DOE-EM’s Greg Sosson (standing) views Integrated Waste Treatment activity during the facility’s first day of radiological operations. (Photo: DOE)
After initial runs using a mix of radiological waste and nonradioactive simulant, the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit (IWTU) at the Idaho National Laboratory site has progressed to treating sodium-bearing waste entirely, the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM) announced on May 22.
INL prepares to ship PCAT by truck to Pennsylvania for testing. (Photo: INL)
An electric-powered prototype of MARVEL, the tiny microreactor designed and planned for operation inside the Transient Reactor Test (TREAT) facility at Idaho National Laboratory, has successfully been installed at a manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania ahead of a testing program that could begin as early as July, the Department of Energy announced on May 22.
A rendering of Oklo’s Aurora Powerhouse. (Image: Oklo)
Santa Clara, Calif.–based Oklo is planning to build its second and third commercial Aurora Powerhouse nuclear plants in southern Ohio, the company announced yesterday. The advanced reactor developer received a site permit in December 2019 from the Department of Energy to build its initial Aurora facility at Idaho National Laboratory.
According to the announcement, Oklo has signed an agreement with the Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative (SODI), a community-reuse organization, to deploy two 15-MWe plants on land owned by SODI at the Portsmouth site near Piketon, Ohio. The DOE began transferring parcels of the Portsmouth site—home to the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant, now undergoing decontamination and decommissioning—to SODI in June 2018 for economic development.
DOE-EM officials, IWTU employees, and others signed the first stainless steel canister prior to crews filling it with sodium-bearing waste and simulant. Once filled, that canister and 15 others were placed in a concrete vault for storage. (Photo: DOE)
Since the launch of operations just over a month ago, the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit (IWTU) at Idaho National Laboratory has increased sodium-bearing waste treatment fivefold. This activity is a vital step in removing the remaining liquid waste from nearby underground tanks at the site and protecting the underlying Snake River Plain Aquifer.
May 5, 2023, 3:03PMNuclear NewsCory Hatch and Richard Boardman
At INL’s HTSE testing facility, researchers are advancing hydrogen production by shepherding HTSE through a series of technological advancements, economic analyses, and testing. (Photo: INL)
On December 20, 1951, researchers used energy produced by Experimental Breeder Reactor-I near Arco, Idaho, to illuminate four 200-watt lightbulbs. Since then, utilities have built commercial nuclear power plants in the United States almost exclusively to generate electricity. This has worked well alongside other power generation and transmission infrastructure—large oil- and coal-fired, natural gas turbine or hydroelectric plants, and a relatively simple electrical grid designed to deliver reliable power.
Humanity is now embarking on an epic and complex energy transformation across the grid, industry, and transportation. Renewables like wind and solar are contributing an increasing share of carbon-free electricity to the grid, but that contribution is variable and hard to predict—sometimes those sources produce more electricity than the grid needs, and sometimes less.
Olsen was part of the IAEA team that inspected the Rivne nuclear power plant in Ukraine last year. (Photo: IAEA)
Student members are the future of the American Nuclear Society, and ANS believes in the importance of supporting students those who have shown academic, service, and leadership excellence as they navigate their early careers. Robert Olsen, now a nuclear security officer with the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria, was one such beneficiary.
William “Ike” White addresses the audience at INTEC, which gathered to celebrate the completion of the spent fuel wet-to-dry project at the INL site. (Photo: DOE)
At Idaho National Laboratory, Department of Energy leaders joined tribal, state, and local officials; contractors; and workers on March 28 to mark a recent milestone with the state of Idaho nearly 25 years in the making. The milestone was the completion of a spent fuel wet-to-dry project more than nine months ahead of a 1995 Idaho Settlement Agreement deadline.
MCRE could be built inside the ZPPR cell (shown here) at INL’s Materials and Fuels Complex. (Photo: INL)
A tiny 200-kWt reactor the Department of Energy says would be the first critical fast-spectrum circulating fuel reactor and the first fast-spectrum molten salt reactor (MSR) could be built and operated inside the Zero Power Physics Reactor (ZPPR) cell at Idaho National Laboratory’s Materials and Fuels Center (MFC). Details included in the Molten Chloride Reactor Experiment (MCRE) draft environmental assessment (EA)—released on March 16 for two weeks of public comment (later extended to four weeks, through April 14)—covered the potential environmental impacts associated with the development, construction, operation, and decommissioning of MCRE at INL, facilitated by the National Reactor Innovation Center (NRIC).
March 14, 2023, 9:39AMEdited March 14, 2023, 9:38AMNuclear News
In this screenshot from a video recording of the hearing, Huff, Wagner, and Dominguez answer a series of questions from Sen. Manchin
“Right now, our country is deficient in nearly every aspect of the fuel cycle. This must change and it must change quickly,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.V.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), as he opened a Full Committee Hearing to Examine the Nuclear Fuel Cycle on March 9. “Whether it is uranium mining, milling, conversion, enrichment, nuclear fuel fabrication, power generation, or nuclear waste storage and disposal, there is much work to be done, starting with conversion and enrichment. Simply put, Russia dominates the global market, representing nearly half of the international capacity for both processes.”
Using GeoMelt ICV technology to treat and immobilize problematic low-level wastes at INL and WCS.
A sample of GeoMelt glass. (Photos: Veolia)
When it comes to managing nuclear waste, technology is transforming the way some of the most problematic waste is handled. The idea to transform nuclear waste into glass was developed back in the 1970s as a way to lock away the waste’s radioactive elements and prevent them from escaping. For more than 40 years, vitrification has been used for the immobilization of high-level radioactive waste in many countries around the world, including the United States.
Industry professionals visit INL as part of a U.S. Nuclear Industry Council Conference. (Photo: INL)
The Department of Energy’s commitment to breaking down market barriers with initiatives, programs, and access to facilities is making it simpler and more efficient than ever for industry to partner with national laboratories. It is especially timely, as the country continues to face evolving security, economic, and clean energy challenges. Partnering opportunities via the DOE’s Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) and Strategic Partnership Projects (SPPs) are particularly prevalent in the commercial nuclear community and have seen a tremendous amount of funding and support dedicated to advancing the development, demonstration, and deployment of new reactor technologies.
U.S. secretary of energy Jennifer Granholm and Japan’s minister of economy, trade, and industry Yasutoshi Nishimura lead energy discussions on January 9 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: DOE)
Researchers at Idaho National Laboratory have completed initial testing on a newly developed fuel test capsule that is expected to provide crucial performance data for sodium-cooled fast reactors. The Department of Energy announced on January 12 that the series of fuel testing experiments being carried out now at INL’s Transient Reactor Test Facility (TREAT) was developed through a joint project between the United States and Japan.
The Integrated Waste Treatment Unit at the Idaho National Laboratory Site. (Photo: DOE)
The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) said that the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit (IWTU), the radioactive liquid waste treatment facility at the Idaho National Laboratory Site, began its final heat-up in December prior to initiating radiological operations, planned for early this year.
IWTU crews were to follow a prescribed incremental process as the facility transitions from simulant to sodium-bearing waste (SBW), according to EM.