ANS asks Congress to fund EPA work on repository standards

June 24, 2024, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions

The American Nuclear Society brought together 11 other energy and environmental advocacy organizations in calling on Congress to fund the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a new, technology-neutral, generic environmental standard for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste in the United States.

In a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate appropriations committees, the groups ask for an additional $3 million in fiscal year 2025 for the EPA’s Office of Radiation and Indoor Air to work on the new standard.

Feds, state agree on deadlines for treating Hanford’s tank waste

May 1, 2024, 7:05AMRadwaste Solutions
An aerial view of the Hanford Site’s 200 Area and the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant. (Photo: DOE)

The U.S. Department of Energy, Washington State Department of Ecology, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have reached an agreement on revised plans for managing millions of gallons of radioactive and chemical liquid waste stored in 177 underground tanks at the Hanford Site near Richland, Wash.

EPA issues final rule regulating “forever chemicals”

April 24, 2024, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that it will issue a rule aimed at limiting public exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The final rule will designate two widely used PFAS chemicals, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as Superfund.

According to the EPA, both PFOA and PFOS meet the statutory criteria for designation as hazardous substances.

Reviewing the top nuclear headlines from 2023

January 7, 2024, 10:10AMNuclear News

The new year is here, and so it is time for the Nuclear News review of 2023's top stories. The recap will appear in the January issue of the magazine, on its way to American Nuclear Society members right now. In the meantime, all ANS members can read the year's issues in the ANS member center, and also review some of the most-read stories from Nuclear Newswire below. Here’s to a Happy New Year!

ANS leads effort in asking Congress to update SNF disposal regs

November 3, 2023, 7:56AMANS News
Workers walk down an underground passageway at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant transuranic waste repository in New Mexico. (Photo: DOE)

The American Nuclear Society coordinated an effort with eight nongovernmental organizations in asking Congress to update the Environmental Protection Agency’s generic standards for the safe, permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level radioactive waste.

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.

EPA adds Oklahoma’s Fansteel Metals site to National Priorities List

September 13, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions

The Environmental Protection Agency announced last week that it is adding Oklahoma’s Fansteel Metals/FMRI Superfund site to the National Priorities List. The list includes the nation’s most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination and serves as the basis for prioritizing EPA Superfund cleanup funding and enforcement actions.

Lawmakers request info from agencies on NEPA reforms

September 5, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News



McMorris Rodgers

A trio of GOP House lawmakers is asking four federal agencies to report on their progress toward implementing National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reforms included in the 2023 Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), signed by President Biden in early June.

Last Friday, House Energy and Commerce Committee chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.); Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee chair Jeff Duncan (R., S.C.); and Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee chair Bill Johnson (R., Ohio) sent letters to the Department of Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Oak Ridge breaks ground on critical new disposal facility

August 25, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
Taking part in the Environmental Management Disposal Facility groundbreaking, from left, were Steve Arnette of Jacobs; Mark Whitney of Amentum,; Wade Creswell, a Roane Co., Tenn., executive; Brent Booker of the Laborers’ International Union of North America; Kevin Adkisson of North America’s Building Trades Unions; Jeaneanne Gettle of the EPA; Lt. Gov. Randy McNally; David Salyers of TDEC; Ken Rueter of UCOR; Jay Mullis of OREM; U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann; and DOE-EM’s William “Ike” White. (Photo: DOE)

National, state, and local leaders joined the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) and its lead cleanup contractor, United Cleanup Oak Ridge (UCOR), earlier this month to celebrate the groundbreaking for a new on-site disposal facility at the Oak Ridge Reservation in Tennessee.

Watch a video highlighting the Environmental Management Disposal Facility groundbreaking ceremony here.

American Nuclear Society recommends updating EPA repository regs

August 16, 2023, 9:15AMPress Releases

Downers Grove, Illinois – The American Nuclear Society (ANS) published a finalized report on recommendations for updating public health and safety standards for the permanent disposal of commercial used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste at future geological repository projects in the United States.

Looking back and looking ahead

July 10, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear NewsKen Petersen

Ken Petersen

It is a great time to be American Nuclear Society president. There are very positive articles in Nuclear News and other places on the advances in fusion, nuclear in space, isotopes, and new power plants. It seems that every month the good news keeps building. I am also fortunate to start my presidency after the extraordinary efforts of past presidents Steve Nesbit (2021–2022) and Steven Arndt (2022–2023).

Steve Nesbit created a special committee to make recommendations on the framework of a generic standard for a high-level radioactive waste repository. The excellent work is currently out for review and, once complete, this standard will be a significant step forward for existing and future reactors. When Steven Arndt started as ANS president last year, he said he would prioritize participation and advocacy, and in these regards he has been an outstanding nuclear advocate. He has taken advantage of being able to travel and has attended numerous conferences in person after the past few years of cancelations, postponements, and virtual meetings for ANS and other industry events. At the same time, Arndt has advocated for a Nuclear Worker Certification program. While the program is not yet approved, I believe it is an excellent initiative, particularly now, with so many people coming to the industry who are new to nuclear—and the growing need for more.

ANS Annual Meeting: Promoting the common defense and security

June 23, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear News
ANS immediate past president Steven Arndt, Jeffrey Merrifield, and John Kotek on stage at the ANS annual meeting President's Plenary.

At the 2023 ANS Annual Meeting, Steven Arndt (as of the close of the meeting, ANS immediate past president) led a president’s session on the mission of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission—a not particularly surprising topic, given that he spent over 30 years at the agency in various roles.

Feds, state reach agreement in Hanford cleanup negotiations

May 4, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
The Hanford Site’s B Complex area tank farm containing waste created during the production of plutonium at the site. (Photo: DOE)

After nearly three years of discussions and more than 60 mediation sessions, the Department of Energy, Washington State Department of Ecology, and the Environmental Protection Agency announced that they have reached a conceptual agreement on revising plans for managing millions of gallons of waste stored in tanks at the Hanford Site near Richland, Wash.

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.

ANS recommends updates to repository standards, asks for feedback

February 17, 2023, 8:00AMANS News
Two workers walk down an underground passageway at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant transuranic waste repository in New Mexico. (Photo: DOE)

While still lacking a deep geological repository for the permanent disposal of its commercial used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste, the United States does have regulatory standards for geological nuclear waste disposal.

Having been written nearly 40 years ago, however, those standards are outmoded and lack transparency, according to a special committee of the American Nuclear Society, which has released draft recommendations on revising public health and safety standards for future geological repository projects in the United States.

NRC approves disposal plan for New Mexico mining waste

February 17, 2023, 7:02AMNuclear News
A map of the Church Rock uranium mill site location. (Image: NRC)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved a plan by United Nuclear Corp. (UNC) to dispose of mine waste from the Northeast Church Rock mine site in New Mexico at the company’s nearby uranium mill and tailings disposal site.

What about the waste?

December 5, 2022, 7:01AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

It’s always the first question asked. So, what is your approach? You have options.

You could go the “Yucca Mountain is the law of the land” route. But you’ll soon run into an immutable political truth. Nevada’s early presidential caucuses make it highly unlikely that any candidate would ever take a favorable position on Yucca unless it enjoyed commensurate support in the state. Not convinced? Nevada Gov. Stephen Sisolak signed a bill in August that replaces their closed caucus system with a primary during the first week in February, thereby putting the state in competition with Iowa and New Hampshire to be the “first primary” of the 2024 election. Face it: While you weren’t looking, Nevada secured its consent rights over Yucca Mountain; it’s just written in a different part of the law.

You could also double down on reprocessing/recycling and argue that we need some sort of Manhattan Project. But that requires convincing Congress that it’s a good idea for the government to build large, first-of-a-kind, multibillion-dollar fuel cycle facilities, the economics of which will be based on the estimated price of uranium (or thorium?) some number of decades from now. Good luck with that. As much as a grand solution to the fuel cycle may appeal to our engineering instincts, the funding simply isn’t there—there are no checks left in Washington’s checkbook.

The DRUM program: Cataloging America’s abandoned uranium mines

September 30, 2022, 3:04PMRadwaste SolutionsGuest Contributor
DRUM team members at the Telluride 18 mine in the Yellow Cat area of southwest Colorado.

Based on a review of U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) records and available data from numerous agencies, there are an estimated 4,225 mines across the country that provided uranium ore to the U.S. government for defense-related purposes between 1947 and 1970. To aid in the cleanup of these legacy uranium mines and establish a record of their locations and current conditions, the Defense-Related Uranium Mines (DRUM) program was established within the Department of Energy’s Office of Legacy Management (LM).

Idaho site marks 30 years of cleanup

December 9, 2021, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
The underlying Snake River Plain Aquifer is considerably safer today following three decades of cleanup activities at the DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory Site. (Graphic: DOE)

When the Department of Energy, the state of Idaho, and the Environmental Protection Agency signed a federal facility agreement and consent order in December 1991, the agencies outlined a plan to investigate and clean up, if necessary, more than 500 individual waste areas within the 890-square-mile Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Site, which was established in 1949 to design, build, and test nuclear reactors.