Former Idaho Governors Blast Otter's Nuclear Waste Deal

Jan 15, 2015

Former Idaho Govs. Phil Batt and Cecil Andrus speak out at a news conference Thursday.
Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Former Idaho Govs. Phil Batt and Cecil Andrus say current Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is turning the state into nuclear waste repository.

The former governors at a Thursday news conference blasted Otter's recently revealed deal with the U.S. Department of Energy to allow 50 spent nuclear fuel rods into the Idaho National Laboratory for research.

“I read in the paper where the governor’s concerned about his legacy," says Andrus. "I can tell him what his legacy is going to be, and what the Attorney General’s legacy is going to be. It’s going to be that they have created a Yucca Mountain in Idaho.”

Andrus says the shipments set for this June and January of next year weigh 37.5 tons. He says the federal government doesn't need that much for research.

Batt and Andrus say Otter's deal violates a 1995 agreement Batt made with the federal government to clean up the southeastern Idaho facility and keep additional waste out.

“If you take an ounce of waste from the federal government they want to give you 10,000 pounds," says Batt. "And they always say they’ll move it out but they won’t.”

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says the state won't allow the spent fuel in unless the 1995 deal is honored.