New York should in early 2019 issue a draft permit for interim storage of transuranic waste at the Energy Department’s Separations Process Research Unit, a state official said last week.
The New York state Department of Environmental Conservation will issue the initial document for a 45-day public comment period, spokesman Rick Georgeson said by email. The department submitted a permit application to the state a few weeks ago.
While DOE has lacked a state permit, it has kept the waste on-site at the Schenectady County location since 2015 through a less formal arrangement — a series of 30-day extensions from the state for continued generator storage of the mixed TRU waste. Within the past year, New York issued an order instructing DOE to seek a state permit.
The waste resulted from demolition and decontamination of SPRU’s H2 and G2 buildings, and includes residues, equipment, and insulation. It is currently stored within 24 containers inside five Conex boxes, a type of shipping container, Georgeson said.
The Separations Process Research Unit, on the property of the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, was used in the 1940s and 1950s by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission for research on chemical separation of plutonium and uranium.
The primary SPRU cleanup – with exception of the TRU waste storage – should be completed this calendar year, the state spokesman said. AECOM subsidiary URS Corp. is the cleanup contractor at SPRU. Ultimately, the waste should be shipped to DOE’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico by 2025.