The Decommissioning of Portsmouth’s X-326

November 14, 2022, 3:00PMRadwaste SolutionsGuest Contributor

In the 1950s, the U.S. Department of Energy constructed the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in rural southern Ohio to enrich uranium, alongside two other federally owned and managed facilities in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Paducah, Ky. The Cold War-era plant was built as a self-sufficient industrial city with more than 400 buildings and facilities centered around three massive gaseous diffusion process buildings that could enrich the level of the uranium-235 isotope for nuclear fuel in the defense and energy sectors.

Teardown commences on West Valley’s Main Plant

September 28, 2022, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Demolition of the MPPB, one of the last remaining major facilities at WVDP, is expected to be completed in about 30 months. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) said it has met one of its cleanup priorities for 2022 by beginning demolition of the Main Plant Process Building (MPPB) at the West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP) in New York. Located 35 miles south of Buffalo, the 150-acre WVDP site is home to the only commercial spent nuclear fuel reprocessing facility to operate in the United States.

SONGS videos highlight decommissioning progress

September 6, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
The San Onofre nuclear power plant.

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) recently shared a few videos on its YouTube channel, showing recent progress Southern California Edison has made in dismantling the plant’s turbine building. Decommissioning of the nuclear power plant, which permanently ceased operations in 2013, is being conducted by SONGS Decommissioning Solutions, a joint venture of EnergySolutions and AECOM.

Demolition begins on high-risk contaminated Y-12 building

June 1, 2022, 3:01PMRadwaste Solutions
Demolition crews remove some of the auxiliary structures surrounding the main building of the Criticality Experiment Laboratory on the Oak Ridge Reservation. (Photo: DOE)

A contractor for the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) started tearing down a 1940s-era facility in May at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Demolition of the former Criticality Experiment Laboratory, also known as Building 9213, is the latest project by EM to address a large inventory of high-risk excess contaminated facilities at the Oak Ridge Reservation.

DOE issues final RFPs for Portsmouth, Paducah contracts

May 31, 2022, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) last week began accepting bids for the contract to manage the Portsmouth site in Ohio and Paducah site in Kentucky, where the former uranium enrichment plants are being decommissioned and remediated.

The final request for proposals for the Portsmouth Paducah Project Office’s Operations and Site Mission Support (OSMS) contract were issued by EM on March 25. The new contract, which has an estimated value of $2.9 billion over the 10-year performance period, will replace an existing contract currently held by Mid-America Conversion Services.

Are we good enough for nuclear?

November 30, 2021, 2:55PMANS NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

The November 2021 issue of Nuclear News is dedicated to the people who provide “end of life” care for our nuclear reactors and facilities. Yes, D&D work may not get the same headlines as the development of advanced reactor designs. But if you look closely, you will find yet another segment of the nuclear professional community quietly driving advancements in technology and practice that lower costs, speed up time frames, and improve overall results.

Many of our former nuclear plants are now essentially greenfield sites, with the on-site storage of spent fuel remaining as the only outward reminder of the land’s history. Clearly, our professionals have done their work well. Now, if only our elected leaders would do theirs.

Which brings me to a larger observation that has seeped into my thinking over the past few months. As a community, we spend a lot of time trying to convince people of the societal value of nuclear technology. In those discussions, we almost always start from a defensive position.

Dangerous San Onofre dismantling job completed safely

September 7, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
A graphic representation of the tendons encircling the San Onofre containment domes. (Image: SCE)

A nearly yearlong effort to de-tension and remove more than 400 steel cables, known as tendons, from the two containment domes of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) was recently completed, with only one minor first aid incident recorded, according to Southern California Edison.

Decommissioning of Fort Greely reactor to begin in 2022

July 2, 2021, 7:05AMRadwaste Solutions
Col. John Litz, of the USACE Baltimore District, examines the containment vessel door of the SM-1A deactivated nuclear power plant during a site visit in April 2019.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is set to begin decommissioning SM-1A, the mothballed nuclear power reactor at Fort Greely, in Alaska, beginning next year, a project that is expected to take approximately six years. The USACE said it expects to release a request for proposals soliciting contractor bids for the decommissioning and dismantlement project by late summer.

NEA argues for circular approach to funding back end of nuclear fuel cycle

June 22, 2021, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions

A report by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency proposes a new approach to assessing the financial adequacy for undertaking nuclear decontamination and decommissioning projects and high-level radioactive waste management.

With the world’s aging nuclear power reactors approaching the end of their planned operational lifetimes, the adequacy of funding for decommissioning and waste management increasingly commands the attention of decision makers, the NEA said.

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.

Navy nuclear refueling barge to be dismantled

June 4, 2021, 7:01AMANS Nuclear Cafe
A U.S. Navy Surface Ship Support Barge (the large vessel in photo), which is used to refuel nuclear-powered ships and dismantle spent fuel units, will be scrapped in a three-year process. (Photo: Stripes.com)

Towed from its home in Newport News, Va., the U.S. Navy’s Surface Ship Support Barge has arrived in Mobile, Ala., for decommissioning, Advance Local Alabama reported on June 1. The 268-foot-long barge operated from 1964 to 2016, supporting the Navy's nuclear vessel refueling and functioning like a spent fuel pool at a commercial nuclear power plant.

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.

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.

Advisory panel formed for TMI-2 decommissioning

March 25, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The Three Mile Island nuclear generating station in 2010.

A community advisory board has been formed for the decommissioning of Unit 2 of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, according to a March 23 report by StateImpact Pennsylvania, a collaboration of National Public Radio member stations. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved in December the transfer of TMI-2 and its license to TMI-2 Solutions for decommissioning. TMI-2 Solutions is a subsidiary of EnergySolutions.

According to the report, the TMI-2 Community Advisory Panel (CAP) is made up of 15 people who represent the plant and its neighbors, including townships, school districts, first responders, nuclear planners, and state historians. The group is being led by Londonderry Township manager Steve Letavic.

TMI-2 Solutions said that it will provide quarterly decommissioning updates to the TMI-2 CAP. As a volunteer non-regulatory organization, the CAP will provide community feedback to TMI-2 Solutions, including any issues or concerns related to TMI-2 decommissioning activities.

Siphoning D&D lessons from the oil and gas industry

December 10, 2020, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Deepsea Delta oil-drilling platform in the North Sea. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Nuclear decommissioning projects can benefit from the lessons learned in the fossil fuel industry, according to a December 8 Reuters Events post that draws heavily from an article published in the ANS magazine Radwaste Solutions.

Reuters reporter Paul Day interviewed the authors of “Tapping Nonnuclear Knowledge,” which appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of RS and examines research being done on cross-sector learning between nuclear and oil and gas decommissioning projects, particularly the mega projects of decommissioning nuclear power plants and offshore oil rigs.

Orano, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power to cooperate on nuclear D&D

December 7, 2020, 9:29AMRadwaste Solutions

Orano's Alain Vandercruyssen signs a cooperation agreement with KHNP on December 4. Photo: ORANO

With the signing of a cooperation agreement by Orano and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power at KHNP’s headquarters in Gyeongju on December 4, France and South Korea are poised to enhance collaboration in the decontamination and decommissioning of nuclear facilities, particularly in South Korea and Europe.

Orano said that the collaboration will give it access to the expertise of KHNP engineers, as well as to KHNP’s network of providers of nuclear engineering services, particularly in the fields of robotics, process industrialization, and quality.

KHNP, in return, will benefit from Orano’s experience in preparing and carrying out nuclear dismantling, with the company providing technical assistance and supplying skills and training. South Korean engineers will be included in the Orano dismantling and services teams.

Savannah River's Ford Building comes down

November 20, 2020, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions

Demolition of the Ford Building at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina has been completed, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) announced on November 18. The large metal storage building formerly contained mechanical systems used during the Cold War to remotely raise and lower control rods within nuclear reactor vessels.

Workers have also sealed the Ford Building’s original concrete flooring with six inches of new concrete. Teardown of the facility brings the number of structures that have been deactivated and decommissioned at the site to 292.

Crystal River-3 operating license transferred to decommissioning company

October 5, 2020, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions

The Crystal River-3 nuclear power plant

Duke Energy and Accelerated Decommissioning Partners (ADP) on October 1 announced the completion of a transaction to begin decontaminating and dismantling the Crystal River-3 nuclear power plant this year instead of in 2067. ADP, a joint venture of NorthStar Group Services and Orano USA formed in 2017, was chosen by Duke Energy in 2019 to complete the decommissioning of the pressurized water reactor by 2027—nearly 50 years sooner than originally planned.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the transfer of Crystal River’s operating license from Duke Energy to ADP on April 1, and the Florida Public Service Commission unanimously approved the transaction on August 18. Duke Energy permanently ceased operations at Crystal River-3, in Citrus County, Fla., in 2013, initially placing the reactor in safe storage (SAFSTOR), whereby the decommissioning work would begin in 2067 and end by 2074.

A last look at Fort Belvoir’s SM-1 reactor

September 25, 2020, 12:02PMANS Nuclear Cafe

A series of photos published by the Washingtonian on September 22 capture rarely seen images of Fort Belvoir’s SM-1 reactor, the U.S. Army’s first nuclear reactor and the first facility in the United States to provide nuclear-generated power to the commercial grid for a sustained period. These images may be some of the last photos of SM-1, as crews are set to begin decommissioning and dismantling the nuclear facility early next year.

Historic Fort Belvoir SM-1 reactor to be decommissioned

September 1, 2020, 7:09AMRadwaste Solutions

Aerial view of the SM-1 nuclear power plant at Fort Belvoir in the 1960s. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a contract for the final decommissioning, dismantling, and disposal of the facility.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced on August 28 that it has awarded a contract worth about $68 million to the joint venture APTIM AECOM Decommissioning, of Alexandria, Va., for the decommissioning, dismantling, and disposal of the deactivated SM-1 nuclear power plant.

SM-1, located at Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Va., was the U.S. Army’s first nuclear reactor and the first facility in the United States to provide nuclear-generated power for a sustained period to the commercial grid.

Decommissioning crews are expected to begin mobilizing in early 2021, and the work is anticipated to take about five years to complete, according to the USACE.