Monday, April 10, 2000

INEEL to break ground on crushing, packaging plant

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) - Now that a controversial incinerator has been scrapped, the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory hopes to break ground later this spring on a plant to crush and package nuclear waste.

If the state approves the last two permits, the site could get the walls up and the roof on by next fall.

There are still logistical details to be hashed out now that the Department of Energy has agreed to postpone plans to build an incinerator in order to settle a lawsuit with opponents based in Jackson, Wyo.

The settlement allows the site to move forward with other parts of the plant that will get the bulk of the plutonium-contaminated garbage and rubble stored at the site out of Idaho for good.

The Department of Energy must finish building a treatment plant by 2002 as part of a court settlement with the state of Idaho.