BOISE, ID (KIFI/KIDK)- – Idaho Gubernatorial Candidate A.J. Balukoff is calling on Idaho’s state and federal lawmakers to insist the federal government abide by the terms of the landmark 1995 Nuclear Agreement. The pact set guidelines for cleaning up nuclear waste that has been shipped into Idaho for decades.
“Idaho state officials must stand strong against the federal government and insist it lives up to its obligations under the 1995 Agreement. With 900,000 gallons of liquid nuclear waste perched above the Snake River aquifer, Idaho can’t afford to be weak on this issue,” Balukoff said. “The Idaho National Lab will continue to be on the cutting edge of nuclear research, but Idaho shouldn’t become a nuclear waste dump in the process. The Feds must honor the agreement and treat the most dangerous nuclear material on site before the aging tanks become a threat to our aquifer.”
Currently, there are over 300 metric tons of nuclear waste being stored throughout an 890 square mile site in southeast Idaho along the Snake River Aquifer. The liquid waste remains in tanks which were supposed to be treated years ago.
Former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus started pushing back on nuclear shipments into Idaho starting in the 1970’s. Negotiations with the federal government continued for two decades until the 1995 Agreement was signed by Andrus’ successor, Governor Phil Batt. Under the Agreement, all high level nuclear waste must be removed by 2035. All transuranic waste is supposed to be removed by December 31, 2018.