The Pacific Northwest is no stranger to the ill-effects of nuclear production and waste storage. And according to this article in today’s New York Times, the region is about to see even more of it. Idaho National Laboratory, near Idaho Falls, is slated to manufacture 330 pounds of plutonium-238, at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion and 55,000 drums of hazardous waste.

To my mind, the truly worrisome aspect of the project is this:

Project managers say that most if not all of the new plutonium is intended for secret missions and they declined to divulge any details.

UPDATE:An editorial in the Idaho Statesman arguing that the Department of Energy should justify its plan to produce plutonium in Idaho.