Reworking Oak Ridge’s TRU waste milestones

tru3A spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation today confirmed that the state is on the verge of approving changes to the legally enforced milestones for processing and getting rid of the transuranic wastes at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge facilities.

“On Dec. 5, 2014, the Department of Energy requested extension of transuranic waste milestones, as part of the Annual Update of the Site Treatment Plan,” state spokeswoman Kelly Brockman said via email in response to questions. “TDEC is reviewing the request and anticipates acceptance of these changes.” She identified the planned changes as :

— Defer physical preparation of 10 cubic meters of contact-handled TRU waste from March 31, 2015 to Sept. 30, 2018. Processing of the remaining 274 cubic meters of this contact-handled TRU waste will be completed by the current milestone of March 31, 2015.

— Delay completion of WIPP certification for 50% of the remaining remote-handled TRU waste from Sept. 30, 2015 to Dec. 15, 2015,

— Extend completion of physical preparation of remaining inventory of remote-handled TRU waste from Sept. 30, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2017.

Asked specifically if the changes were directly the result of the problems at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, Brockman said:

“Yes, the milestones for the contact-handled and remote-handled transuranic debris waste were extended due to DOE’s inability to ship transuranic waste to WIPP. Technical and safety considerations associated with processing the 10 cubic meters of contact handled transuranic debris waste resulted in a need to extend the milestone for processing until after WIPP resumes shipments. The extension of the remote-handled transuranic debris waste was due to limited storage available for processed waste at the Transuranic Waste Processing Facility.”

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About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.