First shipment of surplus plutonium TRU waste sent to WIPP

January 16, 2023, 9:32AMRadwaste Solutions
The first shipment of downblended surplus plutonium from SRS’s K Area leaves SRS. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration and Office of Environmental Management have completed the first shipment of downblended surplus plutonium transuranic (TRU) material from the K Area at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.

The shipment, made in December but first reported on January 13, marks what the NNSA called a milestone as the first shipment to include defense TRU material from the NNSA’s Surplus Plutonium Disposition Program. After plutonium is downblended at SRS, it becomes TRU material by definition and can be permanently disposed at WIPP.

The amount of the TRU material shipped to WIPP was not disclosed.

The agreement: The shipment, which took years of planning according to the NNSA, is the latest step in the DOE’s effort to fulfill its August 2020 agreement to remove surplus plutonium from South Carolina.

“NNSA remains committed to nuclear nonproliferation, security, and risk reduction,” said Jill Hruby, the NNSA’s administrator and undersecretary for nuclear security. “We are proud to demonstrate our firm commitment to these missions, and we appreciate the relationship with the states of South Carolina and New Mexico.”

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