By Rep. Mike Simpson Jan 9, 2020
This year, my wife Kathy and I will celebrate 50 years of marriage.
Anniversaries are a great time to pause and reflect on how fortunate we are. While I tease Kathy about how lucky she is to be married to me, anyone who has met Kathy knows I got the better end of that deal. The Idaho National Lab celebrated its own 70-year anniversary, and it is appropriate to pause and reflect on how fortunate we are to have INL’s presence in our community.
Having the nation’s lead nuclear lab in our backyard didn’t happen by accident. In 2003, then-President George W. Bush proposed “cleaning up and closing down” the lab in his budget. The Idaho delegation swiftly and successfully began an effort to revitalize the lab, providing it with lasting missions and ensuring it receives the funding necessary to be a sustainable world-class asset.
Over the last several years, the INL has been working with the Department of Energy and the state of Idaho on an important new mission related to the research of spent nuclear fuel. The mission could not start while DOE was in violation of certain provisions of the 1995 Settlement Agreement.
From the very start, then-Lt. Gov. Little worked quietly and diligently to solve this complicated issue. As co-chair of the LINE Commission, Brad sought the common ground necessary between the state of Idaho and the DOE to find a path forward to maintain the important promises of the 1995 Settlement Agreement and to open the door to a new and exciting mission for the INL.
Any changes to the 1995 Settlement Agreement of course needed to be done with the utmost care as this powerful agreement committed DOE to specific milestones in removing waste from Idaho permanently. With the help of Attorney General Lawrence Wasden over the better part of this year, Gov. Little did just that last month.
This monumental agreement acknowledges the commitments of the past and paves the way for many more years of successful collaboration between the state of Idaho and the DOE and will promote our national security and America’s energy future.
The Idaho National Laboratory is a world class asset. We anxiously await the arrival of small modular reactors as well as micro reactors. These are first of a kind technologies that will change the way we power remote areas. From cybersecurity and battery research to wireless and water security test beds, there are is breadth of exciting developments happening at the INL. But a growing and thriving laboratory requires flexibility and certainty in pursuing new research missions — two things this agreement will provide.
I want to thank Gov. Little, Attorney General Wasden and, most importantly, the talented workforces at the Idaho National Lab and the Idaho Cleanup Project. Idaho and the nation directly benefit from your exceptional work. Happy anniversary to the Idaho National Lab. We are fortunate to have you and we eagerly look forward to the next 70 years.
Find original article at IdahoStateJournal