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"Forget the Rest" blog

Expansion of LANL Waste Disposal:
Lots of Mostly New-Made Waste

1/25/06 gm

       Total nuclear, chemical, and suspect waste interred in 26 material disposal areas (MDAs) at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) through 1998: ~ 18 million (M) cubic feet or ~ 0.32 M cubic feet per year or ~ 174 drums’ worth for each working day over a 55-year period. 

       Total nuclear, chemical, and suspect waste buried at Area G: ~ 11 M cubic feet. 

       DOE’s projected generation and disposal rates for low-level waste (LLW) at LANL:

o        For 1999 – 2009: 12,240 cubic meters or 0.432 M cubic feet per year or 4.32 million cubic feet over 10 years.  Of this, 35% or 1.50 M cubic feet would come from the environmental restoration (ER) program.  Extrapolation to 2070 (71 years in all) gives a projected total disposal of ~30.2 M cubic feet. (Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement, 1999, no longer readily available)

o        For 1998 – 2070 (72 years): 19.8 M cubic feet, or 0.28 M cubic feet per year, of which 1.3 M cubic feet (7%) would come from ER (Low-Level Waste Capacity Report, 1998, no longer readily available)

o        For 2000 – 2070 (70 years): ~ 4 M cubic feet or 0.06 M cubic feet per year (Current and Planned Low-Level Waste Capacity Report Revision 2, 2000, no longer readily available)

o        Current projections are…what?  What is their accuracy or meaning?

o        While actual waste generation rates have not yet equaled projections, DOE/NNSA have adamantly refused to limit options for the future.

o        DOE LLW long-range disposal projections at LANL thus range from ~ 33 to about ~ 235 drums per working day, not dissimilar from historic rates. 

       What is the ultimate disposal capacity planned and available at LANL?

o        At TA-54 (3 MDAs filled, 1 operating, 3 more planned), how much?

o        At TA-67, how much? 

o        And then elsewhere, how much?

o       In 2000, DOE estimated the additional capacity available from “Area G” expansion at 56.5 M cubic feet, more than 3 times the total LLW disposal at LANL (all sites) to that date and more than 7 times its 1998 estimate just two years earlier. (Current and Planned Low-Level Waste Capacity Report Revision 2, 2000).

 

 


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