the potential impacts of a reasonable range of alternative approaches, including not taking any action at all.

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In this instance, the DOE has said it will carry out a supplement analysis for the two shipments of “research quantities” of commercial spent nuclear fuel it wants to bring in this year and next. The supplement analysis will build on previous reviews the government thinks are relevant. For the current review, the DOE seems to be looking back at decades-old NEPA studies.

The public can review and comment on the analysis. The analysis will probably be released this summer with a 30-day review and comment period. The DOE doesn’t plan to have any public meetings, but the Alliance will make certain you can join the debate. As soon as we hear more, we’ll let you know.

Say It to Political Leaders
People can sign a petition and speak with one voice. The Alliance has a simple, straightforward petition opposing commercial spent nuclear fuel coming to Idaho. You can sign it online. And you can print it out and get others to sign it, too.

Here are just a few of the reasons to join together to say that Idaho’s ban on commercial spent nuclear fuel must not be weakened or waived.

  • Spent nuclear fuel is one of the most radioactive substances on earth, and it is very dangerous to humans. That is particularly true if the spent fuel is removed from its cladding, which would most certainly happen if it were subjected to any research or treatment process.
  • Commercial spent nuclear fuel is the largest nuclear waste stream in the country. There are more than 70,000 metric tons now stored at nuclear power plants, most of which are east of the Mississippi. That inventory increases by 2,000 metric tons every year.
  • Idaho has said “No!” to spent nuclear fuel importation for decades. In 1995, the State of Idaho and the federal government signed a binding court settlement agreement that included an absolute ban on spent nuclear fuel from commercial power reactors coming to Idaho.

Say It to Your Friends and Neighbors

One of the best ways to tell others what you think is through Facebook or Twitter or your local newspaper. You’ll probably be surprised – and pleased – by how many people agree that more commercial nuclear waste should not come to Idaho. Here are some addresses:

Governor Butch Otter
Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720
Attorney General Lawrence Wasden
Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720-0010
Idaho Mountain Express
Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340
[email protected]
Idaho State Journal
Box 431, Pocatello, ID 83204
Idaho Statesman
Box 40, Boise, ID 83707
Lewiston Tribune
505 Capital St., Lewiston, ID 83501
[email protected]
Post Register
Box 1800, Idaho Falls, ID 83403
[email protected]
Box 548, Twin Falls, ID 83303