The waste shipped from the Y-12 National Security Complex that violated a solid waste permit in Nevada included small volumes of pressurized, non-flammable gases and an energetic material, but the shipments did not pose a safety risk, the U.S. Department of Energy said Thursday.
“These items were contained within a sealed, thick steel assembly that was disposed within a large metal box,” DOE said in response to questions. “Though the presence of these internal items were not known at the time of disposal, they do not pose any safety risk because the inner assembly is capable of containing any release of the small volumes of pressurized gases and the energetic material.”
The Department of Energy and the State of Nevada resolved regulatory actions related to the unauthorized shipments of the classified low-level radioactive waste in June. Oak Ridge Today reported about the settlement agreement on Wednesday, and the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection announced the agreement on Thursday. DOE also responded to questions about the shipments on Thursday, and the responses are included here.
At issue were 33 waste packages in 10 shipments from Y-12 to the Nevada National Security Site northwest of Las Vegas between January 2013 and December 2018. The shipments, which were quickly suspended, received publicity in July 2019 after Dan Brouillette, who was then deputy energy secretary, informed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak about them. At the time, Nevada officials were already in a dispute with DOE about a half-ton of plutonium shipped to NNSS from the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.
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