The Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina earlier this month sent its first shipment of transuranic (TRU) waste for 2018 to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico, ending a yearlong layoff in waste exports.
The DOE facility said in a press release it shipped “five standard waste boxes” to the disposal site near Carlsbad. It is unclear exactly how much waste that amounts to, but an average shipment in the past has held 6 to 8 cubic meters of material.
Savannah River has now sent 10 shipments to WIPP since the disposal site in April 2017 reopened to waste from across the DOE complex. That includes nine shipments sent last year, before the Energy Department started prioritizing shipments from its other properties. The 10 shipments cover 86 cubic meters of material.
“We are pleased to be making more shipments to WIPP,” Michael Budney, DOE-Savannah River manager, said in a press release on Thursday. “This has been an important mission for SRS and our employees are committed to ensuring safe, secure and efficient removal of transuranic waste from the state.”
The Energy Department did not respond Monday to a question on when the next shipments might be scheduled. But Jim Folk, the assistant manager for waste disposition at SRS, said last month that a second shipment was expected soon after the first.
Shipments from Savannah River were routine before WIPP closed for nearly three years due to two incidents in February 2014: a vehicle fire and subsequent, unrelated radiation release in the underground disposal space.