DOE prepares for transition of Savannah River Site management

November 29, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
DOE and NNSA personnel at a meeting discussing the plans for the upcoming SRS landlord transition. (Photo: DOE)

Personnel from the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management and the National Nuclear Security Administration recently gathered to discuss plans for the upcoming transfer of landlord responsibility for the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

WIPP prepares to bring new ventilation system on line

November 27, 2023, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Electrical circuits are tested during the commissioning of the new ventilation system at WIPP. (Photo: DOE)

Commissioning has begun on a new large-scale ventilation system at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.

The Safety Significant Confinement Ventilation System (SSCVS) is expected to increase underground airflow from 170,000 cubic feet per minute up to 540,000 cfm. The increased airflow will allow for simultaneous underground waste emplacement, mining, and ground control work. Ground control, including bolting, controls the movement of salt rock—known as salt creep—in the WIPP underground.

Hanford pours first glass from Vit Plant melter

November 8, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Workers monitor the pouring of melter glass from a control room in Hanford’s LAW Facility. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management said crews at its Hanford Site in Washington state have started pouring the first molten glass from a waste vitrification melter into a stainless steel container at the site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant.

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 issues additional Cleanup to Clean Energy RFIs

October 20, 2023, 9:32AMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy has released two additional requests for information related to its Cleanup to Clean Energy initiative, which aims to repurpose certain DOE-owned lands—portions of which were previously used during the nation’s nuclear weapons program—into sites for clean energy generation, including include solar, geothermal, wind, and nuclear electricity.

Oak Ridge seeing returns on investment in new regulatory partnerships

October 11, 2023, 12:09PMRadwaste Solutions
Contaminated soil is loaded in containers for disposal at the Oak Ridge Reservation in Tennessee. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management said a new regulatory partnership framework established in recent years by the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM), its contractor United Cleanup Oak Ridge (UCOR), the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) is ushering in a new chapter of accelerated cleanup at the department’s Oak Ridge Reservation in Tennessee.

DOE-EM lacks clear view of operating costs, GAO says

October 4, 2023, 9:51AMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management, which is responsible for the cleanup of 15 nuclear sites across the country, lacks a clear understanding of its costs for work not directly related to site cleanup, hampering the department’s ability to prioritize competing funding needs, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office.

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.

DOE-EM awards cleanup grants and cooperative agreements

October 2, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Workers remove contaminated sediment from the SRS in South Carolina. A $19 million DOE grant will support state monitoring of the site. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management has awarded nearly $54 million in noncompetitive financial assistance grants and cooperative agreements to help support the office’s cleanup program. DOE-EM is responsible for environmental legacy cleanup of the effects of decades of nuclear weapons development and government-sponsored nuclear energy research.

Draft RFP issued for $3 billion West Valley cleanup contract

September 1, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
A West Valley ancillary support building is demolished in 2018. (Photo: DOE/CH2M Hill–BWXT West Valley)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management has issued a draft request for proposal for a contract covering the next phase of cleanup at the West Valley Demonstration Project in western New York.

DOE issues first Cleanup to Clean Energy RFI

August 31, 2023, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
An elk herd at the DOE’s Hanford Site in Washington state. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy has released the first request for information (RFI) related to the department’s Cleanup to Clean Energy initiative, which aims to repurpose certain DOE-owned lands, portions of which were previously used in the nation’s nuclear weapons program, into sites for clean energy generation.

DOE-EM–Sandia team survey Sellafield robotic systems

August 16, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
The DOE-EM–Sandia team and Sellafield representatives pose with Spot Robot at the Sellafield Engineering and Maintenance Centre of Excellence. (Photo: DOE)

Robotics experts from Sandia National Laboratories and representatives from the Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management’s Technology Development Office recently visited the Sellafield nuclear site in England to discuss how robotics, artificial intelligence, and other emerging tools can be developed and used in nuclear cleanup operations.

Y-12’s Alpha-2 building prepped for demolition in early 2024

August 16, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
The Alpha-2 building at Y-12 in Oak Ridge is a former uranium enrichment facility that dates to the Manhattan Project era. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management said that crews have completed major deactivation efforts at the Alpha-2 building at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The former uranium enrichment facility is scheduled for demolition next year.

Glass added to heated Hanford Vit Plant melter

August 9, 2023, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
A 300-pound bag of frit is in position to be poured into the melter at Hanford’s LAW Facility. (Photo: Bechtel National)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management announced that the first batches of glass-forming beads, called frit, were poured last week into a melter at the Hanford Site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP), also known as the Vit Plant. The melter, which has been heated to 2,100ºF, will be used to immobilize Hanford’s radioactive and chemical tank waste, turning it into a stable glass form through vitrification.

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.

DOE awards DD&R contract for Ion Beam Facility removal

August 1, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management awarded a contract to Aptim Federal Services of Baton Rouge, La., to perform deactivation, decommissioning, and removal of the former Ion Beam Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

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.

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.

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.