The Integrated Waste Treatment Unit (IWTU), a first-of-a kind, 53,000-square-foot facility, will treat 900,000 gallons of liquid radioactive and hazardous waste that has been stored in underground storage tanks.
The waste that will be treated - called sodium-bearing waste - was generated from historical operations at Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center (INTEC). The liquid is stored in three stainless steel 300,000-gallon storage tanks that are part of a tank farm of 15 tanks.
IWTU, located east of INTEC, will use a steam-reforming technology to convert the liquid to a solid, granular material; packaging it in stainless steel canisters; and storing the containers in concrete vaults at the site.
Any emissions generated during the treatment campaign will be filtered through high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) and Granulated Activated Charcoal filters and sampled to ensure regulatory requirements are met. Steam reforming is used successfully in a variety of chemical and petrochemical applications.
Treatment of sodium-bearing waste supports the regulatory agreements between the DOE and state of Idaho.
Once the three underground storage tanks containing the waste have been emptied, they - like the previous tanks - will be thoroughly washed and filled with a concrete grout mixture. The entire tank farm will eventually be capped.