Cost Savings to Small-Quantity Generator Sites by Consolidating Transuranic (TRU) Waste for Shipment at Large-Quantity Generator Sites


J. M. Hylko, C. E. Johnson, R. Emons, M. C. Smith


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is required to identify the chemical, radiological, and physical characteristics and components of all transuranic (TRU) waste destined for disposal at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). The two types of facilities currently storing TRU waste consist of small-quantity generator sites (SQGS) and large-quantity generator sites (LQGS). The SQGSs are responsible for small inventories of TRU waste and generate on the order of less than one cubic meter of new TRU waste per year. The LQGSs are responsible for large inventories of TRU waste, have access to in-house characterization and certification capabilities, and generate on the order of thousands of cubic meters of new TRU waste per year. The primary operational constraint in the TRU waste management process is the extent to which SQGSs are capable of characterizing and certifying their TRU waste for shipment and disposal. To quantify the financial investment required for a typical SQGS, a cost analysis was performed that compared developing interim storage, characterization, and certification capabilities in accordance with the WIPP waste acceptance criteria vs. consolidating TRU waste at an LQGS already certified by the WIPP. The existing cost and schedule baseline scenario consisted of storing 32 drums of TRU waste for two years at an SQGS, developing and certifying an in-house waste characterization program to comply with disposal requirements, and then shipping to the WIPP. These activities yielded at total cost estimate of $1,157,718, thus requiring a substantial financial investment to construct and implement the necessary waste management infrastructure to perform characterization and certification activities properly. The alternative cost and schedule baseline scenario consisted of shipping the TRU waste to an LQGS, adhering to interim storage requirements, characterizing the waste using established in-house capabilities to comply with ultimate disposal requirements, and then shipping the waste to the WIPP. These activities yielded a total cost estimate of $86, 647. Over $1 million would be saved by using the alternative baseline scenario, demonstrating that it is feasible and economically beneficial to consolidate the TRU waste at an LQGS and then ship to the WIPP.


This abstract was presented at the 32nd Annual Midyear Meeting, "Creation and Future Legacy of Stockpile Stewardship Isotope Production, Applications, and Consumption", Poster Session, 1/24/1999 - 1/27/1999, held in Albuquerque, NM.

Index of Midyear Meeting Abstracts