For the week of June 17 thru June 23, 1998  

Pit 9 cleanup will continue

New plan for Pit 9 cleanup

Express Staff Writer

Cleanup of the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) Pit 9 waste disposal site will continue despite the June 1 termination of the Lockheed Martin Advanced Environmental Systems (LMAES) contract by its sister subsidiary, Lockheed Martin Idaho Technologies Company (LMITCO).

The Department of Energy announced it will execute a contingency plan, which had been developed during negotiations with the Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Idaho after the LMAES slowdown in September 1997.

Beginning in September 1998, the three-stage contingency plan will be implemented by LMITCO and a subcontractor, Parsons Infrastructure and Technology Group, Inc.

The plan follows a three-stage approach:

Stage One will involve digging up small amounts of waste to study and consider different treatment methods.

Stage Two will consist of treatability studies for larger amounts of waste -- about 200 cubic yards -- as well as design and construction and startup activities.

Stage Three will involve full-scale retrieval and treatment of Pit 9 wastes.

The new plan differs from LMAES’ original plan in that it relies more on small-scale collection and analysis, rather than what DOE spokesman Brad Bugger referred to as a "large scale technology and production approach."

The DOE said the existing buildings constructed by LMAES are not expected to be used during the contingency phase of clean up, nor will the litigation regarding LMAES affect the contingency plan.

Beatrice Brailsford, program director for the watchdog group, Snake River Alliance, calls the plan a step in the right direction.

"We certainly want to see the project go forward," she said. "This is the way to go. Privatizing something as risky as plutonium waste cleanup is naive."

The cost of the contingency plan will be at or below costs of the original LMAES cleanup plan, which was $179 million, Bugger said.


 Back to Front Page
Copyright 1998 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.