Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter today signed an Executive Order creating the Idaho Leadership in Nuclear Energy (LINE) Commission. The commission will spend the next year identifying the opportunities and challenges associated with hosting the Idaho National Laboratory -- America's lead laboratory for nuclear energy research and development.
"Idaho clearly has been a recognized leader in nuclear energy research, development and demonstration for over 60 years. We've also borne environmental burdens, but significant progress has been made in cleanup that enables us to focus more attention on the long-term viability and mission relevance of the INL," Governor Otter said.
The commission's primary focus will be to provide recommendations to the governor on how the INL can continue playing an important role in economic growth and energy security. In addition, the recommendations will provide guidance to other Idaho industries, regulators and education institutions. Included in the recommendations will be advice on future opportunities for the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES); infrastructure needs at the INL; review of the federal Blue Ribbon Commission final report for enhanced research and development opportunities; policy options for strengthening the broader nuclear industries sector in Idaho; and workforce development and education programs.
"There are a number of issues external to INL -- like the federal budget or national energy policy -- that we simply can't control," Governor Otter said. "I have asked the LINE Commission to identify those areas where the State of Idaho does have a significant influence in strengthening the INL's leadership in the critical work of solving our state's and nation's most pressing energy, security and environmental challenges and report their recommendations back to me."
The LINE Commission will be chaired by Department of Commerce Director Jeff Sayer. The commission's membership includes representatives from other State agencies, universities, members of the Idaho Legislature, local officials, the INL, industry and the public.
Governor Otter said public input is critically important to the successful work of the commission and will ask the LINE Commission to develop an effective process for including those comments as part of their recommendations.