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Radioactive waste cleanup paying off for giant Idaho aquifer

FILE - In this May 11, 2015, file photo, nuclear waste is stored in underground containers at the Idaho National Laboratory near Idaho Falls, Idaho. Scientists say radioactive and chemical contamination in a giant aquifer below an eastern Idaho federal nuclear facility has decreased or remained constant in recent years. A report released earlier this year by the U.S. Geological Survey attributes the decreases to radioactive decay, changes in waste-disposal methods, cleanup efforts and dilution from water coming into the Lake Erie-sized Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer. The contamination originated at an 890-square-mile (2305-square-kilometer) U.S. Department of Energy site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory, considered the nation’s leading nuclear research lab. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler, File)
FILE - In this May 11, 2015, file photo, nuclear waste is stored in underground containers at the Idaho National Laboratory near Idaho Falls, Idaho. Scientists say radioactive and chemical contamination in a giant aquifer below an eastern Idaho federal nuclear facility has decreased or remained constant in recent years. A report released earlier this year by the U.S. Geological Survey attributes the decreases to radioactive decay, changes in waste-disposal methods, cleanup efforts and dilution from water coming into the Lake Erie-sized Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer. The contamination originated at an 890-square-mile (2305-square-kilometer) U.S. Department of Energy site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory, considered the nation’s leading nuclear research lab. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler, File)(KMVT)
Published: May. 21, 2020 at 5:12 PM MDT
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Scientists say radioactive and chemical contamination in a giant aquifer below an eastern Idaho federal nuclear facility has decreased or remained constant in recent years.

A report released earlier this year by the U.S. Geological Survey attributes the decreases to radioactive decay, changes in waste-disposal methods, cleanup efforts and dilution from water coming into the Lake Erie-sized Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer.

The contamination originated at an 890-square-mile U.S. Department of Energy site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory.

The report says contamination levels at all but a handful of nearly 180 wells are below acceptable standards for drinking water as set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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