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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
IDAHO FALLS, IDAHO, 83403

Media Contact:
Danielle Miller, (208) 569-7806
Erik Simpson, (208) 390-9464
For Immediate Release:
January 13, 2014

Idaho Cold War Waste Removal Advancing as Work on Eighth Area Begins

IDAHO FALLS, ID - The U.S. Department of Energy and Idaho site cleanup contractor CH2M-WG Idaho (CWI) have begun removing Cold War weapons waste at the eighth area of the 97-acre Subsurface Disposal Area (SDA). The Idaho Site contains a total of nine targeted waste areas within the SDA. To date, six retrieval areas have been successfully exhumed and completed.

"It's a pleasure to continue targeted waste retrieval at the SDA. We continue to fulfill DOE's commitment to the people of Idaho to remove the targeted buried waste there and continue to protect the Snake River Plain Aquifer," said Jim Cooper, Deputy Manager of DOE's Idaho Cleanup Project.

Since 2005, crews have been digging up targeted transuranic and hazardous wastes as agreed to with the state of Idaho from the Site's Radioactive Waste Management Complex and shipping the waste for permanent disposal near Carlsbad, New Mexico. The waste was generated during nuclear weapons production at the Rocky Flats Plant near Denver, Colorado, and was buried in Idaho from 1954 to 1970.

In late 2012, waste exhumation was suspended due to impacts from the continuing resolution and sequestration. However, CWI and the DOE Idaho Operations Office identified efficiencies within other cleanup projects at the Idaho Site allowing for the resumption of waste exhumation in late September 2013. CWI has hired 62 employees to support this workscope.

The eighth waste exhumation campaign is taking place in the largest enclosure ever built on the SDA. Spanning 1.72 acres, the soft-sided building contains a series of gloveboxes and drum packaging stations as well as a state-of-the-art air filtration system. Modified excavation equipment, designed to protect the operator with supplied air, is being used for the exhumation.

Waste exhumation is taking place in Pits 1 and 2 - the first pits used for waste disposal from the Idaho Site and the Rocky Flats Plant in the early 1950s.

To date, 3.16 acres of targeted waste has been exhumed of the 5.69 acres required under a 2008 Record of Decision with the DOE, state of Idaho and Environmental Protection Agency. The overall buried waste project will cost approximately $1.3 billion and is expected to continue into the next decade.

For additional information on the Idaho Cleanup Project visit https://idahocleanupproject.com

DOE-ID-13-004

Editorial Date January 14, 2014
By Tim Jackson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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