Section 3116 of the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005 authorizes the Secretary of Energy, in consultation with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to reclassify certain waste from reprocessing spent nuclear fuel from high-level waste to low-level waste if it meets the criteria set forth in Section 3116. Section 3116 is currently only applicable to Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and the Savannah River Site (SRS). The other two DOE sites with similar waste (residuals remaining after cleaning out tanks and equipment that held liquid high-level waste) are Office of River Protection and the West Valley Demonstration Project. These sites are developing Waste Incidental to Reprocessing determinations under DOE’s own authority, DOE Order 435.1.
Two Waste Determinations were made by the Secretary of Energy. The Secretary issued the SRS Salt Waste Determination on January 17, 2006. This is a facility that mixes the low-activity portion separated from the liquid high-level waste with cement and disposes of the cement in on-site vaults. The residual waste in the tank systems at the INL, Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center (INTEC) Tank Farm Facility (TFF) was signed by the Secretary on November 19, 2006. Eleven of the fifteen tanks in the TFF were filled with stabilizing grout and the remaining will be grouted when empty of waste.