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US restarts nuclear testing facility in Idaho after 23 years via News 8

(AP) — Federal officials have restarted an eastern Idahonuclear fuel testing facility amid efforts to boost the nation’s nuclear power generating capacity and possibly reduce concerns about nuclear power safety.

The U.S. Department of Energy said the facility at the Idaho National Laboratory about 50 miles west of Idaho Falls began operating Tuesday for the first time since it went on standby status in 1994.

[…]

Energy department officials hope the testing facility will help researchers create fuels that leave behind less nuclear waste, that are harder to turn into weapons and that are less likely to lead to a reactor core meltdown.

The United States has no permanent nuclear waste repository, which means the waste is often stored at the same sites where it is produced — often near large cities.

Accident-tolerant fuels could help to avoid the type of reactor core meltdowns that occurred at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Pennsylvania in 1979 and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan in 2011.

“Trying to save the nuclear industry is sort of a fool’s errand,” said Wendy Wilson, executive director of the Idaho-based Snake River Alliance, a nuclear watchdog group. “We’re going to spend taxpayer money to save an industry that is dying due to economic reasons.”

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