Wednesday, March 14, 2007

DOE to host meeting on nuclear project

Express Staff Writer

The U.S. Department of Energy is holding meetings around the nation this winter to evaluate potential sites for a nuclear waste recycling center.

It doesn't sit well with a Boise-based nuclear watchdog, the Snake River Alliance.

"Take it off the table. They haven't even figured any of this science out," said Jeremy Maxand, the alliance's executive director. "This reprocessing is going to make more plutonium in the world, not less. This is going to make new nuclear power 100 billion times more expensive than it should be."

The department's Idaho National Laboratory last week announced that the 11th of 12 public scoping meetings on an environmental impact statement for the siting of such a facility will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 15, at the Red Lion Hotel, 475 River Parkway in Idaho Falls.

Idaho National Laboratory, the vast DOE research site in the Arco Desert west of Idaho Falls, and the hamlet of Atomic City, south of the INL headquarters, are under consideration in Idaho.

"This is the worst place to put it," Maxand said. "You're putting it above an aquifer. It may never leave the state if they build this facility. If Yucca Mountain (a proposed federal depository for highly radioactive waste in Nevada) doesn't open, this stuff's never going anywhere."

The Idaho sites are two of 13 sites in eight states the Department of Energy is considering for construction of three different facilities, and the department is touting the "safe" and "affordable" attributes of nuclear energy.

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