IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – The Integrated Waste Treatment Unit (IWTU) has progressed to treating sodium-bearing waste entirely, the next step in efficiently removing remaining liquid radioactive waste from nearby Cold War-era underground tanks and closing them to protect the environment.
To date, IWTU has converted more than 14,700 gallons of tank waste to a more stable, granular solid. Crews have filled 47 stainless-steel canisters with waste and safely stored them in the IWTU’s concrete storage vaults.
Advancing to 100% sodium-bearing waste treatment marked another milestone for the EM program at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Site after IWTU began radiological operations last month. The facility began treating a blend that was 10% sodium-bearing waste and 90% non-radioactive simulated waste, or simulant. EM then increased the treatment blend to 50% waste and 50% simulant before progressing to 100% sodium-bearing waste based on the plant’s operating conditions.
In June, IWTU crews will initiate a system performance test to demonstrate compliance with established performance standards and determine adequate operating conditions under the facility’s permit. The INL Site continues to work closely with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) to ensure compliance during the initial stages of radiological operations, including IDEQ onsite presence during the performance of the upcoming test.
About 900,000 gallons of liquid waste was generated during decontamination activities following historic spent nuclear fuel reprocessing runs at the Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center, an activity that ended at the INL Site in 1992.
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