(Press Release, April 08, 2020)
Idaho Delegation Urges Department of Energy to Take Additional Steps to Remove Spent Nuclear Fuel from INL
– Encourages further action consistent with 1995 Settlement Agreement
WASHINGTON — Idaho’s congressional delegation today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Dan Brouillette encouraging further action by DOE to remove spent nuclear fuel from the Idaho National Lab (INL) consistent with the 1995 Idaho Settlement Agreement.
The delegation stressed that while the 1995 Settlement Agreement deadline to remove spent nuclear fuel from Idaho requires action by the Administration, Congress and states to develop a solution for long-term storage and disposal of spent nuclear fuel, the Department could be preparing spent nuclear fuel stored at the INL for removal. The delegation wrote, “We encourage the Department to initiate activities needed to begin loading of spent nuclear fuel into a multi-purpose canister (MPC) at the Idaho National Laboratory using existing facilities.”
The 1995 Agreement between Idaho, the DOE and the U.S. Navy allowed for the DOE and the Navy to ship a prescribed amount of spent nuclear fuel to the site in phases. Under the Agreement, the DOE and the Navy would remove all fuel from Idaho no later than January 1, 2035. The Navy has been working to prepare its fuel for shipment out of the state, and the Delegation is encouraging the DOE to do the same. In November 2019, Idaho Governor Brad Little and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden reached a supplemental agreement with the DOE to allow research quantities of commercial spent nuclear fuel to be brought to INL as it continues to strengthen its position as a world leader in nuclear energy.
The letter sent today by the Idaho delegation urges DOE to take additional action to prove it will meet the 2035 deadline for removal of spent nuclear fuel.
Read the full letter below.
Secretary Dan Brouillette
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20585
Dear Secretary Brouillette,
We are writing today to express our appreciation for the Department of Energy’s efforts to reach agreement with Governor Little and Attorney General Wasden concerning receipt of research quantities of spent nuclear fuel and management of Advanced Test Reactor spent nuclear fuel at Idaho National Laboratory. While these agreements help ensure vibrant nuclear energy research and development at Idaho National Laboratory they also require actions that will further protect Idaho’s environment. Further, we are writing to encourage the Department to take additional action in support of the 1995 Settlement Agreement to remove spent nuclear fuel stored at the Idaho National Laboratory by January 1, 2035.
While the 1995 Settlement Agreement deadline to remove spent nuclear fuel from Idaho requires action by the Administration, Congress, and States to develop a solution to a long term storage and disposal of spent nuclear fuel, the Department could be taking action to prepare spent nuclear fuel stored at the Idaho National Laboratory site for removal from the State of Idaho. Removal of spent nuclear fuel from Idaho National Laboratory will require the Department to prepare spent nuclear fuel, currently in interim storage, by packaging it in road ready configuration similar to the Navy, as recommended by the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board in its December 2017 report to Congress and Secretary of Energy, for use in packaging spent nuclear fuel stored at the Idaho National Laboratory site. Additionally, we encourage the Department to initiate activities needed to begin loading of spent nuclear fuel into a multi-purpose canister (MPC) at the Idaho National Laboratory using existing facilities.
We believe these modest steps toward demonstrating spent nuclear packaging capabilities at Idaho National Laboratory site will further the goals of the 1995 Settlement Agreement, the 2019 Supplemental Agreement and the 2020 Advanced Test Reactor spent nuclear fuel agreement.
Thank you for your cooperation in developing these agreements and consideration of our request.
Mike Crapo, U.S. Senator James E. Risch, U.S. Senator
Mike Simpson, Member of Congress Russ Fulcher, Member of Congress