Idaho Falls mayor: 'What is wrong' with revisiting INL nuclear shipment agreement?

A governor's commission will focus on trying to build Idaho's nuclear energy industry, not just at the Idaho National Laboratory, says Idaho Falls Mayor Jared Fuhriman, a member of the panel.

But as long as the commission is meeting, Fuhriman says he has no qualms about revisiting Idaho's landmark 1995 agreement with the federal government, which establishes cleanup deadlines and limits shipments of nuclear waste to the INL west of Idaho Falls.

Former Gov. Phil Batt, the architect of the agreement, opposes reopening the agreement to allow additional shipments, as does his predecessor, former Gov. Cecil Andrus. Current Gov. Butch Otter has said he has no intention of allowing additional shipments into the state.

In a guest opinion sent to Idaho newspapers, Fuhriman writes: "Times have changed. Most all commitments in the settlement agreement have been met, and some milestones have been met years ahead of the requirements; development of the Yucca Mountain used nuclear fuel repository has been stopped and it will take decades to develop a new repository; and science and technology have made great strides since 1995 when the agreement was signed. So what is wrong with reviewing an agreement that was written over 17 years ago to make sure it still makes sense and still applies to the current situation? My guess is there is room for discussion. And the (Otter Leadership in Nuclear Energy) Commission is the right mechanism to ensure that the right questions are asked and the public has a chance to weigh in."

Here is Fuhriman's full guest opinion, which also will appear in Wednesday's Statesman:

As the mayor of Idaho Falls and a member of the governor’s Leadership in Nuclear Energy Commission, it is important an Eastern Idaho voice is heard. Lost in the recent flurry of newspaper opinion pieces is the real purpose of the LINE Commission — which is to provide recommendations to leverage Idaho’s strong existing nuclear industry to do more. Reviewing the settlement agreement is such a very small part of the commission’s charter. The more important role is to look to our economic future and determine what we can do to further grow the nuclear industry in Idaho.

Eastern Idahoans do not fear nuclear energy or the used fuel that is stored safely at the Idaho National Laboratory. We are well-educated on the work done at INL and know they do everything possible to protect our environment and our people. We are proud of the many accomplishments to-date and have witnessed amazing work done to clean up the legacy waste at INL. What is good for Eastern Idaho is good for Idaho. Eastern Idaho is home to over 20 companies that employee thousands of Idahoans, contributing millions to Idaho’s general fund. We would like to see more of this in Eastern Idaho — not less.

Many of us in Eastern Idaho recognize the good that the settlement agreement brings in terms of establishing and keeping cleanup commitments. Idaho is the envy of other states that have not been so successful. But here is the reality. Times have changed. Most all commitments in the settlement agreement have been met, and some milestones have been met years ahead of the requirements; development of the Yucca Mountain used nuclear fuel repository has been stopped and it will take decades to develop a new repository; and science and technology have made great strides since 1995 when the agreement was signed. So what is wrong with reviewing an agreement that was written over 17 years ago to make sure it still makes sense and still applies to the current situation? My guess is there is room for discussion. And the LINE Commission is the right mechanism to ensure that the right questions are asked and the public has a chance to weigh in.
But again, the purpose of the LINE Commission is not about the settlement agreement, it is about the future of INL and the nuclear energy industry in Idaho — and not necessarily just at INL. In fact, the settlement agreement only applies to INL and not to interests off the INL property.

The future of nuclear energy could mean business and jobs for many generations of Idahoans. It also could benefit our educational institutions, our manufacturing companies, and help business thrive that care about the community in which they live.

I am very pleased with Gov. Butch Otter’s creation of the LINE Commission because it focuses leaders and the public in our state on issues associated with Idaho and the future of nuclear energy. It affords Idaho’s citizens the opportunity to engage in an informed public discussion of the past, present and future of nuclear energy in Idaho, the burdens and benefits of world leadership in an important technology. In my opinion we have nothing to fear from discussions and questions. A public dialogue on such important issues does not constitute a threat, a secret scheme, or commit the state to becoming a home for nuclear waste, nor is it dangerous and short-sighted as some have implied. Such questions are timely and relevant. They inform us all and informed citizens have the best chance of making sound decisions about their future.

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1339518294 Idaho Falls mayor: 'What is wrong' with revisiting INL nuclear shipment agreement? Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

News

This looks like news KR.
Where is your opinion, since you proclaim exemption from the death sentence pool based on you don't do news because "I'm an opinion writer".

So where is your opinion here?

Is this it?:
My guess is there is room for discussion. And the (Otter Leadership in Nuclear Energy) Commission is the right mechanism to ensure that the right questions are asked and the public has a chance to weigh in.

Wow! Top notch!

pimp2:

You read the blog regularly enough to know that I'll sometimes post guest opinions ahead of time, to let readers see it in advance. We've written editorials about the merits of reopening the settlement agreement; we're skeptical. We've said that.

Kevin Richert
editorial page editor

thanks for clarifying

Oh. A guest opinion that is what this is.
See, I got confused by all that stuff you wrote before presenting the guest's opinion. Sorry. My bad. Next time I'll read more intuitively and try to interpret the piece a little better.

Idaho Falls mayor: 'What is wrong' with revisiting INL

nuclear shipment agreement?

Nothin.

What's wrong with a recall election?

What's wrong? Cyber-terrorism and the 90% plutonium left here...

Another fascinating attempt to overlook the broken promise to remove the buried plutonium. New projects bury more plutonium onsite, like the plutonium-238 production Furhiman supports.
Idaho's potential Fukushima does NOT require a tsunami to force evacuation. As Homeland Security admits, enemies try to hack nuclear facilities on a daily basis. The STUXNET worm proved how true that is. Everyday they gamble we will stay one cyber-step ahead of these hackers. But Homeland Security also admits disgruntled employees also pose that threat. Jilted lovers tend to meltdown their sense of dignity and revenge.
DOE does admit Idaho could TRIPLE our energy needs with wind power. DOE admits linking widespread intermittent wind provides as steady a baseload as coal, and cheaper.
Wind power is better for National Security AND pregnant women.
And Furhiman, if it is ALL about the money, the full removal of all dumped plutonium provides $13 BILLION in good jobs...Peter

They should revisit it

The fines for not having the waste out on time are too low. $60,000/day? It should be more like $1,000,000/day.