A worker manipulates a glove box used to treat unremediated nitrate salt waste. Courtesy photo
DOE’s Environmental Management Los Alamos Field Office (EM-LA) and contractor Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS) collaborated with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to successfully complete treatment of 27 unremediated nitrate salt (UNS) drums at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
The drums contained nitrate salt waste that had not previously been treated.
“Multiple organizations shared the commitment of treating the UNS drums safely,” EM-LA Manager Doug Hintze said. “By establishing clear communication and expectations from the onset and prioritizing safety throughout each step of the process, we were able to reach our goal.”
Treatment, which began in December, involved removing the UNS waste from drums and mixing it with water and zeolite — an inert material — to render the waste non-reactive. The resulting mixture is in solid form and was repackaged in new drums in accordance with EM Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) requirements.
The treated nitrate salt drums are being stored at LANL, and will eventually be shipped to WIPP for disposal.