A boxcar filled with nuclear waste from Colorado remained stranded Friday in eastern Idaho as neither Gov. Cecil Andrus or the Energy Department showed signs of flinching in a showdown over where to put the shipment.
Andrus, the interior secretary under President Carter, this week banned the shipment of nuclear waste to the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory after the DOE could not say when a permanent waste storage site near Carlsbad, N.M., would open to accept 2.4 million cubic feet of waste stored at the INEL for nearly two decades.The same day a shipment of low-level transuranic waste from the Rocky Flats, Colo., nuclear weapons plant was shipped to the INEL, but its progress was halted Thursday in Blackfoot.
Also Thursday, a shipment of nuclear waste headed for Idaho from the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois was turned around at Little America, Wyo., and sent back after its driver was informed Idaho State Police would stop it at the state line.
Andrus met Friday with Don Ofte, the Idaho manager for the DOE and the two failed to resolve where the boxcar will go next.
"It's still unresolved at this point," Ofte said after the meeting.
"The governor just reiterated his position that he thinks the car ought to be returned to Colorado or some place else, but he did not want it moved to the INEL," said Andrus' press secretary Marc Johnson.
Ofte told Andrus, "Basically, he would get back to us," Johnson said.
The ban applies only to low-level and transuranic waste and does not affect shipments to the INEL from Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania or shipments of government-owned spent nuclear fuel processed at the INEL.
Ofte said the DOE was "very disappointed" a bill failed to pass Congress this session that would have hurried the opening of the $1 billion Waste Isolation Pilot Project in the New Mexico desert.