Office of Environmental Management

Buried Waste Retrieval Resumes at Idaho Site

September 11, 2018

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Waste from the Accelerated Retrieval Project VIII is processed in these drum packaging stations.
Waste from the Accelerated Retrieval Project VIII is processed in these drum packaging stations.

IDAHO FALLS, IdahoEM and cleanup contractor Fluor Idaho recently resumed exhuming buried Cold War waste at the Accelerated Retrieval Project (ARP) VIII facility at DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Site.

   Crews temporarily suspended buried waste exhumation at the ARP VIII facility as a precaution following a breach of four drums in April at the nearby ARP V facility following waste processing and repackaging. No external contamination was detected from that event and there were no personnel injuries.

   EM and Fluor Idaho have since revised the waste exhumation and repackaging process with additional controls to mitigate the risk of a similar event. The controls include raking and thermal monitoring of exhumed sludge waste prior to repackaging.

Crews use an excavator with an extended boom to exhume buried waste at the Accelerated Retrieval Project facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory Site.
Crews use an excavator with an extended boom to exhume buried waste at the Accelerated Retrieval Project facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory Site.

   Since 2005, crews have been removing targeted buried waste from specific areas within a landfill at the INL Site. The waste originated at the former Rocky Flats Plant near Denver during the development of atomic weapons and was sent to Idaho for buried disposal from 1954 until 1970.

   A 2008 record of decision among DOE, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and state of Idaho requires crews remediate a combined area of 5.69 acres of buried waste. To date, crews have removed buried waste from a combined area of 4.82 acres — a completion rate of 84.8 percent. 

   Once waste operations are complete in ARP VIII, work will begin in the nearby ARP IX facility to remove the last of the waste required by the 2008 agreement.

 

 

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