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

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

Steven P. Nesbit
president@ans.org

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.

DOE completes cleanup at Nevada’s Tonopah Test Range

November 2, 2020, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions

Weapon systems, research rockets, and artillery were tested on the Tonopah Test Range beginning in 1956. Photo: DOE

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) announced on October 27 that it has completed another of its 2020 priorities—completing the remediation activities on and around the Tonopah Test Range and conveying 70 sites into long-term stewardship. Cleanup of the historic site, located within the Nevada Test and Training Range about 160 miles northwest of Las Vegas, was completed in less than half the time initially estimated, according to the DOE.

Oversight of the 70 remediated sites has now been transferred from the Office of Environmental Management to the DOE’s Office of Legacy Management (LM), which provides long-term surveillance and maintenance of remediated and closed DOE sites. Undersecretary for Science Paul Dabbar and other representatives from the DOE and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) celebrated the transfer of the sites to LM on October 20.

DOE awards $350-million contract for Nevada site cleanup

June 22, 2020, 3:43PMRadwaste Solutions

Oak Ridge, Tenn.–based Navarro Research and Engineering has been awarded a 10-year environmental program services contract worth up to $350 million for cleanup services at the Nevada National Security Site, the Department of Energy announced on June 17. The new contract replaces the current NNSS cleanup contract, also held by Navarro Research and Engineering, which expires on July 31.