EM crews pose in front of banner
EM crews pose in front of a transuranic waste shipping cask destined for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant as they mark the Idaho National Laboratory Site’s 7,000th shipment to the underground waste repository in New Mexico.

IDAHO FALLS, IdahoEM and its cleanup contractor at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Site celebrated an important milestone last week: the site’s 7,000th transuranic (TRU) waste shipment to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico.

Idaho Environmental Coalition (IEC) crews at the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project (AMWTP) characterize, treat, repackage, certify and ship TRU waste from the Gem State to WIPP. Each of the 7,000 shipments represents careful planning and execution by employees in coordination with their partners at WIPP.

“This milestone could not have happened without the dedication and perseverance of countless hard-working individuals, at both the Idaho Cleanup Project and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant over the past two decades,” said Dan Coyne, IEC senior director of decommissioning and waste management. “This has been a team effort since the beginning and will continue so through the very last shipment.”

WIPP drivers have traveled millions of miles from eastern Idaho to southeast New Mexico to transport the transuranic waste shipping casks for disposal at WIPP over the last two decades — enough distance to make hundreds of trips around the globe or several roundtrips to the moon. IEC will remain busy for the foreseeable future with several thousand waste containers slated for disposal at WIPP. As many as 12 shipments leave AMWTP each week.

-Contributor: Carter Harrison