Research to gather public perceptions on nuclear waste ongoing

Published 12:42 pm Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Polk County is not currently being considered for a federal consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel, according to a recent email from an employee with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (“PNNL”).

The county was selected to be one of 80 random counties to be part of a distributed study. Polk County and other counties were selected using a software program that selected 10 counties in eight regions across the contiguous United States. The purpose of the study is “to allow PNNL researchers to gather public perceptions of this topic on a national scale,” the email stated.

Researchers will combine the study results for each of these regions and the reported results will not be specific to each county, according to the email. This means that the selected county names are not relevant to the research findings.

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PNNL is conducting research on this issue. The U.S. Department of Energy is responsible for the management of the nation’s nuclear waste.

If you are interested in voicing your opinion on this matter, you can contact staff at the U.S. Department of Energy through email (, phone (301-903-3301), or by visiting This website includes reports explaining the process and plans.