Feature Article

Tapping Nonnuclear Knowledge

The Deepsea Delta oil-drilling platform in the North Sea. The dismantling of such large oil and gas structures may offer lessons that can be applied to nuclear decommissioning.

Within the energy sector, the management of projects and megaprojects has historically focused on the planning and delivery of the construction of infrastructure [1–3]. Therefore, policies are more oriented to support the construction of infrastructure rather than its decommissioning. Globally, however, a number of facilities have reached or will soon reach their end of life and need to be decommissioned.

These facilities span the energy sector, including nuclear power plants, oil and gas rigs, mines, dams, etc., whose decommissioning present unprecedented technical and socioeconomic challenges [4–7]. Moreover, the cost of decommissioning and waste management of this array of infrastructure is estimated to reach hundreds of billions of dollars and, for most of these projects, keeps increasing, with limited cross-sectorial knowledge-transfer to mitigate the spiraling increase of these figures.

Cross-sectorial knowledge-transfer is one way to tackle this matter and improve the planning and delivery of decommissioning projects. The aim of our research has been to build a roadmap that is designed to promote the sharing of good practices between projects both within the same industry and across different industrial sectors, focusing specifically on major decommissioning and waste-management challenges.

To reach this aim, our research leverages on the experience of senior industry practitioners and their involvement in the decommissioning and waste management of infrastructure in different sectors. More specifically, this research addresses the following questions:

To what extent can lessons learned be transferred across industrial sectors?

What are the challenges that hinder successful cross-sectorial knowledge-transfer?

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Virginia ANS section discovers hidden asset - Clay Condit

On January 31, 2013, about 30 lucky members of the Virginia section of the American Nuclear Society heard a series of informative tales from one of the many innovative pioneers of the First Atomic Age. Clay Condit, a man overflowing with personal memories of important nuclear energy milestones-like the initial start-up of the Submarine Thermal Reactor and the post accident analysis of the SL-1 tragedy-entertained the assembled members for a little more than an hour.

The ANS Student Section of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

American Nuclear Society President Eric Loewen visited the ANS student section at the University of Illinois on Tuesday, March 27, followed by dinner with the Central Illinois ANS local section. This event was part of Loewen's "March Madness" speaking tour, building toward the 2012 ANS Student Conference (which begins today in Las Vegas).  The occasion gave ANS Nuclear Cafe a chance to catch up with Valentyn Bykov, president of the ANS student section at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, to discuss the section and its activities.

ANS Fukushima press conference, March 8 at 10AM EST

The American Nuclear Society Special Committee on Fukushima will issue its full report on March 8 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, at 10AM EST. The press conference will be available for viewing via this link.

The Blue Ribbon Commission’s final report

Soon after declaring that it would end the Yucca Mountain repository project, the Obama administration created the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future to reevaluate the nation's nuclear waste program and policies. The commission was asked to recommend improvements to the waste program and the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA), and to make general recommendations on the path forward. The commission was specifically instructed to not address the Yucca Mountain project, or any specific project or site. The commission's final report was released this month.

ANS to hold teacher workshop in Phoenix, AZ

ANS November 2011 Teachers Workshop

Hands-on activity during a November 2011 ANS Teachers Workshop

The American Nuclear Society's Center for Nuclear Science and Technology Information and the ANS Outreach Department will be sponsoring a one-day teacher workshop on Sunday, February 26, in Phoenix, Ariz. The workshop-Detecting Radiation in Our Radioactive World-is intended for science educators (including biology, chemistry, earth science, physics, physical science, life science, environmental, and general science teachers) at the high school and middle school levels. The workshop will be held prior to WM2012, the international waste management conference that takes place annually in Phoenix.

Ballot initiative to close California’s nuclear plants

There's not much new happening in DC right at the moment, so this month I'll discuss something that's going on in the state of California. That is, a proposed ballot initiative to shut the two remaining nuclear power plants-the two-unit Diablo Canyon and the two-unit San Onofre-in the state.

Full agenda for National Nuclear Science Week 2012

National Nuclear Science Week-a week-long celebration to focus local, regional, and national interest on all aspects of nuclear science-has nearly arrived! On January 23-27, events and activities will be held across the United States to recognize the benefits of nuclear science and technology and to introduce the next generation of  scientists and engineers to the applications of nuclear technologies to everyday life. The National Nuclear Science Week website serves as the clearinghouse for next week's activities and is chock-full of great ideas for  how to learn, teach, and celebrate nuclear science and technology.

Nuclear News and the new year

Pretty Energy

I recently joined the latest social media phenomenon-"Pinterest"-after some good old-fashioned peer pressure from my pals. Basically it is an online scrapbook, where you can collect images from all over the Internet and organize or "pin" them under categories like "recipes to try" or "ideas for the garden" on your personal page. There is very little text and not much user-to-user interaction. You just browse thousands of images of party dresses, wedding ideas, art, or whatever you or other users have uploaded to the site. Essentially it's a whole lot of eye candy.

"Waste Management" in Nuclear News

The November issue of Nuclear News magazine, which contains a special section on waste management, is available in hard copy and electronically for American Nuclear Society members (must enter ANS user name and password in Member Center). The special section contains the following stories:

Nuclear Power: How a Nuclear Power Plant Really Works!

I originally wrote this post as a book review, but after three or four edits, I realized that I couldn't mask my biased opinion about the new children's book, Nuclear Power: How a Nuclear Power Plant Really Works! Simply put, I adore this book, as well as author Amelia Frahm, and have something of an emotional stake in its success. So, I decided it would be better to just share the reasons I love this book without trying to hide my enthusiasm.

Samples from NRC Webcasts (First of a Series)

For a while in the early 1990s, my work at Nuclear News magazine included coverage of Washington, D.C.  Eight or ten times a year, I'd spend two or three days in our nation's capital, attending congressional hearings, interviewing bigwigs, pestering agencies to give me copies of arcane documents, and frantically taking notes in public meetings at the headquarters of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.