Cleanup work at eastern Idaho nuclear site resumes

AP

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IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) Cleanup work has resumed at an eastern Idaho nuclear site months after the rupture of several barrels containing radioactive sludge.

Fluor Idaho, the contractor in charge of the cleanup at the U.S. Department of Energy site, has finished a safety review it launched after the April rupture, the Post Register reported Tuesday.

Workers have resumed exhuming buried Cold War weapons waste at the Accelerated Retrieval Project VIII facility west of Idaho Falls, Fluor Idaho said in a statement.

Fluor, which manages the Idaho Cleanup Project, has "revised the waste exhumation and repacking process," including raking and monitoring the temperature of exhumed sludge before repackaging it to prevent similar ruptures, it said in the statement.

In 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Idaho agreed to remove about 260,000 square feet (24,000 square meters) of buried waste from the area and ship it out of the state.

Exhumation and repackaging work was halted after four 55-gallon (208-liter) ruptured waste drums were discovered on April 11 due to excessive pressure in them.

The affected barrels contained a mix of fluids and solvents that came from nuclear weapons production during the Cold War at the Rocky Flats Plant in Denver.

The facility was temporarily shut down. Shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad were put on hold during that time.

The cleanup work for the Accelerated Retrieval Project VIII is nearly 90 percent complete, Fluor said.

After it's done, Fluor will tackle cleanup work at the nearby Accelerated Retrieval Project IX facility.

___

Information from: Post Register, http://www.postregister.com

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