Idaho fines Energy Department $3.5M for nuclear waste

3 more radioactive sludge barrels rupture at Idaho site
Seal of the United States Department of Energy. 

Daily fines the U.S. Department of Energy is paying Idaho for missing a deadline to get radioactive liquid waste out of underground storage tanks passed $3.5 million this week.

The federal agency started paying the fines in 2015. It’s in violation of a 1992 agreement involving 900,000 gallons of sodium-bearing waste sitting above the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer at its isolated desert site in eastern Idaho that includes the Idaho National Laboratory.

Federal and state officials are considering spending about $2.2 million of the accumulated fines for monitoring wells in the aquifer that’s used by cities for drinking water and farmers for irrigation.

The Energy Department built a $600 million facility to treat the liquid waste, but it has so far failed to work.