IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Fluor Idaho crews have finished exhuming radioactive and hazardous waste from a combined five acre area at the Radioactive Waste Management Complex at the Idaho National Laboratory site.
The work will now focus on removing the last .69 acres of targeted Cold War era waste.
The material was generated during nuclear weapons production at the former Rocky Flats Plant near Denver. It was removed and buried at the INL site from 1954 to 1970.
"With each buried waste exhumation project — eight to date — our crews have applied their waste management experience, as well as additional worker protection measures, to become even more efficient," said Fluor Idaho Manager Jason Chapple.
The most recent buried waste exhumation campaign took place in a 1.72 acre enclosure over two pits. Using specially modified heavy equipment, crews took out radioactively contaminated filters and molds, solidified sludge containing radioactive and hazardous constituents and a reactive uranium material called "roaster oxides."
After exhuming the waste, workers will repackage and ship it to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico for permanent disposal.
Fluor-Idaho said that once the waste is removed from the final .69 acre area over the next year, the entire landfill will be covered with several feet of native gravel and soil. That will cap an area of more than 130 acres. The goal is to prevent any seepage through remaining waste to the Snake River Plain Aquifer.
Crews have been digging up targeted transuranic and hazardous waste from specific areas of the Radioactive Waste Complex since 2005.