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State signs deal with feds over nuke fuel research

Idaho has agreed to allow the federal government to ship limited, research quantities of used nuclear fuel to the Idaho National Laboratory.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter announced the deal Jan. 6 in a Memorandum of Agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy.

Otter says the arrangement is designed to improve the lab’s nuclear research efforts, including studying how nuclear materials age over time.

Any used fuel coming to the lab would be counted against the existing limits set in place in the state’s 1995 nuclear waste agreement with the federal government.

Otter says the INL has unique testing capabilities that are important if America is serious about increasing the life and improving performance of its existing nuclear reactors.

The agreement also gives the state authority to back out of the deal any time.

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