Updated Agreement | Research Quantities of Commercial Nuclear Fuel
In November 2019, DOE and the state of Idaho signed a Supplemental Agreement to the 1995 Idaho Settlement Agreement that reaffirms DOE’s and the state’s commitment to remove Cold War legacy waste and special nuclear materials from Idaho. This agreement ensures continued protection of the Snake River Plain Aquifer while supporting Idaho National Laboratory’s ability to fulfill its mission as the nation’s nuclear energy research and development laboratory.
Details of the updated agreement include:
• INL can receive a shipment of 25 rods of used nuclear fuel – containing about 100 pounds of heavy metal – from the Byron Nuclear Generating Station to complete the High Burnup Fuel Testing and Fuel Cycle research and development project that is part of INL’s nuclear energy R&D mission. First, however, DOE must treat at least one full canister of sodium bearing waste.
• DOE agrees to ship at least 300 pounds heavy metal of special nuclear material (plutonium and uranium) out of Idaho by Dec. 31, 2021.
• DOE agrees to begin treating sodium bonded EBR-II driver fuel pins, now stored at INL, into material for High Assay Low Enriched Uranium (HALEU) fuel for reactors. This work began within 30 days of the signing of this agreement. DOE will treat at least 165 pounds heavy metal of the pins on a three-year rolling average, and will complete all treatment of the pins by Dec. 31, 2028. DOE will dispose outside the state any waste materials generated by the treatment (with the exception of high level waste) by Jan. 1, 2035.
• DOE will allocate to Idaho at least 55 percent of all transuranic waste shipments received at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. In addition, DOE will give Idaho priority for additional waste shipments that become available.
• DOE may begin planning for, and carrying out, future shipments of research quantities of spent fuel to INL (as agreed to in the 2011 Memorandum of Agreement between DOE and the State of Idaho) as long as DOE completes treating at least 100 canisters of sodium-bearing waste, in addition to sustained operations of the facility to treat sodium bearing waste at DOE’s Idaho Site, the ongoing treatment of EBR-II driver fuel pins, and the removal of special nuclear material from the state.