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March 7, 2008


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 WIPP. 


Editorial Date March 7, 2008
By Bradley Bugger





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