March 7, 2008
IDAHO SITE TO PROVIDE
WASTE TREATMENT FOR OTHER DOE SITES
Plan won’t impact DOE
commitment to removing all stored waste from Idaho Site
|Idaho’s Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Facility offers state of the art waste
characterization, treatment and packaging capabilities.
Click on image to enlarge
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is amending the
Record of Decision for the Waste Management Program: Treatment and Storage of
Transuranic Waste, originally issued in 1998. The amendment will allow the
Department to send both contact-handled and remote-handled transuranic (TRU)
waste from a number of DOE sites to its Idaho site to be treated and
characterized at the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Facility and at Idaho’s
remote handled transuranic waste facility prior to being shipped to the Waste
Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico for disposal.
TRU waste would be accepted for
treatment and characterization in accordance with the provisions of the Idaho
Settlement Agreement, which allows the Department to treat waste that comes from
other DOE sites and requires that the waste be treated within six months of
receipt and shipped out of Idaho within six months after treatment is complete.
Treating wastes from other sites will not impact DOE’s ability to meet its
commitment to treat and ship to WIPP all 65,000 cubic meters of transuranic
waste stored in Idaho by 2018. Over 21,000 cubic meters of transuranic waste
have been shipped from Idaho to WIPP for disposal.
The DOE sites that are now
eligible to send TRU waste to INL have small amounts of TRU waste and may lack
the costly facilities necessary to process the waste in compliance with State of
New Mexico, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and WIPP requirements. The
use of these existing specialized facilities in Idaho will prevent duplicative
characterization and the cost of establishing the necessary facilities at sites
across the country.
Most of the waste from the
following DOE generator sites will be sent to INL for treatment and
characterization: the Argonne National Laboratory; Bettis Atomic Power
Laboratory; General Electric Vallecitos Nuclear Center; the Hanford Site; Knolls
Atomic Power Laboratory; Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory; Lawrence Berkeley
National Laboratory; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; the Nevada Test
Site; Separations Process Research Unit; Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant; and
Sandia National Laboratories.
Use of the Advanced Mixed Waste
Treatment Facility would reduce the volume of some transuranic waste (e.g.,
waste containers that hold a relatively small volume of waste when compared with
the container volume), thus reducing the number of shipments needed to transport
waste to WIPP for disposal and the volume of waste that would be disposed of at
Editorial Date March 7, 2008
By Bradley Bugger