The Savannah River Site marked what officials say is a notable milestone by sending its one thousandth shipment of radioactive waste to a disposal facility in New Mexico. The shipments, which have been ongoing for the past eight years, contain transuranic waste, a term used to describe objects contaminated with plutonium radiation. The site’s managing contractor, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, says these items mainly consist of clothing, tools, and other debris.Nearly 30,000 drums of waste have been sent to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Southeastern New Mexico near Carlsbad. The facility consists of disposal rooms located a half-mile below ground.
Most of the transuranic waste at the Savannah River Site comes from the 1950s, when the area was used to build nuclear weapons. Future waste inspections and shipments could be funded from federal stimulus funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.