Radwaste Solutions

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


ORP, Bechtel collaborate on plan for completing Hanford’s HLW Facility

May 22, 2024, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Lourdes Legaspi, engineering automation supervisor (center) and her team are designing pipe and equipment components for the Hanford Site’s partially completed HLW Facility. A collaboration between the DOE and Bechtel National set a foundation for requirements engineers will follow in continuing the design of the facility. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management announced that its Office of River Protection (ORP) recently created a plan with contractor Bechtel National for completing the High-Level Waste Facility at the Hanford Site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant.

Safety board has concerns about WIPP’s new ventilation system

May 21, 2024, 12:04PMRadwaste Solutions
A 125-foot-tall exhaust stack towers over the Safety Significant Confinement Ventilation System’s filter building at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. (Photo: DOE)

The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB), an independent government organization responsible for overseeing public health and safety issues at Department of Energy defense nuclear facilities, has alerted the DOE because of safety concerns it has regarding the use of continuous air monitors (CAM) at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.

Part of WIPP’s new Safety Significant Confinement Ventilation System (SSCVS), the CAM system is intended to detect a radiological release in the repository and automatically close vent dampers to prevent the escape of radioactive particles to the outside environment. The SSCVS, which began commissioning in November 2023, is intended to increase airflow to the underground to allow for simultaneous underground waste emplacement, mining, and ground control work.

Savannah River contractor receives NSC safety awards

May 20, 2024, 9:33AMRadwaste Solutions
SRMC operators demonstrate procedure compliance during a job at the Savannah River Site’s Saltstone Production Facility. SRMC recently won national awards for demonstrating a commitment to working safely. (Photo: SRMC)

Department of Energy cleanup contractor Savannah River Mission Completion (SRMC) has garnered national recognition for its commitment to safety, recently receiving three awards from the National Safety Council: the Occupational Excellence Award, the Perfect Record Award, and the Superior Safety Performance Award.

DOE receives CD-0 approval for interim SNF storage facility

May 10, 2024, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy has received initial approval, known as “Critical Decision-0” (CD-0), for siting a federal consolidated interim storage facility for commercial spent nuclear fuel. Paul Murray, deputy assistant secretary of energy within the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy, confirmed to Nuclear Newswire that the DOE received CD-0 approval on May 6.

Argonne to investigate Pu chemistry to aid Hanford cleanup

May 7, 2024, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant. (Photo: Bechtel National)

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory are investigating the details of plutonium chemistry with the goal of aiding the cleanup of the Hanford Site in Washington state. For more than 40 years, reactors located at Hanford produced plutonium for America’s defense program, resulting in millions of gallons of liquid radioactive and chemical waste.

DOE-EM finishes cleanup of legacy Oak Ridge reactor lab site

May 3, 2024, 1:25PMRadwaste Solutions
UCOR employees use a crane to load the Low Intensity Test Reactor vessel for transport to its final disposition location in Clive, Utah. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management announced that the 30-foot-long, 37,600-pound reactor vessel from Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Low Intensity Test Reactor was shipped to EnergySolutions’ low-level radioactive waste facility in Clive, Utah, in late April.

Retrieval of nuclear waste canisters from a borehole

May 3, 2024, 9:31AMRadwaste SolutionsRod Baltzer

Borehole disposal of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level waste (HLW) uses off-the-shelf directional drilling technology developed and commercialized by the oil and gas sectors. It is a technology that has been gaining traction in recent years in the nuclear industry. Disposal can be done in one or more boreholes (including an array) drilled into suitable sedimentary, igneous, or metamorphic host rocks. Waste is encapsulated in specialized corrosion-resistant canisters, which are placed end to end in disposal sections of relatively small-diameter boreholes that have been cased and fluid-filled. After emplacement, the vertical access hole is plugged and backfilled as an engineered barrier.

NRC approves transfer of Vallecitos to North Star for D&D

May 2, 2024, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
The Vallecitos Nuclear Center site in northern California. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

By an order dated April 25, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the transfer of ownership of Vallecitos Nuclear Center from GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy to NorthStar Group Services for nuclear decontamination, decommissioning, and environmental site restoration.

NWTRB to hold public meeting on SNF disposal and corrosion

May 1, 2024, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, an independent federal agency that evaluates the Department of Energy’s efforts to manage and dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste, will hold a two-day public meeting May 21–22 to review information on the DOE’s research and development activities related to the disposal of SNF and HLW in crystalline host rocks and on the corrosion of commercial SNF after disposal.

Feds, state agree on deadlines for treating Hanford’s tank waste

May 1, 2024, 7:05AMRadwaste Solutions
An aerial view of the Hanford Site’s 200 Area and the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant. (Photo: DOE)

The U.S. Department of Energy, Washington State Department of Ecology, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have reached an agreement on revised plans for managing millions of gallons of radioactive and chemical liquid waste stored in 177 underground tanks at the Hanford Site near Richland, Wash.

Release of Fukushima’s treated water going as planned, IAEA says

April 30, 2024, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Data from Fukushima ALPS-treated water discharge. (Image: IAEA)

An International Atomic Energy Agency task force has confirmed that the discharge of treated water from Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is progressing in accordance with the plan approved by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority.

NWMO to select Canadian repository site this year

April 26, 2024, 12:03PMRadwaste Solutions
An illustration of a planned deep geologic repository for Canada’s spent nuclear fuel. (Image: NWMO)

Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization, a not-for-profit organization responsible for the long-term management of the country’s intermediate- and high-level radioactive waste, is set to select a site for a deep geologic repository by the end of the year.

College students help develop waste-measuring device at Hanford

April 25, 2024, 3:05PMRadwaste Solutions

A partnership between Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) and Washington State University has resulted in the development of a device to measure radioactive and chemical tank waste at the Hanford Site. WRPS is the contractor at Hanford for the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management.

WIPP improves utility shaft safety, begins infrastructure project

April 25, 2024, 7:02AMRadwaste Solutions
A view of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico. (Photo: DOE)

Harrison Western Shaft Sinkers (HWSS), the company drilling a new utility shaft at the Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, has retained a safety culture expert following a near-miss accident in the shaft late last year. The safety expert will conduct monthly facilitated discussions with crews working on the shaft to reinforce expectations for identifying concerns regarding unsafe circumstances, according to a recent report by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB).

Argonne opens registration for D&D training course

April 23, 2024, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions

Registration is open for Argonne National Laboratory’s Facility Decommissioning Training Course, a four-day instruction designed for those responsible for the decontamination and decommissioning of nuclear facilities and who are looking to understand the full breadth and depth of the D&D processes.

The next session will be held July 16–19 in Santa Fe, N.M. Information on the course and how to register can be found here.

Glass strategy: Hanford’s enhanced waste glass program

April 19, 2024, 3:05PMRadwaste SolutionsAlbert A. Kruger

The mission of the Department of Energy’s Office of River Protection (ORP) is to complete the safe cleanup of waste resulting from decades of nuclear weapons development. One of the most technologically challenging responsibilities is the safe disposition of approximately 56 million gallons of radioactive waste historically stored in 177 tanks at the Hanford Site in Washington state.

ORP has a clear incentive to reduce the overall mission duration and cost. One pathway is to develop and deploy innovative technical solutions that can advance baseline flow sheets toward higher efficiency operations while reducing identified risks without compromising safety. Vitrification is the baseline process that will convert both high-level and low-level radioactive waste at Hanford into a stable glass waste form for long-term storage and disposal.

Although vitrification is a mature technology, there are key areas where technology can further reduce operational risks, advance baseline processes to maximize waste throughput, and provide the underpinning to enhance operational flexibility; all steps in reducing mission duration and cost.

DOE issues final RFQ for WIPP clean energy initiative

April 19, 2024, 12:01PMRadwaste Solutions
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, near Carlsbad, N.M. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management has issued a request for qualifications for interested parties and prospective offerors looking to enter into a realty agreement for carbon-pollution-free electricity (CFE) projects at the department’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant site in southeastern New Mexico.

Bacteria found to reduce uranium mobility in clay

April 18, 2024, 7:04AMRadwaste Solutions
An artistic representation of a Desulfosporosinus cell with immobilized uranium on the surface. (Image: B. Schröder/HZDR)

Researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) research laboratory in Germany have investigated a microorganism capable of transforming water-soluble hexavalent uranium [U(VI)] to the less-mobile tetravalent uranium [U(IV)]. The researchers found that the sulfate-reducing bacterium Desulfosporosinus hippei, a relative of naturally occurring microorganisms present in clay rock and bentonite, showed a relatively fast removal of uranium from clay pore water.