Nuclear Waste

Marcel Molina Jr. / Flickr Creative Commons

An excavator that slid into a nuclear waste pit in Idaho has been retrieved.

The excavator slid into the pit May 11 after a partial collapse of the dig area at the U.S. Department of Energy's desert site, The Post Register reported.

Crews dug a ramp for the excavator and drove it from the pit area into a nearby service bay, where it was inspected, Fluor Idaho spokesman Erik Simpson said. It will be repaired soon.

U.S. Department of Energy via AP

A portion of an underground tunnel containing rail cars full of radioactive waste collapsed Tuesday at a sprawling storage facility in a remote area of Washington state, forcing an evacuation of some workers at the site that made plutonium for nuclear weapons for decades after World War II.

Officials detected no release of radiation at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and no workers were injured, said Randy Bradbury, a spokesman for the Washington state Department of Ecology.

Penn State / Flickr Creative Commons

The nation's only underground nuclear repository has received its first shipment of waste, more than three years after shipping was halted in response to a radiation release that contaminated part of the facility.

The U.S. Energy Department said Monday that the shipment from a federal facility in Idaho marked a milestone for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and the government sites where waste left over from decades of nuclear weapons research and development has been stacking up.

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Entergy Nuclear Operations shut down its Vermont power plant in 2014. But much of the waste from the facility remains, including 200,000 gallons of low-level radioactive water. The company applied for permission to truck the water across the country to a site near Grand View, Idaho, about 40 miles south of Boise.

Penn State / Flickr Creative Commons

Testing is set to resume at a federally-managed nuclear waste treatment plant west of Idaho Falls.

Tests at the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit will begin next week after a nine-month pause, The Post Register reported.

The first 10-day test will examine the effectiveness of a grinder that breaks down solid radioactive waste. The component clogged during previous tests.

Thomas Herbert / AP

Work to clear radioactive waste from the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project is nearly complete.

The Post Register reports that according to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are only 28 nuclear waste boxes left to retrieve at the facility's airplane hangar-like building. Officials expect to finish the job later this month.

Steve Helber / AP Images

Earlier this month, the Navy announced plans to build a $1.6 billion facility in Idaho to handle fuel waste from the nation’s nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers over the next forty years. The new structure will be built on the Idaho National Laboratory site about 50 miles from Idaho Falls.

Keith Ridler with the Associated Press has been following this story, and says Idaho officials are in favor of the facility. 

Idaho National Laboratory

A $1.65 billion facility will be built at a nuclear site in eastern Idaho to handle fuel waste from the nation's fleet of nuclear-powered warships, the Navy and U.S. Department of Energy announced Tuesday.

Officials said the new facility is needed to keep nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines deployed.

Penn State / Flickr Creative Commons

A recent audit found significant problems with the federally-managed nuclear waste treatment plant west of Idaho Falls.

The Post Register reports the audit outlined cost overruns, a lack of rigorous testing and other management issues at the Department of Energy facility known as the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit.

The DOE Office of the Inspector General's report says the project's construction costs have exceeded the $571 million cap set in 2010 and will likely continue to accrue.

inl.gov

Scientists say a continued drop in underground water levels could make it harder to monitor the movement of radioactive contamination in an aquifer below an eastern Idaho nuclear facility.

Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey in a 36-page report released Monday say the Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer has dropped below two wells and about a dozen more could go dry due to drought.

inl.gov

Federal officials say they're taking public comments on a plan to ship two loads of spent nuclear fuel rods to eastern Idaho for research.

The U.S. Department of Energy in a statement says comments will be taken through July 13 on its draft of whether more environmental analysis is needed.

The 60-page document can be viewed at the agency's website under the Idaho Operations Office, Public Involvement Opportunities.

The agency has proposed sending up to 220 pounds of nuclear fuel rods to the Idaho National Laboratory.

Former Idaho Govs. Phil Batt and Cecil Andrus have filed a notice of their intent to sue the federal government over proposed shipments of spent commercial nuclear fuel rods to Idaho.

The former governors sent the notice Thursday to the U.S. Department of Energy seeking to halt the shipments scheduled to arrive in June and December at the Idaho National Laboratory in eastern Idaho.

Batt, a Republican, and Andrus, a Democrat, both fought commercial nuclear waste shipments culminating with a 1995 agreement banning them.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Former Idaho Govs. Phil Batt and Cecil Andrus say current Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is turning the state into nuclear waste repository.

The former governors at a Thursday news conference blasted Otter's recently revealed deal with the U.S. Department of Energy to allow 50 spent nuclear fuel rods into the Idaho National Laboratory for research.

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" says he'll grant a one-time waiver to the U.S. Department of Energy to bring nuclear waste for research into the state if certain conditions are met.

The Post Register reports in a story on Wednesday that Otter in a letter to U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says spent fuel rods can enter if the federal agency commits to resolving noncompliance issues from a 1995 agreement.

State officials say they plan to fine the federal government $3,600 per day for missing a deadline to remove nuclear waste from a southeast Idaho nuclear facility.

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality says the U.S. Department of Energy missed a Dec. 31 deadline to ship nuclear waste out of the Idaho National Laboratory.

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