Idaho National Laboratory

Idaho National Laboratory

After decades of being offline, an old test reactor at Idaho National Laboratory will get new life.

The Transient Reactor Test facility, or TREAT, was designed to put nuclear reactor fuels under stressful conditions. It operated at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) from 1959 to 1994. Then it went dark.

John Miller / AP

Idaho National Laboratory’s Advanced Test Reactor, or ATR, is celebrating 50 years of being a source of nuclear research used globally. This $40 million construction project began operation on July 2, 1967. The reactor is used to study the effects of radiation on reactor materials and fuels.

A majority of lawmakers in the Idaho House came out in favor of issuing $90 million in bonds to construct new facilities at the Idaho National Lab.

After vigorous debate Tuesday night, House members voted 56-14 in favor of issuing the bonds for construction of a cybersecurity training center and a facility that will house a supercomputer.

Steve Helber / AP Images

Earlier this month, the Navy announced plans to build a $1.6 billion facility in Idaho to handle fuel waste from the nation’s nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers over the next forty years. The new structure will be built on the Idaho National Laboratory site about 50 miles from Idaho Falls.

Keith Ridler with the Associated Press has been following this story, and says Idaho officials are in favor of the facility. 

Idaho National Laboratory

A $1.65 billion facility will be built at a nuclear site in eastern Idaho to handle fuel waste from the nation's fleet of nuclear-powered warships, the Navy and U.S. Department of Energy announced Tuesday.

Officials said the new facility is needed to keep nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines deployed.

Ulalame / Flickr Creative Commons

The Navy and U.S. Department of Energy want to build a $1.6 billion facility at a nuclear site in eastern Idaho that would handle fuel waste from the nation's fleet of nuclear-powered warships through at least 2060.

A final environmental impact statement made public Friday says a new facility at the Energy Department's 890-square-mile site, which includes the Idaho National Laboratory, is needed to keep nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines deployed.

ulalume / Flickr Creative Commons

In Washington D.C., a bipartisan group of senators this week introduced a new piece of legislation dealing with nuclear energy, called the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act. Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo (R) and Sen. Jim Risch (R) introduced the bill with Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah (R), as well as Democratic senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

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.

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