TRU changes

tru1The Department of Energy’s Transuranic Waste Processing Center is located on the western end of the Oak Ridge reservation off Highway 95. (DOE photo)

As noted in an earlier post, the state is considering — and expected to approve — changes to the enforceable schedule for processing and disposing of transuranic wastes in Oak Ridge. The long-lived, highly radioactive materials were mostly generated at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s nuclear reactors and have been stored at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge site for decades, in many cases, and are a priority in the overall cleanup effort.

Mike Koentop, executive officer at DOE’s Office of Environmental Management in Oak Ridge, said the federal agency sought the extensions to three milestones “based on our need to account for the shutdown of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.” Waste shipments to WIPP, the government’s underground waste repository in New Mexico, have been halted because of radioactive releases at the site and ongoing investigations.

Koentop said DOE anticipates approval of the changes by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

“We have a very positive working relationship with TDEC, and we appreciate their flexibility and willingness to work with us as we progress towards removing the TRU waste inventory from Oak Ridge,” he said via email.

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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.