The company managing nuclear waste cleanup at Idaho National Laboratory says it’s one step closer to tackling the site’s backlog.
Fluor Idaho just wrapped up a 50-day test that took more than 62,000 gallons of mock waste and converted it into a solid.
A company spokesman says the waste is easier to monitor and store in solid form.
The success of the test means Fluor Idaho will now prepare to convert the 900,000 gallons of nuclear waste that’s currently being stored above the Snake River Plain Aquifer.
This aquifer irrigates farms and provides drinking water for cities and towns across much of southern Idaho.
The federally-run INL near Idaho Falls is three years past its target deadline to remove this mixed waste, leading elected officials to block a shipment of spent nuclear material for research in 2015.
Trump administration officials will also reclassify some of the nation's most dangerous nuclear waste to lower its threat levels, according to the Associated Press. That would include cleanup projects at INL, Hanford Nuclear Reservation in central Washington and Savannah River Plant in South Carolina.
Final modifications to the machine to make a dent in the backlog are expected to take months.
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