BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The U.S. government said Thursday that Idaho is its preferred choice ahead of Tennessee for a test reactor to be built as part of an effort to revamp the nation’s fading nuclear power industry by developing safer fuel and power plants.

The U.S. Department of Energy said in an email to The Associated Press that the site that includes Idaho National Laboratory will be listed as its preferred alternative in a draft environmental impact statement planned for release in December.

The Versatile Test Reactor, or VTR, would be the first new test reactor built in the U.S. in decades and give the nation a dedicated “fast-neutron-spectrum” testing capability. Some scientists decry the plan, saying fast reactors are less safe than current

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