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Accelerated Retrieval Project

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The Subsurface Disposal Area (SDA), a 97-acre landfill located at the Radioactive Waste Management Complex, has been used for the disposal of low-level, hazardous and transuranic wastes in pits and trenches for more than 50 years. Most of the transuranic waste buried in the Subsurface Disposal Area was generated during nuclear weapons production activities at the Rocky Flats Plant in Colorado and was packaged in drums and boxes prior to being shipped to Idaho.

Since early 2005, the cleanup contractor has been removing plutonium-contaminated filters, graphite molds, sludges containing solvents and oxidized (depleted) uranium from five pits to protect the environment, especially the Snake River Plain Aquifer.

The overall buried waste project life-cycle baseline was approximately $1.3 billion and is expected to continue through 2028, when construction of a moisture-inhibiting surface barrier over the entire Subsurface Disposal Area is completed.

Exhumation is taking place in the ninth and final enclosure and is expected to be complete in 2021. Construction of the surface barrier will begin soon after waste exhumation is complete.

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