Radwaste Solutions

Radwaste Solutions is a specialty magazine dedicated to the decommissioning, environmental remediation, and waste management segments of the nuclear community.


DOE extends Savannah River Site M&O contract

October 4, 2022, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
The Savannah River Site (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy has extended Savannah River Nuclear Solutions’ (SRNS) management and operating contract at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina for up to an additional five years. The announcement was made recently 29 by engineering company Fluor, which leads the SRNS joint venture, along with Newport News Nuclear and Honeywell.

The DRUM program: Cataloging America’s abandoned uranium mines

September 30, 2022, 3:04PMRadwaste SolutionsGuest Contributor
DRUM team members at the Telluride 18 mine in the Yellow Cat area of southwest Colorado.

Based on a review of U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) records and available data from numerous agencies, there are an estimated 4,225 mines across the country that provided uranium ore to the U.S. government for defense-related purposes between 1947 and 1970. To aid in the cleanup of these legacy uranium mines and establish a record of their locations and current conditions, the Defense-Related Uranium Mines (DRUM) program was established within the Department of Energy’s Office of Legacy Management (LM).

Teardown commences on West Valley’s Main Plant

September 28, 2022, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Demolition of the MPPB, one of the last remaining major facilities at WVDP, is expected to be completed in about 30 months. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) said it has met one of its cleanup priorities for 2022 by beginning demolition of the Main Plant Process Building (MPPB) at the West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP) in New York. Located 35 miles south of Buffalo, the 150-acre WVDP site is home to the only commercial spent nuclear fuel reprocessing facility to operate in the United States.

DOE releases plan to guide cleanup mission, accelerate progress

September 27, 2022, 12:01PMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) released its EM Program Plan 2022, outlining a decision roadmap the cleanup program will use as a guide over the next two decades.

The new program plan, which was introduced by EM senior advisor William “Ike” White during the National Cleanup Workshop in Arlington, Va., on September 22, completes a trio of outward-facing planning documents, joining EM’s calendar year priorities list and its 10-year Strategic Vision.

DOE incentivizes interim storage with $16 million funding opportunity

September 26, 2022, 6:57AMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy has announced that it will make $16 million in funding available to communities interested in learning more about “consent-based siting, management of spent nuclear fuel, and interim storage facility siting considerations.” The funding opportunity follows the DOE’s recent update to its consent-based process for siting an interim storage facility for SNF.

Environmental Management: GAO Report Shows Mission Far From Complete

September 23, 2022, 3:01PMRadwaste SolutionsSarah Templeton
The Effluent Management Facility, part of the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant at the Hanford Site. (Photo: Bechtel National)

This spring, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released an insightful report reviewing and summarizing the status and performance of the largest projects and operations within the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM), which is responsible for the cleanup of hazardous and radioactive waste at sites and facilities that have been contaminated from decades of nuclear weapons production and nuclear energy research.

The Decommissioning of Portsmouth’s X-326

September 22, 2022, 9:11AMRadwaste SolutionsGuest Contributor

In the 1950s, the U.S. Department of Energy constructed the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in rural southern Ohio to enrich uranium, alongside two other federally owned and managed facilities in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Paducah, Ky. The Cold War-era plant was built as a self-sufficient industrial city with more than 400 buildings and facilities centered around three massive gaseous diffusion process buildings that could enrich the level of the uranium-235 isotope for nuclear fuel in the defense and energy sectors.

Oak Ridge’s Changing Skyline

September 22, 2022, 9:10AMRadwaste SolutionsCarol Hendrycks
An aerial photograph of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s “Reactor Hill,” with, from left to right, reactor buildings 3042, 3005, and 3010. The DOE and its contractors are removing these excess contaminated facilities to eliminate risks and clear land for future research missions. (Photos: UCOR)

The Department of Energy and its environmental cleanup contractor United Cleanup Oak Ridge (UCOR) are poised to meet critical milestones as they continue to move to the next generation of cleanup at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. On ORNL’s main campus, crews on “Reactor Hill”—so named because of the four remaining reactor facilities on that hillside—and at the Experimental Gas-Cooled Reactor (EGCR) just east of the campus continue rigorous schedules as they enter a new phase of progress in the cleanup program.

Holtec to provide spent fuel canisters to six Spanish reactors

September 21, 2022, 3:14PMRadwaste Solutions
Spain’s nuclear power plants are to use Holtec’s HI-STORM spent fuel storage technology. (Image: Holtec)

Holtec International announced that its flagship HI-STORM Multi-Purpose Canister (MPC) spent fuel storage technology was selected by Spain’s national company Enresa for a fleet of six nuclear power reactors at four plant sites in the country. Equipos Nucleares S.A. (ENSA), a Cantabria-based manufacturer of equipment for the Spanish nuclear fleet, was named a consortium partner with Holtec in the order, which was conducted under European Union procurement rules.

Atkins breaks ground on new technology center near Hanford Site

September 20, 2022, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions

Atkins Nuclear Secured Holding Corporation, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, celebrated the start of construction on its new, $20 million, state-of-the-art Atkins Technology Center (ATC) with a ground-breaking ceremony held on September 13 in Richland, Wash. Located near the Department of Energy’s Hanford nuclear reservation, the facility will be adjacent to the existing Atkins Engineering Laboratory.

An Oak Ridge first: Demolition started on former reactor facility

September 14, 2022, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Demolition has begun on the Bulk Shielding Reactor at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. It marks the first teardown of a former reactor at the site. (Photo: DOE).

In a first for the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Site, a former reactor facility is being demolished. The site’s cleanup contractor, UCOR, began tearing down the Bulk Shielding Reactor, also known as Building 3010, last week.

“While this project is not the biggest demolition we’ve undertaken, it carries a lot of significance,” said Laura Wilkerson, acting manager for the Oak Ridge Office of the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM). “It is the first removal of a former reactor at [Oak Ridge National Laboratory], and it is a signal of much more to come at the site in the immediate future.”

Switzerland zeroes in on deep geological repository site

September 14, 2022, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
An illustration of Switzerland’s proposed deep geological repository. (Image: Nagra)

Nagra, Switzerland’s national cooperative for the disposal of radioactive waste, has announced that it has selected Nördlich Lägern as the site for a deep geological repository for radioactive waste. According to Nagra, extensive investigations have shown that Nördlich Lägern, located in northern Switzerland near the German border, is the most suitable area for a geologic repository with the best overall safety reserves.

NRC opens Palisades’ decommissioning plans to public comment

September 12, 2022, 7:09AMRadwaste Solutions
The Palisades nuclear power plant.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has made Holtec International’s post-shutdown decommissioning activities report (PSDAR) for the closed Palisades nuclear power plant available for public comment until December 27. The NRC also plans to hold a public meeting to discuss the report on the evening of September 22 at the South Haven campus of Lake Michigan College, about 10 miles north of the Palisades site in Covert, Mich.

New transfer lines installed on Hanford tank waste evaporator

September 8, 2022, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions

Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) crews recently finished installing about 1,300 feet of new waste transfer lines between a tank waste evaporator and a nearby tank farm at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site, near Richland, Wash. WRPS is the tank operations contractor for the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM).

Basin added to support Hanford’s tank waste treatment

September 7, 2022, 12:07PMRadwaste Solutions
Retention basins at the Liquid Effluent Retention Facility on the Hanford Site, as seen in September 2021, at top, and recently with the nearly completed Basin 41 on the far left. (Photo: DOE)

Work is nearing completion on a fourth basin needed to ensure adequate storage for wastewater during tank waste treatment on the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site, in Washington state.

According to the DOE, its operations contractor Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) has made significant progress on Basin 41 at the Liquid Effluent Retention Facility (LERF) since concrete was first poured for the perimeter one year ago.

Video: Watch this time-lapse video of the LERF Basin 41 construction.

INL engineers become drone pilots to prepare for waste vault testing

September 7, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy’s Calcine Retrieval Project (CRP) at the Idaho National Laboratory Site is progressing toward what is likely to be a first: flying a light detection and ranging-equipped drone inside a high-level radioactive waste vault to map its interior.

Inaugural group graduates from nuclear operator program for Savannah River

September 6, 2022, 3:06PMRadwaste Solutions
DOE contractor Savannah River Mission Completion strengthened its ties with Aiken Technical College as the school graduated the first class of Nuclear Fundamentals trainees this summer. (Photo: DOE)

The first 36 students graduated this summer from Savannah River Mission Completion’s (SRMC) Nuclear Fundamentals Certificate program. SRMC is the Department of Energy’s liquid waste contractor at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina.

The program, which is a partnership between Aiken Technical College (ATC) and SRMC, is in its inaugural year.

SONGS videos highlight decommissioning progress

September 6, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
The San Onofre nuclear power plant.

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) recently shared a few videos on its YouTube channel, showing recent progress Southern California Edison has made in dismantling the plant’s turbine building. Decommissioning of the nuclear power plant, which permanently ceased operations in 2013, is being conducted by SONGS Decommissioning Solutions, a joint venture of EnergySolutions and AECOM.

The Future of Diablo Canyon

September 2, 2022, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo County, Calif. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The reports of the death of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant may be greatly exaggerated. While Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) announced as early as 2016 that it would be closing California’s last operating nuclear power plant at the end of its current operating license, there has been growing political pressure to keep the plant, and its 2,200 MWe of carbon-free energy, running.