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License application accepted to build nuclear reactor at Idaho National Laboratory

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Posted at 5:15 PM, Jun 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-19 19:15:21-04

EASTERN IDAHO, Idaho — A California company wants to build and operate a compact fast nuclear reactor in Idaho.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Tuesday that it has accepted a license application submitted by Oklo Inc. to build a 1.5-megawatt reactor at the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory nuclear site.

The Energy Department in recent years has been eyeing fast reactors that backers say have the potential to use spent nuclear fuel produced at conventional nuclear power plants. Spent fuel is a problem in the U.S. with no long-term storage solution, but critics say fast reactor developers are over-promising with unproven and unsafe designs at a location that's right about the fresh water aquifer, which provides much of Idaho's drinking water.