DOE Landfill Partnership


C. Benson (Wisconsin), J. Clarke (Vanderbilt), J. Tinjum, S. Bradshaw, T. Edil (Wisconsin), J. Burger (Rutgers), A. Garrabrants, M. Abkowitz, and K. Brown (Vanderbilt), S. (Arizona), G. Hornberger, D. Kosson, and C. Powers (Vanderbilt).

Project Objectives:

The DOE Landfill Partnership (LP) has two primary objectives: (1) to address technological issues related to on-site disposal facilities (“landfills”) in the DOE complex that receive low-level wastes (LLW) and mixed wastes (MW) from remediation and decommissioning projects and (2) to facilitate dialogue between key stakeholders influencing design and monitoring of disposal facilities (e.g., US EPA, NRC, DOE, and state agencies). The technical objective is focused on developing technical solutions that build confidence in DOE disposal operations while also resulting in lower costs, more expedient construction or operations, improved performance (in the context of DOE regulatory requirements), and more effective monitoring. The stakeholder objective is intended to resolve contrasting and/or contradictory regulatory issues that impede facility design and performance, with the ultimate goal of creating a consistent regulatory structure for disposal facilities.

Relevance and Impact to DOE:

Throughout the DOE complex, decommissioning and remediation as well as other waste management activities are contingent on the availability of an on-site disposal facility. The ability to cost effectively design and construct on-site disposal facilities in an expedient manner has a significant effect on the cost and schedule of decommissioning projects. These factors are complicated by the notorious difficulty in achieving stakeholder acceptance for a facility meant to contain wastes on-site essentially in perpetuity as well as obtaining regulatory buy in. Stakeholder acceptance is also affected by contrasting and/or conflicting technical requirements in government regulations (e.g., EPA’s RCRA vs. DOE’s 435.1) as well as a lack of stakeholder confidence in containment systems, performance assessments, and monitoring systems. The technical and stakeholder acceptance issues are particularly important at the Hanford site where decisions on whether to cap/solidify in-place or to excavate/transfer site waste to landfills are central to a wide variety of major decisions not only in the Central Plateau but in the remaining work on the River Corridor including long-term decisions about the reactors. At Hanford, these landfill-related decisions will need to be closely coordinated with continuing work (for example, in the Cementitious Barriers Project) to define the efficacy and durability of the waste forms and waste placement scenarios (e.g., trenches) into which landfill-deposited materials are put before they are placed in landfills.

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