Why would the Post Register editorial board condemn the Department of Energy in one breath and praise them in the next? 

What possible evidence do they have to support claims that yesterday’s version of DOE made the “deeply irresponsible decision … to treat Idaho as a dumping ground” that included “haphazardly dumping waste over the East Snake River Aquifer”? Is the evidence based on hearsay? Or does the board have evidence of negligence and conspiracy at the time? 

What evidence does the board have that these decisions resulted in tangible damage to the Snake River Aquifer, public health or Idaho’s potato crop?

A simple web search revealed public evidence that all the plutonium-contaminated waste from Rocky Flats, Colorado was buried in the Subsurface Disposal Area at a Radioactive Waste Management Complex. DOE knows what’s in the Subsurface Disposal Area, where it came from and its general composition.   

That search also revealed a 2016 Idaho National Laboratory report that established background levels for plutonium in samples from 68 wells and zones that sample Snake River Aquifer water. Those concentrations were essentially zero.

If the board’s allegations are true, how can we trust the board’s claim that current and future efforts by DOE and INL will solve “the greatest threat the planet faces”?

Until proven otherwise, the board’s allegations — presumably unintentional — do tangible, irresponsible damage to public trust in our institutions and their ability to provide affordable, reliable, clean, safe nuclear energy to a warming planet. 

John R. Snyder

Idaho Falls