For 60 years Idaho has hosted the nation’s nuclear research national laboratory. Billions of dollars have been invested here in Idaho to improve the safety of nuclear fuels — how they perform in reactors and how higher efficiency fuels used in modern reactors should be stored.
The reason we need research is precisely because politicians keep getting in the way of finding long-term storage solutions. To ensure storage remains safe, INL researchers need 200 pounds of fuel to examine how it ages, how it should be stored, and how efficiencies and safety margins can be improved. Saying “no” is not leadership, it is intransigence. Researchers are asking for metallic, high-integrity fuel elements, not barrels of waste.
We have a DOE national laboratory with nuclear talent and research capabilities that are the envy of the world. They have equipment found nowhere else. The nation and Idaho will be better off if we let scientists do their jobs with the equipment taxpayers bought to do a job politicians don’t understand. Research, not politics, moves us closer to a solutions. Gov. Butch Otter got it right on this one.
Mike Hart, Idaho Falls