Since 2003, the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project (AMWTP) has used both conventional and unique retrieval concepts, high-tech characterization equipment - including real-time radiography and radioassay - robotics, and automated treatment processes to retrieve, treat, and ship above-ground CH-TRU and low-level wastes from an inventory of 65,000 cubic meters.

The 56-acre Transuranic Storage Area in the southern section of the RWMC, referred to as the AMWTP, is dedicated to storage of contact and remote-handled transuranic waste. The waste was received at the INL site after 1970 but was not buried. Instead, it was placed in retrievable storage on asphalt pads and then covered with an earthen berm. The waste, in drums and boxes, is also stored in storage containers. IEC workers prepare transuranic waste to ship to WIPP near Carlsbad, New Mexico, which serves as the nation’s permanent deep geologic repository for transuranic waste. WIPP resumed receiving shipments in early April 2017 and the AMWTP will continue to ship TRU waste to the repository until approximately 2028.

In spring 2023, crews completed the removal of 15 million pounds of asphalt from Pads 1 and R within the 7-acre Transuranic Storage Area Retrieval Enclosure prompting the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to issue a letter to IEC that it considers those units as officially closed under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. This is an important step in the overall closure of the AMWTP and RWMC as a whole.

The signature piece of equipment at AMWTP is the Supercompactor, a giant hydraulic ram capable of exerting 4 million pounds of force that can reduce a 35-inch-tall, 55-gallon barrel to a five-inch puck. By compacting waste, DOE is capable of putting more waste in the limited storage space of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. One-half of all waste permanently disposed at WIPP has been treated at AMWTP; the majority of that waste was compacted by the Supercompactor. Compaction also reduces the number of trips required to transport waste to WIPP.

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