A federal document shows that Savannah River Site, often considered for the treatment and disposal of nuclear waste, will likely get passed over as one of the destinations for about 12,000 cubic meters of radioactive material.
According to the document released last week – the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Disposal of Greater-Than-Class C Low-Level Radioactive Waste and GTCC-Like Waste – the Department of Energy considered five alternatives for disposing of the material, including taking no action. The material contains about 160 million curies of radioactivity.
The preferred alternative is New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant geologic repository, which is being considered alongside land disposal at “generic commercial facilities.”
The environmental impact statement previously considered disposal methods at six federally owned sites, including SRS, which was an attractive option because it manages high- and low-level radioactive waste.
The potential storage site at SRS was listed as being about 2 miles northeast of the Z-Area in the north-central portion.
The waste listed in the statement is generated by activities “including production of electricity from nuclear power plants, the production and use of radioisotopes for diagnostics and treatment of cancer and other illnesses, oil and gas exploration, and other industrial uses.”
If placed on a football field, the material listed in the report would be more than 7 feet tall.
According to the statement, the waste is “not generally acceptable for near-surface disposal” and requires more stringent measures for disposal.
There is no timeline for when disposal operations would begin, but the Energy Department assumed a 2019 start date.