The U.S. Department of Energy, Richland Operations Office (DOE-RL) needs to improve management of post-1970, contact-handled (CH) suspect transuranic (TRU) waste containers (primarily drums) that are stacked in modules and covered with soil in the Low-Level Burial Grounds (LLBG).
This report contains the results of a geophysical investigation conducted to characterize Trench 4, located in Burial Ground 218-W-4C, 200 West Area. Trench 4 is where transuranic (TRU) waste is stored. The primary objective of these geophysical investigations was to determine the outer edges of the trench/modules and select locations for plate-bearing tests. The test locations are to be 5 to 8 ft. beyond the edges of the trench. Secondary objectives include differentiating between the different types of waste containers within a given trench, determining the amount of soil cover over the waste containers, and to locate the module boundaries. Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and electromagnetic induction (EMI) were the methods selected for this investigation.
Sackschewsky, Michael R.
No plant and animal species protected under the ESA, candidates for such protection, or species listed by the Washington state government were observed in the vicinity of the proposed sites. Piper's daisy may still occur in some of the burial grounds. This is a Washington State Sensitive plant species, and as such is a Level III resource under the Hanford Site Biological Resources Management Plan. Compensatory mitigation is appropriate for this species when adverse impacts cannot be avoided. The Ecological Compliance Assessment Project (ECAP) staff should consulted prior to the initiation of major work activities within areas where this species has been identified (218-E-12, 218-E-10). The stalked-pod and crouching milkvetch are relatively common throughout 200 West area, therefore even if the few individuals within the active burial grounds are disturbed, it is not likely that the overall local population will be adversely affected. The Watch List is the lowest level of listing for pl ant species of concern in the State of Washington. No adverse impacts to species or habitats of concern are expected to occur from routine maintenance within the active portions of the 218-W-4C, 218-W-4B, 218-W-3, 218-W-3A, and 218-W-5 burial grounds, as well as the portion of 218-E-12B currently used for storage of retired submarine reactor cores. The remaining portions of the 218-E-12B burial ground, the entire 218-E-10 burial ground, and the 218-W-6 burial ground currently have extensive vegetative cover and it is highly likely that migratory birds, such as meadow larks, horned larks, and curlews will nest in these areas. Therefore, it is recommended that if removal of the existing vegetation is required for burial ground operations, such removal only occur during the August through March time period (i.e. when the birds are not actively nesting). This blanket review does not apply to the portions of 218-W-4C, and 218-W-6 previously described.
This Document describes the operational requirements, procedures, and options for execution of the retrieval of the waste containers placed in buried storage in Burial Ground 218W-4C, Trench 04 as TRU waste or suspect TRU waste under the activity levels defining this waste in effect at the time of placement. Trench 04 in Burial Ground 218W-4C is totally dedicated to storage of retrievable TRU waste containers or retrievable suspect TRU waste containers and has not been used for any other purpose.
From 1970 to 1987, TRU and suspect TRU wastes at Hanford were placed in the SWBG. At the time of placement in the SWBG these wastes were not regulated under existing Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations, since they were generated and disposed of prior to the effective date of RCRA at the Hanford Site (1987). From the standpoint of DOE Order 5820.2A1, the TRU wastes are considered retrievably stored, and current plans are to retrieve these wastes for shipment to WIPP for disposal. This plan provides a strategy for the Phase I retrieval that meets the intent of TPA milestone M-91 and Project W-113, and incorporates the lessons learned during TRU retrieval campaigns at Hanford, LANL, and SRS. As in the original Project W-113 plans, the current plan calls for examination of approximately 10,000 suspect-TRU drums located in the 218-W-4C burial ground followed by the retrieval of those drums verified to contain TRU waste. Unlike the older plan, however, this plan proposes an open-air retrieval scenario similar to those used for TRU drum retrieval at LANL and SRS. Phase I retrieval consists of the activities associated with the assessment of approximately 10,000 55-gallon drums of suspect TRU-waste in burial ground 218-W-4C and the retrieval of those drums verified to contain TRU waste. Four of the trenches in 218-W-4C (Trenches 1, 4, 20, and 29) are prime candidates for Phase I retrieval because they contain large numbers of suspect TRU drums, stacked from 2 to 5 drums high, on an asphalt pad. In fact, three of the trenches (Trenches 1 , 20, and 29) contain waste that has not been covered with soil, and about 1500 drums can be retrieved without excavation. The other three trenches in 218-W-4C (Trenches 7, 19, and 24) are not candidates for Phase I retrieval because they contain significant numbers of boxes. Drums will be retrieved from the four candidate trenches, checked for structural integrity, overpacked, if necessary, and assayed at the burial
Project W-113 will provide the equipment and facilities necessary to retrieve suspect transuranic (TRU) waste from Trench 04 of the 218W-4C burial ground. As part of the retrieval process, waste drums will be assayed, overpacked, vented, head-gas sampled, and x-rayed prior to shipment to the Phase V storage facility in preparation for receipt at the Waste Receiving and Processing Facility (WRAP). Advanced Conceptual Design (ACD) studies focused on project items warranting further definition prior to Title I design and areas where the potential for cost savings existed. This ACD Report documents the studies performed during FY93 to optimize the equipment and facilities provided in relation to other SWOC facilities and to provide additional design information for Definitive Design.
Phase I retrieval of post-1970 TRU wastes from burial ground 218-W-4C can be done in a safe, efficient, and cost-effective manner. Initiating TRU retrieval by retrieving uncovered drums from Trenches 1, 20, and 29, will allow retrieval to begin under the current SWBG safety authorization basis. The retrieval of buried drums from Trenches 1, 4, 20, and 29, which will require excavation, will commence once the uncovered drum are retrieved. This phased approach allows safety analysis for drum venting and drum module excavation to be completed and approved before the excavation proceeds. In addition, the lessons learned and the operational experience gained from the retrieval of uncovered drums can be applied to the more complicated retrieval of the buried drums. Precedents that have been set at SRS and LANL to perform retrieval without a trench cover, in the open air, should be followed. Open-air retrieval will result in significant cost savings over the original plans for Phase I retrieval (Project W-113). Based on LANL and SRS experience, open-air retrieval will have no adverse impacts to the environment or to the health and safety of workers or the public. Assaying the waste in the SWBG using a mobile assay system, will result in additional cost savings. It is expected that up to 50% of the suspect-TRU wastes will assay as LLW, allowing those waste to remain disposed of in the SWBG. Further processing, with its associated costs, will only occur to the portion of the waste that is verified to be TRU. Retrieval should be done, to the extent possible, under the current SWBG safety authorization basis as a normal part of SWBG operations. The use of existing personnel and existing procedures should be optimized. By working retrieval campaigns, typically during the slow months, it is easier to coordinate the availability of necessary operations personnel, and it is easier to coordinate the availability of a mobile assay vendor.
This document provides a response to the second action required in the approval for the Justification for Continued Operations (JCO) Assay and Shipment of Transuranic (TRU) Waste Containers in 218-W-4C. The Waste Management Project continues to make progress toward shipping certified TRU waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). As the existing inventory of TRU waste in the Central Waste Complex (CWC) storage buildings is shipped, and the uncovered inventory is removed from the trenches and prepared for shipment from the Hanford Site, the covered inventory of suspect TRU wastes must be retrieved and prepared for processing for shipment to WIPP. Accumulation of hydrogen in unvented TRU waste containers is a concern due to the possibility of explosive mixtures of hydrogen and oxygen. The frequency and consequence of these gas mixtures resulting in an explosion must be addressed. The purpose of this study is to recommend an approach and schedule for venting TRU waste containers in the low-level burial ground (LLBG) trenches in conjunction with TRU Retrieval Project activities. This study provides a detailed analysis of the expected probability of hydrogen gas accumulation in significant quantities in unvented drums. Hydrogen gas accumulation in TRU drums is presented and evaluated in the following three categories: Hydrogen concentrations less than 5 vol%; Hydrogen between 5-15 vol%; and Hydrogen concentrations above 15 vol%. This analysis is based on complex-wide experience with TRU waste drums, available experimental data, and evaluations of storage conditions. Data reviewed in this report includes experience from the Idaho National Environmental Engineering Laboratories (INEEL), Savannah River Site (SRS), Los Alamos National Laboratories (LANL), Oak Ridge National Laboratories, (ORNL), Rocky Flats sites, Matrix Depletion Program and the National Transportation and Packaging Program. Based on this analysis, as well as an assessment of the probability and