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In Idaho,Three Mile Island Nuclear Waste Gets Rent Extension

U.S. Department of Energy
Three Mile Island nuclear waste is stored at a site near Idaho Falls that includes the Idaho National Laboratory

Waste from the nation's worst nuclear accident could remain in our region for another 20 years.

In 1979, a nuclear reactor had a partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Pennsylvania. And the waste from that incident has been living in Idaho since the 1980s.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's David McIntyre said the commission extended a Department of Energy license four years beyond the 2035 deadline the Energy Department initially set with Idaho.

"Even though this renewed license is effective until 2039, it does not affect the agreement between the states and the department," McIntyre said.

That earlier agreement stipulates that any spent nuclear waste must be shipped out of the state of Idaho no later than January 2035.

Meanwhile, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is reviewing proposals for a couple of new temporary storage facilities, one in Texas and one in New Mexico. That's as the nation's sole permanent nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada remains dormant.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Noah Glick is a former content director and host at KUNR Public Radio.
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