U.K. LLW project completed ahead of schedule

March 14, 2024, 3:03PMRadwaste Solutions
Waste drums at the Winfrith site's treated radwaste storage facility. (Photo: NWS)

More than 1,000 drums of low-level radioactive waste in the United Kingdom have been safely disposed of earlier than expected. The project was completed through the collaborative work of Nuclear Waste Services (NWS), Nuclear Restoration Services (NRS), and Nuclear Transport Solutions (NTS).

Canada authorizes building of LLW disposal facility at Chalk River

January 16, 2024, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Concept art of the Chalk River near surface disposal facility for LLW. (Image: CNL)

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has decided to amend Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ operating license for the Chalk River Laboratories, allowing the construction of a near surface disposal facility (NSDF) for low-level radioactive waste on the nuclear research site in Deep River, Ontario.

Tank waste disposal

November 17, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear NewsChris O’Neil
The 2F Evaporator at SRS. (Photo: Savannah River Site Photography)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management is responsible for roughly 90 million gallons of radioactive liquid waste at Idaho National Laboratory, the Hanford Site in Washington state, and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. About 900,000 gallons of waste are stored at INL, 56 million gallons at Hanford, and roughly 36 million at SRS. A further 400,000 gallons of waste from various operations are being stored at the Oak Ridge Site in Tennessee.

New LLW sorting facility opens in Ontario

October 26, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
Representatives from OPG, Laurentis Energy Partners, and EnergySolutions Canada, as well as the mayor of Kincardine, Kenneth Craig, cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially open WCSR facility. (Photo: OPG)

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) subsidiary Laurentis Energy Partners has opened, in partnership with EnergySolutions Canada, a new 42,000-square-foot facility in Kincardine, Ontario, that will minimize waste associated with nuclear energy generation in the Canadian province, the company announced this week.

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.

Hanford’s Vit Plant melter reaches 2,100°F

August 4, 2023, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy announced last week that Melter 1 at the Hanford Site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, also known as the Vit Plant, has hit its operational temperature of 2,100ºF. The DOE began heating Melter 1 in October 2022, but was soon forced to pause when abnormalities in the heaters’ power supply were encountered.

AECL and CNL sign long-term agreement with Canadian indigenous group

June 14, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), and the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation (AOPFN) have signed a long-term relationship agreement that aims to foster mutual respect, collaboration, and economic opportunities between Canada’s indigenous communities and the nuclear industry.

Under terms of the agreement, a working group featuring representation from all three parties will be formed to facilitate ongoing engagements and collaboration among the organizations. This is in addition to the creation of what will be known as the AOPFN Neya Wabun (guardian program), which will establish a regular presence of Pikwakanagan guardians at CNL operations and AECL sites within the territory.

Moving mixed loads creating efficiencies in U.K. rail transportation

March 28, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste SolutionsBeverley Stothart
Two British Class 88 locomotives transport a nuclear waste flask wagon across Great Britain. (Photos: NTS)

Since its formation in 2005, the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has been tasked with ensuring that the U.K.’s nuclear legacy sites are decommissioned and cleaned up safely, securely, cost-effectively, and in ways that protect the people and the environment.

Shipping Vermont Yankee’s LLW: Lessons for transporting used fuel

March 23, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste SolutionsJay Thomas, Mike Valenzano, and Nicolas Guibert
A loaded MP197HB cask is prepared for departure from the Vermont Yankee decommissioning site to West Texas. (Photos: Orano TN)

The rapid changes in the nuclear energy industry over the last decade, driven in part by fluctuating energy market prices and an aging fleet of reactors, have led to the closure of multiple reactors in the United States and other countries. These closures have increased the need for larger and more efficient ways to manage low-level radioactive waste processing and transport capacities. The safe transport of radioactive material is a key component of the overall nuclear industry reliability. Though sometimes perceived as a bottleneck and costly, it is necessary to send waste material to disposal.

New Generic Repository Environmental Standards: Draft Recommendations from ANS

February 17, 2023, 3:03PMRadwaste SolutionsPeter Swift, Michael Apted, Lake Barrett, John Kessler, and Steven Nesbit
An electric continuous miner machine cuts out a waste-emplacement panel at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant salt repository in New Mexico. (Photo: DOE)

Used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive wastes are by-products of nuclear energy production and other applications of nuclear technology, and the consensus approach to disposing of those wastes safely is to encapsulate them and emplace them in stable geologic formations (geologic repositories) where they will be isolated from people and the environment for very long periods of time. The federal government has established environmental standards for waste isolation that any proposed geologic repository must meet.

In July 2021, the American Nuclear Society established a special committee to consider possibilities for revised generic environmental standards for disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste in the United States. The committee developed a number of recommendations, which are contained in a draft report that was to be issued in February for review and comment by stakeholders. The draft report can be found on the ANS website, at ans.org/policy/repositorystandard/.

The committee’s draft recommendations are based on two underlying assumptions. First, that the relevant legislative framework for regulation defined in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) remains unchanged. Specifically, it is assumed that the Environmental Protection Agency will be charged with promulgating environmental standards for disposal and that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will be charged with reviewing applications for disposal facilities using licensing requirements and criteria consistent with the EPA standards. Second, that existing generic disposal standards will be updated or replaced.

Some of Hanford’s tank waste to be disposed of off-site as LLW

February 9, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions

As preparations continue for immobilizing millions of gallons of low-activity tank waste at the Hanford Site in Washington state through vitrification, the Department of Energy has issued two key decisions for the handling and disposing of vitrified low-activity waste (LAW) and associated secondary wastes.

A fateful day for nuclear waste policy: January 31, 1998

January 26, 2023, 3:12PMNuclear News

Next week will mark 25 years since January 31, 1998, a familiar date to most in the nuclear community, and revisited in today’s #ThrowbackThursday post with an article from the March 1998 issue of Nuclear News. “Those in the nuclear power industry are aware of the significance of the date January 31, 1998. ln the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, that date was set as the deadline for the U.S. government—more specifically, the Department of Energy—to begin taking possession of and responsibility for spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants nationwide” (NN, March 1998, p. 59).

NAC International acquires Philotechnics

January 17, 2023, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

NAC International Inc. has completed its acquisition of Philotechnics Ltd., a health physics, radiological services, and waste management company headquartered in Oak Ridge, Tenn., with a satellite facility in San Diego, Calif. The company, now under NAC International ownership, has been renamed NAC Philotechnics Ltd.

Looking back at 2022—January through March

January 3, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News

Another calendar year has passed. Before heading too far into 2023, let’s look back at what happened in 2022 for the American Nuclear Society and the nuclear community. In today's post that follows, we have compiled from Nuclear News and Nuclear Newswire what we feel are the top nuclear news stories from January through March 2022.

Stay tuned this week for the top stories from the rest of the past year.

But first, click here for some of ANS’s activities for 2022.

NRC to consolidate LLW rulemaking

April 11, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
An NRC diagram of a LLW waste disposal site.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will integrate two separate rulemaking activities concerning the disposal of low-level radioactive waste, issuing a “re-proposed” rule that consolidates updates to 10 CFR Part 61, “Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal,” and proposed changes to the requirements for the near-surface disposal of greater-than-Class C (GTCC) waste.

What did I do wrong? Or, “What did we do wrong?”

March 9, 2022, 3:01PMANS NewsSteven P. Nesbit

Steven P. Nesbit

Have you ever been punished for something you didn’t do? It happens to most of us on occasion while growing up, especially if we have siblings. It’s not the end of the world, and it teaches a valuable lesson: Life is not fair. Nevertheless, when it happens, it really rankles you.

The “issue” of nuclear waste provides me with instant recall of those unpleasant childhood memories. Commercial nuclear power plants have been managing low-level waste and used nuclear fuel safely and efficiently since the beginning of the nuclear enterprise. Industry is adept at minimizing, packaging, transporting, and disposing of LLW. Used fuel is stored safely and securely at reactor sites, awaiting disposal.

Forty years ago, nuclear power plant operators entered into contracts with the federal government. The deal was simple. The operators would pay the U.S. government a lot of money, and the government would pick up the relatively small amount of used fuel and dispose of it in a geologic repository, beginning in 1998. The money changed hands, but the used fuel never did.

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.

D.C. court dismisses challenge to NRC’s low-level waste policy

May 7, 2021, 12:06PMRadwaste Solutions

A federal court has dismissed a claim by the Nuclear Energy Institute that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had reversed decades of established policy by requiring owners and operators of nuclear power plants to obtain the agency’s approval to dispose of low-level radioactive waste, even in NRC Agreement States.

At issue was a letter the NRC sent to NEI in 2019, stating that licensees must receive agency approval before disposing of LLW. In response, NEI filed a lawsuit against the NRC, claiming that the letter imposes new obligations on licensees without the NRC’s having followed rulemaking procedures required by the Administrative Procedure Act, including publishing notice of the new policy and receiving input from stakeholders prior to implementation.


DOE looks to dispose of Savannah River process equipment as LLW

January 21, 2021, 6:57AMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy is considering disposing of contaminated process equipment from its Savannah River Site (SRS) at a commercial low-level waste facility using its recent interpretation of the statutory term “high-level radioactive waste,” which classifies waste generated from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel based on its radiological content rather than its origin.