Waste management personnel used a 55-tonne cask to insert activated metals into a concrete-lined vault within a fenced section of the 40-hectare disposal site, known as the subsurface disposal area (SDA).
The metals are structural components of nuclear fuel assemblies that become activated while inside a reactor. Once the fuel assemblies are removed from a reactor, the metal end pieces are removed and disposed.
The DOE also announced it had awarded Tennessee-based Idaho Environmental Coalition a major end state contract at the INL site.
The contract, with an estimated contract ceiling of approximately $6.4bn, includes operation of the integrated waste treatment unit, spent nuclear fuel management, transuranic and low-level waste disposition and management, decontamination and decommissioning, and environmental remediation.
INL is a leading centre for nuclear energy research and development. It is also where 52 pioneering nuclear reactors were designed and constructed, including the first reactor to generate usable amounts of electricity.