The country's next nuclear power plant may be built in Idaho. The Department of Energy's "Nuclear Power 2010" initiative aims to get a new plant built somewhere in the U.S. by the end of the decade. One of three DOE sites under consideration is the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL), which a year ago announced that it had detected elevated levels of plutonium in the Snake River Aquifer (HCN, 5/21/01: Plutonium in your potatoes?).
Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt will head a new
international division of Cadiz, Inc., the California
company that wants to develop a Mojave Desert aquifer as an
underground reservoir (HCN, 5/21/01: Will the Met wring the desert
dry?). The new Cadiz subsidiary will focus on water projects in the
Environmental groups have appealed
to the Bonneville Power Administration not to repeat last summer,
when the administration sacrificed over a million migrating salmon
smolts for cheap power (HCN, 6/18/01: Transforming powers).
Instead, the greens want the administration to call on a $250
million credit line with the U.S. Treasury if it gets into
financial trouble. BPA says that it plans to increase
power rates this summer and leave the water for the fish.
The Hanford Nuclear Reservation will be
cleaned up within our lifetime, says the Bush
administration (HCN, (9/1/97: Radioactive waste from Hanford is
seeping toward the Columbia). Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham has
announced that the agency will accelerate cleanup operations 40
years sooner than the current estimated completion date of 2070. In
order to forward the cleanup, the agency has requested a $433
million budget increase.
Rep. Scott McInnis,
R-Colo. has renewed his call for a single "fire czar" to
oversee the National Fire Plan. Two General Accounting
Office reports have questioned the effectiveness of the fire plan
and called for a more coordinated interagency effort to reduce
wildfire threats to Western communities (HCN, 8/27/01: Fire plan
gets a scolding). McInnis says that if the Agriculture and Interior
departments don't consolidate their fire plans quickly, his forests
subcommittee will take the matter into its own