Transuranic (TRU) waste leaving the Plutonium Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is packaged using LANL’s waste acceptance criteria for onsite storage. Before shipment to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in southeastern New Mexico, each payload container is subject to rigorous characterization to ensure compliance with WIPP waste acceptance criteria and Department of Transportation regulations. Techniques used for waste characterization include nondestructive examination by WIPP-certified real-time radiography (RTR) and nondestructive assay (NDA) of containers, as well as headspace gas sampling to ensure hydrogen and other flammable gases remain at safe levels during transport. These techniques are performed under a rigorous quality assurance program to confirm that results are accurate and reproducible. If containers are deemed problematic, corrective action is taken before shipment to WIPP. Currently this activity is possible only at the Laboratory’s Waste Characterization, Reduction, and Repackaging Facility. To minimize additional waste requiring remediation, WIPP waste acceptance criteria must be applied at the point of waste generation. Additional criteria stem from limitations of RTR or NDA instruments or lack of appropriate sampling and analysis. This paper presents the changes that have been implemented at the Plutonium Facility and gives readers a preview of what LANL expects to accomplish to expeditiously certify and dispose of newly generated TRU waste.

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