Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Demand no new nuclear waste

Remember the famous 1995 Batt settlement agreement? It said that no commercial nuclear waste could enter Idaho. Then the people of Idaho resoundingly voted “no” to nuclear waste coming here.

The LINE (Leadership in Nuclear Energy) Commission has been tasked with finding new missions for the Idaho National Laboratory. With little or no media attention, the LINE folks have indicated they are considering recommending a rewrite of the Batt agreement, completely ignoring the people of Idaho saying “no.”

These discussions have taken place at commission meetings all year, not under the cover of darkness, but certainly not in broad daylight. It may be that one of the unspoken reasons for bringing commercial nuclear waste to Idaho is for reprocessing. That would be the only way having more commercial nuclear waste in Idaho would create jobs.

This is not a good reason. Reprocessing extracts useable uranium and plutonium from used nuclear fuel and is dangerous, dirty and expensive. The end product is highly radioactive nuclear waste and weapons-grade plutonium that can be used for nuclear reactor fuel or in nuclear bombs. This plutonium is a proliferation risk and as a result, reprocessing was halted across the country because it was considered too large a terrorist threat—back in 1992. Moreover, reprocessing would create more of the same kind of nuclear contamination that still has not been cleaned up at the INL.

In a nearly unanimous voice, Idahoans already voted “no” to commercial nuclear waste coming into Idaho. What part of “no” doesn’t the LINE Commission understand? It’s crucial for Idahoans to tell the LINE Commission that no commercial nuclear waste should come to Idaho. Sign the petition to prevent changes to the 1995 agreement by going to  HYPERLINK

The LINE Commission draft recommendations are available for public comment until Jan. 4 at Make your voice heard—just say “no.”

Margaret Macdonald Stewart



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