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Title: ACCELERATION OF LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY TRANSURANIC WASTE DISPOSITION

One of Los Alamos National Laboratory's (LANL's) most significant risks is the site's inventory of transuranic waste retrievably stored above and below-ground in Technical Area (TA) 54 Area G, particularly the dispersible high-activity waste stored above-ground in deteriorating facilities. The high activity waste represents approximately 50% (by activity) of the total 292,000 PE-Ci inventory remaining to be disposed. The transuramic waste inventory includes contact-handled and remote-handled waste packaged in drums, boxes, and oversized containers which are retrievably stored both above and below-ground. Although currently managed as transuranic waste, some of the inventory is low-level waste that can be disposed onsite or at approved offsite facilities. Dispositioning the transuranic waste inventory requires retrieval of the containers from above and below-ground storage, examination and repackaging or remediation as necessary, characterization, certification and loading for shipment to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad New Mexico, all in accordance with well-defined requirements and controls. Although operations are established to process and characterize the lower-activity contact-handled transuranic waste containers, LAN L does not currently have the capability to repack high activity contact-handled transuranic waste containers (> 56 PE-Ci) or to process oversized containers with activity levels over 0.52 PE-Ci. Operational issues and compliance requirementsmore » have resulted in less than optimal processing capabilities for lower activity contact-handled transuranic waste containers, limiting preparation and reducing dependability of shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Since becoming the Los Alamos National Laboratory contract in June 2006, Los Alamos National Security (LANS) L.L.C. has developed a comprehensive, integrated plan to effectively and efficiently disposition the transuranic waste inventory, working in concert with the Department of Energy Los Alamos Site Office, Carlsbad Field Office and the Department of Energy Headquaeters. Rather than simply processing containers as retrieved, the plan places priority on efficient curie disposition, a direct correlation to reducing risk. Key elements of the approch include balancing inventory and operational risks, tailoring methods to meet requirements, optimizing existing facilities, equipment and staff, and incorporating best practices from other Department of Energy sites. With sufficient funding this will enable LANL to ship the above-ground high activity contact-handled transuranic waste offsite by the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 and to disposition the remaining above- and below-ground contact-handled and remote-handled transuranic waste inventory by December 2010. Nearly 70% of the contact-handled transuranic waste containers, including the high activity waste, require processing and repackaging before characterization and certification for shipment to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. LANL is employing a balanced risk approach that accomplishes significant long-term risk reduction by accepting short-term increased facility operations risk under well-developed and justified interim controls. Reviews of facility conditions and additional analyses show that the Waste Characterization, Reduction and Repackaging Facility and the Radioassay and Nondestructive Testing Facility are the most appropriate facilities to safetly remediate, repackage, and ship lower activity and the remaining high activity drums. Updated safety documentation supporting limited Hazard Category 2 operations in these facilities has been developed. Once approved, limited-term operations to process the high activity drums can begin in early 2007, building upon the experience base established performing Hazard Category 3 operations processing lower activity waste in these facilities. LANL is also implementing a series of actions to improve and sustain operations for processing contact-handled transuranic waste inventory. Building 412 Decontamination and Volume Facility and Dome 231 Permacon will be reconfigured to remediate and repackage oversized containers. Actions are underway to stage the inventory in a manner that facilitiates handling and processing, and builds a backlog at key process steps to improve efficienty and minimize the impact of operational slowdown elsewhere in the process. Several initiatives will improve safety and strengthen disciplined operations and compliance with established requirements. Retrieval is a critical element in dispositioning the below-ground contact-handled and remote-handled transuranic waste inventory and will be subcontracted to a firm(s) with the experience and specialized capability to retrieve the contact-handled and remote-handled inventories. Performance specifications consider likely container integrity issues and anticipated challenges recoveirng the waste from storage in pits, trenches, and lined shafts.« less
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Laboratory
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1000490
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-07-0027
TRN: US1100135
DOE Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: WASTE MANAGEMENT 2007 SYMPOSIUM ; 200702 ; TUCSON
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
57; ACCELERATION; ACTIVITY LEVELS; COMMUNITIES; COMPLIANCE; CONTAINERS; DECONTAMINATION; DOCUMENTATION; INVENTORIES; NATIONAL SECURITY; NONDESTRUCTIVE TESTING; PERFORMANCE; PROCESSING; RADIOASSAY; SAFETY; SPECIFICATIONS; STORAGE; WASTE MANAGEMENT; WASTES; WIPP