IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – EM and its cleanup contractor at DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Site recently completed a complex waste processing project that will allow 214 waste drums to leave the state for permanent disposal.
Fluor Idaho crews used an excavator to open the drums and process the waste form called “roaster oxides,” or reactive uranium, within the Accelerated Retrieval Project (ARP) IX facility at the Radioactive Waste Management Complex.
Like plutonium, americium, and hazardous solvents, roaster oxides were generated during Cold War weapons production at the Rocky Flats Plant near Denver. The uranium was roasted, or cooked, to force the reactive metal to oxidize and render it safe for transport to the INL Site, which received the waste from 1954 until the late 1980s.
Crews characterized the contents of more than 200 drums as roaster oxides at the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project. The ARP IX facility is intended for retrieving buried waste. However, that work hasn't taken place yet, so EM is using the facility to safely process the roaster oxides.
“This project was very successful,” Fluor Idaho Project Manager Jason Chapple said. “We adapted an existing waste treatment process and utilized the expertise of our workforce to safely address this challenging waste stream.”
Chapple noted that Fluor Idaho’s waste generator services team did a great job supporting the processing of the difficult waste stream. The waste material, now safe for transport, will be sent to an offsite disposal facility.
Crews will soon exhume buried waste within the ARP IX structure in support of a 2008 record of decision between DOE, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the state of Idaho that requires the removal of targeted waste from a combined area of 5.69 acres of the 97-acre Subsurface Disposal Area.