DOE unlikely to meet Idaho nuclear waste cleanup deadline

Jan 18th, 2017 | By | Category: Idaho Falls
Photos from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Environmental Management: Waste exhumation underway at EM's Idaho Site.

Photos from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Environmental Management: Waste exhumation underway at EM’s Idaho Site.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy is likely to miss another deadline under its 1995 agreement to remove nuclear waste stored in Idaho, according to information from agency and state officials.

The DOE committed in the 1995 settlement to clean up some 65,000 cubic meters of waste by the end of 2018, reported The Post Register (http://bit.ly/2j91XIO ). It now appears impossible for the agency to meet that deadline, in part because of the long closure and ongoing limited operations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, where the nuclear waste will be stored

“Certainly the milestone is at risk; it’s at great risk right now,” said Jack Zimmerman, deputy manager of the DOE’s Idaho Cleanup Project.

During a Tuesday meeting in Boise, Zimmerman told the Leadership in Nuclear Energy Commission that there are more than 900 certified shipments stored at the Advanced Mixed Wasted Treatment Project and additional shipments will be certified in the public months. Not even half of the currently certified shipments, however, can be sent before the Dec. 31, 2018 deadline.

The New Mexico facility’s limited shipment schedule is holding up the process.

“We have more to ship than we can get out by the end of 2018,” said Rebecca Casper, mayor of Idaho Falls and a member of the Leadership in Nuclear Energy Commission. She said Idaho could dominate the shipping schedule and DOE would still miss the deadline.

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