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M. Case - S. M. Stoller Corporation
B. Jonker - U.S. Department of Energy - Idaho Operations Office
L. Knobel and B. Tucker - United States Geological Survey
K. Clawson - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
There are many environmental monitoring programs that help implement the Environmental Compliance Policy for the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL). Most of the regulatory compliance activity is performed through various environmental monitoring programs, the recently signed Accelerated Cleanup Agreement, the Environmental Restoration Program, and the Waste Management Program.
The major objectives of the various environmental monitoring programs conducted at the INEEL are to identify the key contaminants released to the environment, to evaluate different pathways through which contaminants move in the environment, and to determine the potential effects of these contaminants on the public and the environment. The various environmental monitoring programs are also used to detect, characterize, and report unplanned releases; evaluate the effectiveness of effluent treatment, control, and pollution abatement programs; and determine compliance with other U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) commitments.
During 2004, responsibility for environmental monitoring onsite was with the
prime Management and Operating contractor at the INEEL, Bechtel BWXT Idaho, LLC.
The offsite environmental monitoring program was the responsibility of the
Environmental Surveillance, Education and Research Program contractor who,
during 2004, was a team led by the S. M. Stoller Corporation.
Environmental media sampled under these programs include ambient air; drinking, surface, and ground water; soils; vegetation; agricultural products; wildlife; and direct radiation. Samples are analyzed for a wide array of constituents ranging from pH, inorganics, volatile organics, gases, and gross alpha and beta activity to specific radionuclides, such as tritium, strontium-90, and plutonium isotopes.
In May 2002, DOE, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signed a letter of intent formalizing an agreement to pursue accelerated risk reduction and cleanup at the INEEL. The intent of accelerating the cleanup of the INEEL yields two significant objectives: (1) risk reduction and continued protection of the Snake River Plain Aquifer, and (2) consolidation of Environmental Management activities and reinvestment of savings into cleanup. Nine strategic initiatives were developed around these two objectives to accelerate cleanup.
Since the Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order was signed in December 1991: 22 Records of Decision have been signed and are being implemented; three Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Studies are under development; and more than 70 percent of Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act actions have been completed. Only three investigations remain to be completed:
In a significant accomplishment, remediation of WAG 4, the Central Facilities Area, was completed in 2004.
Under the accelerated cleanup agreement, planning is underway to determine the end state and to work toward closure of many contaminated areas and buildings at the INEEL. Significant progress was made in accelerating cleanup and reducing risk.
The Federal Facility Compliance Act requires the preparation of a site treatment plan for the treatment of mixed wastes (those containing both radioactive and nonradioactive hazardous materials) at the INEEL. During 2004, three site treatment plan milestones were met.
The overall goal of the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project is the treatment of alpha-containing low level mixed and transuranic wastes for final disposal. A contract for treatment services was awarded to British Nuclear Fuels Limited, Inc. in December 1996. They completed construction of the facility in December 2002 and commenced treatment operations in 2004.
Significant accomplishments were achieved during 2004 in the disposal of low-level and mixed waste stored and generated at the INEEL. Activities were highlighted by the treatment and disposal of 900 m3 (1,177 yd3) of mixed low-level waste. Approximately 6,080 m3 (7,953 yd3) of legacy and newly generated low-level waste was disposed at the Subsurface Disposal Area.
The Transuranic Waste Program continued transuranic waste shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. A total 192 m3 (251 yd3) were shipped in 2004.
The INEEL Management and Operating contractor continued to make progress on the effort initiated in 1997 to develop and implement an INEEL-wide Environmental Management System (EMS). The Environmental Management System meets the requirements of International Standards Organization (ISO) 14001. The INEEL EMS received ISO 14001 registration in June 2002. A semiannual ISO 14001 surveillance performed in November 2004 found no nonconformances with the ISO standard.
The INEEL Citizens Advisory Board was formed in March 1994. During its tenure, the Citizens Advisory Board has provided recommendations on over 100 topics. In 2004, the Board provided recommendations on six critical topics.
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This chapter highlights the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) environmental programs that help implement the Environmental Policy for the INEEL (see front matter of this report). Much of the regulatory compliance activity is performed through the various environmental monitoring programs (Section 3.1), the recently signed Accelerated Cleanup Agreement (Section 3.2), Environmental Restoration (Section 3.3), and Waste Management (Section 3.4). Sections 3.5 and 3.6 summarize other significant INEEL environmental programs and activities.
Environmental monitoring consists of two separate activities: effluent monitoring and environmental surveillance. Effluent monitoring is the measurement of constituents within a waste stream before its release to the environment, such as the monitoring of stacks or discharge pipes. Environmental surveillance is the measurement of contaminants in the environment. Surveillance involves determining whether or not contaminants are present or measurable in environmental media and, if present, in what concentrations they are found.
Effluent monitoring is conducted by various INEEL organizations. Airborne effluent measurements and estimates, required under the Idaho State Implementation Plan, are the responsibility of the regulated facilities. At the INEEL, these facilities include Argonne National Laboratory-West (ANL-W), Central Facilities Area (CFA), Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center (INTEC), Naval Reactors Facility (NRF), Power Burst Facility/Critical Infrastructure Test Range (PBF/CITR), Radioactive Waste Management Complex (RWMC), Test Area North/Specific Manufacturing Capability (TAN/SMC), and Test Reactor Area (TRA). The Liquid Effluent Monitoring Program and Storm Water Monitoring Program, conducted by the Management and Operating (M&O) contractor, are designed to demonstrate compliance with the Clean Water Act, Wastewater Land Application Permits (WLAP), and other associated permits.
Environmental surveillance is the major environmental monitoring activity conducted at the INEEL. As such, much of this report concentrates on this task. The remainder of this section summarizes environmental monitoring program objectives; the history of environmental monitoring at the INEEL; and information on monitoring of specific environmental media (air, water, agricultural products, animal tissue, and soil), direct radiation, and meteorology.
Results of the environmental monitoring programs for 2004 and additional information on major programs can be found in Chapter 4 (air), Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 (water), and Chapter 7 (agricultural, wildlife, soil, and direct radiation). Chapter 8 discusses radiological doses to humans and biota, and Chapter 9 presents 2004 results on current ecological research programs at the INEEL.
Objectives of Environmental Monitoring
Operations of INEEL facilities have the potential to release materials, which may include both radioactive and nonradioactive contaminants, into the environment. These materials can enter the environment through two primary routes: into the atmosphere as airborne effluents and into surface water and groundwater as liquid effluents or storm water runoff. Through a variety of exposure pathways (Figure 3-1), contaminants can be transported away from INEEL facilities, where they could potentially impact the surrounding environment and the population living in these areas.
The major objectives of the various environmental monitoring programs conducted at the INEEL are to identify the key pollutants released to the environment, to evaluate different pathways through which pollutants move in the environment, and to determine the potential effects of these pollutants on the public and on the environment.
As discussed previously, monitoring also provides the information to verify compliance with a variety of applicable environmental protection laws, regulations, and permits, described in Chapter 2. The establishment and conduct of an environmental monitoring program at the INEEL is required by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Order 450.1 (DOE 1993). The various environmental monitoring programs are also used to detect, characterize, and report unplanned releases; evaluate the effectiveness of effluent treatment, control, and pollution abatement programs; and determine compliance with commitments made in environmental impact statements, environmental assessments, safety analysis reports, or other official DOE documents.
History of Environmental Monitoring
Environmental monitoring has been performed at the INEEL by DOE and its predecessors, the Atomic Energy Commission and Energy Research and Development Agency, as well as by other federal agencies, various contractors, and State agencies since its inception in 1949.
The organization of environmental monitoring programs has remained fairly constant throughout much of the history of the INEEL. The Atomic Energy Commission's Health Services Laboratory, later named the DOE's Radiological and Environmental Sciences Laboratory (RESL), was responsible for conducting most environmental surveillance tasks from the early 1950s to 1993 both on and off the INEEL Site. Contractors operating the various facilities were responsible for monitoring activities performed within the facility boundaries and for effluent monitoring.
Early monitoring activities focused on evaluating the potential of exposing the general public to a release of radioactive materials from INEEL facilities. Radionuclides were the major contaminants of concern because the INEEL was heavily involved in testing nuclear facilities. DOE and its predecessor agencies sampled and analyzed environmental media that could be affected by atmospheric releases. During those early years, the various M&O contractors conducted sampling of liquid and airborne effluents from facilities to develop waste inventory information.
Throughout the history of the Site, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has monitored groundwater quantity and quality in the Snake River Plain Aquifer, with emphasis on the portion of the aquifer beneath the INEEL. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has also monitored weather conditions at the INEEL since the Site's inception.
As a result of a site audit in 1993, the DOE environmental monitoring program was divided into separate onsite and offsite programs. Responsibility for the onsite program was transferred to the M&O contractor. During 2004, Bechtel BWXT Idaho, LLC (BBWI) was the prime M&O contractor at the INEEL. The offsite monitoring program is performed by the Environmental Surveillance, Education and Research (ESER) Program contractor. During 2004, the ESER contractor and offsite monitoring activities were performed by a team led by the S. M. Stoller Corporation.
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Historical Background - Low-volume air samplers have been operated on and in the vicinity of the INEEL since 1952. Table 3-1 lists the areas where samplers have been located and the dates of operation for these samplers (derived from DOE-ID 1991). Before 1960, radiation detection devices, such as a Geiger-Müller tube, were used to record the amount of radioactivity on the filters. Gross beta measurements were made starting in 1960, and by 1967 the present series of analytical measurements were being performed.
High-volume air samplers were operated at the Experimental Field Station (EFS) and CFA from 1973 until October 1996. In 1996, a program evaluation determined that the cost of operating the high-volume samplers was not commensurate with the data being collected, and operations were suspended. Also in 1973, a high-volume sampler began operation in Idaho Falls as part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) nationwide Environmental Radiation Ambient Monitoring System.
Tritium in atmospheric moisture has been measured at a minimum of two locations
since at least 1973. Some limited monitoring may have been performed before this
One monitoring location at CFA collected samples of noble gases, with specific interest in krypton-85 (85Kr) from approximately 1984 until 1992. This station was used to monitor releases of 85Kr from the INTEC during periods when fuel reprocessing was taking place.
Nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide were first monitored for a nine-week period at five onsite locations in 1972. A nitrogen dioxide sampling station operated from 1983 to 1985 to monitor waste calcining operations at INTEC. A sulfur dioxide sampler was also used from 1984 to 1985. The two sampling locations were reactivated in 1988 for nitrogen dioxide and operated through 2003, and one station operated from 1989 through 2001 for sulfur dioxide.
The National Park Service, in cooperation with other federal land management agencies, began the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) program in 1985. This program was an extension of an earlier EPA program to measure fine particles of less than 2.5 µm in diameter (PM2.5). These particles are the largest cause of degraded visibility. In May 1992, one IMPROVE sampler was established at CFA on the INEEL and a second was located at Craters of the Moon National Monument as part of the nationwide network. Each of the two samplers collected two 24-hour PM2.5 samples a week. Analyses were performed for particulate mass, optical absorption, hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and the common elements from sodium through lead on the periodic table. Operation of the CFA sampler ceased in May 2000 when the EPA removed it from the nationwide network.
Current Programs - Both the ESER and M&O contractors maintain a network of low volume air samplers to monitor for airborne radioactivity (Figure 3-2). The ESER contractor operates 12 samplers at offsite locations and three onsite samplers. The ESER contractor added a thirteenth offsite sampler in June 2001 at Jackson, Wyoming. Two samplers were also moved to new locations in July 2001 when the landlords terminated the leases at the previous stations. The sampler at Blackfoot was moved to Dubois and the sampler at Reno Ranch/Birch Creek was moved to Blue Dome. The M&O contractor maintains 16 onsite and four offsite sampling locations. Additional samplers were added at Specific Manufacturing Capability, Gate 4, and INTEC due to increased decontamination and dismantlement activity.
Each low-volume air sampler maintains an average airflow of 50 L/min (2 ft3/min) through a set of filters consisting of a 1.2 µm pore membrane filter followed by a charcoal cartridge. The membrane filters are 99 percent efficient for airborne particulates with an aerodynamic diameter of 0.32 µm, and higher for larger diameter particulates.
Filters from the low-volume air samplers are collected and analyzed weekly. Charcoal cartridges are analyzed for iodine-131 (131I) either individually or in batches of up to nine cartridges. During batch counting, if any activity is noted in a batch, each cartridge in that batch is recounted individually.
Particulate filters are analyzed weekly using a proportional counting system. Filters are analyzed after waiting a minimum of four days to allow naturally occurring radon progeny to decay. Gross alpha and beta analyses are used as a screening technique to provide timely information on levels of radioactivity in the environment.
Specific radionuclide analyses are more sensitive than gross alpha and gross beta analyses for detecting concentrations of anthropogenic (human-made) radionuclides in air. The particulate filters of the low-volume samplers are composited by location at the end of each quarter, and all composites are analyzed for specific radionuclides by gamma spectrometry. Composites are then submitted for analyses for specific transuranic radionuclides (americium-241 [241Am], plutonium-238 [238Pu], plutonium-239/240 [239/240Pu]), and strontium-90 (90Sr).
Measurements of suspended particulates are also performed on the 1.2-µm pore membrane filters from the low-volume air samplers. The M&O contractor weighs their filters weekly before and after sampling to determine the amount of material collected. The ESER contractor also weighs their filters weekly before and after use. In both cases, the amount of material collected is determined by subtracting the presampling (clean filter) weight from the postsampling (used filter) weight. The concentration of suspended particulates is calculated by dividing the amount of material collected on the filters by the total volume of air that passed through the filters.
Samplers for tritium in atmospheric moisture are located at two onsite and four offsite locations. In these samplers, air is pulled through a column of desiccant material (i.e., silica gel or molecular sieve) at 0.3-0.5 L/hr (0.01-0.02 ft3/hr). The material in the column absorbs water vapor. Columns are changed when sufficient moisture to obtain a sample is absorbed (typically from one to three times per quarter). The absorbed water is removed from the desiccant through heat distillation. Tritium concentrations in air are then determined from the absorbed water (distillate) by liquid scintillation counting. Atmospheric concentrations are determined from the tritium concentration in the distillate, quantity of moisture collected, and the volume of air sampled.
Tritium is also monitored using precipitation samples collected on the INEEL monthly at CFA and weekly at the EFS. A monthly sample is also obtained offsite in Idaho Falls. Each precipitation sample is submitted for tritium analysis by liquid scintillation counting.
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Historical Background - The USGS has conducted groundwater studies at the INEEL since the Site's inception in 1949. The USGS was initially assigned the task to characterize water resources of the area. It has since maintained a groundwater quality and water level measurement program on the INEEL to support research and monitor the movement of radioactive and chemical constituents in the Snake River Plain Aquifer. The first well, USGS 1, was completed and monitored in December 1949. USGS personnel have maintained an INEEL Project Office at CFA since 1958 (USGS 1998).
In 1993, the DOE Idaho Operations Office (DOE-ID) initiated a program to integrate all of the various groundwater monitoring programs on the INEEL. This resulted in the development of the INEL Groundwater Monitoring Plan (DOE-ID 1993a) and the INEL Groundwater Protection Management Plan (DOE-ID 1993b). The monitoring plan described historical conditions and monitoring programs, and it included an implementation plan for each facility. The protection management plan established policy and identified programmatic requirements.
Sampling and analysis of drinking water both onsite and offsite began in 1958. Analysis for tritium began in 1961. Up to 28 locations were sampled before increased knowledge of the movement of groundwater beneath the INEEL led to a decrease in the number of sampling locations. In 1988, a centralized drinking water program was established. Each contractor participates in the INEEL Drinking Water Program. However, each contractor (BBWI, ANL-W and NRF) administers their own drinking water programs in place. The Drinking Water Program was established to monitor drinking water and production wells, which are multiple use wells for industrial use, fire safety, and drinking water. The Drinking Water Program monitors drinking water to ensure it is safe for consumption and to demonstrate that it meets federal and State regulations (that maximum contaminant levels [MCLs] are not exceeded). The Idaho Regulations for Public Drinking Water Systems and the federal Safe Drinking Water Act establish requirements for the Drinking Water Program. A program to monitor lead and copper in drinking water in accordance with EPA regulations has been in place since 1992. Three successive years of monitoring lead and copper levels in drinking water were concluded in 1995. Since regulatory values were not exceeded, this monitoring has been reduced to once every three years beginning in 1998.
As one of the requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit effective October 1, 1992, the INEEL was obligated to develop a storm water monitoring program. Sampling of snowmelt and rain runoff began in 1993, and it included 16 sites at eight INEEL facilities. Samples were collected from storms of at least 0.25 cm (0.1 in.) of precipitation preceded by a minimum of 72 hours without precipitation.
In September 1998, the EPA issued the "Final Modification of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Storm Water Multi-Sector General Permit for Industrial Activities" (63 FR 189). The permit requires sample collection and laboratory analysis for two of the years during every five-year cycle at potential discharge locations. This usually occurs during years two and four; the INEEL last collected and analyzed storm water samples in 2003. The permit also required continued annual monitoring from coal piles at INTEC whenever there was a discharge to the Big Lost River System. In addition, quarterly visual monitoring was required at all other designated locations.
Current Programs - USGS personnel collect samples from 178 observation or production wells and auger holes and have them analyzed for selected organic, inorganic, and radioactive substances. Sampling is performed on schedules ranging from monthly to annually. These samples are submitted to the RESL at CFA for analysis of radioactive substances and to the USGS National Water Quality Laboratory in Lakewood, Colorado, for analysis of organic and inorganic substances. The USGS also records water levels at 308 selected wells on schedules ranging from monthly to annually.
The USGS also conducts special studies of the groundwater resources of the Eastern Snake River Plain. The abstract of each study published in 2004 is provided in Appendix C. These special studies provide more specific geological, chemical, and hydrological information on the characteristics of the aquifer and the movements of chemical and radiochemical substances in the groundwater. One special USGS investigation of particular interest is the ongoing annual sampling effort in the area between the southern boundary of the INEEL and the Twin Falls/Hagerman area, known as the Magic Valley Study. This study was prompted by public concern that radiochemical and chemical constituents generated by INEEL facilities could migrate through the Snake River Plain Aquifer to the Snake River in the Twin Falls/Hagerman area. The most recent results of this study are summarized in USGS Open File Report 03-168 (Twining et. al. 2003).
The INEL Groundwater Monitoring Plan was updated in 2003 to include the monitoring wells, constituent lists, and sampling frequencies of current programs. The updated plan does not replace the 1993 plan but uses it as the basis for the information previously presented regarding operational history, contaminant sources, and monitoring networks for each INEEL facility. The updated plan modifies groundwater monitoring recommendations in accordance with more recent information (i.e., requirements in records of decisions), relying on existing multiple groundwater programs rather than a single comprehensive program.
The M&O contractor conducts groundwater monitoring in support of state of Idaho Wastewater Land Application Permit (WLAP) requirements at INTEC, and TAN as well as surveillance monitoring at INTEC. ANL-W also performs groundwater surveillance monitoring in support of the Record of Decision (ROD) and a submitted state of Idaho Wastewater Land Application Permit.
The M&O contractor's Drinking Water Program monitors production and drinking water wells for radiological, chemical, and bacteriological contaminants at all their INEEL facilities. Currently, 17 wells and ten distribution systems are monitored. All analyses for the program are conducted using laboratories certified by the state of Idaho or laboratories certified in other states, where this certification is accepted by the state of Idaho. The NRF and ANL-W maintain separate programs for sampling drinking water based on the requirements applicable at their facilities. Radiological and bacteriological samples from ANL-W are sent to the M&O contractor for analysis. ANL-W conducts a separate program for chemical monitoring.
M&O personnel collect quarterly onsite drinking water samples from active systems for radiological analysis. General Engineering Laboratory, located in Charleston, South Carolina, performed these analyses during 2004. Each water sample is submitted for gross analyses for alpha- and beta-emitting radionuclides. Tritium analyses are also performed on all drinking water samples collected for radiological analysis. Strontium-90 analyses are performed on quarterly samples from CFA and INTEC because historical water quality data from monitoring and observation wells indicate this water may contain 90Sr concentrations above background levels.
Microwise Laboratory, located in Idaho Falls, Idaho, analyzes drinking water monthly for coliform bacteria in 2004. If indications of contamination by bacteria are found in a sample, that particular drinking water system is taken out of service until it can be disinfected, resampled, and tested again until it is clear of bacteria. Corrective actions to purify the water may vary among facilities.
The M&O contractor's Drinking Water Program also samples drinking water from wells and distribution systems at INEEL facilities for volatile organic compounds. Chlorinated drinking water systems are also monitored for total trihalomethanes (bromoform, bromodichloromethane, chloroform, and dibromochloromethane). Additional sampling is conducted for a variety of inorganic constituents, including metals, nitrates, and dissolved solids.
Historically, storm water monitoring locations were based upon drainage patterns and proximity to potential sources of pollutants. The General Permit requires visual examinations of storm water for obvious indications of storm water pollution. In addition, visual examinations were conducted for surveillance purposes at some locations whether or not storm water discharged to the Big Lost River System.
In a letter dated October 27, 2003, to the DOE-ID chief counsel, EPA Region 10 determined that three sites at the INEEL (RWMC, INTEC, and the north part of the INEEL property near Birch Creek [area around TAN]) do not have a reasonable potential to discharge storm water to waters of the United States (Ryan 2003). DOE-ID directed the M&O contractor to cease expending further resources on compliance with the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan for Industrial Activities, Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan for Construction Activities, and Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Programs at the three sites discussed in the letter from EPA. The letter further directed the M&O contractor to conduct a technical analysis to determine any other areas under the M&O contractor's control that would also have the same or less potential to discharge storm water to waters of the United States. As a result of this direction by DOE-ID, construction and industrial storm water inspections, data collection, and reports have ceased for projects located at those facilities.
The remaining projects were evaluated through the technical analysis requested by DOE-ID to determine potential to discharge. Required storm water inspections and reporting continued for these projects until October 2004. At that time, inspections and reports at any additional projects that had no reasonable potential to discharge to waters of the United States, as determined through the preliminary technical analysis (to be finalized in early 2005), ceased.
The ESER contractor collects drinking water samples semiannually from boundary and distant communities. Surface water samples are collected from springs in the Twin Falls/ Hagerman area and the Snake River at Idaho Falls and Bliss. Each water sample is analyzed for gross alpha and gross beta activity, and tritium.
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Historical Background - Milk was the first agricultural product to be
monitored beginning in at least 1957. The number of samples collected per year
has been relatively constant since about 1962. Because of improvements in
counting technology, the detection limit for 131I has decreased from
about 15,000 pCi/L in early sampling to the current detection level of about 2
Wheat was first sampled as part of the radioecology research program in about 1962. The current monitoring program dates back to 1963. Potatoes were first collected in 1976 as part of an ecological research project. Regular potato sampling was resumed in 1994 in response to public concern. Lettuce has been collected since 1977.
Current Programs - Milk samples are collected from both commercial and single-family dairies. A two-liter (0.5 gal) sample is obtained from each location monthly, except in Idaho Falls where a sample is collected weekly. Milk from each location is analyzed for 131I, and one analysis for 90Sr and tritium at each location is performed during the year.
Wheat samples are collected from farms or grain elevators in the region surrounding the INEEL. All wheat samples are analyzed for 90Sr and gamma-emitting radionuclides.
Potato samples are collected from farms or storage warehouses in the vicinity of the INEEL, with three to five samples from distant locations. The potatoes, with skins included, are cleaned and weighed before processing. All potato samples are analyzed for 90Sr and gamma-emitting radionuclides.
Prior to 2003, lettuce samples were obtained from private gardens in communities in the vicinity of the INEEL. A new sampling program was instituted in 2003 in which self-contained growing boxes were distributed throughout the region, usually at existing air monitoring locations. Lettuce was then grown from seed at each location and collected when mature. The use of self-contained growing boxes has allowed the collection of samples at areas on the INEEL (e.g., the Experimental Field Station) and at boundary locations where lettuce could not be obtained (e.g., Atomic City). Samples are washed to remove any soil as in normal food preparation, dried, reduced to a powdered form, and weighed. All lettuce samples are analyzed for 90Sr and gamma-emitting radionuclides.
The M&O contractor annually collects perennial and grass samples from around the major waste management facilities. These samples are analyzed for gamma-emitting radionuclides. ANL-W personnel also collects vegetation samples annually from around the ANL-W Industrial Waste Pond and along the ANL-W Industrial Waste Ditch. These samples are analyzed for selected alpha, beta, and gamma radionuclides. NRF personnel collect vegetation around the NRF facility and along the NRF Industrial Waste Ditch. These samples are analyzed for gamma-emitting radionuclides.
NRF personnel collect vegetation around the NRF facility and along the NRF Industrial Waste Ditch. These samples are analyzed for gamma radionuclides. Results are reported in Bechtel Bettis (2004).
Historical Background - Monitoring of game animals has focused on research into the movement of radionuclides through the food chain. Rabbit thyroids and bones were first sampled in 1956. In 1973, routine sampling of game animal tissues was instituted; the first studies on waterfowl that were using waste disposal ponds containing various amounts of radionuclides occurred the following year. Waterfowl studies have covered the periods 1974-1978,1984-1986, and 1994-present. In 1998, the collection of waterfowl became part of the regular surveillance program.
Mourning doves were collected in 1974 and 1975 as part of a radioecology research project. Routine dove sampling as part of the environmental surveillance program was initiated in 1996. In 1998, sampling of yellow-bellied marmots was added to the sampling program.
Sheep that have grazed onsite have been part of the routine monitoring program since a special study was conducted in 1975. Beef cattle were also monitored biennially during the period 1978 to 1986.
Current Programs - Selected tissues (muscle, liver, and thyroid) are collected from game animals accidentally killed on INEEL roads. Thyroid samples are placed in vials and analyzed within 24-hours by gamma spectrometry specifically for 131I. Muscle and liver samples are processed, placed in a plastic container, and weighed before gamma spectrometry analysis.
Waterfowl samples are collected from waste disposal ponds at up to four facilities on the INEEL. Control samples are also taken in areas distant from the INEEL. Waterfowl samples are separated into an external portion (consisting of the skin and feathers); edible portion (muscle, liver, and gizzard tissue); and remainder portion. All samples are analyzed by gamma spectrometry. Selected samples are also analyzed for 90Sr and transuranic radionuclides.
Mourning doves are collected in some years from the vicinity of INTEC and TRA waste ponds and from a control area distant to the INEEL. Because of the small size of a typical dove, muscle tissues from several doves collected at the same location are composited into one sample. Samples are analyzed for gamma-emitting radionuclides, 90Sr, and transuranic radionuclides.
Marmots are collected from the vicinity of the RWMC and a control area distant to the INEEL, usually Pocatello, in some years. Marmot samples are separated into three portions: an external portion (consisting of the skin and fur); edible portion (muscle, liver, and gizzard tissue); and viscera portion (remaining internal organs). All samples are analyzed by gamma spectrometry. Selected samples are also analyzed for 90Sr and transuranic radionuclides.
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Historical Background - Soil sampling has been included as part of routine monitoring programs since the early 1970s, although some limited soil collection was performed around various facilities as far back as 1960. Offsite soil sampling at distant and boundary locations was conducted annually from 1970 to 1975. The collection interval was extended to every two years starting in 1978. Soil samples in 1970, 1971, and 1973 represented a composite of five cores of soil five-centimeters (two-inches) in depth from a one square meter (approximately ten square feet) area. In all other years, the five cores were collected from two depths 0-5 cm (0-2 in.) and 5-10 cm (2-4 in) within a 100 m2 (~1076 ft2) area.
A soil sampling program began in 1973 around onsite facilities. Soils at each facility were sampled every seven years. In 2001, all locations were sampled as the frequency was increased to every two years.
Current Programs - Twelve offsite locations are sampled in even numbered years. Following collection, soil samples are dried for at least three hours at 120°C (250°F) and sieved. Only soil particles less than 500-µ in diameter (35 mesh) are analyzed. All offsite samples are analyzed for gamma-emitting radionuclides, 90Sr, and transuranic radionuclides.
The M&O contractor now performs soil sampling on a two-year rotation. One hundred nine sites were sampled in 2004. All sites are analyzed in situ for gamma emitting radionuclides and 90Sr. Approximately 10 percent of the sites have a physical sample collected for laboratory analysis of gamma-emitting and transuranic radionuclides. Samples are collected from 0-5 cm (0-2 in.) and sieved at the sample site with the 35-mesh fraction being collected. The M&O contractor also performs annual sampling of the CFA sewage treatment plant irrigation spray field to show compliance with the WLAP soil loading limits.
ANL-W personnel collect soil samples annually at locations along the major wind directions and at crosswind locations around the ANL-W facility. Samples are analyzed for low-level gamma-emitting radionuclides, and uranium, plutonium, and thorium isotopes. Sufficient material to fill a 500 mL (16 oz.) wide mouth jar is collected from 0-5 cm (0-2 in.) depth within an approximately 1 m2 (~11 ft2) area.
NRF personnel collect soil samples around the NRF facility. These samples are analyzed for gamma radionuclides. Results are reported in Bechtel Bettis (2004).
Historical Background - Measurements of radiation in the environment have been made on the INEEL since 1958. The technology used for radiation measurements at fixed locations has evolved from film badges to thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLDs). In addition to these locations, surveys using hand-held and vehicle-mounted, radiation instruments have been conducted since at least 1959. Aerial radiological surveys were also performed in 1959, 1966, 1974, 1982, and 1990.
Current Programs - Environmental TLDs are used to measure ambient ionizing radiation exposures. The TLDs measure ionizing radiation exposures from all external sources. External sources include natural radioactivity in the air and soil, cosmic radiation from space, residual fallout from nuclear weapons tests, radioactivity from fossil fuel burning, and radioactive effluents from INEEL operations and other industrial processes.
At each location, a dosimeter holder containing four individual chips is placed one meter (three feet) above ground level. The M&O contractor maintains dosimeters at 13 offsite locations and 135 locations on the INEEL. The ESER contractor has dosimeters at 14 offsite locations. The dosimeter card at each location is changed semiannually, and cumulative gamma radiation is measured by the M&O contractor Dosimetry Unit.
In addition to TLDs, the M&O contractor uses a mobile global positioning system radiometric scanner arrangement to conduct gamma radiation surveys. Two plastic scintillation detectors and radiometric and global positioning system equipment are mounted on a four-wheel drive vehicle. The vehicle is driven slowly across the area to be surveyed while radiometric and location data are continuously recorded.
ANL-W personnel conduct annual surface radiation surveys of ANL-W wastewater ditches using hand-held portable beta-gamma meters. In addition to these surveys ANL-W also maintains a network of four high pressure ionization chambers (HPICs) to monitor ambient airborne radiation. The HPICs are oriented to the facility in the two major wind directions (northeast and southwest) and two cross-wind directions (north-northwest and southeast).
NRF has TLDs placed on the facility fence line at approximately one meter (three feet) above ground level. Results of TLD monitoring at NRF are reported in Bechtel Bettis (2004).
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Historical Background - The NOAA Air Resources Laboratory-Field Research Division (NOAA ARL-FRD) began work at the INEEL in 1948 as a Weather Bureau Research Station. The first meteorological observation station established to support the Site began operation in 1949 at CFA. The network of stations expanded in the 1950s to provide more closely spaced data. The current mesonet was designed and constructed in the 1990s.
Current Programs - NOAA ARL-FRD currently maintains a network of 36 meteorological stations in the vicinity of the INEEL. These stations provide continuous measurements of a variety of parameters, including air temperature at two or three elevations, wind direction and speed, relative humidity, barometric pressure, solar radiation, and precipitation. In addition, continuous measurements of wind speed/direction and air temperature at various heights above the ground are taken using a radar wind profiling system and a radio acoustic sounding system located on the INEEL. Data are transmitted via radio and telephone to the NOAA ARL-FRD Idaho Falls facility, where they are stored in a computerized archive.
The INEEL Monitoring and Surveillance Committee was formed in March 1997 and holds bimonthly meetings to coordinate activities between groups involved in INEEL-related onsite and offsite environmental monitoring. This standing committee brings together representatives of DOE (Idaho, Chicago, and Naval Reactors), INEEL contractors, ANL-W, NRF, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, Idaho INEEL Oversight Program, NOAA, and USGS. The Monitoring and Surveillance Committee has served as a valuable forum to review monitoring, analytical, and quality assurance methodologies; to coordinate efforts; and to avoid unnecessary duplication.
Table 3-2, Table 3-3, Table 3-4 and Table 3-5 present a summary of the environmental surveillance programs conducted by the ESER contractor, the M&O contractor, ANL-W, and the USGS, respectively, in 2004. Information concerning the environmental monitoring program for NRF can be found in Bechtel Bettis 2004.
In May 2002, DOE, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and the EPA signed a letter of intent formalizing an agreement to pursue accelerated risk reduction and cleanup at the INEEL. The letter provides the foundation for a collaborative plan for the accelerated cleanup of the INEEL.
DOE-ID and its contractors, in consultation with the state of Idaho and EPA, developed a Performance Management Plan describing the approach to accelerate the reduction of environmental risk at the INEEL by completing its cleanup responsibility faster and more efficiently. The plan will fulfill the following two visions:
The vision for accelerating cleanup of the INEEL results in two objectives: (1) risk reduction and continued protection of the Snake River Plain Aquifer and (2) consolidation of the DOE Office of Environmental Management (EM) activities and reinvestment of savings into cleanup.
Nine strategic initiatives were developed around these objectives to accelerate cleanup. They include:
At the 2020 end state, some activities will continue: shipment of spent nuclear fuel to a repository; retrieval, treatment, packaging, and shipment of calcined high-level waste to a repository; and final dismantlement of remaining EM buildings. These activities will be complete by 2035 with the exception of some minor activities leading to long-term stewardship. Even with these continuing activities, the cleanup costs can be reduced by up to $19 billion, and the cleanup schedule can be completed decades earlier. The Performance Management Plan is a living document that will be revised and improved as necessary to reflect the decisions and progress made towards accelerated cleanup. INEEL made significant progress in 2004, most notably:
Accelerated cleanup activities are further discussed through this Chapter in specific program emphasis areas.
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Since the Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order (FFA/CO) was signed in December 1991, the INEEL has cleaned up release sites containing asbestos, petroleum products, acids and bases, radionuclides, unexploded ordnance and explosive residues, polychlorinated biphenyls, heavy metals, and other hazardous materials. Cleanup of this contamination is being conducted under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). By the end of 2004:
By progressing on these cleanup projects, workers were able to significantly reduce risks posed by past contamination at INEEL facilities. Also, by reducing the number of unneeded buildings at the INEEL, money that would otherwise have been applied to upkeep can now be applied to cleanup projects.
Comprehensive RI/FSs have been completed for WAGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, and 10 (6 is combined with 10). The comprehensive RI/FSs, which take an average of 40 months to complete, accomplish the following:
The information in the RI/FS is summarized in a Proposed Plan, which is provided for public comment. Proposed Plans present cleanup alternatives and recommend a preferred cleanup alternative to the public. After consideration of public comments DOE, EPA and the state develop a ROD selecting a cleanup approach from the alternatives evaluated.
The general procedure for all comprehensive investigations begins with developing a work plan outlining potential data gaps and release sites that may require more field sampling. When the investigation is complete, DOE, EPA and the State hold public comment meetings on the proposed cleanup alternative. Only three investigations remain to be completed:
A complete catalog of documentation associated with the INEEL FFA/CO is contained in the CERCLA Administrative Record at http://ar.inel.gov/. The location of each WAG is shown on Figure 3-3.
In 2004, the Agencies agreed on a remedy for the PM-2A and V-tanks waste. The V-tanks site consists of four underground storage tanks, related structures, and the surrounding contaminated soil. There are three out-of-service 37,854-L (10,000-gal) and one 1,514-L (400-gal) underground storage tanks. The contents are contaminated with radionuclides, heavy metals, and organic compounds. The remedy is soil and tank removal, chemical oxidation/reduction with stabilization of the tank contents, and disposal. The major treatment activities will take place at the V-tanks site or in adjacent areas, as necessary.
The remedy for the PM-2A tanks was also amended. The waste in the PM-2A tanks is similar to that of the V-tanks except that in the early 1980s an absorbent was added to the tanks in an attempt to solidify the waste. The 1999 ROD remedy for the PM-2A tanks specified that the tank contents would be removed from the tank by vacuum extraction, treated if necessary, and disposed on site. During the design of the remedy, it was determined that the tanks were structurally sound enough to be removed intact with the waste still inside. This alternate remedy reduces the potential for worker exposure during excavation and treatment.
Remediation of the two PM-2A tanks (V-13 and V-14) actually began in 2004. The two 189,265-L (50,000-gallon) tanks were removed from the ground and moved into the TAN-607 hi-bay for storage. The waste in the PM-2A tanks is a dried sludge contaminated with organics, metals, and radionuclides. V-13 does not require treatment and will be disposed of directly in the INEEL CERCLA Disposal Facility (ICDF). V-14 does require treatment for tetrachloroethylene. V-14 will be moved to the ICDF and be treated prior to disposal.
In addition to the V-tank work, the Operable Unit 1-07B Groundwater cleanup continued throughout 2004. The in-situ bioremediation nutrient injection system and the New Pump and Treatment Facility (NPTF) continued to reduce contaminate concentrations in the aquifer. The NPTF ran flawlessly with an operational uptime of 99 percent.
All active remediation in WAG 2 is complete. Some elements of the remedy, including monitoring of perched water and groundwater under the facility area and maintenance of caps and covers will continue until the risk posed by contamination left in place is acceptable. In 2004, all of these Institutional Controls were maintained.
Operations continued at the ICDF during 2004, disposing of contaminated soil and debris in the landfill cell as well as liquid waste to the evaporation pond. This site consolidates low-level contaminated soils and debris from site-wide INEEL CERCLA cleanup operations and segregates those wastes from potential migration to the aquifer, reducing risk to the public and environment. As of the end of 2004 about 138,221,389 Kg (152,363 tons) of contaminated soil and debris and about 476,456-L (125,870-gallons) of contaminated liquid had been disposed of at the ICDF. Progress was also made on constructing the Staging, Storage, Sizing, and Treatment Facility, which will provide the capability to treat soils that do not meet Land Disposal Restriction requirements, so that they can be disposed in the ICDF landfill. Other major accomplishments at WAG 3 include:
Remediation of WAG 4 was completed in 2004. As with WAG 2, Institutional Controls are in place to maintain and monitor the completed remediation.
This area supported two reactor facilities-the Power Burst Facility and the Auxiliary Reactor Area. Cleanup activities at WAG 5 are complete. A Remedial Action Report will be submitted to the regulators in 2005.
Ecological and groundwater monitoring continued in 2004. Work on the INEEL Sitewide Groundwater Model also continued. These activities are to prepare for the upcoming OU 10-08 RI/FS. The OU 10-04 Phase II Remedial Design and Remedial Action Work Plan was prepared and submitted to the agencies. The Phase I Remedial Action Report was also submitted.
Waste Area Group 7 includes the Subsurface Disposal Area (SDA), a 39 ha (97 acre) disposal area containing buried hazardous and radioactive waste. Organic solvents contained in this waste are a source of groundwater contamination and are being removed by an ongoing cleanup action. The State, EPA, and DOE-ID agreed on a revised technical approach, the Glovebox Excavator Method (GEM) project to demonstrate retrieval from a small area of Pit 9. Workers remotely excavated wastes and examined them in a shielded confinement structure or glovebox. The waste is to be treated for shipment to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico. Wastes retrieved during this successful excavation have been used to validate the characterization data generated by several non-invasive techniques and by ground probes. The ongoing Accelerated Retrieval Project is a larger-scale excavation (one-half acre) in Pit 4 using many of the safe operating concepts developed during the GEM project. Additional excavations are anticipated in future years as the retrieval approach is proven effective.
The following accomplishments were achieved at WAG 7 in 2004:
The NRF is operated for the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program by Bechtel Bettis, Inc., Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory-Idaho. Developmental nuclear fuel material samples, naval spent fuel, and irradiated reactor plan components/materials are examined at the Expended Core Facility (ECF). The knowledge gained from these examinations is used to improve current designs and to monitor the performance of existing reactors. The naval spent fuel examined at ECF is critical to the design of longer-lived cores, which results in the creation of less spent fuel requiring disposition. NRF is also preparing naval fuel for dry storage and eventual transportation to a repository. Remedial actions at NRF in 2004 included the following:
All remediation activities for WAG 9 sites were completed and confirmation samples collected and analyzed in the fall of 2004. The final Remedial Action report will be submitted in June 2005.
The INEEL's waste management activities provide safe, compliant, and cost-effective management services for facility waste streams. Safe operations and compliance with applicable Federal, State, and local regulations are the highest priorities along with meeting the commitments made in the Idaho Settlement Agreement and the INEEL Site Treatment Plan.
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The Federal Facility Compliance Act requires the preparation of a site treatment plan for the treatment of mixed wastes (those containing both radioactive and nonradioactive hazardous materials) at the INEEL which will be stored for one year or longer prior to treatment.
During 2004, the following Site Treatment Plan milestones were met:
The overall goal of the AMWTP is the treatment of alpha-containing low level mixed and transuranic (TRU) mixed wastes for final disposal by a process that minimizes overall costs while ensuring safety. This will be accomplished through a private sector treatment facility with the capability to treat specified INEEL waste streams and the flexibility to treat other INEEL and DOE regional and national waste streams. The facility will treat waste to meet the most current requirements; reduce waste volume and life-cycle cost to DOE; and perform tasks in a safe, environmentally compliant manner.
A contract for treatment services was awarded to BNFL, Inc. in December 1996. They completed construction of the facility in December 2002, fulfilling a Settlement Agreement milestone. AMWTP retrieval operations commenced in March 2003 and Treatment Facility operations commenced in August 2004.
In 1953, reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel began at the INTEC, resulting in the generation of liquid high-level waste and sodium-bearing liquid waste. Those wastes were placed into interim storage in underground tanks at the INTEC Tank Farm. Treatment of those wastes began in 1963 through a process called calcining. The resultant waste form, known as calcine, was placed in storage in stainless steel bins at the Calcine Solids Storage Facility. Processing of spent nuclear fuel was curtailed in 1992. The INEEL completed calcining of all nonsodium-bearing liquid high-level waste on February 20, 1998, four months ahead of the June 30, 1998 Idaho Settlement Agreement milestone. Calcining of remaining sodium-bearing liquid waste began immediately following completion of nonsodium liquid waste treatment, more than three years ahead of the Settlement Agreement milestone. Per that Agreement, all such waste is required to be calcined by the end of the year 2012.
The calciner was placed on standby in 2000 while DOE determines whether to upgrade and permit the facility to current standards or develop a new method of treating the remaining sodium-bearing liquid waste. Treatment alternatives for the remaining sodium-bearing liquid and calcined wastes were evaluated in the Idaho High-Level Waste and Facilities Disposition Environmental Impact Statement (see Chapter 2, National Environmental Policy Act). The remaining 3.4 million L (900,000 gal) of sodium-bearing liquid waste has been consolidated into three 1.14 million L (300,000 gal) underground tanks in the Tank Farm for interim storage. Seven other 1.14 million L (300,000 gal) tank farm tanks have been emptied, cleaned, and removed from service in preparation of final closure. Decisions regarding the treatment technology for the sodium-bearing waste are expected with the award of the new Idaho Cleanup Project contract in 2005. In addition, work continues in 2004 and 2005 to investigate technologies for efficient retrieval of the existing high-level waste calcine from the calcine storage facilities. In the future, the high-level waste calcine will be retrieved, treated as necessary, and packaged for disposal at the national high-level waste repository.
Under the Accelerated Cleanup initiative, INEEL embarked on an accelerated schedule to reduce a 2,250 m3 (2,943 yd3) backlog of mixed low-level waste. In 2004, INEEL treated and disposed of more than 900 m3 (1,177 yd3) of mixed low-level waste. The remaining backlog inventory was eliminated in 2004, two years ahead of schedule under an accelerated cleanup plan. Approximately 6,080 m3 (7,953 yd3) of legacy and newly generated low-level waste were disposed at the SDA in 2004.
The Settlement Agreement requires that the INEEL must ship at least 6,000 m3 (7,848 yd3) of TRU waste out of Idaho between January 1, 2003, and December 31, 2005. In 2004, INEEL shipped a total of 192 m3 (251 yd3) of TRU waste out of Idaho.
The mission of the INEEL Pollution Prevention Program is to reduce the generation and release of wastes and pollutants by implementing cost-effective pollution prevention techniques, practices, and policies. Pollution prevention is required by various federal statutes including, but not limited to, the Pollution Prevention Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; Executive Order 13101, Greening the Government through Waste Prevention, Recycling, and Federal Acquisition, and Executive Order 13148, Greening the Government through Leadership in Environmental Management.
It is the policy of the INEEL to incorporate pollution prevention into every activity. Pollution prevention is one of the key underpinnings of the INEEL EMS (see Section 3.5). It functions as an important preventive mechanism because generating less waste reduces waste management costs, compliance vulnerabilities, and the potential for releases to the environment. The INEEL is promoting the inclusion of pollution prevention into all planning activities as well as the concept that pollution prevention is integral to mission accomplishment. Noteworthy pollution prevention accomplishments in 2004 include:
The INEEL M&O contractor continued to make progress on the effort initiated in 1997 to develop and implement an INEEL-wide EMS. The EMS meets the requirements of International Standards Organization (ISO) 14001, an international voluntary standard for environmental management systems. This standard is being vigorously embraced worldwide as well as within the DOE complex. An EMS provides an underlying structure to make the management of environmental activities more systematic and predictable. The EMS focuses on three core concepts: pollution prevention, environmental compliance, and continuous improvement. The primary system components are (1) environmental policy, (2) planning, (3) implementation and operation, (4) checking and corrective action, and (5) management review.
An audit and onsite readiness review conducted in 2001 by an independent ISO 14001 auditor concluded that INEEL was ready for a formal registration audit. A registration audit was conducted May 6-10, 2002, by a third-party registrar. There were no nonconformances identified during the audit and the lead auditor recommended ISO 14001 registration for INEEL facilities, which was received in June 2002. A semi-annual ISO 14001 audit conducted in November 2004, supporting maintenance of the registration, found no nonconformances with the ISO standard. The ISO 14001 Standard requires that the EMS be completely re-evaluated for registration every three years. Therefore, the next audit, scheduled for May 2005, will be a comprehensive re-registration audit.
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INEEL greatly stepped up efforts to reduce the DOE Office of Environmental Management (EM) "footprint" through accelerated DD&D of EM-owned buildings and structures. This effort achieves cost and risk reduction by eliminating aging, unnecessary facilities and migrating toward consolidation of EM activities. In total, over 29,203 m2 (314,338 ft2) of buildings and structures were demolished in 2004. Specific projects at various facilities are described below.
Test Area North - The most dramatic transformation has occurred at TAN, where more than 26 EM-owned buildings and structures were demolished in 2004 accounting for the majority of demolition (18,839 m2 or 202,784 ft2) at the INEEL.
Power Burst Facility/Waste Reduction Operations Complex - Eleven Power Burst Facility buildings and structures were demolished ahead of schedule and the final end state condition was achieved for the Waste Experimental Reduction Facility, Waste Engineering Development Facility, Mixed Waste Storage Facility, and the Power Burst Facility control areas.
Test Reactor Area - Water from the Materials Test Reactor (MTR) canal was removed in support of MTR canal closure.
Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center - INTEC represented approximately 25 percent (7,482 m2 or 80,543 ft2) of the total DD&D in 2004. Accomplished in 2004 was the issuance of the CERCLA Non-time Critical Removal Action for demolition of the CPP-627 (old Remote Analytical Laboratory) was issued in 2004. This laboratory was part of the Spent Fuel Reprocessing mission terminated in 1992 and is one of the most contaminated facilities at INEEL. The demolition of CPP-627 is to be completed in 2005.
Spent nuclear fuel (SNF) is defined as fuel that has been irradiated in a nuclear reactor, that has produced power, that has been removed from the reactor and that has not been reprocessed to separate any constituent elements. SNF contains some unused enriched uranium and radioactive fission products. Because of its radioactivity (primarily from gamma rays), it must be properly shielded. DOE's SNF is from development of nuclear energy technology (including foreign and domestic research reactors), national defense, and other programmatic missions. Several DOE Offices manage SNF. At the INEEL, fuel is managed by Environmental Management at INTEC, by the Naval Propulsion Program at NRF, and by the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science, and Technology at the Test Reactor Area and the Argonne National Laboratory-West. Over 220 different types of SNF ranging in size from 2 lbs, to ½ ton are managed at the INEEL.
Between 1952 and 1992, SNF was reprocessed at the Idaho Chemical Processing Plant (now called INTEC) to recover fissile material for reuse. However, the need for fuel grade uranium and plutonium decreased. A 1992 decision to stop reprocessing left a large quantity of SNF in storage pending the licensing and operation of a monitored geologic repository. The Idaho Settlement Agreement requires all INEEL fuel be removed from the state of Idaho by 2035. The INEEL's goal is to begin shipping SNF to a monitored geologic repository by September 30, 2015.
In 2004, INEEL SNF was stored in both wet and dry condition. Dry storage is preferred because it reduces concerns about corrosion and is less expensive to monitor. An effort is underway to put all INEEL SNF into standard canisters in dry storage, so that it can be ready for transport once a repository is completed. SNF storage facilities are described below. All EM-managed SNF was consolidated at INTEC in 2003.
Fluorinel Dissolution Process and Fuel Storage Facility (CPP-666) - This INTEC facility, also called FAST, is divided into two parts: an SNF storage area and the Fluorinel Dissolution Facility, which operated from 1983 to 1992. The storage area consists of six storage basins currently storing SNF under about 11 million L (3 million gal) of water, which provides protective shielding and cooling. Eventually, all SNF will be removed from the underwater storage pools and placed in dry storage in preparation for shipment to a repository. In 2004, the Advanced Test Reactor dispatched shipments of SNF to FAST for storage and TRIGA (Training Research Isotope General Atomics) SNF was transferred from the basins to dry storage in the Irradiated Fuel Storage Facility (IFSF).
Irradiated Fuel Storage Facility (CPP-603) - This INTEC facility is the dry side of the Wet & Dry Fuel Storage Facility. It has 636 storage positions and has provided dry storage for SNF since 1973. The wet side of the facility is no longer in use and will begin decontamination and decommissioning activities in 2005. The IFSF was approximately ½ full at the end of 2004 and will continue to receive SNF from the CPP-666 basin and foreign and domestic research reactors SNF in 2005.
TMI-2 Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (CPP-1774) - This INTEC facility, also called the ISFSI, is a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)-licensed dry storage area for SNF and debris from the Three Mile Island reactor accident. Fuel and debris were transferred to the TAN for examination, study, and storage following the accident. After examination, the SNF and debris were transferred to the ISFSI. The ISFSI provides safe, environmentally secure, aboveground storage for the SNF and debris, which is kept in metal casks inside the concrete vaults.
Peach Bottom Fuel Storage Facility (CPP-749) - This INTEC facility consists of below ground vaults for the dry storage of SNF. Located on approximately five paved acres, this facility houses 193 underground vaults of various sizes for the dry storage of nuclear fuel rods. The vaults are generally constructed of carbon steel tubes with some of them containing concrete plugs. All of the tubes are completely below grade and are accessed from the top using specially designed equipment. This facility stores Peach Bottom fuel as well as other unirradiated fuels.
Fort Saint Vrain Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation - DOE-ID manages this offsite NRC-licensed dry storage facility located in Colorado. It contains about two-thirds of the SNF generated over the operational life of the Fort Saint Vrain reactor. The rest of the SNF from the Fort Saint Vrain reactor is stored in IFSF, described above.
The 2000 Environmental Oversight and Monitoring Agreement between DOE-ID, DOE Naval Reactors, Idaho Branch Office, and the state of Idaho maintains the State's program of independent oversight and monitoring established under the first agreement in 1990 that created the state of Idaho INEEL Oversight Program. The main objectives of the current five year agreement are to:
The INEEL Oversight Program's main activities include environmental surveillance, radiological emergency planning and response, impact assessment, and public information. More information can be found on the Oversight Program website at http://www.deq.idaho.gov/inl_oversight/
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The INEEL Citizens Advisory Board, one of the Environmental Management Site Specific Advisory Boards, was formed in March 1994. Its charter is to provide input and recommendations on DOE Environmental Management's strategic decisions that impact future use, risk management, economic development, and budget prioritization activities.
The Citizens Advisory Board has produced over 100 recommendations during its tenure. Currently, the Board is working on the following issues, in addition to numerous others:
More information about the Board's recommendations, membership, and meeting
dates and topics can be found at
63 FR 189, 1998, "Final Modification of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Storm Water Multi-Sector General Permit for Industrial Activities," Federal Register, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, September 30, p. 52430.
Bechtel Bettis, 2004, 2004 Environmental Monitoring Report for the Naval Reactor Facility, NRFRC-EE-012.
DOE Order 450.1, 2003 "Environmental Protection Agency," U.S. Department of Energy, January.
Ryan, M., 2003, EPA Region 10, to A. E. Gross, DOE-ID, "Storm Water Compliance at the INEEL," CCN 46063, October 27, 2003.
Twining, B. V., Rattray, G., and Campbell, L. J., 2003, Radiochemical and Chemical Constituents in Water from Selected Wells and Springs from the Southern Boundary of the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory to the Hagarman Area, Idaho, 2001, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 01-168, DOE/ID-22185, 32 p.
U.S. Department of Energy Idaho Operations Office (DOE-ID), 1991, Idaho National Engineering Laboratory Historical Dose Evaluation, Appendix E, Environmental Surveillance, DOE/ID-12119, Vol. 2, August.
U.S. Department of Energy Idaho Operations Office (DOE-ID), 1993a, Idaho National Engineering Laboratory Groundwater Monitoring Plan, DOE/ID-10441.
U.S. Department of Energy Idaho Operations Office (DOE-ID), 1993b, Idaho National Engineering Laboratory Groundwater Protection Management Plan, DOE/ID-10274, March.
USGS, 1998, http://water.usgs.gov/pubs/FS/FS-130-97/ , April.
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