The recent discussion of whether to bring to the INL small quantities of high-burnup spent fuel from a commercial nuclear power reactor to study the effect on fuel cladding integrity has been challenged by the critics. Yes, Idaho does not want to become the permanent depository of commercial spent nuclear fuel, and no one in authority has suggested this. However, the mission of the INL is the development of nuclear power for the military and for the commercial nuclear industry. Denying the ability of the INL to study high-burnup spent fuel is cutting off the legs of the INL primary mission. After all, the INL has been designated the lead DOE laboratory for nuclear power. Without the ability to carry out studies on the robustness of the cladding that has been exposed to a much higher level of radiation, the INL is prevented from carrying out its primary mission and suffers the possibility of losing its lead lab status. Further, the future of U.S. electrical power requires on the development of nuclear power. Don’t deny the INL from carrying out its primary mission.
Robert Gehrke, Pocatello