NATIONAL TRANSURANIC (TRU) PROGRAM
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is the only geological repository in the country to safely and permanently dispose of the nation’s defense-related transuranic (TRU) waste. TRU waste is solid waste that is contaminated with radioactive and hazardous substances generated at DOE sites across the country from nuclear research and weapons production. At WIPP, this waste is permanently emplaced 2,150 feet underground in an ancient salt formation.
The National TRU Program (NTP) was established by the DOE Office of Environmental Management to oversee the process of preparing TRU waste from DOE waste generator sites to meet WIPP requirements, and provides guidance and requirements for receiving the waste at WIPP. This process involves the characterization and packaging of the waste at the generator sites, followed by the transportation of the waste to the WIPP facility. The WIPP facility is 26 miles southeast of Carlsbad, New Mexico.
The DOE’s Carlsbad Field Office (CBFO) manages the NTP and is responsible for ensuring that all TRU waste meets WIPP’s new Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) before the waste is transported to WIPP for disposal. NTP works with DOE sites that have TRU waste to ensure that WIPP requirements are met in packaged waste as early in the life of a waste stream as possible.
Changes to the NTP were developed to improve oversight and prevent reoccurrence of events similar to the February 2014 exothermic reaction that occurred in a waste drum from Los Alamos National Laboratory, resulting in the radiological release event in the WIPP underground. Changes in NTP oversight and at WIPP established new requirements pertaining to WIPP WAC compliance and in the WIPP Documented Safety Analysis (DSA) in the summer of 2016.