- Proposal Would Assist DOE in Meeting Commitment to New Mexico
CARLSBAD – Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP), the management and operating contractor at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), in coordination with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), is proposing to ship transuranic waste currently located at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for temporary storage at Waste Control Specialists (WCS), located in western Andrews County, Texas.
The Department has committed to the state of New Mexico to removing several thousand cubic meters of TRU waste from LANL by June 30. The waste will be moved to WIPP for final disposal once the site reopens. Any shipments of LANL transuranic waste to a temporary storage site are contingent upon the completion of an appropriate National Environmental Policy Act analysis.
“The LANL waste will be staged so that it can be disposed of as soon as WIPP resumes waste receipt operations,” said J. R. Stroble, DOE’s Director of the National Transuranic Program. “These shipments will be managed just like other WIPP shipments. The Department will continue to evaluate potential alternatives for other DOE transuranic waste generating sites until WIPP is fully operational.”
“While most of the waste has already been disposed at WIPP, this agreement with WCS will allow us to complete our commitment to the state and the people of New Mexico,” said Farok Sharif, NWP’s National Transuranic Program manager.
NWP has signed a contract with WCS to temporarily stage transuranic waste, which 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. WCS is a commercial treatment, storage and disposal facility licensed and permitted for radioactive waste management.
The transuranic waste will be stored at the WCS facility until the WIPP facility resumes operations. All shipments to WCS will be made in accordance with the current WIPP shipping requirements, using WIPP shipping packagings, trucks, trailers and highly skilled personnel. DOE and NWP will continue working closely with the states of New Mexico and Texas, to ensure that only waste meeting the WCS acceptance criteria are shipped to the facility for storage.