Idaho Nuclear Scientists Say Fuel Rods Can Be Safely Studied

May 12, 2015

Officials at an Idaho nuclear facility say they can safely handle two shipments of 25 spent fuel rods for research and that it won't start to turn the state into a nuclear waste dump.

Todd Allen of the Idaho National Laboratory says the U.S. Department of Energy wants to better understand "high burnup" spent fuel that's accumulating at nuclear power plants, which is important for storing it.

That type of fuel remains in reactor cores longer to produce more energy, coming out hotter and more radioactive.

But two former Idaho governors who fought to keep nuclear waste out of Idaho say the shipments violate a 1995 agreement and are the start of more nuclear waste to come.

Supporters of the shipments say Idaho will lose millions of dollars if it turns them away.