Nuclear Health and Safety:

Environmental Problems at DOE's Idaho National Engineering Laboratory

RCED-91-56: Published: Feb 12, 1991. Publicly Released: Apr 17, 1991.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO evaluated environmental problems at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL), focusing on: (1) the environmental impact of those problems and their impact on DOE operations; and (2) difficulties DOE encountered in managing the site's environmental problems.

GAO found that: (1) underground pipes and tanks used to transfer and store mixed wastes at the INEL chemical processing plant did not meet secondary containment standards, the primary reason for the plant's remaining closed for over a year; (2) DOE also identified problems related to the treatment and storage of mixed wastes and the lack of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved treatment technologies; (3) past waste disposal practices resulted in releases of radioactive and hazardous contaminants into the ground and the Snake River Plain aquifer; (4) delays occurred in INEL environmental cleanup and compliance activities, partly due to ongoing negotiations among DOE, EPA, and the state of Idaho; and (5) INEL has begun little physical cleanup on more than 200 inactive waste sites.

Mar 12, 2018

Feb 22, 2018

Jan 26, 2018

Jan 19, 2018

Jan 4, 2018

Dec 22, 2017

Dec 13, 2017

Nov 15, 2017

Nov 2, 2017

Oct 30, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here