DOE to build new concrete vaults for low-level radioactive waste at INL

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Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is an 890-square-mile  complex located in the high desert of eastern Idaho, between the town of Arco to the west and the cities ofIdaho Falls and Blackfoot to the east. It lies within ButteBinghamBonneville and Jefferson counties.

Most of INL is desert with scrub vegetation and a number of facilities scattered throughout the area; the average elevation of the complex is 5,000 feet (1,500 m) above sea level.

A few publicly accessible highways go through the vast INL, but most of the area (except EBR-I) is restricted to authorized personnel and requires appropriate security clearance.

The tiny town of Atomic City is on the INL’s southern border, and theCraters of the Moon National Monument is to the southwest.

Department of Energy officials say they’ll build concrete vaults at Idaho National Laboratory near Idaho Falls to store low-level radioactive waste generated there.   The facility will consist of reinforced concrete vaults where waste, such as clothes, will be stored in stainless steel liners.

“A new disposal facility at INL for this type of waste will be built in a manner that protects the aquifer,” DOE Idaho Operations Office Manager Richard Provencher said. “Continued disposal capability at INL, in combination with ongoing disposal at off-site locations, is important to our national nuclear energy research and development missions. This facility will be used solely to accommodate waste generated at the Idaho site.”

The facility currently used to store low-level radioactive waste for Idaho National Laboratory is scheduled to close in 2017. The new facility would be in operation for 50 years.


The World’s Largest Concentration of Reactors

Over the decades, more than 50 nuclear reactors have been built and operated here–the largest concentration of reactors in the world.

Experimental Breeder Reactor No. I (1951 – 1963)

Materials Test Reactor (1952 – 1970)

Boiling Water Reactor Experiment No. 1 (1953 – 1954)

Boiling Water Reactor Experiment No. 3 (1955 – 1956)

X-39 Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion reactors (1955 – 1960)

Experimental Breeder Reactor No. II (1961 – 1994)

Zero Power Physics Reactor (1969 – 1992)

Power Burst Facility (1972 – 1985)

Loss-of-Fluid Test Facility (1973 – 1985)

Advanced Test Reactor (1967 – Present)

View the full list of reactors.


Currently, the United States, like many other countries, employs an “open-ended” nuclear fuel cycle, whereby nuclear power plant fuel is used only once and then placed in a repository for indefinite storage. One of the primary FCRD goals is to research, develop and demonstrate ways to “close” the fuel cycle so fuel is reused or recycled rather than being shelved before all of its energy has been used. INL coordinates many of the FCRD’s national research efforts, including:

  • Continuing critical fuel cycle research and development (R&D) activities
  • Pursuing development of policy and regulatory framework to support fuel cycle closure
  • Developing deployable technologies
  • Establishing advanced modeling and simulation program elements
  • Implementing a science-based R&D program

Source: JH News

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