Radwaste Solutions

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

Deep Isolation to study borehole disposal in Slovenia

August 31, 2021, 6:59AMRadwaste Solutions
The TRIGA II research reactor at Slovenia’s Josef Stefan Institute. (Photo: Josef Stefan Institute)

The Berkeley, Calif.-based startup Deep Isolation has contracted with Slovenia’s radioactive waste management organization ARAO to conduct a feasibility study on the use of deep boreholes to dispose of the country’s spent research reactor fuel.

Final DOE buildings coming down at former Energy Technology Engineering Center

August 27, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Workers use high-reach shears to begin demolition of the Sodium Pump Test Facility at the former Energy Technology Engineering Center in California. (Photo: DOE)

Crews are in the homestretch of completing demolition of Department of Energy–owned buildings at the former Energy Technology Engineering Center (ETEC) site in Ventura County, California, the agency reported on August 24.

Orano delivers first spent fuel transport cask to South Korea

August 26, 2021, 7:04AMRadwaste Solutions
A ceremony marking the delivery of Orano’s TN-LC transport cask to Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company was held on August 24. (Photo: Orano)

Orano has delivered its first TN-LC spent nuclear fuel transport cask to Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company. The first use of the cask is planned for an international transport between South Korea and Sweden by the end of 2021.

KHNP received a license in June for the TN-LC transport cask from the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, South Korea’s regulatory agency, for the transport of high-burnup spent fuel.

Westinghouse signs agreement to dismantle Ringhals-1 and -2 components

August 23, 2021, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
Vattenfall’s Christopher Eckerberg (left) and Aziz Dag of Westinghouse Electric Sweden AB sign the agreement for decommissioning of large radioactive components at Sweden’s Ringhals-1 and -2. (Photo: Vattenfall/John Guthed)

Westinghouse will segment and dispose of the reactor internals and pressure vessels at Sweden’s Ringhals-1 and Ringhals-2 under a deal announced last week with plant owner Vattenfall. Unit 2, a pressurized water reactor, and Unit 1, a boiling water reactor, were shut down in 2019 and 2020, respectively, after operating for more than 40 years.

Pipeline connecting Hanford tank farm to Vit Plant completed

August 20, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Hanford workers fit sections of double-walled pipe in place, connecting the site’s tank farms to the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant. (Screen shot: WRPS/YouTube)

The Department of Energy is celebrating a major milestone in its tank waste mission at the Hanford Site near Richland, Wash. DOE tank operations contractor Washington River Protection Solutions has finished construction of the pipeline that will carry treated waste from an underground tank to the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) for vitrification.

Subcontracts awarded to enclose Hanford’s K East Reactor building

August 12, 2021, 9:07AMRadwaste Solutions
An artist’s rendition of the K East Reactor safe-storage enclosure. (Image: DOE)

DGR Grant Construction will construct a safe-storage enclosure over the K East Reactor building at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site in Washington state. Two construction subcontracts, worth about $9.5 million, were awarded to the Richland, Wash.–based company by Central Plateau Cleanup Company, the DOE’s Richland Operations Office site cleanup contractor.

NRC to hold a second meeting on Indian Point decommissioning plan

August 11, 2021, 12:09PMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is holding a virtual meeting on August 18 to discuss and receive comments regarding Holtec International’s decommissioning plan for the Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York. A hybrid meeting was held on July 29 in Tarrytown, N.Y., with a phone line available for those who opted not to attend in person. However, local storms and technical issues resulted in remote participants experiencing audio problems.

WIPP-bound waste shipments rebound to pre-COVID rates

August 9, 2021, 6:55AMRadwaste Solutions
A shipment of transuranic waste approaches WIPP in New Mexico. (Photo: DOE)

According to the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM), shipments of transuranic waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico are back to pre-pandemic levels, with the deep underground repository receiving 12 shipments in one week this summer.

Management of high-burnup spent fuel subject of NWTRB report

August 6, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
A shipping cask containing high-burnup fuel rods from Dominion Virginia Power’s North Anna nuclear plant is prepared for shipment to Oak Ridge National Laboratory for study. (Photo: EPRI/Dominion Energy)

The Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board (NWTRB) has released a comprehensive and highly technical report on the Department of Energy's research efforts into high-burnup spent nuclear fuel. The NWTRB is an independent federal agency tasked with evaluating the technical and scientific validity of DOE activities related to managing and disposing of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel.

The NWTRB report to the U.S. Congress and the secretary of energy, Evaluation of the Department of Energy’s Research Program to Examine the Performance of Commercial High Burnup Spent Nuclear Fuel During Extended Storage and Transportation, was posted to the board’s website on August 2. It is a product of a multi-year effort during which the NWTRB reviewed the DOE’s research activities into the performance of high-burnup spent nuclear fuel (SNF) in extended storage and transportation conditions.

NRC issues final environmental study for proposed Texas storage facility

July 29, 2021, 12:11PMRadwaste Solutions
(Source: Interim Storage Partners)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued its final environmental impact statement on an application by Interim Storage Partners for a license to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel in Andrews County, Texas. After considering the environmental impacts of the proposed action, the NRC announced today that its staff has recommended granting the proposed license.

Reps. Levin, Davis form bipartisan caucus to tackle stranded spent fuel issue

July 26, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions



Hoping to drive progress on the safe storage, transportation, and disposal of spent nuclear fuel across the country, Reps. Mike Levin (D., Calif.) and Rodney Davis (R., Ill.) have formed the Spent Nuclear Fuel Solutions Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives.

According to Levin and Davis, the bipartisan caucus seeks to address the challenges associated with stranded commercial spent fuel across the country and serve as a forum where House members can come together to make headway on the issue, regardless of whether or not they have a preferred solution.

In announcing the formation of the caucus on July 21, Levin and Davis said that the current system of spent nuclear fuel storage is not sustainable, particularly for sites that no longer have operating reactors and could be redeveloped for other beneficial uses. They added that it is also a violation of the promise, codified by law, that the federal government would take title to the waste in return for ratepayers’ contributions to the Nuclear Waste Fund.

Radiation safety expert debunks three myths about nuclear waste

July 20, 2021, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Photo: University of Manchester (U.K.)

Nuclear waste should not be used as an excuse for trying to shut down nuclear reactors, says radiation safety expert Andrew Karam in his recent article for the American Council on Science and Health titled, “Let’s Talk about Radioactive Waste."

Backup battery system will keep Hanford’s waste melters from going cold

July 15, 2021, 6:31AMRadwaste Solutions
The DOE recently completed startup testing on the uninterruptable electrical power system for Hanford’s Low-Activity Waste Facility.

Department of Energy workers recently finished startup testing of a battery-powered backup electrical system for the Low-Activity Waste (LAW) Facility at the Hanford Site near Richland, Wash. According to the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM), the uninterruptable electrical power system is vital to safeguarding the facility, part of Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, in the unlikely event of a temporary power loss to the plant.

Hanford hosts roundtable on tribal government policy

July 14, 2021, 12:03PMRadwaste Solutions
An undated historical photo of a portion of the Hanford Site. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy's Office of River Protection and the Richland Operations Office hosted a roundtable discussion recently with tribal nations located near the Hanford Site to review the Department’s tribal government policy—Order 144.1, the American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Government Policy—and discuss opportunities for strengthening tribal consultation.

The Office of River Protection is within the purview of the DOE's Office of Environmental Management (EM). The Hanford Site, in eastern Washington state, is a 586-square-mile site that was used as a nuclear production complex during the World War II era.

Holtec to step up its production of spent fuel casks

July 13, 2021, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions

A Holtec HI-STAR 150 cask being placed into storage at Cofrentes in Spain on June 23. (Photo: Holtec).

Holtec International is increasing the production of its HI-STAR casks for storing and transporting spent nuclear fuel following recent regulatory approvals and new orders in Europe. Earlier this month the company was awarded a contract by Spain’s waste management organization Enresa for 10 HI-STAR 150 casks, and Holtec is currently in the advanced stages of production of two HI-STAR 180D casks destined for the Doel nuclear power plant in Belgium, with additional orders pending.

The casks are being produced at Holtec’s manufacturing facilities in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

Spain: Enresa initially awarded Holtec a contract in 2017 for the design, engineering, licensing, and manufacturing of five HI-STAR 150 casks for the Cofrentes nuclear power plant near Valencia. The Spanish Nuclear Safety Council signed off on the HI-STAR 150 design for storage in April of this year, and on May 23, Spain’s Ministry of Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge granted a license for the cask, which is designed to store up to 52 boiling water reactor spent fuel assemblies, including damaged fuel assemblies.

Waste management at Los Alamos’s PF-4 a continuing challenge

July 12, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
The Plutonium Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Photo: LANL)

The Defense Nuclear Facility Safety Board, which provides independent federal oversight of Department of Energy weapons facilities, has reported that low-level radioactive and other combustible waste is accumulating in the basement of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Plutonium Facility (PF-4), and that housekeeping and waste management in the PF-4 basement have been a continuing challenge.

NRC decision on Holtec’s interim storage facility expected by January

July 8, 2021, 11:54AMRadwaste Solutions
An artist's rendering of the HI-STORE facility (Image: Holtec)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission plans to complete its safety review of Holtec International’s proposed HI-STORE consolidated interim storage facility by January 2022. A final licensing decision on the facility will be made in conjunction with the release of the agency’s final safety evaluation report, the NRC said in a July 2 letter to Holtec.

Savannah River doubles shifts for processing surplus Pu

July 8, 2021, 6:57AMRadwaste Solutions
A view of Savannah River’s K Area Complex, where plutonium downblending operations take place. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management has doubled the number of work shifts for employees in glove box operations at its Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The increased work pace will help the department meet its commitment to South Carolina to remove surplus plutonium from the state, the DOE said.