The Department of Energy on Monday announced that its Defense Waste Processing Facility at Savannah River Site had poured its 4,000 canister of radioactive glass since it began operations in March 1996.
The 10 foot-tall, 2 feet-wide canister was poured Dec. 31 at the facility designed to convert “high-level radioactive liquid waste into a solid glass form suitable for long-term storage and disposal,” according to a news release.
The liquid waste used in the process is being stored in 43 underground storage tanks at the South Carolina site. The canisters would stretch more than 7.5 miles if placed end-to-end.
“Successfully immobilizing waste in glass is a technology that is important for our country,” said Savannah River Remediation president and project manager Stuart MacVean in the release. “Our work demonstrates radioactive waste can be put into a safe form, ready for disposal.”
To date, the processing facility has poured more than 15 million gallons of glassified waste, which, according to the release, has immobilized nearly 58 million curies. A curie is a unit of radioactivity.
The remaining 36 million gallons of waste at SRS is measured to have about 253 million curies.
The 4,000 canister mark means the facility, the largest operating vitrification facility in the country, is about halfway through the amount of canisters it’s expected to produce, the release said.