By Elizabeth Zach, staff writerDOE

Salmon, Idaho – A former Idaho governor is suing the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) over its plan to ship spent fuel from out-of-state commercial nuclear reactors to a laboratory in the state, claiming the shipment could endanger drinking water.

Former governor Cecil Andrus, who served four terms, has said that DOE is withholding crucial details about the plan because in its response to his Freedom of Information Act query, documents related to the proposal are mostly redacted. The lawsuit seeks a court order to make public the unredacted records.

A 1995 legal agreement between Idaho and DOE bans these shipments and also requires the removal of nuclear waste already stored at the Idaho National Laboratory. The waste storage at the laboratory could endanger a nearby aquifer, which is the chief source of drinking water for “tens of thousands of Idaho residents,” according to Reuters.

Current state leaders earlier this year gave conditional support to DOE’s pending shipment, saying that it would elevate the laboratory’s national stature and the local economy. But Andrus said more transparency is needed.

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