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Compact fast reactor proposed at east Idaho nuclear site

A California company wants to build and operate a compact fast nuclear reactor in Idaho.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this May 11, 2015, file photo, nuclear waste is stored in underground containers at the Idaho National Laboratory near Idaho Falls, Idaho. Idaho's Congressional delegation wants the U.S. Department of Energy to prepare spent nuclear fuel stored at its eastern Idaho site for trucking out of state ahead of a 2035 deadline. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler, File)

IDAHO FALLS, 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 nuclear site in eastern Idaho that includes the Idaho National Laboratory. 

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. 

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