You are here


April 1, 2010 - 12:00pm


An operator uses robotic manipulators to process RH TRU.

An operator uses robotic manipulators to process RH TRU.

Idaho - The Waste Disposition Project Team at the Department of Energy’s Idaho Site has continued to keep its commitment to remove remote handled (RH) transuranic (TRU) waste out of Idaho, protecting the Snake River Plain Aquifer and keeping the Office of Environmental Management’s commitment to environmental clean up.

In 2007, the first shipment of RH TRU waste left the gates of the Idaho Site, headed to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) for disposal. In the three years since, devoted individuals on the CH2M-WG, Idaho’s (CWI) Waste Disposition Project team have worked in close coordination with DOE Idaho, DOE Carlsbad and the Central Characterization Program, managed by Washington TRU Solutions, to safely ship RH TRU to WIPP – protecting the environment and keeping in compliance with the 1995 Settlement Agreement which requires the Department of Energy to get RH TRU out of Idaho by 2018.

In February 2010, the 200th shipment of RH TRU waste left Idaho for WIPP. The shipment represented 90 percent completion of about 220 shipments to be sent to WIPP under the original Idaho Cleanup Project (ICP) contract with DOE.

"We are once again ‘on the road’," said Scott Anderson, CWI’s Transuranic Waste Project director. "Idaho is still the single largest shipper of RH TRU waste to WIPP with our shipment total exceeding all other DOE sites combined. This is a testament to the skill and expertise of those who have contributed to this success."

Members of the CWI Waste Disposition team who helped prepared a recent shipment of RH TRU to WIPP.


With Idaho's successes in shipping and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding, an opportunity became available for the CWI Waste Disposition Project team to repackage, characterize and ship RH TRU waste once stored at the Idaho Site's Materials and Fuels Complex (MFC).

With ARRA dollars, the project team retrofitted a hot cell, or shielded enclosure, at the Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center (INTEC) to repackage waste from the MFC, and utilize another renovated hot cell facility to characterize and ship the repackaged waste to WIPP.

Inactive since 1988, the newly retrofitted hot cell surged back into full operation in early 2010. Teams of well-trained operators use robotic manipulators at the large hot cell’s shielded windows, adeptly grasping tools with mechanical fingers to open, sort and repackage waste destined for WIPP. The goal is to have about 160 canisters processed by late summer 2011.

"We had a great deal of work to do to bring the INTEC hot cells back online so we could safely process and repackage the RH waste,” said Jeff Bradford, Vice President of Waste Management for the ICP. “Thanks to the dedication and skill of the ICP workforce, we’re shipping waste."

The first ARRA-funded RH TRU shipment left the Idaho Site on March 11, 2010. In the short time since, thirteen ARRA-funded RH TRU shipments have already left Idaho.

The first ARRA-funded RH TRU shipment leaving the Idaho Site.

The Idaho Cleanup Project includes the safe, environmental cleanup of DOE’s Idaho site, located 45 miles west of Idaho Falls. The seven-year, $2.9 billion project, funded through DOE’s Office of Environmental Management, focuses on early risk reduction and protection of the Snake River Plain Aquifer.

For more information visit the Idaho Cleanup Project on the Web at: