While Idahoans—beginning with Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter—push back against the possibility of more spent nuclear waste entering the Gem State, federal officials renewed their efforts on Friday to create a new national nuclear waste repository.
"I'm commited as ever to enforcing the terms of our 1995 agreement with the federal government to get all nuclear waste out of Idaho by 2035," said Otter in his Jan. 7 State of the State address.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Energy revealed on Jan. 11 a new strategy to begin developing a new deep geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste, to be up and running by 2048. The strategy is needed after the Obama Administration shut down work toward making Yucca Mountain, Nev., the nation's repository for used commercial nuclear fuel and high-level waste.
The new report says the nation should have a site picked by 2026, with the repository designed and licensed by 2042, and operational by 2048.
It's estimated that Idaho has approximately 300 tons of spent nuclear fuel. In 1995, Idaho voters backed an Idaho nuclear waste agreement with the Department of Energy, which would stop feds from sending any more commercial nuclear waste to Idaho and to get rid of all waste that's stored in the Gem State by 2035.
"I’ll say this as plainly and as unequivocally as I can: Idaho will NOT be a repository for nuclear waste," wrote Otter in December.