WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today issued a formal Record of Decision (ROD) for the safe shipment and disposal of depleted uranium oxide from former gaseous diffusion plants in Portsmouth, Ohio and Paducah, Kentucky.
The ROD announces DOE’s preference to dispose of the material, if declared waste, at one or more of the following locations: the commercial EnergySolutions LLC site near Clive, Utah; the commercial Waste Control Specialists LLC (WCS) site near Andrews, Texas; and the government-owned Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) in Nye County, Nevada. The decision reinforces the department’s commitment to the safe and effective management and disposition of materials from its cleanup sites.
DOE’s near-term plan is to focus on depleted uranium oxide disposal at commercial sites. DOE is planning a pilot project in the next year to ship several railcars containing cylinders of depleted uranium oxide to a commercial disposal facility.
Depleted uranium oxide results from the conversion of depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6), a byproduct of the gaseous diffusion process that was used to enrich uranium for government and commercial needs. Conversion plants now operating at the Portsmouth and Paducah sites convert DUF6 to depleted uranium oxide, a more stable form for possible reuse or disposal.
Under the National Environmental Policy Act, the DOE completed a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement that evaluated the potential impacts associated with transporting and disposing of depleted uranium oxide, which meets requirements for disposition as low-level radioactive waste.
More information on the ROD is available here.