IDAHO STATE JOURNAL
INEEL public meeting draws small group
Public comment invited on draft environmental impact
statement for high-level waste
By Anne Minard
POCATELLO - Only a handful of people attended a public
meeting in Pocatello Wednesday night to discuss a draft environmental
impact statement for waste at the Idaho National Engineering and
The high-level waste permit will apply to
4,200 cubic meters of high-level waste and 1.4 million gallons of liquid
mixed-transuranic waste from reprocessed, spent nuclear fuel.
Reprocessing was done at INEEL from 1952-1991 to recover enriched
uranium from naval reactor fuel, and from miscellaneous government and
special-case commercial materials.
According to a 1995 legal
settlement between Idaho and the Department of Energy, closure of the
liquid tanks is required by 2012. The solidified waste must be treated and
prepared for shipment to an appropriate facility by 2035.
addresses nine alternatives in five categories:
continued current operations at the site;
separate the waste into components of varying radioactivity
methods to dispose of the waste without separation;
minimal INEEL processing, meaning shipping the waste elsewhere for
Officials said some proposed alternatives - such as a
treatment option that would solidify the waste into a glass form - lack
sufficient research to indicate their effectiveness and feasibility.
"The maturity of the different technologies varies," said Brad Bugger,
a DOE spokesman. "That's an issue. It's an area of uncertainty. "
Neither the state nor DOE has a preferred alternative at this
The 60-day comment period ends March 20. For more information, to
request a copy or summary of the EIS or for more information about
submitting public comments, call (888) 918-5100 or write Thomas L.
Wichmann; U.S. Department of Energy, Idaho Operations Office, 850 Energy
Drive, MS 1108, Idaho Falls, ID 83401-1563.
Comments can be sent to
the above address, faxed to (208) 526-1184, or e-mailed to
Anne Minard covers the environment and INEEL for the Journal. She may
be reached by phone at 239-3168, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.