Snake River Alliance



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The Snake River Alliance, a public interest group based in Boise, Idaho, asked Radioactive Waste Management Associates (RWMA), to review the safety of the high-level waste (HLW) storage tanks at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL). In a recent Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and supporting documents, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) laid out plans for managing these wastes, some of which have already been evaporated and placed as solids in storage bins.

In this report, RWMA:

• Evaluates the nature of the liquid high-level waste in the tanks in light of INEEL’s recent reclassification of a portion of the HLW as “sodium-bearing waste” and its proposal to further reclassify this remaining HLW as waste incidental to reprocessing (WIR).

• Compares this waste to other waste in the DOE inventory and considers the short- and long-term risks posed.

• Reviews the risk assessment carried out by DOE, including assumptions and methods.

• Evaluates methods of near-term remediation (and their technical constraints) that do not prohibit more thorough cleanup as technologies develop.

This research was completed money allocated during Round 2 of the Citizens’ Monitoring and Technical Assessment Fund (MTA Fund). Clark University was named conservator of these works.

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Snake River Alliance




nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons testing, environment, non-governmental organizations, United States Department of Energy, tribal governments, environmental cleanup, radioactive fallout, radioactive waste


Copyright belongs to the authors. Clark University was chosen by the non-profit peace and environmental groups as the conservator of these reports; our right to distribute these works ensures they remain available to the public in perpetuity as intended. Reuse at your own discretion with with due deference to copyright holders.


Boise, ID

Defining Away the Hazard: The Department of Energy’s Solution to the High-Level Waste Problem at INEEL



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