IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – Ten days after beginning a heat-up process to prepare for radiological operations at the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit (IWTU), operators noticed a small leak of non-radioactive, non-hazardous solids in a cell, resulting in the facility’s shutdown late last month.
No radioactive waste has been introduced into the facility at the DOE Idaho National Laboratory Site.
The cell is where treated waste is staged until deposited into stainless steel canisters and sealed prior to being transferred into concrete vaults for storage.
The IWTU is currently shut down. Engineering and operations personnel have located the source of the leak in the cell. Evaluation of the cause of the leak is underway and will be followed by repairs. Once repairs are completed, the IWTU will prepare for the start of radiological operations.
The IWTU was constructed from 2007 to 2011 to treat 900,000 gallons of sodium-bearing liquid waste from three underground, stainless-steel storage tanks at the nearby Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center. The waste was generated during decontamination activities following historic spent nuclear fuel reprocessing runs.
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