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Record of Decision System (RODS)

IDAHO NATIONAL ENGINEERING LABORATORY (USDOE)

Abstract

Site Name:  IDAHO NATIONAL ENGINEERING LABORATORY (USDOE)
Address:  AEC TESTING RESERVATION
US HWY 20/26 40 MI W OF IDAHO FALLS 
City & State:  IDAHO FALLS  ID  83401
County:  BUTTE,CLARK,JEFFERSON,BIN
 
EPA ID:  ID4890008952
EPA Region:  10
 
NPL Status:  Currently on the Final NPL
 
ROD Type:  Record of Decision
ROD ID:  EPA/541/R-99/095
ROD Date:  09/28/1999
Operable Unit(s):  07
 
Abstract:  The Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) facility located in southeastern Idaho, 51.5 km (32 mi.) west of Idaho Falls. The laboratory encompasses approximately 2,305 km2 (890 mi2) of the northeastern portion of the Eastern Snake River Plain and extends across portions of five Idaho counties: Butte, Jefferson, Bonneville, Clark, and Bingham.

The Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) was established in 1949 as the National Reactor Testing Station by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) for nuclear energy research and related activities. It was re-designated the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory in 1974 and the INEEL in 1997 to reflect the expansion of its mission to include a broader range of engineering and environmental management activities. The INEEL was placed on the National Priorities List in November 1989.

Current land use at the INEEL is primarily for nuclear research, development, and waste management. The perimeter area of the INEEL is leased for cattle and sheep grazing under the management of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The perimeter area functions as a controlled safety-and-security buffer between INEEL activities and the general public. No grazing takes place within 0.8 km (0.5 mi.) of any facility boundaries. Controlled hunting is permitted on INEEL land, but is restricted to the 0.8 km (0.5 mi.) strip just inside the site boundary.

State Highways 22, 28, and 33 cross the northeastern portion of the INEEL and U.S. Highways 20 and 26 cross the southern portion. Except for public travel on the highways, access to the INEEL is controlled by fences and security personnel.

The Snake River Plain Aquifer (SRPA), the largest potable aquifer in Idaho, underlies the Eastern Snake River Plain. The aquifer covers an area of approximately 24,853 km2 (9,600 mi2). Approximately 9% of the aquifer's area is below the INEEL. The depth of the aquifer varies from approximately 61 m (200 ft.) below Test Area North (TAN) to approximately 274 m (900 ft.) on the southwest edge of the INEEL.

More than 400 plant species, 190 bird species, and 40 mammal species have been identified on the INEEL. Several bird species at the INEEL warrant attention because of sensitivity to disturbance or their threatened status, including the ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis), bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), long-billed curlew (Numenius americanus), and the loggerhead shrike (Lanius Ludovicianus). In addition, the Townsend's big-eared bat (Plecotus Towndendii) and pygmy rabbit (Brachylagus Idahoensis) are listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as candidates for consideration as threatened or endangered species. The ringneck snake (Diadophis punctatus), whose occurrence is considered to be INEEL-wide, is listed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game as a Category C sensitive species.

The INEEL lies within the lands traditionally occupied by the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. The tribes used the land and waters within and surrounding the INEEL for fishing, hunting, and plant gathering, in addition to medicinal, religious, ceremonial, and other cultural uses. Under the cooperative Agreement-in-Principle between the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE 1998) some tribal activities continue today within the INEEL boundaries.
 
Remedy:  Removal, Treatment, and Disposal: Consists of the removal, ex situ treatment, and disposal of the gas cylinders at each site. Also includes initial site characterization using geophysical surveys to determine the location and quantity of buried gas cylinders prior to removal. Gases present in the excavated cylinders will be vented to the atmosphere if they are benign, or treated using a method suitable for the particular gas. Institutional Controls with Aquifer Recharge Control: Comprised of institutional controls in the form of administrative actions to restrict future use of perched water and implementation of remedies to control water infiltration and minimize perched water releases to the SRPA. On-Site Institutional Controls with Monitoring and Contingent Remediation: Interim action alternative consisting of three parts that best address groundwater modeling concerns regarding aquifer restoration. On-Site Containment: A deferred action that consists of implementing institutional controls and soil excavation or capping. The proposed engineered barrier is comprised of natural earth materials and designed to isolate the contaminants, minimize water infiltration, and reduce contaminant leaching and transport for up to 1,000 years.

Estimated Capital Cost: $148,815,000
Estimated Annual O&M: Not Documented
Estimated Present Worth Cost: $175,629,000
 
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