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.
Sequoyah nuclear power plant (Photo: Photorush/Wikimedia Commons)
In an evaluation report released last week on the Sequoyah nuclear plant’s chemistry/environmental program, the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Office of the Inspector General identified certain risks, both behavioral and operational, that could impact organizational effectiveness. Program behavior was assessed from interviews and field work conducted from September 21 through November 3, 2020, with operations assessed in February of this year.
Map of the PJM Interconnection territory in dark blue. Image: PJM
PJM Interconnection’s board of managers has approved the grid operator’s proposal to address the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s controversial December 2019 minimum offer price rule (MOPR) order affecting PJM’s forward-looking capacity auctions. (PJM operates the largest wholesale competitive electricity market in the country.)
Tuber magnatum, or European white truffles, may be the most expensive food on earth per kilogram. (Photo: Evan Sung)
Scientists from the Jozef Stefan Institute in Slovenia, with technical advice and analytical support from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, are studying the composition of truffles—a rare and expensive type of mushroom—in order to determine their origin and help detect fraud. Thanks to a database and the techniques developed, other laboratories worldwide can also test truffles, establish their geographical origin, and verify whether they are genuine.
The hemicycle of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Photo by DAVID ILIFF.
Eighty-seven members of the European Parliament sent a letter to the European Commission last week to lobby for the addition of nuclear energy to the EU taxonomy, the purpose of which is to direct investments toward environmentally sustainable economic projects to meet the European Union’s climate change mitigation and energy-mix targets.
A look at Fukushima Daiichi today. (Photo: The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
News programmers’ hunger for stories about the aftermath of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that caused three reactor meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi in March 2011 shows no signs of abating.
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.
The 1958 Ford Nucleon concept car. (Photo: The Drive )
A car capable of traveling 5,000 miles between fueling stops? Sounds impossible, right? It turns out that, yes, it was impossible. But that didn’t stop the Ford Motor Company in 1958 from envisioning a car—the Nucleon—powered by a small nuclear reactor. The Drive took a close look at the fantastical idea in a July 5 article, “Inside the Impossible Dream of the Nuclear-Powered 1958 Ford Nucleon.”
Training for the realities of radiological incidents and emergencies
One of the biggest challenges in training for incidents and emergencies that involve high-radiation-dose hazards is balancing between realism and safety. To be truly prepared for the realities of real-world nuclear and radiological emergencies, responder personnel need experience against those hazards but without introducing additional and very personal risks associated with unnecessary radiation exposure. The difficulty is in figuring out how we can achieve a level of realism that encompasses the entire process, from the initial detection of a hazard or threat, through its characterization, to recommending actions and leadership decision-making.
Flags in front of the European Commission building in Brussels. (Image: Sébastien Bertrand)
The European Commission last week adopted the Euratom Work Programme 2021–2022, implementing the Euratom Research and Training Programme 2021–2025, a complement to Horizon Europe, the European Union’s key funding program for research and innovation.
Former commissioner Annie Caputo left the NRC when her term expired at the end of June.
In a July 1 letter to President Biden, ANS President Steven Nesbit and ANS Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy stated that a full complement of five commissioners is essential to the effectiveness of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in protecting public health and safety while enabling the deployment and applications of nuclear technology.
Map of ERCOT over the state of Texas (Image: ERCOT)
Motivated by February’s Texas grid debacle and last month’s Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) alert pleading with residents to conserve energy, Gov. Greg Abbott earlier this week issued a letter to members of the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC), directing them to take immediate action to improve electric reliability across the state. According to the governor’s office, the directives build on reforms passed in the 87th legislative session to increase power generation capacity and ensure the reliability of the Texas power grid.
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.
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.