Phil Batt

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.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Former Idaho Gov. Phil Batt is engaged to be married to Francee Reilly, of Boise, later this summer.

Batt declined to provide The Associated Press information on when or where the wedding will take place, but added those details will be released eventually. Batt also declined to say when the two became engaged.

The 88-year-old Batt was Idaho's governor for one term from 1995-1999.

In September, Batt's first wife, Jacque Batt, died of natural causes. The two had been married for 66 years.

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.

Former Idaho First Lady Jacque Batt has died. She was married to former Republican Gov. Phil Batt for 66 years.

The Spokesman-Review reports that 88-year-old Batt died Sunday of natural causes in a southwestern Idaho hospital.

She is survived by her husband, who was Idaho's governor for one term starting from 1995-1999. During that time she served as first lady and would later become a leading figure in raising funds for breast cancer research.

Former Idaho Gov. Phil Batt has endorsed Ada County Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane to be Idaho secretary of state.

The Republican in a statement released Thursday says McGrane is the best person to continue the sound judgment and fiscal responsibility set by current Secretary of State Ben Ysursa and his predecessor, Pete Cenarrusa.

Ysursa endorsed McGrane on Tuesday. Ysursa is retiring at the end of the year.

Idaho Transportation Department

Idaho has named the highway department headquarters in Boise after former Governor Phil Batt. 

At a ceremony Thursday, Batt told the crowd the building is over 50 years old. “They been hunting for the oldest person to name it after.  I’m 86. They found me," Batt joked. "Of course I’m highly honored, there are many more deserving people than I, I have only one thing to say to them, tough luck it’s mine.”