Beginning in 1949, the US Department of Energy (DOE) designed, built, and tested experimental nuclear reactors at an 890 square-mile area located in southeastern Idaho now known as the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). The INL is also home to the Naval Reactor Facility where the US Navy transports spent nuclear fuel from submarines and aircraft carriers for examination and temporary storage. The site has also been used to store nuclear waste from out-of-state operations.
The Idaho Legislature established a comprehensive state oversight program in 1989 to independently assess environmental and public health impacts from the INL. In 1990, Idaho became the first state in the nation to negotiate an agreement with DOE to provide funding for the independent monitoring and oversight of a DOE facility. This work is now carried out by DEQ’s INL Oversight Program.