Update: case against DOE still hot

27th of Oct 2015

On Friday, October 23rd, the New York Times and Idaho Statesman ran an AP article with some great news for Idaho: the Department of Energy (DOE) decided to cancel its planned shipment of 25 spent nuclear fuel rods to Idaho National Laboratory from the Byron Nuclear Power Station in Illinois. We and our clients, former Idaho Governors Cecil D. Andrus and Philip E. Batt, are pleased to hear it – but our fight with DOE is not over yet.

Still on the table is another nuke waste shipment of a similar size, slated to ship in January 2016 from the North Anna Nuclear Power Station in Virginia. This second shipment, along with what E&E News recently described as “rumors about the DOE team and the administration’s focus on finding temporary solutions for the country’s 70,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel” and plans to transport “spent reactor fuel from closed nuclear power plants to not-yet-identified interim storage units” is cause for concern. Could Idaho be the next stop for some of this waste? With the 2010 closure of Yucca Mountain in Nevada and a limited number of storage facilities still in use, there is a likelihood that DOE will again call on Idaho officials to grant a waiver to the 1995 Batt Agreement to ship more nukes to INL.

In September, Advocates for the West filed suit against the DOE for failing to adequately respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request Governor Andrus sent to DOE back in January. This case will remain active until DOE finally coughs up the vast amount of information redacted in its initial response. The bottom line: we and our clients do not trust the DOE to give us, or the public, a straight answer on its plans for Idaho. And until we get a real response, Advocates for the West will continue to pursue legal action against DOE.

Please read this letter from Governor Andrus to learn how you can help us in this fight.