Los Alamos National Laboratory resumes transuranic waste shipments

April 3rd, 2014 Patti Jones
Los Alamos sent the first shipment to Waste Control Specialists on April 1.
Los Alamos National Laboratory resumed shipments of transuranic waste yesterday from Technical Area 54 Area G. The shipments are part of an accelerated shipping campaign to remove 3,706 cubic meters of transuranic waste stored aboveground at Area G by June 30, 2014. Nearly 3,200 cubic meters of the waste have already been removed since the 3706 campaign began in January 2012.

The waste was received at Waste Control Specialists (WCS) in Andrews, Texas, where it will be temporarily staged until it can be shipped to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico for final disposal. Shipments to WIPP ceased following a February 5 underground truck fire and a February 14 radiological event. The temporary staging arrangement is part of an agreement between WCS and Nuclear Waste Partnership, the management and operating contractor at WIPP. The transuranic waste from Los Alamos to be stored at WCS meets their license requirements and has been coordinated and approved by the appropriate regulatory authorities.

"Our commitment to the State of New Mexico is to remove the waste stored aboveground so it would not pose a risk in the event of another wildfire in Los Alamos," said Pete Maggiore, manager of the environmental programs office for the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration Los Alamos Field Office. "Staging the waste at WCS is the best option available to ensure the Lab meets its commitment without delay."

Los Alamos has been ahead of schedule since the campaign began and estimates that approximately 100 shipments remain. After an initial ramp up, as many as 10 shipments per week will be scheduled to complete the campaign.

What is transuranic, or TRU, waste?

Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, debris, soil, and other items contaminated with small amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium. Each of these man-made elements has an atomic number greater than uranium.

About 90 percent of the current transuranic waste inventory is the result of decades of nuclear research and weapons production at the Laboratory.

Provided by Los Alamos National Laboratory

This Phys.org Science News Wire page contains a press release issued by an organization mentioned above and is provided to you “as is” with little or no review from Phys.Org staff.

More news stories

OrangeSec pair said Cortana visited Android

Can, did, Cortana work on Android? A talked-about act at droidcon 2015: a presentation titled "Cracking Cortana." The OrangeSec team arrived at the Turin, Italy, event to show their work in a CortanaProxy ...

Dawn glimpses Ceres' north pole

After spending more than a month in orbit on the dark side of dwarf planet Ceres, NASA's Dawn spacecraft has captured several views of the sunlit north pole of this intriguing world. These images were taken ...

Germany still has some way to go to 'smart factories'

Collaborative robots and intelligent machinery may have wowed the crowds at this year's Hannover Messe, but experts see German industry as having some way to go towards incorporating them on factory floors ...

Mountain of electrical waste reaches new peak

A record amount of electrical and electronic waste hit the rubbish tips in 2014, with the biggest per-capita tallies in countries that pride themselves on environmental consciousness, a report said Sunday.

DOJ, FBI acknowledge flawed testimony from unit

The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in the FBI Laboratory's microscopic hair comparison unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against ...

Quantum dot TVs are unveiled at China tech expo

At this month's China Information Technology Expo (CITE) event, a headline-maker was the launch of quantum dot televisions, by QD Vision and Konka, the consumer electronics company. QD Vision's calling card ...