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Poll: Most Idahoans want Washington state waste

October 10, 2018

Workers move drums filled with radioactive materials at the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project. A poll found that most Idahoans favor keeping the facility open by taking and processing transuranic waste from Washington state.

Most Idahoans favor keeping the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project facility open by taking and processing transuranic waste from Washington state, according to a recent poll.

The plant in the desert west of Idaho Falls is processing decades-old waste that was buried in Idaho before shipping it to New Mexico for permanent disposal. It is expected to be done processing that legacy waste sometime next year, leaving an unknown future for the facility and its hundreds of employees.

The U.S. Department of Energy is considering whether to keep it open to process more old waste from other states, mainly from Hanford, Wash. This raises the question of whether DOE can do this in a way that complies with the 1995 Settlement Agreement, which says any new waste brought into the state needs to be processed and out of the state within a year.

According to a poll conducted by the Salt Lake City-based Dan Jones and Associates in late June and early July, 63 percent of the 606 Idahoans polled favor bringing in waste from Hanford to keep the AMWTP open, and 26 percent are opposed.

Men are more strongly in favor of keeping the plant open, by 73-17. Women also support it, but by 53-35. Republicans strongly support keeping the plant open, by 71-21, while independents support it by 59-27, and Democrats back it but just by 47-40.

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