DOE-EM outlines its cleanup goals for the coming decade

May 22, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management has released its Strategic Vision 2023–2033, a blueprint of the office’s anticipated cleanup achievements over the next decade. DOE-EM said the strategic vision is focused on the priorities of addressing radioactive liquid tank waste, demolishing contaminated buildings, remediating contaminated soil and groundwater, and safely managing and disposing of waste.

“The Strategic Vision 2023–2033 is intended to help us gaze further out to a place we want to be in the future,” DOE-EM senior advisor William “Ike” White said. “It sets EM on a course that will span a decade and inspire us all to achieve EM’s vital nuclear cleanup mission.”

DOE to consider recycling contaminated Portsmouth nickel

April 18, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Demolition of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant’s X-326 building was completed in June 2022. (Photo: Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth)

As part of its ongoing cleanup work, the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management is looking into the potential reuse of approximately 6,400 tons of radiologically surface-contaminated nickel that has been removed from the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Ohio. DOE-EM began decommissioning the Portsmouth plant, one of three Cold War–era gaseous diffusion plant in the United States, in 2011.

Contaminated Oklahoma site to be made an EPA priority

April 5, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed adding the Fansteel Metals Superfund site in Muskogee, Okla., to the National Priorities List (NPL), the roster of the nation’s most contaminated sites that threaten human health or the environment. By adding this site to the NPL, the EPA said it can prioritize funding for cleanup and necessary enforcement action.

Sen. Hawley introduces bill requiring cleanup of St. Louis area school

March 1, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
Contractors scan floors inside Jana Elementary School in Missouri during testing done in October 2022. (Photo: USACE/JP Rebello)

New legislation that would require the cleanup of Jana Elementary School in suburban St. Louis was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.). The Justice for Jana Elementary Act would also order the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to test all properties in the Hazelwood School District, of which Jana Elementary is a part.

How has digital technology changed environmental remediation?

November 29, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

Jesus Zamora

Regardless of the specific field you work in or how your daily tasks are performed, digital technology does not go unnoticed, and the environmental remediation field is no exception. Digital technology can be defined as electronic tools, services, or devices that create, store, transmit, and manage data. As technology evolves, so do the ways in which it can be incorporated into remediation activities.

Adequate incorporation of these technologies can greatly improve both workflow and productivity while enhancing the quality and maintaining the integrity of data. My team and I have been able to connect radiological instruments to computers wirelessly, collect millions of radiological measurements, track the approximate location of these measurements, save measurements automatically in a database, and access them at will.

DOE begins inspection of abandoned uranium mines in Navajo Nation

October 19, 2022, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
DRUM program members and others visit mine sites in the Navajo Nation during the spring of 2022. (Photo: DOE-LM)

The Department of Energy’ Office of Legacy Management (LM) will be conducting verification and validation work at abandoned uranium mines in the Navajo Nation of northeastern Arizona during the fall field season, which runs from mid-October to mid-December.

Savannah River Site uses passive system to remove groundwater contaminants

June 8, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
SRNS environmental engineers Bryce Garner (left) and Adam Willey (center) ask questions of lead operator Daniel Ferrell (right), from field services contractor Cascade Environmental, as he describes how equipment injects oil and iron into the Savannah River Site’s groundwater. (Photo: DOE)

In this week’s “EM Update,” the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) reports that its contractor Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) has successfully reduced degreasing solvents in the aquifer beneath the Savannah River Site in South Carolina using a technology that injects a form of iron and oil into groundwater.

“The oil attracts the Cold War[–era] cleaning solvents while the iron degrades and neutralizes the contamination,” said Shannan Lucero, SRNS manager for area closure projects.

Remediation of two Kyrgyz uranium legacy sites completed

March 29, 2022, 7:02AMRadwaste Solutions
A view of the village of Min Kush in central Kyrgyzstan. (Photo: EBRD)

The remediation of two former Soviet-era uranium mining sites in Kyrgyzstan has been completed on schedule and below budget, despite difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced on March 28.

Canada’s CNL seeks stakeholder support for Chalk River disposal facility

March 2, 2022, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
A rendering of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility. (Image: CNL)

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is asking its stakeholders (members of the public, industry, elected officials, and employees) to support a proposal to construct the Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) to dispose of legacy radioactive waste at the Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario.

DOE hires contractor for completion of Moab remediation work

February 7, 2022, 7:02AMRadwaste Solutions
The Moab cleanup site in Utah in 2018. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM) has awarded a cleanup contract to North Wind Portage, Inc. for completion of environmental remediation of a uranium ore processing site near Moab, Utah. North Wind Portage is located in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

More information about the Moab project is available here.

Agreement reached on cleanup of 25-mile Savannah River Site stream corridor

January 31, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
An SRNS subcontractor technician takes radiological readings of soil near Lower Three Runs, part of a major project to complete the cleanup of a contaminated 25-mile-long stream corridor at SRS. (Photo: DOE) (CLICK TO SEE FULL PHOTO)

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS), the Department of Energy’s management and operating contractor for the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, has reached an agreement with the state of South Carolina and federal environmental regulators on the final cleanup of a 25-mile-long stream corridor at the site that was radiologically contaminated as a result of operations during the Cold War.

The corridor consists of Par Pond, nine miles of canals adjacent to the pond, and a stream named Lower Three Runs. The stream begins near the center of the site, just above Par Pond, and winds its way southward across SRS.

Machine learning and environmental remediation

January 28, 2022, 9:29AMANS Nuclear CafeAndrew Amann

Due to the large amount of water used by nuclear power plants, measuring the water’s impact on the environment is a huge data processing task. It is impossible to manually measure millions of gallons, along with tracking wildlife and the weather. The data computation needed to understand environmental patterns takes massive amounts of storage and strong algorithms to uncover anomalies.

DOE and EPA agree on further cleanup work at Hanford’s 100-BC Area

October 22, 2021, 7:14AMRadwaste Solutions
The 100-BC Area (in green) within the Hanford Site. (Image: DOE)

Soil and groundwater contamination at the Hanford Site’s 100-BC Area will be treated under a record of decision (ROD) signed by the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, with the concurrence of the Washington State Department of Ecology.

IAEA and European Union extend nuclear safety agreement

September 27, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News
The EU’s Massimo Garribba (left) and the IAEA’s Lydie Evrard met at last week’s 65th IAEA General Conference to extend a 2013 cooperation agreement. (Photo: C./Silva Villareal)

Some of the major achievements of the nuclear safety cooperation agreement between the International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Union (EU) include more than 100 nuclear safety review missions, environmental remediation at former uranium sites in Central Asia, and more effective radioactive waste management in Africa.

Pine forest helps safely disperse tritium at Savannah River Site

September 23, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
U.S. Forest Service employees Secunda Hughes (left) and Andrew Thompson inspect irrigation piping and sprinkler heads, part of a 62-acre pine plantation used to safely disperse tritium at the Savannah River Site.

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) is managing the release of tritiated water using a 62-acre plantation of pine trees and other natural resources to limit radioactively contaminated groundwater from reaching waterways on the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

Nevada’s legacy nuclear propulsion facilities slated for demolition

September 15, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
An archive photo of the Nevada National Security Site’s Test Cell C complex, which is being prepared for demolition and closure. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy is preparing to demolish two large, complex facilities at the Nevada Nuclear Security Site with ties to historical nuclear propulsion rocket development and testing programs. The DOE’s Environmental Management (EM) Nevada Program and its environmental program services contractor, Navarro Research and Engineering, have begun characterization and hazard reduction work on the site’s Engine Maintenance, Assembly, and Disassembly (EMAD) and Test Cell C (TCC) complexes.

SRS makes progress in treating contaminated groundwater

September 13, 2021, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
F Area operator Thomas Harman (left) and SRNS scientist Kevin Boerstler check the pumps, sensors, and piping that blend a base concentrate to inject into acidic groundwater at the Savannah River Site. (Photo: DOE)

The Savannah River Site is reducing the flow of hazardous and radioactive metal contaminants to South Carolina’s rivers and streams by injecting a mix of clean water and baking soda into the site’s groundwater. The base mix neutralizes groundwater that has become acidic as a result of SRS’s chemical separations work, helping restrict the flow of contaminants.

ISO deems Savannah River’s environmental program ‘robust’

June 30, 2021, 7:18AMRadwaste Solutions
From left, SRNS mechanic Todd Cockrell, engineer John Bradley, and project manager Joao Cardoso-Neto plan the removal of a vapor extraction unit at the Savannah River Site. (Photo: DOE)

Department of Energy site contractors Savannah River Nuclear Solutions and Savannah River Remediation received high marks from a recent independent audit of their environmental management work at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.