Idaho National Laboratory

inl.gov

Federal officials say they're taking public comments on a plan to ship two loads of spent nuclear fuel rods to eastern Idaho for research.

The U.S. Department of Energy in a statement says comments will be taken through July 13 on its draft of whether more environmental analysis is needed.

The 60-page document can be viewed at the agency's website under the Idaho Operations Office, Public Involvement Opportunities.

The agency has proposed sending up to 220 pounds of nuclear fuel rods to the Idaho National Laboratory.

Idaho National Laboratory

A new federal lawsuit has been filed involving a 2011 accident at an eastern Idaho nuclear facility that exposed 16 workers to plutonium.

The Post Register reports the suit was filed Thursday on behalf of Ralph Stanton. It follows up on a 2013 whistleblower complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Labor by Stanton and then-colleague Brian Simmons.

The complaint alleged Battelle Energy Alliance created an unsafe work environment and retaliated after Stanton and Simmons raised health and safety concerns.

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.

Idaho National Laboratory

Idaho is one step closer to being a leader in geothermal energy. The Department of Energy (DOE) announced five states that will have the chance to compete for the opportunity to build a geothermal research lab, including Oregon and Nevada. In this first research phase out of three, Idaho will split $2 million with the four other states.

Idaho National Laboratory / Flickr Creative Commons

Nuclear officials told a citizen's advisory board recently that a minor accident last year temporarily shut down work at a cleanup site in eastern Idaho and exposed a staffer to low levels of radiation.

Idaho Cleanup Project spokesman Mark Brown has said the accident Oct. 23 at the Idaho National Laboratory site came as workers repackaged nuclear waste.

Decontamination efforts delayed work for seven weeks, and one worker was exposed to a small amount radiation, but not enough cause health problems, Brown said April 8.

Former Idaho Govs. Phil Batt and Cecil Andrus have filed a notice of their intent to sue the federal government over proposed shipments of spent commercial nuclear fuel rods to Idaho.

The former governors sent the notice Thursday to the U.S. Department of Energy seeking to halt the shipments scheduled to arrive in June and December at the Idaho National Laboratory in eastern Idaho.

Batt, a Republican, and Andrus, a Democrat, both fought commercial nuclear waste shipments culminating with a 1995 agreement banning them.

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.

State officials say they plan to fine the federal government $3,600 per day for missing a deadline to remove nuclear waste from a southeast Idaho nuclear facility.

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality says the U.S. Department of Energy missed a Dec. 31 deadline to ship nuclear waste out of the Idaho National Laboratory.

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says the United States must adapt all types of energy production to help minimize the negative impacts of global warming.

Moniz spoke in front of a crowded room in Idaho Falls Wednesday at the inaugural Intermountain Energy Summit. Idaho congressmen Jim Risch, Mike Crapo and Mike Simpson also spoke during the conference.

Moniz says the United States isn't shunning coal or oil energy sources, but instead, officials are finding ways to reduce their carbon emissions.

The U.S. Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, is among the speakers who will attend the inaugural Intermountain Energy Summit in Idaho Falls this week.

The Aug. 19-20 conference will feature panel discussions on the future of energy policy and production in North America. Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, are also among the speakers.

The Post Register reports that one theme of the conference is the energy potential of Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Idaho National Laboratory

Two workers at the Idaho National Laboratory are suing the U.S. Department of Energy under the Freedom of Information Act because they say they were wrongly denied documentation about an accident in which they were exposed to plutonium.

Brad Washa / Boise National Forest

Fire fighters at the Idaho National Laboratory are preparing for an intense wildfire season. Under the U.S. Department of Energy, the INL has its own fire department.

Eric Gosswiller is the site’s fire chief. He says a lack of snowpack in eastern Idaho means his department needs to be ready for fires. But he says that’s something his department has gotten used to.

“Down here at the high desert at the INL – we kind of have the potential for significant fires every year,” says Gosswiller.

Idaho Governor Creates LINE 2.0

Mar 7, 2013
INL

Idaho’s Governor created a permanent commission Wednesday to help protect the nuclear industry in Idaho. This was one of several recommendations made by a five member panel known as the Leadership in Nuclear Energy Commission.

Aaron Kunz / Earthfix

A nuclear watchdog group says it’s skeptical about a new set of recommendations that could result in more nuclear waste coming into Idaho.

On Tuesday Liz Woodruff, a spokeswoman with the Snake River Alliance, issued the group’s first reaction to Monday’s draft proposal from a task force on nuclear energy. It calls for the reconsideration of a 1995 agreement with the federal government that caps the amount of nuclear waste that can enter Idaho.

Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

An alleged “secret scheme” to allow more nuclear waste into Idaho is at the center of a squabble between current and past governors. 

Former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus (D) wrote in an op-ed Sunday he believes state and Idaho National Laboratory officials want to “revise” a 1995 agreement.  That agreement requires the federal government to remove all nuclear waste from INL by 2035.  Andrus said revisions would extend the deadline by fifteen years, and open Idaho’s borders to 3,000 metric tons of commercial spent nuclear fuel. 

Updated Monday, April 23, 2012:  Idaho National Laboratory suspended some work last week at a complex where nuclear fuel and other research takes place.  This comes after a small roof fire and a crane accident at its Materials and Fuels Complex.  Over the past few months,  a number of safety incidents have occurred there.

Idaho National Laboratory

A small fire at the Idaho National Laboratory flared up Monday afternoon on the roof of a building at the lab’s Materials and Fuels Complex.  The fire was put out with no injuries.  INL spokesman Ethan Huffman believes welding work sparked the blaze. "The particular building that had the fire involved in it did not house radioactive materials.  It housed standard offices, conference rooms, the cafeteria."  Huffman says there is no danger or risk to the public.  He characterizes it as a minor fire. 

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