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EM's Carlsbad Office Sends Tool to Hanford to Boost Waste Certification Work

Published: June 19, 2024



Crews unload five trucks from the Carlsbad Field Office with more than 60 tons of specialized equipment for the Hanford Site’s transuranic waste program.

RICHLAND, Wash. — Crews at the Hanford Site received five truckloads of specialized equipment that will double Hanford’s capability to certify containers of transuranic waste to meet requirements for shipment to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico for disposal.

The special delivery from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management (EM) Carlsbad Field Office, which oversees WIPP, included a refurbished large box counter for measuring the amount and type of radioactive waste in containers.

“The large box counter greatly enhances Hanford’s capacity to safely and effectively certify transuranic waste as we prepare to resume shipments to WIPP,” said Kelly Ebert, EM acting director for projects and facilities at Hanford. “Refurbishing the existing equipment resulted in significant time and cost savings compared to purchasing it new.”

Transuranic waste consists of tools, rags, protective clothing, sludges, soil and other materials contaminated with radioactive elements including plutonium. These human-made elements have atomic numbers greater than uranium on the periodic table of elements — thus “trans-uranic” or beyond uranium — and require long-term isolation from the public while their radioactivity decays.

“With thousands of containers of transuranic waste in storage at Hanford, the large box counter is a critical tool for increasing the speed and efficiency of certifying waste,” said Tim Southworth, transuranic waste program manager for Hanford contractor Central Plateau Cleanup Company.

Crews will begin certifying transuranic waste at Hanford in 2026, with shipments to WIPP expected to start in 2028.

-Source: EM Update Newsletter

Date Created: 4/30/2024 11:00 AM
Title: EM's Carlsbad Office Sends Tool to Hanford to Boost Waste Certification Work

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