IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) -- The company contracted by the federal government to run an eastern Idaho nuclear complex has awarded a $34 million subcontract to another company to build a disposal facility for low-level nuclear waste.
The Post Register reports (http://www.postregister.com/node/60332) in a story on Tuesday that Battelle Energy Alliance awarded the contract to Areva Federal Services, an American subsidiary of the French nuclear giant Areva Inc.
"Areva's technology and more than 40 years of experience in nuclear waste management solutions have set us apart in addressing some of the most pressing issues facing the (Department of Energy)," said Tara Neider, president and CEO of Areva Federal Services, in a statement.
The waste facility will be built at the Idaho National Laboratory, Areva Inc. spokeswoman Mary Beth Ginder said. Construction is expected to start in the spring of 2015 and finish in 2017. Plans call for building administration and maintenance buildings, waste-holding systems and environmental-monitoring installations.
The company said the facility will have more than 200 underground concrete vaults to hold waste generated at the laboratory. The new facility will be located southwest of the Advanced Test Reactor.
"The waste destined for this facility is generated by Idaho National Laboratory's nuclear technology research, development and demonstration mission," said laboratory spokeswoman Nicole Stricker in an email to the newspaper. Waste comes from the Naval Reactors Facility as well as research, development and testing for other federal tenants and sponsors, she said.
"Some types of low-level waste can still be very radioactive and emit X-rays or gamma rays in amounts that would require shielding and remote handling to dispose of it safely," she said.
Areva Inc. in 2010 won a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy to build a uranium-enrichment plant near Idaho Falls. But the company said that has been put on hold.
"Absent an investor, and in consideration of current enrichment market conditions, Areva is not projecting a timeline for restarting design and construction planning activities," Ginder said.