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Title: Audit Report on "Waste Processing and Recovery Act Acceleration Efforts for Contact-Handled Transuranic Waste at the Hanford Site"

The Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management's (EM), Richland Operations Office (Richland), is responsible for disposing of the Hanford Site's (Hanford) transuranic (TRU) waste, including nearly 12,000 cubic meters of radioactive contact-handled TRU wastes. Prior to disposing of this waste at the Department's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), Richland must certify that it meets WIPP's waste acceptance criteria. To be certified, the waste must be characterized, screened for prohibited items, treated (if necessary) and placed into a satisfactory disposal container. In a February 2008 amendment to an existing Record of Decision (Decision), the Department announced its plan to ship up to 8,764 cubic meters of contact-handled TRU waste from Hanford and other waste generator sites to the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project (AMWTP) at Idaho's National Laboratory (INL) for processing and certification prior to disposal at WIPP. The Department decided to maximize the use of the AMWTP's automated waste processing capabilities to compact and, thereby, reduce the volume of contact-handled TRU waste. Compaction reduces the number of shipments and permits WIPP to more efficiently use its limited TRU waste disposal capacity. The Decision noted that the use of AMWTP would avoid the time and expense of establishing a processingmore » capability at other sites. In May 2009, EM allocated $229 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) funds to support Hanford's Solid Waste Program, including Hanford's contact-handled TRU waste. Besides providing jobs, these funds were intended to accelerate cleanup in the short term. We initiated this audit to determine whether the Department was effectively using Recovery Act funds to accelerate processing of Hanford's contact-handled TRU waste. Relying on the availability of Recovery Act funds, the Department changed course and approved an alternative plan that could increase costs by about $25 million by processing Hanford TRU-waste on-site rather than at AMWTP. Further, under the newly adopted alternative approach, the Department would fail to achieve the previously anticipated reductions in volume associated with the use of existing AMWTP waste compaction capabilities.« less
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
982039
Report Number(s):
OAS-RA-10-10
TRN: US1004115
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
DOEIG (USDOE Office of the Inspector General (IG) (United States))
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; ACCELERATION; ALPHA-BEARING WASTES; AUDITS; AVAILABILITY; CAPACITY; PROCESSING; SOLID WASTES; WASTE PROCESSING; WASTES; WIPP