TRU Waste Management at Area G
Management of transuranic waste storage, characterization, and remediation
Area G Site History
Technical Area 54 (TA-54) is the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) legacy waste management area. Opened in 1957, Area G is a site within TA-54 where LANL’s transuranic (TRU) and low-level waste is stored, characterized, remediated, and shipped off-site. The radioactive waste disposal areas include 32 pits, 194 shafts, and four trenches with depths ranging 10-65 feet below the original ground surface.
Ensure contaminated waste from past LANL operations does not threaten human or environmental health
Store, remediate and ship LANL’s above-ground transuranic waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico
Area G, which covers 63 acres, lies inside TA-54 at Los Alamos National Laboratory
The TRU waste containers are stored in domes equipped with fire detection and air monitoring systems. The containers are routinely monitored and inspected. All TRU waste containers have HEPA filtration vents to help control pressure building up inside of them. Prior to shipment, the containers and their contents are independently, non-destructively analyzed and certified under a state- and Environmental Protection Agency-approved program meeting the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant waste acceptance criteria.
TRU waste is radioactive waste containing more than 100
nanocuries of alpha-emitting transuranic isotopes per gram of waste, with half-lives greater than 20 years. Transuranic
elements are those greater than uranium on the Periodic Table of Elements. All TRU waste at LANL is contact-handled, meaning it is handled directly by workers using protection.
• TRU waste shipments to WIPP have resumed
• The remediated nitrate salt drums have been treated and are awaiting shipment off-site
• Above-ground waste has been inventoried and a production plan has been developed
Shipping Waste Off-site
Mobile loading operations are fully operational at Area G. This capability enables TRU waste to be shipped to WIPP in southern New Mexico, weather and schedule permitting. TRU waste containers, such as drums, standard waste boxes, and 10-drum overpacks, are secured inside DOE-approved robust shipping casks that have been tested under extreme conditions for the trip to WIPP.
WIPP WASTE ACCEPTANCE CRITERIA
LANL and other generator sites must comply with criteria regulating the transportation, storage and disposal of contact-handled TRU waste at WIPP. The criteria and certification programs help ensure waste management and disposal and protection of human health and the environment.
Other waste management activities at Area G unrelated to the current TRU campaign include removal and remediation of suspected TRU waste from below-grade pits, shafts, and trenches. Work at Area G also includes preparing mixed low-level waste and low-level waste for disposal at approved facilities.
By the Numbers
Containers of above-ground TRU waste to be removed from LANL
Minimum number of shipments to be made in fiscal year 2019
Estimated number of shipments to complete the TRU waste shipping campaign