IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Fluor Idaho has begun to clean up a section of the Radioactive Waste Management Complex where four 55-gallon drums were breached during an April 11 accident.
Crew members wearing sealed radiological suits entered the Accelerated Retrieval Project V (ARP V) facility on May 21 and began cleanup of areas where waste material was deposited during the incident.
The affected drums had been processed on April 11 and were staged for several hours before they experienced excessive pressure and ejected their lids and some of their contents. None of the drums had completed the final characterization, treatment, and certification process required for shipment to the Waste Isolation PIlot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico.
Crews have collected multiple waste samples from working surfaces, the floor and the drums themselves. Two independent laboratories are analyzing the samples. They are trying to determine their radiological and chemical properties and their potential for reaction.
That work is to help determine the likely cause of the event and prevent anything like it in the future.
The cleanup effort is expected to take several weeks.
The ARP V facility is designed to contain any contamination inside the building.
Since 2012, the facility has processed and repackaged approximately 9,500 drums of sludge-contaminated waste. The facility is designed to characterize it, remove liquids and prohibited items, and prepare it for certification and shipment to WIPP for permanent disposal.