NRC to hold hybrid meeting on Crystal River-3 license termination

November 29, 2023, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
The Crystal River-3 nuclear power plant.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that it will hold a hybrid public meeting on December 7 to discuss the license termination process and to accept comments on the remaining cleanup activities under the license termination plan for the Crystal River-3 nuclear power plant in Crystal River, Fla.

NRC releases decommissioned Zion site for unrestricted use

November 9, 2023, 9:31AMRadwaste Solutions
The Zion nuclear plant site as it appeared earlier this year. (Photo: Tim Gregoire)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has released for “unrestricted use” most of the land on and around where the Zion nuclear power plant once operated in northeastern Illinois. This means that any residual radiation is below the NRC’s limits and there will be no further regulatory controls by the agency for that portion of the property.

NRC approves emergency planning exemptions for defueled Indian Point

October 30, 2023, 9:52AMRadwaste Solutions
Indian Point nuclear power plant. (Photo: Daniel Case)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission hasgranted a request by Holtec Decommissioning International (HDI) to revise the emergency preparedness plan for the Indian Point Energy Center. Reflecting the reduced risk of a radiological emergency at a decommissioning power reactor site, the exemption removes the requirement that HDI maintain a 10-mile emergency planning zone around the plant.

Sharing D&D Knowledge in a Competitive Market

October 27, 2023, 3:13PMRadwaste SolutionsTim Gregoire
Vermont Yankee’s segmented reactor vessel head is lowered into a custom-built package for transportation and disposal. (Photo: Orano)

Currently, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is overseeing 17 nuclear power plants that are undergoing active decommissioning. For 10 of those plants, the NRC licenses have been transferred, either through sale or temporary transfer, from the plant owner and operator to a third party, nonutility company for decommissioning. To be profitable, those companies are decommissioning the nuclear plants as expediently as they safely can, while still protecting workers and the environment, using proprietary techniques and processes.

Progress touted in D&D of Idaho’s naval nuclear prototypes

October 25, 2023, 12:04PMRadwaste Solutions
Crews demolish one of two massive steam condensers at the Naval Reactors Facility’s A1W prototype reactor facility in Idaho. Click photo to enlarge (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management said that crews at the Idaho National Laboratory site are making “significant progress” decommissioning the Submarine 1st Generation Westinghouse (S1W) reactor, the prototype pressurized water reactor that supported the development of the USS Nautilus, the world’s first operational nuclear-powered submarine.

DOE to discuss SNF transport plans during SONGS D&D meeting

October 24, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The San Onofre nuclear power plant. (Photo: SONGS)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy will provide an update to the San Onofre Community Engagement Panel (CEP) on spent fuel transportation preparations on Thursday, October 26, at its quarterly meeting. The virtual meeting will begin at 2:00 p.m. (PDT) via Microsoft Teams video conference.

Members of the public can view the meeting online by visiting the SONGS community website for the link to the Microsoft Teams meeting and to register to comment.

USACE taps Aptim JV to decommission Alaska’s SM-1A reactor

October 18, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The SM-1A reactor facility at Fort Greely, Alaska. (Photo: USACE)

Baton Rouge, La.-based Aptim Federal Services announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, has awarded the company a six-year, $95.5 million contract to decommission, dismantle, and dispose of the SM-1A nuclear power reactor at Fort Greely, Alaska.

Crews demolish second legacy Oak Ridge reactor lab

October 2, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The Low Intensity Test Reactor structure is lifted from its housing and placed in a specialized carbon metal container for shipment for disposal. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management announced it has completed a second of its 2023 priorities at Oak Ridge in as many months with the demolition of the Low Intensity Test Reactor, known as Building 3005, at the Tennessee site.

Watch a video of Building 3005 and its decommissioning here.

The Ubiquity of PFAS: An Emerging Issue in Decommissioning

September 22, 2023, 3:08PMRadwaste SolutionsJay Peters, Nadia Glucksberg, and John Xiong

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), an anthropogenic class of several thousand chemicals made for use in products such as nonstick cookware, water-, grease-, and stain-resistant materials, surfactants, and fire suppression foams [1], are emerging as a complicating factor in nuclear decommissioning. These chemicals, which have been manufactured globally, including in the United States, have gained regulatory and public attention due to their persistence and ubiquity in the environment, ability to be detected at low parts-per-trillion levels, and health-based standards set at levels hundreds to thousands of times lower than more classic contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

DOE delegation visits Japan for info exchange

September 1, 2023, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
DOE-EM senior advisor Ike White provided remarks to the audience during 7th International Forum on the Decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. (Photo: DOE)

Senior advisor Ike White and others with the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management traveled to Japan this week to attend the 7th International Forum on the Decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

Advanced liquid waste processing systems: Safely processing Fukushima’s wastewater

March 1, 2021, 3:01PMUpdated August 25, 2023, 3:21PMNuclear NewsJohn Fabian
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station site. Image: Courtesy of TEPCO.

Earlier this week, Japan announced its intention to move ahead with its plan to discharge re-treated, diluted tritiated wastewater from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean. This plan has been a topic of discussion--and for many a source of contention--since 2013. After a decade of talks, and with the endorsement of nuclear scientists, experts, and organizations around the globe, the time has come to act. By following safety standards in place and endorsed by the IAEA, the release of wastewater will pose no threat to the public or the environment.

The article below was originally published in the March 2021 issue of Nuclear News. (Also included in that issue is a great review article from Lake Barrett outlining the current status of the decontamination and decommissioning going on at Fukushima .) That month marked 10 years since the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan and crippled the Fukushima plant. The words that follow remain timely, since various news outlets continue to report on the dangers of Fukushima's wastewater without providing context to the Japanese plan to discharge it.

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.

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.

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.”

EnergySolutions sets its sights on nuclear new build

June 22, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
EnergySolutions is to explore options for building new nuclear facilities at company-owned sites, such as Wisconsin’s Kewaunee site, currently being decommissioned.

Utah-based decommissioning company EnergySolutions has entered the early phases of exploring the possible use of former nuclear sites acquired by the company, such as the closed Kewaunee nuclear power plant in Wisconsin, as potential locations for future new nuclear generation sites.

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.

ORNL shuttered molten salt reactor made safer

May 12, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
For the first time in 26 years, work crews performed sampling of gaseous byproducts at the MSRE. (Photo: DOE)

The Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) facility is one of hundreds of old, contaminated buildings at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee that are slated to be taken down.

NorthStar to take ownership of Vallecitos for D&D

May 11, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The Vallecitos Nuclear Center in northern California. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy announced May 9 that it intends to transfer ownership of the 1,600-acre GEH Vallecitos Nuclear Center to NorthStar Group Services for nuclear decontamination, decommissioning, and environmental site restoration.

NRC seeks to better understand new radiological survey technologies

May 8, 2023, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is issuing a request for information (RFI) aimed at understanding the current state-of-art radiological survey methods used to comply with decommissioning and license termination requirements. According to the commission, the information will help its staff better understand trends in radiological survey instrumentation and data analysis, including those used to survey both surface and subsurface residual radioactivity.