I am responding to a recent letter from David Monsees regarding comments about accepting waste from Hanford for processing at the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Plant at the Idaho National Laboratory.
Firstly, the mission at AMWTP is coming to an end because of the highly successful job that the workers there have done cleaning up, processing and preparing for shipment 4,500 cubic meters of radioactive trans-uranic waste out of Idaho. Because of this success, the Department of Energy began studying the possibility of using the assets at AMWTP for other missions — namely processing waste from Hanford.
To be clear, DOE, at my request, is preparing a business case analysis of whether it even makes financial sense to do this. That analysis is not yet complete, and no decision has been made on that issue.
Secondly, if DOE decides to move forward, any waste that is shipped through Idaho will be subject to the most stringent safety regulations as proscribed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for transporting nuclear waste.
Finally, while I do believe there are some appropriate updates that could be made to the Idaho Settlement Agreement (such as updates needed to keep the Navy’s facility operational in light of the delays in Yucca Mountain), never did I indicate that if this waste were to come to Idaho that it should be allowed to stay here for an extended period of time or that those shipments should take a higher priority than other waste already in Idaho.
It’s unclear to me why Mr. Monsees would want to mischaracterize our discussion, other than to frighten the public based on his inaccurate and incomplete information.