IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – The Idaho National Laboratory’s (INL) Site’s largest, active landfill will be expanded to accommodate the disposal of contaminated soil, debris and even reactor vessels for an additional 25 years following approval recently by EM, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state of Idaho.
To continue advancing the EM cleanup mission at the INL Site, the three entities agreed to increase the capacity of the Idaho CERCLA Disposal Facility (ICDF) and construct an additional disposal cell and lined ponds for landfill moisture control nearby ICDF to allow for future waste disposal. CERCLA stands for the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act.
Like the current landfill, the new disposal cell would have strict waste acceptance criteria. The cell will be comparable in design and construction to the existing landfill and will meet applicable state and federal regulations.
“Expanding this EM asset is crucial to maintaining our excellent cleanup program track record,” said Dan Coyne, senior director of Waste and Decontamination/Demolition for EM cleanup contractor Idaho Environmental Coalition.
The ICDF has a disposal capacity of 390,000 cubic meters — about 10 football fields in size — and has provided onsite waste disposal while providing long-term protection of human health and the environment since its opening in 2003. The facility consolidates waste and radioactively contaminated decontamination and demolition debris from many areas of the 890-square-mile INL site, reducing the footprint into a single, managed and controlled area.
Disposing waste at the ICDF reduces potential risk of groundwater contamination and has saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars versus shipping the material out of state across public highways for offsite disposal.
Located in the southcentral portion of the INL Site, the landfill is about 80% full. Without increasing its capacity, it would be full in 2025.
EM, EPA and the state authorized a waste disposal increase for the existing cell by 140,000 cubic meters within the same footprint. Once filled, the cell will be covered with a cap designed to prevent water from infiltrating into the disposed waste. They also authorized construction of a new disposal cell with a waste disposal capacity of 530,000 cubic meters The new landfill cell is projected to start receiving waste in 2026 and will be designed to have an operational life of at least 25 years.
EM, EPA and the state, in collaboration with the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program (NNPP), recently outlined plans to demolish the Submarine 1st Generation Westinghouse (S1W) and Aircraft Carrier 1st Generation Westinghouse (A1W) reactor buildings, the reactor vessels and associated debris. One option being considered is to dispose the debris and associated reactor vessels at the ICDF. Later, the agencies and NNPP plan to complete footprint reduction at the facility with the demolition of the Submarine 5th Generation General Electric (S5G) facility, the reactor vessel and associated debris.
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