New Mexico sets up roadblock to Holtec storage facility

March 21, 2023, 9:43AMRadwaste Solutions
A rendering of Holtec’s proposed HI-STORE CISF in New Mexico. (Image: Holtec)

New Mexico has passed legislation aimed at preventing Holtec International from constructing and operating a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for spent nuclear fuel in the state. On March 17, hours after being passed by the New Mexico House on a 35-28 vote, Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed SB 53, which prohibits the storage and disposal of radioactive waste in New Mexico without the state’s consent.

D&D of Navy nuclear barge to wrap up by April

March 15, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
The SSSB wet pit, which once held spent naval nuclear fuel, is demolished. (Photo: APTIM)

Nuclear dismantling and decommissioning company APTIM said it is on schedule to wrap up field activities decommissioning the U.S. Navy’s Surface Ship Support Barge (SSSB) by April, with project closure slated for June. The company announced yesterday that its team has completed the demolition of the barge’s former spent fuel water pool, also referred to as the “wet pit,” or the heart of the vessel.

NRC approves restart of NIST test reactor

March 14, 2023, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

NIST's Center for Neutron Research in Gaithersburg, Md. (Photo: NRC)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has authorized the restart of a test reactor at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in Gaithersburg, Md. The reactor was shut down in February 2021 when a fuel element became damaged during startup and approach to full power. The incident violated the NRC’s fuel cladding temperature safety limit, although public health and safety were not affected, according to the agency.

The reactor is located at NIST’s Center for Neutron Research.

The U.S. NRC’s global efforts benefit everyone

March 14, 2023, 7:03AMNuclear NewsChristopher Hanson

Christopher Hanson

The origins of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s robust international program date back to 1953, when President Eisenhower, in an address to the United Nations, promised to share U.S. nuclear expertise with the world. This commitment underpins our international programs today.

The NRC’s early focus was cooperating with countries operating U.S. reactor technology to leverage collective operating experience. But requests for assistance grew steadily, and the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident made clear that international assistance was vital for global safety. We helped promote development of independent regulators in the former Soviet Union, and in a 1994 report, the independent NRC Office of the Inspector General praised how the NRC assisted Ukraine in establishing laws, regulations, and enforcement capacity.

SHINE's final SER for Wisconsin facility issued by NRC

March 1, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
SHINE’s isotope production building, called the Chrysalis, under construction in October 2022. (Photo: SHINE)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued its final safety evaluation report (SER) related to the operating license application for SHINE Technologies' large-scale medical isotope production facility, known as The Chrysalis, in Janesville, Wis. The SER documents the results of NRC staff’s technical and safety review of SHINE’s application. SHINE announced the NRC’s decision on February 27.

A record of decision concerning the proposed issuance of the operating license will be published by the NRC at a future date.

La Crosse BWR site released for unrestricted use

February 28, 2023, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The La Crosse site in 2019 with major decommissioning completed. The coal-fired Genoa plant is in the background. (Photo: EnergySolutions)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that it has released the site of the La Crosse boiling water reactor in Wisconsin for unrestricted public use. The action comes after the NRC found that EnergySolutions subsidiary LaCrosseSolutions had met the agency’s radiation protection standards in decommissioning the nuclear power plant.

The enduring legacy of ACRS: Reviewing safety-licensing to protect the public

February 24, 2023, 3:03PMNuclear NewsHossein Nourbakhsh

The 1957 amendment to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 established the Advisory Committee On Reactor Safeguards as a statutory committee with an independent advisory role and the responsibility to “review safety studies and facility license applications” and advise the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission “with regard to the hazards of proposed or existing reactor facilities and the adequacy of reactor safety standards.” With the enactment of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, the ACRS was assigned to the newly established Nuclear Regulatory Commission with its statutory requirements intact.

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.

NRC report updates decommissioning cost guidance

February 14, 2023, 9:58AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has updated its guidance for nuclear power plant owners and operators in estimating the cost of decommissioning their reactors. Licensed power reactor operators are required under NRC regulations to annually adjust the estimated costs (in current-year dollars) of decommissioning their plants to ensure that adequate funds are available when needed.

Court throws out New Mexico’s challenge to ISP’s SNF storage facility

February 13, 2023, 3:20PMRadwaste Solutions

Citing a lack of jurisdiction, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver has dismissed a petition by the state of New Mexico challenging the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s licensing of Interim Storage Partners’ (ISP) consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) in Andrews County, Texas.

Social media “takeover” helps OSU cover IAEA Nuclear Power Ministerial

February 10, 2023, 11:59AMNuclear News
The student social media ambassadors at the IAEA Nuclear Power Ministerial in October 2022 (left to right): Sam Dotson from the University of Illinois, Madison Gitzen from Pennsylvania State University, Peter Hotvedt from the University of Michigan, Jillian Newmyer from Oregon State University, Brienna Johnson from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and Pearle Lipinski from Ohio State University.

Pearle Lipinski is a nuclear engineering Ph.D. student in Ohio State University’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE). In October 2022, at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s fifth International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century (also known as the Nuclear Power Ministerial, or NPM), she acted as a student social media ambassador, where she was a “huge success in getting the word out,” according to Lei Raymond Cao, director of the OSU nuclear engineering program.

Centrus completes HALEU enrichment cascade construction

February 10, 2023, 9:34AMNuclear News
A view of the completed demo cascade. (Photo: Centrus)

Centrus Energy announced February 9 that it has finished assembling a cascade of uranium enrichment centrifuges and most of the associated support systems ahead of its contracted demonstration of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) production by the end of 2023. When the 16-machine cascade begins operating inside the Piketon, Ohio, American Centrifuge Plant, which has room for 11,520 machines, it will be the first new U.S.-technology based enrichment plant to begin production in 70 years.

NRC considers licensing an Idaho facility to handle LLW

February 10, 2023, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued an environmental assessment for Qal-Tek’s license application for a radioactive waste handling and temporary storage facility in Idaho. The NRC concluded that there would be no significant impacts to environmental resources from the proposed facility and subsequently issued a finding of no significant impact, notice of which was published in the February 6 Federal Register.

NRC begins public engagement for TRISO-X fuel facility license application

February 9, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News
A rendering of the TRISO-X fuel fabrication facility. (Image: DOE)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently presented its proposed 30-month licensing review timeline of TRISO-X’s planned fuel fabrication facility at the project’s first-ever public meeting in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

TRISO-X, a subsidiary of X-energy, has requested a 40-year license to possess and use special nuclear material to manufacture advanced fuel. The facility would be the first-ever commercial-scale fuel fabrication plant focused on using high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU).

SHINE receives final EIS to operate its Mo-99 production facility

February 8, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
SHINE’s Chrysalis production building, under construction in October 2022. (Photo: SHINE)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued the final supplemental environmental impact statement (EIS) for SHINE Technology’s application for a license to operate a medical isotope production facility in Janesville, Wis.

Court dismisses challenges to Texas SNF storage facility

January 31, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
A rendering of ISP’s proposed interim storage facility in West Texas. (Image: ISP)

A federal appeals court rejected a lawsuit brought by environmental groups challenging the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s licensing of a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for spent nuclear fuel in Andrews County, Texas. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that the NRC reasonably applied its hearing regulations when approving Interim Storage Partners’ (ISP) license for the facility.

NRC announces setback to Diablo Canyon license renewal

January 26, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced January 24 that it will not resume its review of Pacific Gas & Electric’s withdrawn Diablo Canyon license renewal application. This decision is a new setback in the long-running effort to extend the life of the plant.

Oklo submits licensing plan for fuel recycling facility

January 25, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions

Oklo said it has submitted a licensing project plan to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, outlining the company’s plans for preapplication engagement activities that support the future licensing of a used nuclear fuel recycling facility. The first-of-a-kind facility is intended to produce fuel to support the deployment of Oklo’s advanced fission power plants.

NRC proposes GEIS revision for renewing reactor licenses

January 24, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced on January 24 that it has directed staff to publish a proposed rule that includes an update to the license renewal generic environmental impact statement (GEIS), which is used by the agency when considering applications to renew operating reactor licenses.

The proposed rule, to appear in the Federal Register in the near future, is a response to an NRC order that concluded the license renewal GEIS did not analyze the environmental impacts of a subsequent license renewal term (from 60 to 80 years of operation).