Department of Energy Environmental Management Associate Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Field Operations Nicole Nelson-Jean discusses the first EM transuranic waste shipments from the Radioassay and Nondestructive Testing facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory with Enrique “Kiki” Torres, left, Senior Director, Environment and Waste Programs, Triad, and Robert Crosby, Chief Engineer and Chief of Staff for EM Field Operations. Photo Courtesy DOE-EM
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY NEWS
The Department of Energy Environmental Management EM’s Los Alamos Field Office (EM-LA) completed its first two shipments of transuranic waste from the Radioassay and Nondestructive Testing (RANT) facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) on Oct. 22.
“Being able to ship transuranic waste out of RANT not only moves the EM mission forward and brings DOE closer to its goal of reducing waste at LANL, it further ensures the safety of the nearby communities and pueblos, the workers, and the environment,” EM Associate Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Field Operations Nicole Nelson-Jean said. “By working together we can improve mission success.”
Operated by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and its contractor Triad, the RANT facility provides space for EM crews to load drums, boxes, and 10-drum overpacks containing transuranic waste into shipping containers. Workers confirm the containers meet WIPP’s waste acceptance criteria under a program approved by the State of New Mexico and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before they are shipped to the waste repository. EM-LA has completed nine shipments to WIPP this fiscal year.
“Being able to use RANT alongside our colleagues in the NNSA mission represents a significant step forward in terms of EM’s ability to ship transuranic waste to WIPP,” EM-LA Manager Kirk Lachman said. “We are looking forward to shipping more waste offsite and the ability to use RANT helps us to achieve that goal.”
An EM transuranic waste shipment from the Radioassay and Nondestructive Testing facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory departs for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Photo Courtesy DOE-EM
The Oct. 22 shipments consisted of four boxes and 28 55-gallon drums. The transuranic waste had been transported to the RANT facility from Technical Area 54’s Area G, which is used to store, characterize, and remediate LANL’s legacy transuranic and low-level waste before it is shipped offsite for permanent disposal.
Prior to using the RANT facility, workers with EM-LA and its cleanup contractor, Newport News Nuclear BWXT-Los Alamos (N3B), loaded EM’s transuranic waste shipments outdoors at Area G. Inclement weather could limit operations or delay shipments. Use of the RANT facility will enable EM to ship transuranic waste year-round as the shipping schedule permits.
Close coordination between NNSA’s Los Alamos Field Office (NA-LA), EM-LA, Triad, and N3B enabled EM to use the RANT facility to prepare shipments for WIPP.
“This is a great example of partnering between EM and NNSA resulting in the indoor loading capability provided by RANT, which enables both NNSA and EM to reduce their transuranic waste inventory at LANL and thereby reduce risk,” NA-LA Manager Mike Weis said.