December 12, 2003
The Department's Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) begins operations at the Glovebox Excavator Method (GEM) facility. The GEM project will demonstrate buried waste retrieval at Pit 9, which contains mixed transuranic waste generated by the Rocky Flats Plant and shipped to INEEL in the late 1960s. At the GEM facility, workers do not come into direct contact with the waste. Workers operate a backhoe with the arm and scoop bucket extended and isolated inside an enclosed excavation area. The contaminated soil and debris will be processed through a glovebox, scanned to determine radioactivity levels, sorted, sampled, and repackaged for eventual disposal outside Idaho.