Radwaste Solutions

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

Sellafield marks two flight firsts in the use of drones at the U.K. site

August 8, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions

Technical specialist Peter King (left) and Sam Jay, UAV engineer and chief pilot, at Sellafield’s Engineering Centre of Excellence, with the Flyability Elios 3 drone. (Photo: Sellafield)

Sellafield Ltd., a subsidiary of the U.K. government’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, announced that drone pilots have successfully completed two firsts in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) at the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria, England.

According to the company, the flights, which accessed a Sellafield building with limited space using a light detection and ranging (lidar) sensor and a radiation dosimeter, are helping improve the safety of employees during the decommissioning of the site’s legacy buildings.

Mapping flight: First, an Elios 3 drone equipped with a lidar sensor was able to successfully collect data from a site building. The data will be processed to produce a 3D model of the area, which will help inform engineering decisions. According to Sellafield, the mapping flight marks a major milestone for the site’s UAV team, enabling unparalleled efficiency in mapping and 3D modeling.

Savannah River, Hanford collaborate on tank waste workshop

August 7, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Some of the participants of the recent SRNL-Hanford Analytical Knowledge Sharing Workshop pause for a photo. (Photo: DOE)

Hanford’s Vit Plant melter reaches 2,100°F

August 4, 2023, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy announced last week that Melter 1 at the Hanford Site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant, has hit its operational temperature of 2,100ºF. The DOE began heating Melter 1 in October 2022, but was soon forced to pause when abnormalities in the heaters’ power supply were encountered.

NWTRB to hold meeting and workshop on consent-based siting

August 2, 2023, 12:02PMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, which evaluates the Department of Energy’s activities on radioactive waste management, is holding a hybrid (in person and virtual) public meeting on August 30 to discuss the DOE’s consent-based process for siting one or more federal interim storage facilities for commercial spent nuclear fuel. The DOE’s research and development related to high-burnup SNF and advanced reactor waste disposal will also be discussed.

INL finishes waste pad removal project

August 2, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
Work crews use light construction equipment to remove the final pieces of asphalt from one of the pads at the TSA-RE at INL. (Photo: DOE)

The Idaho National Laboratory is moving closer toward closing its largest building—which, at more than 316,000 square feet, could comfortably house a modern U.S. aircraft carrier, according to the Department of Energy.

Savannah River hosts workshop, job shadowing event

July 19, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Savannah River National Laboratory employee Vernon Bush, center, and SRNL summer intern Jadrion Huell, standing at right, of Claflin University, conduct a job shadowing activity with students Tredarius Lassiter, seated at left, and Tommy Applewhite. (Photo: DOE)

A three-day Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program (MSIPP) event, led by Savannah River National Laboratory researcher Simona Hunyadi Murph, was held recently at the South Carolina site, according to a release by the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM). The event included a collaborative workshop, job shadowing, and a tour of the laboratory and Savannah River Site field activities.

DOE-EM awards $5.87 billion Portsmouth D&D contract

July 17, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Portsmouth’s X-326 Process Building undergoes demolition in 2022. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management awarded a 10-year contract worth up to $5.87 billion to Southern Ohio Cleanup Company (SOCCo) of Aiken, S.C., for the decontamination and decommissioning of the DOE’s Portsmouth site in southern Ohio. SOCCo is a newly formed limited liability company comprising Amentum Environment and Energy, Fluor Federal Services, and Cavendish Nuclear (USA) Inc.

WIPP utility shaft reaches station depth milestone

July 14, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions

A truck hauls excavated salt away from the WIPP utility shaft project, marked by a large aboveground steel headframe. The shaft has reached the depth necessary to allow horizontal tunneling work to begin, which will connect the shaft to the WIPP underground repository complex. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Carlsbad Field Office announced that it has made a significant step toward increasing airflow to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) underground with the excavation of a new utility shaft. According to the office, crews working on the shaft recently reached an underground depth, known as station depth, that will allow horizontal tunneling work to begin on connecting the shaft to the WIPP repository complex.

Located in southeastern New Mexico, the repository for defense-related transuranic waste sits 2,150 feet below ground level. Airflow to the underground has been restricted following a radiological release in 2014.

When completed, the 26-foot-diameter utility shaft will provide air to WIPP’s new ventilation system, called the Safety Significant Confinement Ventilation System (SSCVS). The increased airflow provided by the system will allow for simultaneous mining, rock bolting, waste emplacement, and maintenance operations.

D&D practices in U.S. and Japan the subject of new workshop series

July 13, 2023, 7:14AMRadwaste Solutions

Tohoku University and the University of Michigan are jointly sponsoring a series of workshops focused on sharing experiences between Japan and the United States on the decontamination and decommissioning of commercial nuclear power plants.

A full agenda for the workshop can be found here.

The deadline for registration is August 1. A registration form, along with further information, can be found here.

DOE awards governors association $2.6 million cooperative agreement

July 10, 2023, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy has awarded an estimated $2.6 million to the National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices to work collaboratively with governors to solve the continued challenges posed by waste management and cleanup at DOE sites, the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management announced on July 5.

Beyond the headlines: Japan’s treatment and release of Fukushima wastewater

July 5, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
A photo from 2021 of the Fukushima nuclear power station with the more than 1,000 water storage tanks on site. (Photo: TEPCO)

We’ve all seen the headlines such as “Should Japan Dump Fukushima's Radioactive Water into the Ocean?” along with “Japan Set to Pour Fukushima Waste into Pacific, Irking China” and “Japan Is Slowly but Surely Releasing Wastewater from the Fukushima Nuclear Plant into the Pacific Ocean.” The most recent spate of fearmongering was triggered by the IAEA’s July 4 announcement that the agency had finished its independent assessment of Japan’s plans to release the treated wastewater stored at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station and found the plan “consistent with IAEA Safety Standards.”

DOE reduces chemical hazards at Kentucky’s Paducah Site

July 5, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Paducah Site deactivation crews use negative air machines to open sodium fluoride traps. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management recently shipped for off-site disposal 14 sodium fluoride traps, or exchange vessels, from the C-310 Product Withdrawal facility at the DOE’s Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant site in Kentucky. DOE-EM said it has also eliminated the site’s entire inventory of chlorine gas cylinders.

DOE, New Mexico reach agreement on WIPP permit renewal

June 30, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, near Carlsbad, N.M. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) have negotiated a settlement on terms to renew the 10-year operating permit for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M. The DOE, along with WIPP’s operating contractor, Salado Isolation Mining Contractors, and the NMED negotiated the settlement with New Mexico stakeholders.

U.K. to begin new search for a geological repository

June 29, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
Concept art showing a geological disposal facility with tunnels and vaults in deep underground rock, under the seabed. (Image: NWS)

Nuclear Waste Services, the United Kingdom’s radioactive waste management organization, launched in January 2022, has begun a wide range of studies to evaluate sites that could be suitable to host a geological disposal facility (GDF).

France’s ASN begins review of the Cigéo repository

June 28, 2023, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Diagram of the Cigéo repository in France. (Image: Andra)

Having deemed the application admissible, France’s nuclear safety authority, Autorité de sûreté nucléaire (ASN), will undertake a technical appraisal of Andra’s application to construct the Cigéo deep geological disposal facility for radioactive waste.

Holtec uses patented lift system to speed Indian Point decommissioning

June 20, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
The Holtec HI-LIFT at Indian Point-3. (Image: Holtec)

Holtec International has said its patented HI-LIFT crane technology, being installed at the Indian Point-3 nuclear power plant, will speed the defueling of the spent nuclear fuel pool and avoid millions in excess decommissioning costs.

ANS Annual Meeting: Mapping the winding road to used fuel disposal

June 19, 2023, 12:09PMRadwaste Solutions

The question “What about the waste?” is typically thrown out by the antinuclear crowd as an attempt to bog down the discussion of nuclear development. However, with renewed interest in nuclear power—and new advanced reactors in particular—what to do about used nuclear fuel is coming to the fore as a question that needs resolving.