IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – DOE cleanup agreements with the state of Idaho require EM to ship nuclear waste for disposal, whether it’s newly generated or been stored at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Site for decades.
“Our responsibilities are diverse,” said Bruno Zovi, waste disposal and waste generator services manager of Fluor Idaho, EM’s INL Site cleanup contractor. “While the transuranic waste that’s shipped offsite is crucially important to meeting the Idaho Settlement Agreement, there are other wastes that must also leave the state of Idaho.”
In the last 15 years, EM has completed 1,772 low-level and mixed low-level waste shipments from the INL Site, including 40,115 containers with a total volume of 25,204 cubic meters. “Most importantly, we’ve done it safely and compliantly,” Zovi said.
EM has shipped contaminated debris, soils, sludges, salts, and liquids to seven treatment and disposal facilities across the U.S.
Fewer than 100 containers of mixed low-level debris waste remain to be shipped for disposal.
As sludges and soils are treated to meet criteria for disposal at treatment and disposal facilities, the volume of waste sometimes increases. This is due to absorbent, inert material added to absorb liquids present in the waste.
If no liquids are found and all other conditions are acceptable, the waste is packaged, sent for final characterization and certification, and prepared for shipment and disposal. The site’s waste management project is preparing to ship several hundred containers of non-transuranic waste that will be generated from the ongoing sludge repackaging project.
Employees implemented the use of multi-layered, mixed low-level waste disposal bags that have eliminated the need for offsite treatment prior to shipment to an offsite waste repository, resulting in a cost savings of approximately $10 million since 2014.