- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) - A recent audit found significant problems with the federally-managed nuclear waste treatment plant west of Idaho Falls.

The audit outlined cost overruns, a lack of rigorous testing and other management issues at the Department of Energy facility known as the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit, reported The Post Register (https://bit.ly/1qTVAfs ).

The DOE Office of the Inspector General’s report says the project’s construction costs have exceeded the $571 million cap set in 2010 by at least $181 million and will likely continue to accrue.

The total taxpayer costs could reach $800 million or more before the plant is fully operational.

The cost cap “did not successfully limit the construction costs borne by taxpayers,” according to the report.

The plant is supposed to be running by the end of September under a deadline the DOE negotiated with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality last year.

DOE spokeswoman Danielle Miller did not address the report in an emailed response to questions.

She said the DOE and its contractors “continue to focus on the start of safe operations for the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit.”

The facility is the first of its kind. It has yet to treat any of the 900,000 gallons of radioactive liquid waste stored in steel underground tanks.

It was originally supposed to have turned the waste into a manageable powder form by the end of 2012.


Information from: Post Register, https://www.postregister.com

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