Radwaste Solutions

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

ANS Winter Meeting: Addressing the spent fuel dilemma

December 3, 2021, 11:59AMRadwaste Solutions

The President’s Special Session at the 2021 ANS Winter Meeting and Technology Expo, held Thursday morning, explored the current impasse over the management of spent nuclear fuel in the United States, with leaders from Congress and representatives from the Department of Energy and the U.S. Government Accountability Office sharing the work they are doing in an effort to break that impasse.

DOE resumes consent-based siting process for spent fuel storage

December 1, 2021, 12:03PMRadwaste Solutions
Spent fuel in dry cask storage at the closed Kewaunee nuclear power plant. (Photo: NAC International)

The Department of Energy has restarted its consent-based siting process for identifying sites to store the nation’s spent nuclear fuel. Yesterday, the DOE issued a request for information that “will be used to further develop DOE’s consent-based siting process and overall waste management strategy in an equitable way.”

DOE begins commissioning of Hanford’s WTP

November 30, 2021, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Electrician Ralph Bisla conducts tests of the finishing line inside Hanford’s WTP Low-Activity Waste Facility. (Photo: DOE)

Having completed all startup testing of components and systems, the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) at the Hanford Site near Richland, Wash., has moved to the commissioning phase, the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) announced last week. During the commissioning phase, the final steps will be taken to prepare for the vitrification of radioactive and chemical waste as part of Hanford’s Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste (DFLAW) program.

Humboldt Bay officially decommissioned, site released for unrestricted use

November 23, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
The Humboldt Bay nuclear power plant as seen from Humboldt Hill in 2010. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons.)

The license for Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s Humboldt Bay Unit 3 nuclear power plant near Eureka, Calif., has been terminated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the site has been released for unrestricted use. A 65-MWe boiling water reactor plant, Humboldt Bay-3 operated commercially from 1963 to 1976.

NRC commissioner Wright addresses evolving D&D model

November 11, 2021, 12:03PMRadwaste Solutions


In a prerecorded video speech to last week’s Decommissioning Strategy Forum in Summerlin, Nev., Nuclear Regulatory Commission commissioner David Wright addressed public concerns about the growing number of utilities transferring their nuclear power reactor licenses to outside companies for accelerated decontamination and decommissioning after plant closure.

“While the NRC’s reactor decommissioning financial assurance program considers the potential for non-utility companies to conduct decommissioning, we have heard concerns about the use of these new license transfer models, given the significant acceleration of decommissioning schedules and withdrawals from decommissioning trust funds,” Wright said in his November 1 speech.

Search for next Savannah River M&O contractor delayed

November 10, 2021, 6:59AMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy has indefinitely delayed its final request for proposal (RFP) for the management and operations contract for the department’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The contract’s postponement was announced in a brief notice posted to the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management Consolidated Business Center website on November 9.

DOE looks to dispose of Hanford tank waste as LLW

November 9, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Crews pump waste from Hanford’s single-shell tanks to more stable double-shell tanks. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy is considering solidifying 2,000 gallons of Hanford’s tank waste and disposing of it as low-level radioactive waste at an off-site facility. A virtual public meeting on the proposed disposal plan is scheduled for November 18.

Mega-volume disposal unit to begin operation at Savannah River Site

November 9, 2021, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
DOE liquid waste contractor Savannah River Remediation is moving forward with Saltstone Disposal Unit projects to support the Salt Waste Processing Facility at the Savannah River Site.

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has authorized the use of a second mega-volume saltstone disposal unit (SDU) at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. Savannah River Remediation (SRR), EM’s liquid waste contractor at SRS, received Critical Decision-4 for Saltstone Disposal Unit 7, marking the final step in the approval process before beginning operations.

Oak Ridge upgrades waste shipment tracking system

November 8, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
A truck loaded with waste crosses the scale at the East Tennessee Technology Park at Oak Ridge. Each truck used by Oak Ridge contractor UCOR is equipped with a unique radio frequency identification card that logs its movements and weight and registers the data in a database.

UCOR, the primary contractor for the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OEM), recently transitioned to a new waste tracking system that improves how shipments are tracked from work sites to disposal locations.

The new system includes upgraded radio frequency identification (RFID) tracking for trucks, as well as new hardware and software, allowing for an automated tracking operation that delivers up-to-the-minute waste disposal data.

Women engineers at Hanford guide others toward career success

November 8, 2021, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions

A group of women engineers with Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) has established a series of monthly lunchtime presentations aimed at empowering and mentoring other women engineers. WRPS is the Department of Energy’s tank operations contractor at the Hanford Site, near Richland, Wash.

“Engineering is a very competitive field,” said Elaine Porcaro, chief engineer for the DOE’s Office of River Protection tank farms projects. “It is inspiring to see that these women have taken the initiative to establish a forum to support and promote each other, sharing their successes and key learnings in order to pave the way for other women to be successful.”


NRC approves proposed decommissioning rulemaking

November 4, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Wisconsin’s Kewaunee nuclear power plant, which shut down in 2013, is being transitioned to decommissioning. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Wednesday approved a proposed rule to amend its regulations for nuclear power plants that are transitioning from operations to decommissioning. After changes requested by the NRC commissioners are made by agency staff, the proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register, initiating a 75-day comment period.

DOE awards contracts for Oak Ridge, SRS work

October 29, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The Defense Waste Processing Facility at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has awarded Savannah River Mission Completion (SRMC), of Lynchburg, Va., the Integrated Mission Completion Contract at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C. The single-award, master indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract has an estimated contract ceiling of approximately $21 billion over a 10-year ordering period, with cost-reimbursement and fixed-price task orders to define the contract performance.

UCOR awarded $8.3 billion Oak Ridge cleanup contract

October 28, 2021, 3:01PMRadwaste Solutions
EM crews demolish Building 9207 in the former Y-12 Biology Complex at Oak Ridge earlier this year. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has awarded a 10-year, $8.3 billion contract to United Cleanup Oak Ridge (UCOR), of Germantown, Md., for the cleanup of the Oak Ridge Reservation in Tennessee, including the Y-12 National Security Complex, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP).

Spotlight On: The ANS Decommissioning and Environmental Sciences Division

October 28, 2021, 7:02AMRadwaste SolutionsANS

“A group of professionals having fun in the fields of decommissioning and environmental sciences for the nuclear industry.”

That’s how the ANS DESD describes itself on its website. The focus of this professional division is the development and use of skills and technologies needed for the optimal management of the end-­of-­life care (decommissioning, decontamination, and remediation), long-­term surveillance, and maintenance of nuclear installations, materials, facilities, and sites.

NWMO, University of Guelph to use eDNA to track host site biodiversity

October 27, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Research teams from the NWMO and the University of Guelph conduct eDNA sampling in the Ignace area of Ontario, Canada. (Photo: NWMO)

Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is working with the University of Guelph to launch a joint environmental DNA (eDNA) research program to further understand biodiversity conditions around two potential sites in Ontario for a deep geological repository for spent nuclear fuel.

Moab cleanup reaches milestone

October 27, 2021, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Sealed steel containers of uranium mill tailings are loaded onto railcars at the DOE’s Moab Site in preparation for transport to the Crescent Junction disposal cell. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) announced that it has accomplished another of its 2021 priorities by permanently disposing of a cumulative 12 million tons of uranium mill tailings from the Moab Site in Utah. The announcement, made on October 26, follows last week’s report by EM that it has shipped more than 1 million tons of tailings for disposal in fiscal year 2021, which ended on September 30, the largest annual amount since FY 2012.

Hanford completes wastewater basin work to support tank waste treatment

October 26, 2021, 3:01PMRadwaste Solutions
An aerial view of Hanford’s Liquid Effluent Retention Facility Basin 44 with its new cover installed. (Photo: DOE)

Record-breaking heat and the vast size of the job did not stop the Department of Energy’s Office of River Protection and its tank operations contractor, Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS), from completing a construction project critical to the Hanford Site’s Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste program for treating radioactive tank waste.

RFP issued for Hanford’s integrated tank disposition contract

October 25, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant. (Photo: Bechtel National)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has issued a final request for proposal (RFP) for the Hanford Integrated Tank Disposition Contract, a 10-year, $45 billion deal to oversee waste tank operations at the DOE’s Hanford Site near Richland, Wash. Proposals are due by December 20.

DOE and EPA agree on further cleanup work at Hanford’s 100-BC Area

October 22, 2021, 7:14AMRadwaste Solutions
The 100-BC Area (in green) within the Hanford Site. (Image: DOE)

Soil and groundwater contamination at the Hanford Site’s 100-BC Area will be treated under a record of decision (ROD) signed by the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, with the concurrence of the Washington State Department of Ecology.