Radwaste Solutions

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

Final RFP issued for WIPP transportation services contract

June 14, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico.

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management has issued a final request for proposals for a transportation services contract for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico. The current WIPP transportation services contract, held by CAST Specialty Transportation, expires on May 27, 2022.

DOE finishes demolition of Biology Complex at Y-12 site

June 11, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Demolition of the last of 11 structures at the former Y-12 Biology Complex at Oak Ridge was completed in June, and the removal of the building’s slab foundation is scheduled to be completed this fall. (Photo: DOE)

Crews with the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) have completed the demolition of Building 9207, the largest and final building at the former Biology Complex at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., the DOE announced this week. Removal of the massive six-story, 255,000-square-foot building ushers in a new chapter of transformation at Y-12, the DOE said.

Smoldering over popular media’s coverage of Chernobyl

June 11, 2021, 9:28AMRadwaste Solutions
The Chernobyl site in 2017 following the placement of the New Safe Confinement structure. (Photo: EBRD)

No matter the discipline, reporting on technical issues for a mass audience is fraught with pitfalls. To make the subject understandable to the layperson, authors make generous use of analogies, which are inherently incomplete and tenuous, like a stone house being built on swampland.

Likewise, in an effort to garner as many clicks or views as possible, reporters and news outlets will often resort to sensationalism, making the news being reported more dramatic than it is. (To be fair, those supplying the news can also be guilty of sensationalism in their hunger for media coverage.)

Savannah River’s SWPF treats 1 million gallons of waste

June 10, 2021, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
A view of the Savannah River Site’s Salt Waste Processing Facility. (Photo: DOE)

The Salt Waste Processing Facility at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site has performed largely as expected, processing more than one million gallons of radioactive waste during its first eight months of operation, the DOE reported on June 8. The SWPF is being used to treat the majority of the site’s remaining liquid radioactive waste, generated from the production of nuclear materials.

Final stage of cleanup resumes at Hanford’s Plutonium Finishing Plant

June 7, 2021, 9:29AMRadwaste Solutions
A loaded waste container at the site of the former Plutonium Finishing Plant is surveyed to ensure that it is safe for transfer to Hanford’s on-site disposal facility. (Photo: DOE)

Final cleanup activities at the Hanford Site’s demolished Plutonium Finishing Plant have resumed following a pause in work prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Energy announced. Crews with the DOE’s Richland Operations Office and site contractor Central Plateau Cleanup Company will remove, package, and dispose of rubble remaining from the demolition of the plant’s plutonium reclamation facility, which was torn down in 2017.

Entergy completes transfer of Indian Point to Holtec for decommissioning

June 2, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
The new sign at the Indian Point Energy Center. (Photo: Holtec)

The transfer of the Indian Point nuclear power plant from Entergy to Holtec International and its subsidiaries was completed last week. Under the asset transfer deal, Holtec Indian Point becomes owner of the closed plant, with Holtec Decommissioning International serving as the site’s license holder and decommissioning operator.

$6.4 billion Idaho cleanup contract awarded to Jacobs-led company

June 1, 2021, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The Snake River Plain Aquifer

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management will award the Idaho Cleanup Project contract for the Idaho National Laboratory site to Idaho Environmental Coalition (IEC), of Tullahoma, Tenn. The contract has an estimated ceiling of approximately $6.4 billion over 10 years, with cost reimbursement and fixed-price task orders to define the contract performance.

Historic disposal site at INL to close

May 26, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Work crews prepare to place the final waste shipment into a vault at the Subsurface Disposal Area at the Idaho National Laboratory site. (Photo: DOE)

Work crews recently placed a final radioactive waste shipment into the Idaho National Laboratory site’s largest waste disposal area. The Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management noted on May 25 that it would begin closing the facility, fulfilling its commitment to the state of Idaho.


Framatome helps advance use of robotics in nuclear D&D

May 19, 2021, 7:03AMRadwaste Solutions
Using Framatome’s technology, Germany’s VIRERO project is developing a robotic system for sorting and packaging radioactive waste. (Photo: Framatome)

Paving the way for increased automation in nuclear decontamination and decommissioning and waste management, French nuclear company Framatome announced that testing has confirmed the operation of its robotic systems for handling and sorting high-dose waste components.

Canadian nuclear leaders to collaborate on CANDU decommissioning

May 14, 2021, 9:29AMRadwaste Solutions
Canada’s pickering nuclear power plant. (photo: opg)

A collaboration agreement signed by Ontario Power Generation’s Center for Canadian Nuclear Sustainability, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, and SNC-Lavalin will build on Ontario’s extensive nuclear industry expertise and skilled workforce to support the decommissioning of CANDU reactors in Canada and around the world, according to a May 13 press release from the organizations. The work will include the decommissioning of OPG’s Pickering nuclear power plant following the end of commercial operations in 2025.

Tank waste retrieval project completed at Savannah River Site

May 13, 2021, 3:01PMRadwaste Solutions
A salt dissolution campaign in Tank 37 at the Savannah River Site was completed ahead of schedule, creating tank space for evaporator operations and allowing for more feed to the Salt Waste Processing Facility. (Photo: DOE)

Department of Energy contractor Savannah River Remediation (SRR) announced on May 11 that it has completed a salt dissolution campaign in Tank 37, one of the underground tanks storing high-level radioactive liquid waste at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina.

EnergySolutions tapped to decommission Kewaunee power plant

May 12, 2021, 3:03PMRadwaste Solutions
EnergySolutions will acquire Kewaunee for decommissioning. Photo: Dominion Generation

Utah-based EnergySolutions has entered into a definitive agreement with Dominion Energy to acquire the closed Kewaunee nuclear power plant for prompt decommissioning. Located about 30 miles southeast of Green Bay, Wis., the single-unit, 574-MWe pressurized water reactor was shut down in May 2013 for financial reasons.

Excavation of first deposition tunnels begins at Finnish repository

May 11, 2021, 4:11PMRadwaste Solutions
A deposition tunnel is excavated into bedrock at Finland’s Onkalo facility. (Photo: Posiva)

Posiva Oy, the company responsible for the disposal of Finland’s spent nuclear fuel, announced last week that it has begun excavating the first disposal tunnels at the Onkalo deep geologic repository near the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant.

NorthStar to ship Vermont Yankee’s low-activity wastewater to Idaho

May 10, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
The closed Vermont Yankee power plant is currently undergoing decommissioning. (Photo: Entergy)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is set to allow about 2 million gallons of low-level radioactive wastewater from the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, currently undergoing decommissioning, to be disposed of at an Idaho waste facility. As published in the May 7 Federal Register, the NRC has issued an environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact for a request by NorthStar Nuclear Decommissioning to dispose of the wastewater at US Ecology Idaho’s waste facility near Grand View.

D.C. court dismisses challenge to NRC’s low-level waste policy

May 7, 2021, 12:06PMRadwaste Solutions

A federal court has dismissed a claim by the Nuclear Energy Institute that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had reversed decades of established policy by requiring owners and operators of nuclear power plants to obtain the agency’s approval to dispose of low-level radioactive waste, even in NRC Agreement States.

At issue was a letter the NRC sent to NEI in 2019, stating that licensees must receive agency approval before disposing of LLW. In response, NEI filed a lawsuit against the NRC, claiming that the letter imposes new obligations on licensees without the NRC’s having followed rulemaking procedures required by the Administrative Procedure Act, including publishing notice of the new policy and receiving input from stakeholders prior to implementation.


Preparations made to remove radioactive debris from Hanford reactor basin

May 5, 2021, 12:01PMRadwaste Solutions
Ray Geimer with DOE contractor Central Plateau Cleanup Company, left, shows company president Scott Sax a mock-up of parts of a vertical pipe casing system at Hanford’s Maintenance and Storage Facility. Photo: DOE

Workers at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site near Richland, Wash., recently completed testing a mock-up of a system that will be used to isolate and stabilize about 15,000 pounds of radioactive debris in the site’s K West Reactor spent fuel storage basin.

Granholm urged to form nuclear waste management office within DOE

May 5, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions


The American Nuclear Society joined seven other prominent nuclear organizations in submitting a letter to energy secretary Jennifer Granholm requesting that the Department of Energy establish an office dedicated to developing and managing an integrated nuclear waste storage, transportation, and disposal program. The letter asks that the new office report directly to the energy secretary.

Specifically, the office would do the following:

  • Provide a focal point for work on spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.
  • Facilitate necessary engagement with external stakeholders.
  • Demonstrate an intent and commitment to take meaningful action.

NWTRB offers six recommendations to spur U.S. nuclear waste management program

May 4, 2021, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
The NWTRB’s six overarching recommendations for the DOE’s nuclear waste management program.

The Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board (NWTRB), created by Congress to evaluate the technical and scientific validity of the Department of Energy’s work related to the management and disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste, has released a report titled Six Overarching Recommendations for How to Move the Nation’s Nuclear Waste Management Program Forward.