In addition to characterizing, treating, certifying, and shipping contact-handled transuranic waste at the Radioactive Waste Management Complex, IEC treats and repackages remote-handled, sodium-contaminated transuranic waste inside two hot cells at the Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center (INTEC). INTEC was established in the 1950s as the Chemical Processing Plant (CPP) to recover usable uranium in spent nuclear fuel used in government reactors. The facility recovered more than $1 billion worth of highly enriched uranium, which was returned to the government fuel cycle.
In 1992, the Department of Energy announced that the changing world political situation and the lack of demand for highly enriched uranium made reprocessing no longer necessary. In 1998, the plant was renamed INTEC.
Today, the workers at INTEC have turned their focus to cleanup and protection of the Snake River Plain Aquifer. Planned and/or ongoing major cleanup activities include the treatment of high-level and liquid radioactive waste and characterization, repackaging, and shipment of remote handled transuranic waste.
IEC is tasked with treating sodium-contaminated debris in the Fluorinel Dissolution Process (FDP) cell of CPP-666 and inside a hot cell at Building CPP-659, the New Waste Calcining Facility (NWCF), to enable the debris to be shipped to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). The sodium waste is primarily a product of experiments from the Engineering Test Reactor, Transient Reactor Tests, and Experimental Breeder Reactor-II and cannot go to WIPP in its present state. One treatment process involves bringing the waste in the FDP hot cell, sorting it, segregating it, and loading baskets that are lowered into the distillation unit. The material is then heated, and vapors are drawn from the debris. Sodium is then converted back to a metal, collected, and stored for future treatment.
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