The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management has responded to a recommendation made earlier this year by the Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board.
In May, the federally appointed citizens’ panel recommended that DOE continue to plan for additional on-site waste disposal capacity on the DOE Oak Ridge Reservation, or ORR, for low-level radioactive and chemically hazardous waste.
DOE currently operates the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility, or EMWMF, a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility in Bear Creek Valley near the Y-12 National Security Complex. When the facility began accepting waste in 2002, it was expected to handle all projected low-level waste from cleanup operations on the ORR. However, with the amount of demolition and work left to complete, EM requires additional disposal capacity onsite.
DOE has conducted a study to develop, screen, and evaluate alternatives for an additional waste disposal facility, with a working name of EM Disposal Facility, or EMDF. ORSSAB’s recommendation encouraged the agency to continue working toward adding disposal capacity and proposed recommendations for a new facility.
The ORSSAB encouraged DOE to minimize the need for additional on-site capacity when possible. In its response, DOE said it was examining the final cover design of the EMWMF to allow for extended capacity. The waste acceptance criteria for other so-called “sanitary landfills” on Chestnut Ridge are being evaluated for possible modifications to allow a wider variety of waste. [Read more…]