PHOENIX – The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) was the featured U.S. site at this year’s Waste Management Symposia, a nod to the lab celebrating its 70th anniversary and its cleanup program celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
In a video message, U.S. Representative Mike Simpson of Idaho congratulated INL during the opening of the conference. He encouraged the conference participants to share both successes and challenges related to their waste management work. Congressman Simpson also spoke of the need to recruit the next generation of professionals to complete the cleanup work that started at the end of the Cold War.
The INL Site was featured throughout the symposia in exhibits, panel discussions, videos, presentations, and posters. INL Site contractors Fluor Idaho and Battelle Energy Alliance, as well as DOE management and project engineers, participated in various events throughout the four-day conference. State of Idaho officials, Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper, and Dana Kirkham, Chief Executive Officer of the Regional Economic Development, Inc., of Idaho Falls also offered their insights about the accomplishments of the cleanup program.
INL site-specific panels were held on the cleanup agreements between the DOE and state of Idaho, the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit for treatment of liquid waste, transuranic waste challenges and successes, and the collaboration between the U.S Navy and the INL’s two contractors as they execute multiple missions for both DOE-EM and DOE-Nuclear Energy.
Specific presentations were given by Fluor Idaho’s engineers and senior leadership on the April 2018 drum pressurization event at the Accelerated Retrieval Project V facility, the use of a pilot plant in Colorado to help resolve challenges at the IWTU, as well as the development of innovative equipment and processes to aid transuranic waste retrieval, treatment, and repackaging, and spent nuclear fuel storage.
Many of the speakers — from the state of Idaho, DOE, and contractors — complimented the site workforce in executing the cleanup workscope in compliance with regulatory agreements. The ingenuity of the workforce and commitment to safety have helped to accelerate the safe completion of many waste management projects at the INL Site, they said.
“I was pleased that Idaho was chosen to be the featured site at Waste Management 2019,” said Jack Zimmerman, Deputy Manager of Idaho National Laboratory Site and Manager of EM Idaho Cleanup Project. “I thought we had some very interesting panel discussions about Idaho topics, in particular the significant progress that has been made in cleanup at the INL Site over the past 30 years.
“Idaho is the No. 1 shipper of transuranic waste to WIPP, we’ve emptied, cleaned and grouted 11 of 15 high-level waste tanks, taken down over 200 contaminated structures, and moved 98 percent of our spent nuclear fuel from wet to dry,” Zimmerman said. “We completed retrieval of the 65,000 cubic meters of stored transuranic waste and will complete treatment of the debris TRU waste later this year. Most significantly, we’ve met 97 percent of our regulatory milestones on, or ahead of schedule. I think that was a good story to tell a national and worldwide audience.”