US may want to keep Idaho nuclear waste plant running longer via Farmington Daily Times

BOISE, Idaho— U.S. officials are considering extending the use of an eastern Idaho nuclear waste treatment facility beyond its scheduled closure this year so it can repackage radioactive waste brought in from other states before it’s sent to a permanent disposal site in New Mexico.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Plant at a site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory was originally set to stop operating after it finished treating waste from Idaho this year.

But the Energy Department is considering keeping the $500 million plant that employs about 600 workers running.

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The Idaho treatment plant handles transuranic waste that includes items like work clothing, rags, machine parts and tools that have been contaminated with plutonium, americium or other radioactive elements. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says transuranic wastes take much longer to decay and are the most radioactive hazard in high-level waste after 1,000 years.

[…]

The Idaho Cleanup Project Citizens Advisory Board, a federally-appointed, 12-member panel that makes recommendations to the Energy Department, has been unable to decide about making a recommendation on keeping the treatment plant running.
That group has called a special meeting to discuss the matter and possibly make a decision in a conference call on March 28 that will include an opportunity for public comments.

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