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MOTION DENIED IN WASTE LAWSUIT

Both sides claimed victory Friday in Idaho's running legal battle with a Colorado utility to keep high-level radioactive material from a mothballed nuclear reactor out of the state.

A two-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a motion from Public Service Co. of Colorado calling for the state of Idaho to post a $48 million bond to pay for storage of nuclear waste at the Fort St. Vrain reactor complex while the lawsuit continues.Judges Stephen Reinhardt and David Thompson did not elaborate.

Shipments bound for the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Engineering Laboratory west of Idaho Falls were blocked in February by Gov. Cecil Andrus and the state's lawsuit.

"It seems very clear to me that the 9th Circuit Court believes that this is an important case and that it wants to hear this case on its merits," Andrus said. "It looks like we will now get the full consideration from the court that we have wanted from the start."

Andrus and Idaho Attorney General Larry EchoHawk said the appellate court also denied a Public Service motion for an expedited hearing schedule. The utility wanted oral arguments scheduled in August and the court on Friday set them for Sept. 9 in Seattle. The briefing schedule runs through August.